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Hobbies on a Budget: Great game options for indoor winter fun

By Sharon Williams

Contributing columnist

As the weather starts to shift to full-time wintry temperatures, it’s necessary to spend more time inside. For those of us with a basement in the house, we have a little more options to keep us from going stir crazy when the snow threatens to close us in.

Of course we all know that ping pong, foosball and a pool table are perfect games for big basements, but what are some family game options for small basements?

Shopping reminder:  Even though we are just barely a week out from Christmas, there is still time to finish off your shopping list with some of these game ideas.  It may be just the perfect finishing touch to add a family gift that gets everyone up and moving on Christmas morning after opening the gifts.   

Basketball:  Basketball Pop a Shots don’t take up lots of space or require a tall ceiling but they do deliver big fun for the family. No matter the age or skill, basketball hoops can be perfect to offer some pretty intense competition in a small amount of space.

Corn hole: Corn hole is perfect for summer barbecues, but just as much fun when the weather is cold and the fun has to come indoors. Just spread out the targets in the basement, give everyone a cup of hot cocoa and get the competition started. If you don’t want to invest in the heavy duty corn hole boards, you can pick up a portable corn hole set and still get it delivered before the holiday parties and inevitable snow days.

Ladder ball: Ladder ball is great for small spaces and is a perfect portable game. Just assemble the PVC pipes and start tossing the bolos.  The nice thing about ladder ball is that there are no sharp, pointy darts that could scratch the walls or hurt other members of the family.  Many ladder ball sets come with a carry bag so you can pop them together at a moment’s notice. 

Don’t know what a bolo is?  Bolos are simply two rubber balls attached by a short string.  To play ladder ball, you simply toss the bolos toward the target which is shaped like a ladder.  You get points based on which rung of the ladder you land your bolo on.

Board games:  Most families have stacks of board games in their closet.  Why not bring them out, set up a card table and get a long-term game of Monopoly started to last you all winter?  If you’re looking for something a little shorter, try out some new to you family favorites like Pass the Pig, Brynk or Racko.

Tip: If you have a concrete floor in the basement, make sure you provide your family a rug or beanbags to sit on.

Dart boards:  Whether your kids are elementary school or college, or are just looking for something fun to do yourself after work on a snowy day, a dart board may be just what you are looking for.  There are dart boards for every age.  Consider the traditional pointy tip boards for the adults or use the Nerf type with suction cups for the younger members of the family. 

Puzzles:  Everyone loves puzzles on snowy winter days, but not every puzzle is created equal.  When our kids were little, we loved working puzzles that fit their hands. But did you know there are family puzzles that have pieces that get smaller as you work toward the middle?  They are larger on the outside for small hands, and progressively get smaller so adults will still be challenged.  Find a puzzle that fits your family and spread it out on a card table so you can work together all winter.

What games do you like to have in your basement for cold winter days? I’d love to hear your fun options!

For more ideas on hobbies and life, check out Hobbies on a Budget (www.hobbiesonabudet.com).