Disney Stay At Home Kit
As the country, and most of the globe, settle in to the new stay at home routines there is a growing desire to find alternatives to TV & streaming to battle boredom and just get through the day. Now, I’m a huge Disney+ fan, but I also recognize that being glued to the TV 24/7 isn’t exactly healthy. In times like these it is necessary to keep the brain active in much the same way it’s necessary to keep physically active too. This applies to all ages, but when most of us hadn’t planned on spending our spring indoors for prolonged periods it can seem challenging to say the least. One of the many ways to battle through this and keep your and your families brains engaged is to find activities that utilize favorite subjects or characters as a theme in that activity. Much like finding a way to stay physically active by doing something you enjoy, staying mentally active needs to have the same spark. Luckily for us Disney fans there are many options for all ages that can help keep us all occupied and our brains sharp. The following Top 5 Disney activities are great ways to break up screen time, foster imagination, exercise the brain, and keep from slipping into boredom.
Puzzles are great for many reasons. First and foremost they are relatively inexpensive and considering they can be reused it makes them even more economical. Beyond that it’s not too hard to find a favorite Disney character, movie, show, park, or theme made into a puzzle. It’s also just as easy to find a puzzle for just about any age group or skill level. The thing that makes puzzles great in times like these though are the cognitive benefits they offer. Puzzles work both sides of your brain, improve short term memory, sharpen visual-spacial reasoning, and are great for stress relief. Lastly Puzzles can be done alone or together so they are great in most family settings.
Some of my favorite Disney puzzles are the Disney Parks Signature Puzzle series; I just picked up this 10th Anniversary UP 2-sided puzzle! I love this movie and the art.
Other popular Disney puzzles are made by brands like Ravensburger which has many offerings for all different skill levels and ages. An example is the one pictured at the top of this section.
For young children there are some great sets that feature multiple puzzles that increase in difficulty, a great way to keep them challenged!
Lastly, many puzzle people and collectors really like the Thomas Kinkade Disney art that are made into exceptional puzzles.
My tip for puzzles, start with something a bit easier (500 – 750 pieces) and work your way up to the challenging stuff. (1000+ pieces).
2. Coloring Books
Coloring is another great activity that can be equally enjoyed by kids and adults. Much like puzzles, coloring has many benefits that are much needed in times like these. Coloring has the ability to focus the brain much like meditation. Research has show that coloring reduces stress, aids relaxation, boosts creativity, and even can help improve sleep and attention spans. These are all things that we need to work on to stay mentally healthy in the current situation. Another huge benefit is that coloring is even more affordable that puzzles! There are endless subjects to color and much like puzzles, the huge character and content repository at Disney gives us fans many options to choose from.
One of my favorites is the Mickey Mouse Vintage Advanced Coloring book…it makes me feel like I’m on Walt’s original team when Disney started!
I also recommend the Disney Dreams Collection: Thomas Kinkade Studios Coloring Book! I have nowhere near the skill that Thomas Kinkade had, but now I can add my own touches and color schemes to some truly iconic scenes.
For kids there are tons of options too…you just have to pick their favorite Disney character and there are probably at least half a dozen options there. To cover multiple favorites or multiple kiddos, the 100+ Characters coloring book for kids is a great choice!
3. Board Games
Puzzles and coloring books are great activities but can be challenging to include an entire family. Game nights were popular before we were all told to stay home, and now they’re becoming even more popular. As with puzzles and coloring books there are many mental health benefits from playing board games. Before we get to that though, I have to say that board games have fostered so many good memories in our family. In the current situation that can be a really powerful thing as it could help younger kids form some positive memories in an uncertain and scary time. Besides family bonding, playing board games are known to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, improve mental agility, and even fine tune motor skills. Most importantly games connect us socially. Humans are not meant to be in isolation and we need relationships, games provide a great way to stay connected.
There are a few ways you could go with Disney and game choices. Either pick a favorite game with a Disney theme like Monopoly or pick an original Disney game like Villainous. Right now a family favorite is Villainous, although this is a challenging game and is best for teenagers and up.
Sometimes the most fun is just a simple game of Uno with Disney inspired cards. You don’t have to think too much and it provides hours of fun!
It’s no secret that here at 23&Main we love LEGOs! I have a few articles on them already but never went into how beneficial they can be until now. I appreciate that with LEGOs there are sets for all skill levels and that you can go big or go small. I can say personally that LEGOs have taught me patience, constructive problem solving, and helped me focus. If sets are built with another person they are great teamwork and communication skills tools too. Above all else though is the creativity that Lego’s foster. Sure, I love building all the cool Disney sets that are out there but the biggest benefit comes from just taking a pile of LEGOs and creating whatever comes to mind with them! They provide hours of fun and are only mildly dangerous when stepped on! I’ve had countless adventures with various Lego creations and love seeing the imagination of my kids as they create their own Lego worlds.
I am a fan of Star Wars and I am also very nostalgic so it’s no surprise that my two favorite LEGO sets are the Millennium Falcon and Steamboat Willie.
I want to go for it and purchase the Disney castle too and with all this time at home now is probably the best time to do it. That way I can recreate the Disney fireworks show in my home until the Parks open again!
A lot of us use our favorite TV show or movie to escape reality from time to time. While that is certainly fine to do, I sometimes prefer a good book to do the same. Reading is one of my favorite activities and like all the other activities we laid out here there are some real important benefits that come from reading. Now, I can’t stress enough that beneficial reading can’t be forced. To be enjoyed it has to be something the reader enjoys and/or is interested in. If you or a family member want to get into books, it’s best to start with something easy and quick. The sense of finishing a book will help motivate you to pick up another. Once started it won’t be long until you notice improvements in mental stimulation, lower stress, tension relief, memory, focus, vocabulary, and a more active imagination. That’s right, a simple book can help in all these areas. Probably one of the most important benefits in difficult times is a books ability to help with depression. While they are not a cure by any means, books can create feelings of inclusiveness, belonging, and positivity. There are many directions you could go in regards to Disney books. There are non-fiction historical or biographical books, fiction and fantasy books based on Disney characters or parks, and my favorite the original inspiration behind some of Disney’s most successful and popular movies.
I already devoured Robert Iger’s Ride of a Lifetime during this crisis. Although I’m not typically into leadership improvement books, this one was different. It was packed with interesting behind the scenes information that any Disney fan will appreciate. The stories are compelling and incredibly human and the lessons he delivers are very prudent to the ongoing situation. After reading I feel my connection to Disney is even stronger.
My favorite all time though is Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It’s easy to see why Walt Disney was so drawn to this story. Walt Disney felt so strongly about this story that he tried multiple times to bring it to the big screen starting all the way back in 1930. Eventually he was successful and the film is sometimes regarded as one of the best Disney Animation movies. The books are great even if you’ve seen the movie too, and have the ability to really pull the reader into this crazy fantasy world!
For tweens the Kingdom Keepers series is a great way to intertwine the Disney Parks into some really creative fantasy stories. My kids were huge fans and we even got a chance to meet the author in Hollywood Studios a few years ago. This same author also collaborated with Dave Barry to write another popular series Peter and the Starcatchers which is also worth checking out.
So as you can see there are many ways to fight off boredom, reduce screen time and stay mentally fit during these uncertain times. Thankfully the wonderful world of Disney has plenty of content to offer something fun and interesting to anyone in your family.