As adorable as kids antics can be, there are times youd like them to simply play quietly.
Today, tablet or smartphone screens often substitute for a pacifier in older-than-baby-age kids, but many parents would rather avoid too much screen time if possible. Here are a few portable, analog entertainment options you can make yourself.
Popsicle sticks construction set
Assembled by Amber Cook.
Inexpensive and easy to find, Popsicle sticks have long been the center of kids games and science fair projects. Using Velcro fasteners, you can also turn them into a fun construction set. Place a hook fastener section on one end of a stick and a loop section on the opposite end on the same side. Self-adhesive coins, as seen in the image above, work nicely.
Once fasteners are applied to several sticks, they can be fastened together end-to-end, and be arranged into interesting shapes. Experiment with fastener placement for even more creative fun!
For two-player entertainment, why not make your own reusable Tic-Tac-Toe board? For this project, a 4×4-inch piece of MDF (manufactured wood) was used as the game board, and 2-inch wide Velcro industrial-strength tape was cut into nine 1-inch squares to be placed on it. Xs and Os are made out of segments cut from red and blue Velcro One-Wrap Straps, though any of these elements are open to substitution.
Mark your board in a hashtag pattern, dividing it up into 3×3 grid. Each of the four lines will be about one and 5/16 inches from each side. Place your one-inch Velcro squares in the middle of each of these drawn-on segments, leaving a small amount of space between each of them. Once youve cut up five of each smaller, colored segments, you can use them as markers to play the game over and over.
The tower of Hanoi is a puzzle game where segments must be moved between three positions without stacking a larger piece on top of a smaller piece. Though the concept is simple, as segments are added the game becomes exponentially more difficult. Given its simple rules and portability, this game can be a great method to distract kids once you explain the rules.
To make this puzzle, cut a piece of plywood in a 6×2-inch rectangle, then cut disks out of another piece with 1 1/8-inch, 1 -inch , 1 -inch and 2-inch hole saws, producing circles of roughly one inch, 1 3/8 inches, 1 5/8 inches and 1 7/8 inches in diameter.
Once cut out, you can optionally stain the disks and base different colors, then apply a clear coat. When dry, attach the same type (hook or loop) of Velcro sticky back coin fasteners to the base, one inch from the long side, and one, three and five inches from either of the 2-inch-long sides. In the center of one side of the smallest disk, place the opposite type of Velcro fastener as used on the base. On the other disks, place one style of fastener on the center of one side, and the other style on the opposite side.
Though constructed here out of quarter-inch plywood, many materials can be substituted for a similar effect. Corners are chamfered for a pleasing transition between sides.
Fasteners applied to base and smallest disk.
From here, you can stack the tower on one side of the base, from largest to smallest. Its now ready to be taken and played anywhere!
Jeremy Cook is an engineer who writes for The Home Depot. When he’s not working, Jeremy spends his time doing DIY projects using a variety of Velcro hook and loop fasteners to create fun games to keep kids occupied.
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3 fastener activities to keep kids busy, engaged – Omaha World-Herald