It’s summertime, friends. School is out, the weather is warm, and it’s time to get our grill on. This is the season to host a barbecue, spend a day on the lake, hang out by the pool… and keep our children entertained 24/7 for the next three months.
Let’s get real. We’re parents. Summer is a great time to make family memories and kick back a little bit, but our children will still be rocking their limited attention spans, and we’re going to need to tap into some of our best creativity to get a minute or three to ourselves.
Luckily, ‘80s and ‘90s kids know a secret. We were raised on Hasbro commercials and marathon Monopoly games. We know that kicking it with old school games is the way to go for summer fun.
If you want to carve out a little “Dad time” this summer, all you have to do is introduce these young’uns to the joys of your ‘90s childhood.
Hack #1: Get a sprinkler.
A really big, very sprinkly sprinkler. From the moment they can walk, a kid can enjoy a sprinkler. It’s an easy way to keep them cool and entertained — and you don’t have to be nearly as vigilant as you do at the pool, so you can actually kick back while you supervise. When they need a break from the sun, bring them inside for some popsicles and a game of Guess Who? at the kitchen table. After a few rounds of figuring out each other’s characters, they’ll be ready to hit the sprinklers again.
Hack #2: Roll Out The Classic Games
Crack open a cold one and say cheers to no learning curve, because you already know all the rules to every Hasbro Classic Game (Battleship or Connect 4, anyone?). Even in today’s screen-centric world, board games are engaging and exciting. A classic never goes out of style, but they do get a little upgrade. Honestly, games were cool when we were kids, but they’re even cooler now. Hasbro has added modern characters and twists to a lot of the games we loved, so they’re relevant to a new generation. Plus, we’re still super good at them.
Hack #3: Blanket. Fort.
Make a list of all the essentials, and send them on an at-home scavenger hunt. Sheets. Blankets. Pillows. Kitchen Chairs. Water bottles. Books. Flashlights. Jenga.
Do you remember the nail-biting anticipation of pulling a Jenga block out of the tower and watching it waver but stay intact? Add a layer of blanket fort coolness, and you’ve got an afternoon activity no kid will be able to resist. Only child? In a secret hideout, it’s even fun to play alone!
Our moms’ sheets draped over the back of a few chairs provided us with some of our best lifetime memories, and I assert that it would actually be cruel to deprive our children of that thrill.
Hack #4: Ditch The “Summer Slide” Guilt And Just Let Them Play
Thanks, but no thanks to worksheets that are supposed to help my kids avoid the “summer slide.” Remember how much strategy and planning goes into a game of Battleship? Let me remind you: it’s a lot. Sure, video games are cool, but Battleship is the original ultimate search-and-destroy mission. No screen can hold a candle to the hearing your IRL opponent say, “You sunk my battleship!”
Got younger kids? Two words: Connect 4. We’re strategizing. We’re counting. We’re color-matching. And by “we,” I mean “they” because Connect 4 is so simple to set up and play that kids as young as 6 can do it all by themselves. Can you say, “Dad time?”
None of us really enjoyed the long lockdowns at the height of the pandemic, but one thing we can all agree on is that getting face-to-face in person time with our kids was pretty freaking great. Feeling connected to one another was the silver lining in a really tough, scary time.
The classic Hasbro games we knew and loved are the perfect way to hold onto that togetherness, entertain our kids, and buy us a few precious minutes to take a breather. You might just find that you set your kids up with a game to get a little break, and you end up staying at the table with them playing for hours.