The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on a link.
Managing screen time limits during a pandemic has been no easy task. With school not able to be in person, our kids are relying on screens for learning and also much needed social interaction. But worries about too much screen time, effects of blue light, and overall wellbeing are real. To combat the effects of screens, give gifts that promote unplugged fun!
Best Gifts for Unplugged Fun
The best gifts for unplugged fun naturally inspire kids to get up from their computers and put down their phones. They’re age appropriate, allow them to be creative without a screen, and reinforce other important skills that are essential for overall learning.
Best Gifts for Unplugged Fun for Early Elementary Ages (ages 5-8)
CHI Yoga Mat ($39.97)
CHI’s kid-size yoga mat makes it easy for those as young as preschoolers to learn yoga. The mat features symbols that are designed to help improve posture, body confidence, and physical alignment for growing bodies. It comes with easy-to-follow How-To Game Poster and provides access to a free online videos. The free app details each of the exercises so you’ll always know what to do. Kids will feel perfectly aligned which is a nice relief from being online. Best for ages 5+
Too Many Doggos ($20)
Kids whose families have rescued dogs know this is life changing. In the world of Too Many Doggos, you each run an animal shelter to help families find amazing dogs that have so much love to give. It is now adoption day. You’ll compete with each other to help dogs find a loving home by matching their unique traits with a person’s interests. Get the most dogs adopted from your shelter to win, and give many doggos the life they deserve with a loving family. Not only does this game reinforce the importance of rescue dogs but the founders donate part of the proceeds to rescue shelters. Best for ages 7+
Disney and Pixar Toy Story Puzzle from Ravensburger ($15.99)
Puzzles make great gifts for unplugged fun because they help children develop finger strength, perseverance and problem-solving skills. This 100 piece puzzle features Toy Story 4 characters that elementary ages will enjoy putting together over and over again. Best for ages 6+
Kellogg’s Pop Tarts Game ($10.99)
Pop Tarts loving kids will enjoy racing to grab the most Pop-Tarts from a parade of pastries lined up between the freezer and the toaster. On your turn, eat the Pop-Tarts card at the front of the line. Before taking a bite, you can play action cards to move Pop-Tarts around, create delicious combos, or reverse the direction they’re going to improve your chomping chances. After all Pop-Tarts are gone, the player who “ate” the most points wins! Best for ages 6+
Magne-Darts from StompRocket ($29.99)
The classic game of darts has been reimagined into a kid friendly version thanks to the makers of Stomp Rocket. Magne-Darts feature safe, kid-friendly magnets and a durable dart board. Dart play reinforces hand-eye coordination, honing their precision and patience, and math skills as kids total up their game-winning points. And what about your walls? Stomp Rocket says their safe, strong magnets stick every time and will not damage walls! Best for ages 6+
Celebrate 25 years of Pixar movie magic with a special edition UNO card game that comes in a collectible storage tin. The cards and tin included with this special edition are decorated with images taken from favorite Pixar films over the last 25 years. The deck also features a unique rule -The Pixar Pop Quiz. The Pixar Pop Quiz can be found on 4 Wild Cards. The player who draws a Wild Card with Pixar Pop Quiz can challenge any other player to name up to 5 characters before drawing a card for each named correctly! Best for ages 7+
Botley the Coding Robot BY LEARNING RESOURCES ($64.99)
Teach coding skills without a screen with Botley the Coding Robot! Ready to use right out of the box, Botley 2.0 can be coded to move in six directions. It plays music can even put on a light show when kids put together coding sequences. Botley provides hours of STEM learning without a screen thanks to 16 fun interactions, coding sequences that can be built to include up to 150 steps, and a built-in sensor. Botley is the perfect choice to introduce kids to coding at a young age. This robotic toy has lots of personality and the enjoyable coding challenges aren’t tedious or boring. Best for ages 5+
Freestyle Spooner Board ($44.99)
With the days getting shorter and it getting dark earlier, it’s more difficult for kids to get outside and use gross motor skills after a day of Zoom school. A Spooner Board Improves core strength & stability, balance, coordination, gross-motor skills and is an effective tool for learning skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding. Made in the USA, this 24” indestructible, high quality board is great for sitting, standing, rocking, spinning and sliding. And parents can use it too! Best for ages 5+
Best Gifts for Unplugged Fun for Tweens (ages 9-12)
Why have a net that only divides your playing field in half when you can have CrossNet. CrossNet is best described as 4 square volleyball! To start, the player in the 4th square serves diagonally to the 2nd. From there, the game is live, and the 2nd square can return the ball to any square. Players protect their square with only one hit. Whoever misses is eliminated and returns to square 1. Points are scored when a player misplays and a player reaches 11 points and wins by 2. A perfect family game or yard game that naturally encourages social distancing through game play! Each set comes with a height adjustable CrossNet, poles, and volleyball. Best for ages 9+
Monopoly Deal ($9.99)
If you love Monopoly but wish it didn’t take forever to play during family game nights, get Monopoly Deal! This fast, fun, and strategy heavy game is just like the board game you love but takes a fraction of the time to play. Two player game play takes approximately 5-15 minutes. Playing with up to five players can take approximately 45 min to play. This game has been a favorite of our family’s for years! Best for ages 9+
Guitar Chords Wheel ($17.99)
Music loving families trying to master guitar will find the Guitar Chords Wheel to be an essential tool. This portable book helps you learn positions for each finger on the fretboard and offers chord substitutions for songwriting. The key references are also a great way to come up with a base for solos! This book contains every permutation of each chord, including alternate voicings and inversions. So spin the wheel and watch your guitar playing improve! Best for ages 9+
Mystic Market ($19.98)
How do you teach tweens about important concepts like the economy in a fun way? Mystic Market is a card game that give sa basic understanding of economics and theory of value through strategy and math. Players buy and sell magical potion-making Ingredients. The unique Value Track ensures that the Ingredients’ values will be constantly shifting, so only the shrewdest of traders will prevail. Designed for 2-4 players. Best for ages 10+
My kids love Catan! This incredibly popular, multi award winning civilization building board game of harvesting and trading resources requires Players to create and control their own civilization. The goal is to spread across a modular hex board in a competition for victory points but beware the robber’s’s nefarious plans as he steals resources and plunders the wealthy. Designed for 3 to 4 players, game play takes approximately 60 minutes. Best for ages 10+
Last Defense ($19.99)
This cooperative board game requires you to rescue scientists and collect tools while on your way to defeat the various threats to the city. Tweens will fight a variety of attackers, from spider robots to space aliens, with their team and test their strategy to secure to city. The only catch—there’s a 20 minute time limit to defeat all the threats and save the day. Best for ages 8+
CIRCUIT EXPLORER DELUXE BASE STATION FROM EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS ($59.99)
Learn the fundamentals of circuitry through unplugged imaginative play that features astronaut and robot figures. Just line up the circuitry graphics on the oversized pieces and snap them together to build a fully powered, large-scale, space themed world. The set includes a base station with towers, rotating diner sign, planetarium with color changing dome, and a voice synthesizer with 10 space sounds. There’s even a communication station with a rotating radar dish and a fully powered space rover AND a free rolling rover, both with light up headlights. The pieces can be connected, disassembled, and put back together to create your own space station too for hours of unplugged play. Best for ages 7+
Best Gifts for Unplugged Fun for Teens
Unstable Unicorns ($19.95)
Teens who have always wanted to assemble a unicorn army can do just that thanks to Unstable Unicorns. The goal of Unstable Unicorns is to be the first person to collect seven Unicorns in your play area, also known as the Stable. Players use Magic, Instant, Upgrade, and Downgrade cards to hinder opponents’ progress and destroy their Unicorns but beware — each player has all of these tools at their disposal as well! You may just find your plans foiled by a well-played “Neigh!” card. This game is fully playable on its own, and any Unstable Unicorns expansion pack can be added to it. Best for ages 14+
Embroider the World of Jane Austen ($24.99)
Teens can learn the traditional art of embroidery by embroidering a beautiful piece of home décor reminiscent of the Jane Austen era! This kit contains all the materials you’ll need to make the two featured projects are included: 12 iron-on transfers, embroidery floss, 2 pieces of fabric, 2 pieces of calico backing, 2 needles, and a 6-inch bamboo hoop. A 64-page instruction book gives step-by-step directions, and the full-color photos will ensure your handiwork is something even Mr. Darcy would love.
Dear Holmes (starting at $49.99 for 3 months)
Get teens away from screens with a mystery that will appeal to their inner detective! Dear Holmes is a mail-based monthly mystery delivered straight to your door. Detectives are mailed letters and clues from a month-long mystery and tasked with using their wits and deductive reasoning skills to form a solution to the case! Each month readers are invited to submit their solutions to the case so that Dear Holmes can choose a featured detective and highlight their work. Submissions are a great way to practice writing skills because teens will not only need to figure out who did it but identify how the crime was done and why other suspects and witnesses behaved in the way they did. This is a perfect gift for fans of the True Crime Network or True Crime Podcasts. Gift givers can download a letter to send in advance of recipients receiving their first Dear Holmes letter by mail. Best for ages 13+
Considered by ThinkFun to be the most challenging escape room game ever, The Cursed Dollhouse requires players to build a creepy 3-story dollhouse to escape from. It comes complete with five rooms, 3D furniture, and variety of creepy dolls for game play. This 2-3 hour spooky escape room experience can be done in one dedicated sitting or over several sessions. It includes advanced puzzles for experienced puzzlers, a story booklet, secret items to discover, an improved solution wheel with locking mechanism, and a clear, high quality instruction manual. The companion website that has re-packing instructions, re-printable puzzles, and music suggestions to create an immersive experience. Best for ages 13+
Think you can find out who really killed Harmony Ashcroft on May 8, 1998? Teens who love solving mysteries get a chance to feel like cold-case detectives. Unsolved Case Files puts you in the shoes of a cold case detective tasked with solving a murder that happened decades ago with only the original investigator’s case file. In order to solve this cold case murder mystery game you’ll need to find 3 separate clues that crack open the case. First prove why the convicted man must be innocent. Then disprove a key suspect’s alibi and finally identify the clue that will put the real killer behind bars for the murder. With 3 different mysteries to solve in order to play the game, this case will challenge your investigative abilities. This unsolved case file game includes over 50 evidence photos and documents for you to investigate including newspaper articles, crime scene photographs, evidence report, phone records, a coroner’s report, fingerprint card, map of the crime scene, legal documents, suspect interrogations, witness statements, character photographs and much more. Everything about this mystery game is fiction, but will feel just like you are a real cold-case detective. Best for ages 14+
Ultimate Prepper’s Survival Guide ($24.99)
Could your family survive the end of the world as we know it? The Ultimate Prepper’s Survival Guide helps set you on the path to learning all the skills you will need to survive full societal collapse. John Wesley Rawles—one of the world’s leading survivalist experts—explains how to survive in the short term as society begins to collapse, and how to thrive in the long term. Practical, easy-to-follow instructions are included to instruct you on the preparations you can make today, as well as advice on the mental and emotional resilience required to help you not just cope but prosper in the new world. This book will help your family prepare together so you’re always ready for what might come. Best for ages 13+
Best Unplugged Gifts for Families
If you’re starting to realize how quickly your kids are growing up, The Adventure Challenge: Family Edition inspires all families to seize the moment and start creating memories. The Adventure Challenge is full of challenges that are designed to develop deeper connections in your most important relationships. Flip through the book and use the time and money guide over each box to help you decide which challenge to scratch off. But once you scratch off an adventure, you’re committed! No take backs! Challenges have been personally tested and range from $0-50 though they can be modified to fit any budget. Best for families with kids ages 4-15 and can be done with 4-8 family members.
Creatively Box ($34.50/month)
Everyone could use an unplugged activity that helps decrease negative emotions, reduce stress, and inspire confidence. Creatively Box does just that! A paint party in a box, Creatively can be purchased as a single box or a monthly subscription and comes with all the supplies you need, plus step-by-step instructions to paint, create, and have fun from the comfort of your home. Creatively is great for doing as a family or on your own. Coordinate with loved ones who are scattered around the country or girlfriends you just can’t see IRL right now and hop on Zoom for a fun way to connect through painting.
52 Nature Craft Projects ($15.99)
This winter take family walks and while you’re out, gather materials from the great outdoors to create visually inspiring art, gifts, decorations, and home accessories. This collection of 52 clever ideas is packed with small, no-fuss projects that are demonstrated using step-by-step photography. Find inspiration in the beauty of the natural world, and use stones, twigs, leaves, seeds, flowers, and other items to add your own special touch to each piece. With one engaging project for each week of the year, this book will inspire a weekly family tradition centered around nature, not screens.
Harry Potter Origami Chess ($29.99)
Bring the world of Harry Potter to life as origami chess pieces you make yourself! Inspired by the Harry Potter films, Harry Potter Origami Chess adds a new fun element to any game. It includes a 112-page book that offers brief instructions for playing the game and provides complete step-by-step directions for folding each of the chess pieces. Twelve characters including Harry, Hermione, Ron, Dobby, Dumbledore, Voldemort, Draco, Lucius, and more make up kings, queens, rooks, knights, bishops, and pawns. In addition to a double-sided printed chessboard, this entertaining kit comes with 110 sheets of specially printed paper to make two complete 32-piece chess sets. Play a rousing game of wizard’s chess, or put your Wizarding World origami characters on display!
Harry Potter Paper Models ($24.99)
If you’re more into the architecture of the Wizarding World buildings than making characters out of origami for chess, this book is for you! Harry Potter Paper Models contains all the materials and instructions needed to make 22 paper models of landmarks, buildings, and other places that appear in the Harry Potter Wizarding World. Create detailed replicas of Hogwarts castle, Gringotts Wizarding Bank, and Hagrid’s hut, along with other locations from all eight Harry Potter films. Also included are a special keepsake book with background information on the story and 22 trading cards packed with fascinating facts. Harry Potter fans of all ages will get a kick out of bringing their favorite magical sites to life with paper!
Calm Puzzle ($6.97)
If your family enjoyed putting together puzzles at the beginning of the pandemic, bring back the calm thanks to Calm Puzzles. Spin Master partnered with the #1 sleep and meditation app, Calm, to bring you Calm Puzzles. These mindful puzzles are designed to be put together while listening to peaceful audio content to lower stress and improve your mood. Each puzzle features a zen landscape with vibrant colors. They’re designed to be completed in about 2-3 hours, but go at whatever pace and take as many sessions as you like. The purchase of a Calm Puzzle comes with an offer for a free 30-day subscription to the Calm app.
AGE APPROPRIATE GIFT GUIDES:
- Toddlers & Preschoolers
- Early Elementary Ages (grades K-2, ages 5-8)
- Tweens (ages 9-12)
- Teens (ages 13+)
SPECIALTY GIFT GUIDES:
- STEM Gifts for All Ages (preK-teen)
- Best Gifts for Unplugged Fun
- Best Subscription Boxes
- Must-Have Gifts to Level Up Your Home Office
- Outdoor Adventures
- Gadget Lovers
- Frequent Fliers
I hope you enjoy this year’s picks and wish you happy and stress-free holiday shopping!
Samples were received to facilitate this post and affiliate links are included. No compensation was received for this post or hosting this giveaway and all opinions are my own. Images courtesy of the companies featured.