Eight Modern Puzzles, Games, and Creative Kits to Keep You Busy and Offline
If you’re on the internet these days—since you’re reading this, we’ll guess you are—you’ve seen countless lists outlining shows to watch, books to read, and craft projects to undertake to distract yourself for an hour. You probably saw our Skillshare picks, too.
Today, we’re inspired by Jackie Buddie over at Etsy to gather activities that require no internet connection because we know how it goes: you mean to listen to that audiobook you just downloaded, but all of a sudden, you’re back on Twitter devouring bad news and realizing that you need to plant a victory garden. In an effort to distract your hands and your mind, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite games, puzzles, and kits currently available on Etsy. Another perk? You’ll support artists with your purchases, too.
Part toy and part wildlife painting, these brightly colored puzzles from Saint-Paul based artist Megan Bakke are appropriate for small children and beautiful enough to be displayed once complete. Each set is divided into large chunks that form delicately feathered flamingos and emus and detailed portraits of gorillas and llamas.
We’re loving these modern dominoes and geometric puzzle pieces from Montreal-based Jonathan Dorthe. Using a series of lined shapes, the wooden puzzle doesn’t have a strict formation and can be arranged to create a rectangle, a house, or any of the other 36 combinations. On the dominoes, each concentric hexagon represents a dot. Finally learn the rules to the game or simply line them up and watch them tumble one-by-one.
Illustrated by Barbara Dziadosz, these colorful playing cards feature kings, queens, and jacks decked out in modern garb. A heads up if you’re in the U.S., though: the Germany-based artist says your shipment might be delayed due to the ongoing pandemic.
For those looking for a solitary activity, Dziadosz also creates these woodblock stamps designed to shape robots and other geometric creatures, depending on their combination.
An actual trip to the lake or woods—not to mention outer space—might not be feasible right now, but these model kits by the Portland-based shop Houha Designs provide a small escape. All you need is glue (the shop recommends Elmer’s) to fix each laser-cut piece to the next to create a fishing boat, fire tower lookout, or circular spaceship.
An impressive upcycle by Calgary-based designer Adrian Martinus, this cribbage board is made from old hardwood and repurposed skateboards. Detailed with chevron and stripes, the classic game comes with nine metal pegs that are stored separately.
Correctly assembling all 500 pieces of this varicolored, impressionist puzzle is sure to be meditative. Titled “Moonlight Over Euclid,” the abstract landscape jigsaw is based on a painting by Milwaukee-based artist Karen Williams-Brusubardis.
Do stories and artists like this matter to you?Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, apply for our annual grant, and get exclusive access to interviews, partner discounts, and event tickets.