DETROIT – The COVID-19 pandemic has many families spending more time at home together, and that means more time to play and have fun together.
As part of this year’s Help Me Hank toy test, we asked our families to share with us the types of toys and games they find themselves playing more.
Part 1: Help Me Hank toy test: Testing 2020′s top toys ahead of the holidays
“Pre-pandemic, post pandemic, anytime. If you have kids of any age, the best, I think educational and inspirational, imaginative toy you can buy is Magna-Tiles,” said Matt Morawski, father of three. “If you don’t have them, get them. And if you already have them, get more of them.”
Morawski said his three children -- Addy, Will and Jack -- play with Magna-Tiles nearly every day.
Jenna Klar, co-owner of Toyology, agrees they are a great choice for families.
“Magna-Tiles are really popular magnetic building, things to keep kids busy and get off the screens,” Klar said.
Toyology has locations in Royal Oak, West Bloomfield, Rochester Hills and Bloomfield Hills. The company’s theme this holidays is the family that plays together stays together.
“How much fun the family can actually have, turn off the TV, just hang out on the couch with the family. Handle this in a much more positive light and look at the brighter side of having to be home together,” Klar said.
Darra Basil has 8-year-old twin boys, Dylan and Daniel. She said when the pandemic started in March, it was all about puzzles, books and board games.
“Then summer hit. We were outside playing, we got a trampoline and swimming pool. Now that it’s back in school and it’s all virtual, we are kind of back to the puzzles and reading and making sure that we’re able to get our eyes off the screens,” Basil said.
Her sons play with Magna-Tiles too.
Klar said puzzles have remained very popular during the pandemic.
She also says the Air Fort has been a pandemic hit. She says it connects to a box fan and the whole family can get inside of it and it’s a fun way for kids to use their imagination. In fact, her four-year-old son goes into it and pretends he is in an airplane.
Another option she recommends in the floor floaties for reading, virtual learning or lounging. They are good for all ages.
Klar also recommends the Kablocks Blast that lets kids get creative building and then they can “blast” their creation with the press of a button.
Genius Square can be played alone or with one other person, using dice and blockers to create a puzzle to solve. Klar says they are great for kids and adults. She said The Genius Square is sold a lot for adults living alone or in nursing homes.
Bee Genius is a younger version and is a STEM puzzle game that promotes spatial awareness, strategic planning and visual perception.
We reached out to parents through Facebook to see what toys and games they are turning to play as a family and received many suggestions:
- Ticket to Ride
- Monopoly Deal
- Throw Throw Burrito
- Wits and Wagers
- Greedy Granny
- Kings of Tokyo
- Butts in Space
- Rubik’s Race
- Cover Your Assets
Another dad shared how his family is getting creative with delivery boxes. They even built a homemade skatepark with boxes.
“We have bought more games, especially games that we can play as a family because we have more time to play games now than we ever did before,” said mom Sarah Mayberry.
The Morawskis love playing Twister together, and other classics including Checkers, Connect 4 and Candyland.