Independent play? Tell me more! One of the biggest challenges I face is entertaining my children in this world of constant and instant gratification. While I would love to continually play and be completely present for my children, let’s be real, it is tough! During much needed downtime, I try very hard to steer my children away from electronics, but I can see how enticing they can be. What else is there to do? Enter take along brain games and puzzles for independent play.
I am not here to screen shame.
We love our fair share of Bluey (hooray for new episodes) and Wild Kratts, especially snuggled on the couch. What I didn’t realize is how much I would depend on electronics. As I switched over the laundry, cleaned the dishes, and lugged my children to my appointments, I would make sure a tablet was on hand.
Even though I knew my child was playing games that sparked creativity and enhanced his knowledge of letters and numbers (I can share our favorites another time), I hated that his face was hidden behind a screen. Even though he was learning, I still felt that awful mom guilt.
The lack of connection he has to others while occupying himself with the tablet concerns me. I want him to talk to me about what he sees outside his window on roadtrips, and I want to see his facial expressions as he tries something new at a restaurant. It is amazing how entranced and preoccupied our children can be with their screens, fully distracted from what’s going on in their environment.
This was not working. I wanted to connect with my child and share in these experiences with him.
Lucky for me, I ventured into this adorable, old school, toy store in McLean, Virginia. Wandering through the aisles, I stumbled upon a section of take-along toys. This reminded me of a time when my son was much smaller and we would take suction toys to entertain him at restaurants. Once he entered toddlerhood, we toted magnets and reusable stickers. Now, we have entered the world of pocket-sized brain games that provide entertainment and are easily traveled with. These puzzles have replaced the use of a tablet at a restaurant or appointment, as well as during quiet time at home. Additionally, the excitement he has when a problem has been solved is amazing.
Here is my gift to you.
I’ve compiled a list of age appropriate take along games, if you have found yourself in a similar predicament and are ready to try something new. Shopping locally is always encouraged and preferred, but we have linked these links for convenience.
If you have favorite take along brain games and puzzles for kids, please share them in the comments!
Top Take Along Brain Games and Puzzles for Independent Play
Ages 2+ Games
Ages 4+ Games
Ages 7+ Games
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