5 screen-free indoor activities for kids, all $20 or less – CNET

Drones, dino eggs, dartboards and more. (Don’t worry, the darts are Velcro balls. I’m not a monster.)
The other day I shared a deal on a kid-friendly indoor drone (still available, by the way), which got me thinking about other ways to entertain kids during these cold, mostly indoor months. Sure, tablets and TVs offer entertainment, and even some education as well, but I suspect most parents want screen-free activities in the mix.
With that in mind, I’ve rounded up five of them, all priced at $20 or less. Take a look.
Amazon is home to dozens of these kits, all pretty similar, all priced about the same. I like this one because in addition to a dozen clay eggs (which you can hide, give as a reward or whatever), it comes with learning cards, stickers and even plastic fencing, trees and grasses for building a little dino habitat.
Much as I love the kind of drones I recommended earlier, they require a bit of dexterity to fly. (Two joysticks, lots of buttons, etc.) This one is about as simplistic as they come: Just give it a spin to start it, then give it a toss. With a little practice you can get it to boomerang right back to you, or you can play catch with another person.
Basically, it’s a little propeller-powered flying disc, one with LEDs and fully protected blades. Fun!
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Everyone loves a game of darts, but the classic version is decidedly kid-unfriendly, what with those pointy projectiles and all. This version relies on a 14-inch soft fabric target and Velcro-wrapped balls — six red, six blue.
In other words, fun for the whole family, and super-safe fun at that. The target even has numerical values, so you can turn this into a math game.
This normally sells for $30, but it’s currently 50% off — and has been multiple times in recent months, so if you’re seeing that higher price, just wait a bit.
Nothing beats bubbles. Just ask this guy. If you’re trying to keep the mess (and frustration) to a minimum, consider a machine that just sits there and makes them. Like this totally adorable hippo, which can produce up to 500 bubbles per minute.
Granted, this isn’t really an activity so much as a distraction, but it’s an awfully cute one. Note that batteries aren’t included; you’ll need to scrounge up a pair of AAs.
Building blocks are great. Building blocks with magnets? Even better. This set includes 32 pieces in various shapes and sizes.
If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you can get something like this 100-piece set for $41.24. It adds wheels to the mix, allowing for the construction of vehicles.
Have you found any other affordable indoor games for kids, ones you’d definitely recommend? Shout ’em out in the comments! In the meantime, check out this Cheapskate Show podcast episodes about drones for you and your kids:
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