Staying Home: Orlando Fun & Games

Rise to the creative challenge—and laugh a little!
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For hours of enjoyment, you don’t have to look far. Here are some easy and cost-effective ways to have a great time, right at home.

2020 Summer Olympics

The Summer Olympics can still go on—right in your own backyard. Engage your family in a day of friendly competition playing basketball, ping-pong, putt-putt golf or even lifting weights. If you have a swimming pool, contests can include best dive, biggest splash or fastest lap—and if you have a trampoline, highest jump. Don’t forget to make scorecards, and be sure to end each event with a medal ceremony, creating awards with aluminum foil or reusing old sports trophies.

Game Night

Board games date back to at least 3,500 B.C. when a game called Senet was found in ancient Egyptian burial tombs. Checkers came 500 years later and has stood the test of time. Our grandparents played chess, Monopoly and Scrabble, and all are classic staples in many households today. Labyrinth, Taboo and Scattergories from the 1980s and ’90s are fun and stimulating for middle- and high-schoolers, as well as grownups. Ticket to Ride is a newer family favorite, where you can travel around North America from your living room.

A Night With Alexa

Whether you have one player or four, Alexa is always up for a game right from your Amazon Echo. Alexa can play dozens of games including “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader,” “Jeopardy” and “Song Quiz.” She’ll even create your own escape room, giving you clues to solve the puzzle and find your way out. Want to try a new recipe, learn phrases in French or play songs for your own kitchen dance party? Just ask Alexa.

Approved Screen Time

Monitoring what our children watch and play online can be a daily struggle, but there are plenty of options everyone in the family can agree on. If you can’t pry your child away from YouTube, try Mystery Doug for science and history lessons, Jaime Amor for her Cosmic Yoga sessions, and author/illustrator Mo Willems for Lunch Doodles. Named by CNET as a top 3 video game of the last decade, Minecraft remains popular among kids, teens and adults. It can be played on pretty much any platform and can include friends who want to play remotely. Using blocks, players build their own worlds, as their imaginations come to life. Gen-Xers can bask in a little nostalgia with new versions of hits like The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. If you can’t wait for football season, Madden has incredibly realistic graphics and is ideal for all the sports fans in your house.

Glamping From Home

Drag your tent out of the garage and have a campout. For the complete experience, cook hot dogs and make s’mores over your own fire pit or patio grill. Track the International Space Station and learn new constellations using a stargazing app, such as SkyView, on your smart phone. Swap stories and sing camp songs, like “Home on the Range,” “Taps,” “Boom Chica Boom” or a round of “Make New Friends.” Backyard camping has advantages: a hot shower in the morning and a warm, dry bed in case it rains.

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Fort Fun

Kids never grow tired of making forts, whether you’re using sheets over a tabletop, couch cushions or old cardboard boxes. (Popular YouTuber Papa Jake has plenty of inspiration on the latter.) To make your cozy space feel like home sweet home, bring in board games, action figures, dolls and coloring books with crayons.

Easy Outdoor Games

Don’t have your own corn hole or vintage croquet set? Not to worry. Here are a few games you can create yourself using supplies you probably have on hand. Ring on the String can be played anywhere. Players stand behind a line, pull back a metal ring tied to a string (which is anchored to an overhang or ceiling) and let it go, trying to snag the hook on the attached wall. All you need is a metal ring, a wall hook, an eye hook and about 7 feet of string or twine.

Families are also getting creative with sidewalk chalk. Make a four square court by measuring a grid of four squares, with each side five feet, and marking the borders with heavy-duty tape. Draw an elaborate hopscotch game, where landing on one square might require the player to do jumping jacks while another sends you back to the starting line. Create interactive scenes with chalk to wow your followers on Instagram. Lying on the ground, your child can hold a bouquet of balloons, climb a ladder to the moon or spread their own colorful butterfly wings. Look for ideas on Pinterest.

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