9 Ways to Quickly Distract Your Bored Kids for 30 Minutes Without a Screen

9 Quick Distractions for Bored Kids
(Getty/Richard Lewisohn)

As much as we love our kids, these days we could really use some peace and quiet in a pinch. Sometimes you need to hop on a last-minute Zoom meeting or submit and overdue TPS report. The easy thing to do would be to plop them in front of the TV and turn on a movie that’s being released digitally. But if we don’t want a bunch of dead-eyed drones running the world, we need to get creative with some screen-less things to do to keep our kids occupied, and fast.

In order to assist all dads everywhere, we thought it might be helpful to provide sort of a series of ideas, we’ll call it a list, of ways to distract your kids without screens.

Here are 9 quick ways to distract your kids during the quarantine without screens.

Make Paper Airplanes

(Fold N Fly)

All you need for this activity is a tiny stack of paper and a little patience. Challenge your aviators to create a fleet that will compete for distance and acrobatics. Check out Fold ‘N Fly – it’s the perfect wingman for this. The website features over 35 different paper airplane designs, data on their aerial abilities, and crystal clear printable instructions on how to make them. Print off a bunch in advance so when you need a moment to yourself can dole out a few sheets and challenge your kids to create and then fly ’em.

Make a Time Capsule

You’re going to need to be involved in this project at some point – but you can still buy yourself some time by challenging the kids to think about what the future might be like. Will there be flying cars yet? I mean, I’ve been waiting for these since I was a boy and am still hoping! Let them explore their imagination and draw, paint, or write down an image of life 10 years from now. Then get them to make a list of their favorite stuff. Maybe they add a few tiny toys or write letters to their futures selves. Then tell them to figure out a good spot in the yard to bury it. All of these activities will distract them while you get a little work done.

Once they’re done gathering the contents you’ll decide on a container for their goodies. We’ve all heard stories about an excavated time capsule that disintegrated or the contents got destroyed by moisture. A paint can works if you’re able to seal it completely and it’s not a bad idea to individually seal other documents inside for added insurance.

Sock Puppet Theater

Cardboard Puppet Theater
(Getty/PeopleImages)

This activity is part crafty and one part performance art. Gather up some old socks, markers, fabric scraps, buttons, and some glue and let the kids create their characters. They’ll be busy for at least 30 minutes. Then give them a box to design with paint and crayons. Boom, 30 more minutes. One done, cut a hole in it and tell them to practice their show. Make sure to record it, everyone can watch it later when it’s finally screentime.

Have Them Make a Movie

Tell them you’re in the mood to watch a sci-fi movie tonight, then give them your phone and tell them to go make it. This doesn’t count as a screen because making movies on your phone is awesome and creative and do you have a RED Digital Cinema camera lying around? Tell them that “real” movies are pretty long and you might get a whole afternoon to yourself.

Have Them Learn a Choreographed Dance

The obvious, and frankly only, pick here is ‘I Want You Back’ by N*Sync. Send your kids off to learn this entire dance so they can perform it at dinner. The benefits of this are two-fold: you’ll get to laugh at your kids dancing to a 90s boy band song and they might find something they actually want to pursue career-wise. And what if they absolutely blow you away? Like what if they’re better than N*Sync? What if you end up managing them as a group? So many possibilities.

Build a Fort

cushion fort
(New York Times)

Oldie but a goodie. Get some couch cushions and tell them to have at it. You can make tin foil hats, create signage that says “No Parents Allowed” but the “s” is all backward and cute. Do the whole nine yards with this one and they’ll be occupied for at least 30 minutes. Or challenge them to build all 6 forts that IKEA provided instructions for.

Treasure Hunt!

Tell your kids to take turns hiding something in the backyard and then create a detailed treasure map so the other one can try to track it down. This is a three-part distraction. First, they’ll spend a little time finding a spot to bury something. Then they’ll have to create the map. And then they’ll have to find the treasure. By the time they’re done you’ve bought yourself at least 30 minutes.

Make a Comic Book

(Picklebums)

Every awesome superhero movie originated as a comic book so it’s time your kids channeled their inner Stan Lee. Have the kids create their own hero, change an ending, or even introduce themselves into a story. Use one of these printable templates from Picklebums to bring a new story to life.

Have Them Paint Each Other

Get some paints, a couple of easels, line the floor with newspaper (lol jk what is this 1947?) I mean trash bags, and encourage them to paint either each other or some wicked cool still-life. Before you leave the room make sure you explain you want them to paint an image of each other on canvas, not paint on each other. You may discover one of them is the next Bob Ross. Or you may discover what you suspected all along: they are kids and their paintings will stink and you just need to lie and tell them they are amazing.

Bonus: Books?

kids books
(Esquire)

We know. Har har. Not happening, right? But there is always a window in which to get your kid to become an avid reader, you just need to find it. It’s that perfect moment when they are bored, but not too bored. And you have to be like, “Oh hey this book is cool, whatevs” and not press it too hard. Maybe they’ll pick it up and maybe they’ll actually become invested. And maybe they start reading a lot and go to Harvard on scholarship and become rich and take care of you in your dying age. All we are saying is get your kids to read.

15 Crazy Facts You Don’t Know About Star Wars

(20th Century Fox)

Ghostbusters, Die Hard and Back to the Future all have hardcore fanbases. But people don’t just like Star Wars, they like knowing everything there is to know about it. I grew up with all the Essential Guides, Visual Dictionaries, and Incredible Cross-Sections, but every day Twitter informs me that I am like a mid-grade Star Wars nerd, at best. So, depending on your own level of fandom, the mileage you get on this 15 Facts article may vary, but I promise we dug up some cool things your average nerf-herder wouldn’t know:

1. There Is No Light Side Of The Force

Obviously I have started with a bold claim, but the fact remains that nowhere in the Star Wars movies is there a reference to the “Light” side of the force. In the original movie, the Force was presented as an all-encompassing aspect of life. The “Dark Side” was more of a shadowy corner of the Force, rather than a fully developed B-side. As the series progressed over 40+ years, the idea of duality grew from such a massive good vs. evil story. The prequels made it pretty official by focusing on the whole “Chosen One bringing balance” runaround. Still, the closest the movies have gotten to identifying the Light Side is Kylo Ren struggling with “the call to the light” in The Force Awakens. So what is the true nature of the Force? Is the Force a balanced yin and yang, or is it ~everything~ and that just means there’s a dark corner? The answer is: Star Wars is a fairy tale that is fun to talk about.

2. The Ewok Language Is Real

Ben Burtt, the man behind Darth Vader’s breathing and the lightsaber hum, created most of the languages in the galaxy far, far away. Ewokese was based on the Kalmyk Oirat, a language spoken in Russia after Burtt heard it in a documentary. In fact, most alien languages in movies are created by rearranging sounds and words in real languages, because making them up out on your own is really hard. Yub nub!

3. There Are No Bras In Space

When we lost Carrie Fisher in 2016, we lost not only our Princess and General but one of the most honest and hilarious voices in Hollywood. In her memoir-turned-performance piece, Wishful Drinking, Fisher shares the reasoning George Lucas gave for not letting her wear underwear. 

“What happens is you go to space and you become weightless. So far so good, right? But then your body expands??? But your bra doesn’t — so you get strangled by your own bra. Now I think that this would make for a fantastic obit — so I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.”

I guess Gold Bikinis have a little more room to breathe?

4. Yoda Dang Done Gone To The Damn Dark Side

Dark Yoda
(Star Wars Underworld)

In the Clone Wars-era novel Dark Rendevous, there’s a moment where Yoda and Count Dooku have a little lightsaber fight chit-chat about the nature of the Force. During the debate, Dooku does the basic “you don’t know the power of the dark side” spiel, which Yoda throws back in his face, basically saying “yeah-huh.” Of course, the book is not officially canon, as it was released pre-Disney, but A) “canon” is a made-up way to classify different made-up stories. It’s all made up! But if you insist on following the rules when it comes to imagination stories, then may I refer you to the episode “Destiny” from the sixth season of Clone Wars. Yoda meets his own dark shadow in the Wellspring of Life, and while it’s not spelled out, the implication is that he maybe went through, like, a phase.

5. TIE Fighters Sound Like Elephants

Back in the sound booth, Ben Burtt combined the sound of a car skidding on wet pavement with an elephant…neighing? Honking? What do you call the sound elephants make?* Either way, that goofy noise is what’s behind the intimidating screech of the Imperial Navy’s staple fighter.

*I looked it up, it’s called honking. TIE Fighters honk like elephants. That’s cannon.

6. David Prowse is Banned From All Official Events

David Prowse is the body inside Darth Vader’s armor, and as far as he knew he was the voice of the iconic villain as well…right up until he saw the movie at the premiere. While we can all agree that hiring James Earl Jones to dub Vader’s lines was one of Lucas’ better decisions, he probably should have, like, mentioned it? The British bodybuilder spent years being understandably  -but vocally- frustrated about the snubbing, to the point that he was finally banned from all official Star Wars events in 2010. According to Lucas’ representatives, Prowse had “burned too many bridges.”

6. A New Hope Is The Reason You Have To Leave When Movies Are Over

Back in the day, buying a movie ticket would let you hang out in the cinema all day. Rather than a scheduled attraction, you bought admission to the theater and could stick around for whatever you liked. That changed when Star Wars became so popular that people would sit and watch it multiple times in a row. Film distributors quickly changed the rules to capitalize on multiple viewings. This is why you have to awkwardly smile and nod to the teenagers trying to clean while you wait for a three-second joke after the credits of a Marvel movie.

7. The Original Millennium Falcon Was Kinda Meh.

Before Colin Cantwell landed on the flying hamburger design for Han’s bachelor van, his original concept was much closer to a classic rocket tube. This earlier version, known as the “Pirate Ship” was even built by ILM modelmakers before George Lucas saw the similar-looking ship from Space:1999. The creative direction was to ensure Han’s ship was wholly unique and original; so the Pirate Ship was retooled into Leia’s Tantive IV, which is the very first ship we see in the franchise.

8. The Opening Crawl Cost Lucas His Seat In The Director’s Guild

According to movie rules in the 1970s, a movie needs to have opening credits. Of course, Lucas had a different vision for kicking off the biggest adventure ever. Lucas resigned from the Director’s Guild and paid a fine to have his movie start with the iconic crawl, rather than telling us who the third executive producer was.  This did cost the original trilogy another director, though/ Steven Spielberg, who was in good standing with the guild, was later unable to sign on to direct Return of the Jedi as he originally hoped.

9. “Endor” is Elvish for “Middle-Earth”

Endor’s race of Fozzie Bears may be closer to dwarves than elves in stature, but warriors more attuned to nature than technology is something Tolkien’s elves would surely appreciate. Fantasy writers gotta stick together, yo. Speaking of Ewoks…

10. Kenny Baker Was Originally Supposed To Play Wicket

The man behind – or rather, inside – R2D2 was originally supposed to play the young Ewok in Return of the Jedi. Baker fell ill during filming, and the role was passed to an 11-year-old boy who was an extra on set. The kid was a HUGE Star Wars fan, so getting recast as an actual character and hero to the Rebellion was a big role upgrade. That boy, of course, was Warwick Davis, who would grow up to be a successful actor famous for roles in Willow, the BBC Chronicles of Narnia miniseries, the freakin Leprechaun in Leprechaun, and Harry Potter.

11. There Are No Clone Trooper Costumes From The Prequels In Existence

…Because every single one of them was CGI. Every single one. So, my condolences to the 501st Legion, but if y’all really want film-quality replicas of Clone Trooper armor, you’re gonna have to walk around with those little CGI tracking balls stapled to a unitard.

12. Darth Vader’s Chestplate Has A Secret Message

In Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Vader’s control panel displays three lines of text under the buttons on the left side. While it looks close enough to Aurebesh (the Star Wars language you see on control screens and such through the movies), the lettering is actually Hebrew. The translation isn’t exact, but the general gist reads “His deeds will not be forgiven until he merits” which is, you know, freakin’ rad.

13. Luke “Pulls” His Lightsaber By Throwing It

Movie magic at it’s finest: when Mark Hamil would reach out with the Force to bring his lightsaber to hand, they’d film him just chucking the thing across the room, then reversing the footage in the final edit. Legitimately hilarious visual.

14. The Millennium Falcon Can Travel 25,000 Light Years Per Day

The Falcon Makes the Jump To Lightspeed
(Yahoo.com)

While I think applying any sort of real-world science to the Big Laser Movies misses the point, Han and friends do seem to get places awfully fast, even with the fastest ship in the galaxy. Of course, all fictional spaceships travel at the speed of plot, but it turns out there’s some math that says the Falcon blows the Starship Enterprise out of the water in a space race. With only the vague technobabble of  “.5 past lightspeed” as a reference point, Slate put together a pretty cool interactive chart that maps out how fast various classic sci-fi ships can run.

15. The Force Is Yoga.

This one’s for all of us. As George Lucas explained to Empire Strikes Back screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, “If you want to take the time to do it, you can do it. It’s like yoga, anyone can do it.” So. We are all one with the Force, and the Force is with us.

The 12 Coolest Editions of Monopoly Available Right Now

10 Best Monopoly Editions
(Amazon)

Who doesn’t love a good ol’ fashioned family of Monopoly? It teaches your kids all sorts of valuable life lessons, like tax avoidance, selling off public utilities for profit, and how sometimes dogs are the same size as an iron. Plus, gameplay only lasts until everyone gets bored.

But it doesn’t have to be all Boardwalks and Park Places. Here are 12 sweet special editions of Monopoly you can grab right now. (BTW, you can also play Monopoly online with family if they are isolating in a different household)

Ghostbusters

(Amazon)

Yes, one of the game pieces is the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and yes, there will be fights over who gets to be him. (Click here to buy on Amazon)

Super Mario Bros

(Amazon)

Forget houses and hotels. This game immerses you in the cutthroat business of flagpoles. Worth copping for the 8-bit stylization alone.  (Click here to buy on Amazon)

Mario Kart

(Amazon)

Some more colorful Nintendo goodness. You might think, “Oh, well, as long as it’s not the video game the blue shell can’t hurt me.” Think again, pal. (Click here to buy on Amazon)

Star Wars

(Amazon)

Beautifully designed board, chockfull of iconic locations from the franchise. Plus, the metallic player pieces make it look like the characters were all frozen in carbonite. (Click here to buy on Amazon)

Stranger Things

Stranger Things Monopoly
(Amazon)

This badboy was inspired by seasons 1 through 3, so it’s current…for now. The 2 standard dice and the game’s hideouts glow in the dark for an even more strange gaming experience. (Click here to buy on Amazon)

Rugrats

(Amazon)

A great opportunity to indulge in some Nicktoon nostalgia, and wondering how exactly they got away with naming the pediatrician Dr. Lipschitz. (Click here to buy on Amazon)

Back to the Future

(Amazon)

Just look at that box. LOOK AT IT. (Click here to buy on Amazon)

Friends

Monopoly Friends Edition
(Amazon)

Some of the features of the game include pieces that represent each character: a dinosaur for Ross, a guitar for Phoebe, a chef’s hat for Monica, a pizza for Joey, a handbag for Rachel, and a sweater vest combo for Chandler. (Click here to buy on Amazon)

Bob’s Burgers

(Amazon)

Relive classic moments from the show and shoulder the crushing weight of small business ownership as you buy and sell locations like the Wonder Wharf and Jimmy Pesto’s. (Click here to buy on Amazon)

Game of Thrones

(Amazon)

Monopoly is a lot like Game of Thrones anyway: full of greed, familial hostility, and can’t end until someone flips the board to ruin everything. (Click here to buy on Amazon)

Jurassic World

(Amazon)

Still holding out for a retro Jurassic Park edition, but this gorgeous set is perfect for board game enthusiasts and dinosaur aficionados. (Click here to buy on Amazon)

The Avengers

(Amazon)

With this one, teach your kids an indispensable life lesson: even Iron Man has bills. (Click here to buy on Amazon)

Just a heads up, if you buy stuff using the provided links, The Dad may collect a small commission.

15 Crazy Facts About ‘Back to the Future’ to Celebrate Its 35th Anniversary

15 Crazy Facts You Didn't Know About Back to the Future
(Universal Pictures)

After we blew your mind with some crazy facts you didn’t know about Ghostbusters, we figured this was the perfect time for a new edition. If you’re like us, you’ve spent an unhealthy amount of your quarantine ruminating on the logistics of time travel. Can it be done? Could I conceivably soup up my Honda Civic, hightail it back to 2019, and warn the masses of an impending pandemic?

BTTF turns 35 today and Hasbro celebrated by releasing a DeLorean-Transformer. We can’t top that. But we can pay homage by digging up some facts you probably don’t know about these films.

Without further ado…here are 15 crazy facts about the trilogy to enhance your viewing pleasure:

1) In the 80s, nobody wanted time travel movies. Director Robert Zemeckis didn’t want Back to the Future to be the box office drag that Time Bandits and Somewhere in Time were. That’s why they almost named it Spaceman From Pluto.

2) Had Huey Lewis & The News not made “Power of Love” for the original film, there’s a very real chance they would’ve ended up doing the theme song for Ghostbusters instead. Close call!

3) There are many fan theories about why they made the speed of time travel 88 miles per hour. But the filmmakers have been clear: 88 just looks insanely badass on a speedometer.

(Universal Pictures)

4) In the original draft for Back to the Future II, Marty travels back to 1967, where he dodges the Vietnam draft, trips acid, and meets his hippie parents. Doc was supposed to ride a motorcycle. The whole script is available to read here.

5) If you’re baffled by how Doc and Marty’s unlikely companionship came about, writer Bob Gale offered this explanation for how the two became friends: “He snuck into Doc’s lab, and was fascinated by all the cool stuff that was there. When Doc found him there, he was delighted to find that Marty thought he was cool and accepted him for what he was… Doc gave Marty a part-time job to help with experiments, tend to the lab, tend to the dog, etc.”

6) Marty first meets with Doc at the Twin Pines Mall parking lot. Marty immediately drives over a pine tree when he travels back to 1958. When he returns to 1985, it’s now called the Lone Pine Mall.

(Universal Pictures)

7) At first, there was no DeLorean. Marty was initially supposed to time travel in a refrigerator, but Robert Zemeckis was worried suggestible kids might climb into their fridges and suffocate.

8) Robert Zemeckis owns all the film rights and outright refuses to allow a Back to the Future reboot in his lifetime.

9) In Back to the Future II, there is a Roger Rabbit doll in the window of the Cafe 80s. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was also directed by Bob Zemeckis.

(Universal Pictures)

10) The first movie’s script was rejected over 40 times by major studios. Disney was understandably weirded out by Marty’s whole plan to get handsy with the 1955 version of his mom.

11) Carl Sagan considered Back to the Future II the greatest movie ever made about time travel, praising the film for its handling of multiple concurrent timelines.

12) Before Michael J. Fox came, Eric Stoltz was slated to play Marty McFly. There’s even test footage!

13) Also, Danny Devito was considered for the role of Doc Brown. Have fun imagining that for the rest of the day.

14) Michael J. Fox has four kids and none of them have seen Back to the Future. He stated this at the 2015 London Comic Con, so perhaps they’ve seen it since. Or maybe they’re also waiting for it to hit Netflix.

15) Tom Wilson, the guy who plays Biff Tannen, isn’t just an actor. He’s also a painter, podcaster, musician, and standup comedian. He even wrote a song addressing the questions he’s constantly bombarded with.

Check out our previous list of crazy Facts You Don’t Know About the original Ghostbusters.

The Best Things Arriving on Netflix in May

Coming to Netflix in May
(Netflix/A24)

Just when you think quarantine has exceeded peak levels of boredom, good ol’ Netflix is coming through next month with a fresh crop of content for your streaming pleasure.

Here’s what you should look out for:

Uncut Gems

You’ve seen the This Is How I Win meme. Now get ready for the meme: the movie. Adam Sandler gives the Oscar-worthy performance of his career as New York City jeweler whose gambling addiction comes to a rolling boil during the 2012 NBA playoffs. One of the most exciting and downright stressful movies in recent memory. An incredible film that is well worth your time.

Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours To Kill

(Netflix)

All-time great Jerry Seinfeld returns for his second Netflix standup special, and just in time. These dire circumstances we’re facing calls for a flavor of nuance only the Sein-man himself can provide. What is the deal? Will we ever notice? These are the questions that matter now more than ever.

Space Force

(Netflix)

We’re guessing this’ll be like The Office in space. At the very least, Michael Scott in space. At the very very least, Steve Carrel in a starring role that will make you long wistfully for The Office which you’ll then just rewatch in its entirety for the fifth time anyway. And hey, we can’t blame you.

Fun With Dick And Jane

Some couples spice up monotonous marriages in the bedroom. Others, behind masks at bank windows and gas stations. Dick and Jane are the latter. Jim Carrey and Téa Leoni play a husband and wife who hit a rough patch financially and pivot to a life of crime. It’s like Bonnie and Clyde if Clyde got routinely berated for folding towels wrong.

Interactive Kimmy Schmidt Special

That’s right, Kimmy Schmidt is getting a Bandersnatch. If you’ve yet to indulge, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a super adorable show with four very funny seasons available to binge. With Jon Hamm reprising his role as the titular reverend, this special functions as a Choose Your Own Adventure game for viewers. Bound to be a blast!

ALSO JOINING NETFLIX:

May 1
All Day and a Night
Casi Feliz (Season 1)
Den of Thieves
Get In
Hollywood
Masha and the Bear (Season 4)
Medici (Season 3)
Mrs. Serial Killer
Never Stop Dreaming: The Life and Legacy of Shimon Peres
The Half of It
Thomas & Friends: Marvelous Machinery: World of Tomorrow
Thomas & Friends: Marvelous Machinery: A New Arrival
Thomas & Friends: The Royal Engine

May 4
Arctic Dogs

May 6
Hangman
Workin Moms (Season 4)

May 7th
Scissor Seven (Season 2)

May 8th
Dead to Me (Season 2)
Restaurants on the Edge (Season 2)
Rust Valley Restorers (Season 2)
Sleepless
The Eddy
The Hollow (Season 2)
Valeria (Season 1)
The Wrong Missy

May 11
Bordertown (Season 3)
Trial by Media (Season 1)
Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics

May 14
Riverdale (Season 4)

May 15
Chichipatos (Season 1)
She-Ra and the Princess of Power (Season 5)

May 19
Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything

May 23
Spelling the Dream

May 26
Hannah Gadsby: Douglas

May 28
La Corazonada

8 Flicks to Give Your Family Their Baseball Fix While MLB Is Suspended

Field of Dreams
(Universal Pictures)

Jonesin’ for some baseball? This lousy quarantine may have put a damper on the 2020 MLB season, but that doesn’t mean you and the family can’t continue to indulge in America’s pastime. Don some caps and plump some franks, because here are 8 baseball flicks sure to have the whole family cheering.

The Sandlot

(20th Century Fox)

The quintessential kids’ sports movie of the 90s. Iconic in every regard, The Sandlot is a charming exercise in nostalgia. A funny, endlessly quotable meditation on the power of friendship, conviction, and three vacuums plugged in at once.

(Available to buy or rent on YouTube)

Rookie of the Year

(20th Century Fox)

The movie that single-handedly made broken arm casts fashionable. Daniel Stern is hilarious as the chaw-chewing pitching coach, Brickma. Sure to keep your kids rooting, and leave you saying, “Man, between this and Major League, Hollywood must’ve really hated the Yankees huh.”

(Available to buy or rent on iTunes)

Field of Dreams

(Universal Pictures)

Doc Graham. Shoeless Joe Jackson. Buck Weaver. Gang’s all here. Dope nicknames, poignant script, and gorgeous cinematography aside, Field of Dreams is, at its heart, a love letter to fatherhood. Well, fatherhood and the Midwest. Okay, mostly the Midwest. Seriously, this makes Hoosiers feel like it takes place in Long Island.

(Available to stream on Hulu)

Angels in the Outfield

(Buena Vista Pictures)

A very silly, wholesome Disney picture that begs the age-old question: wait, how is this not cheating? Corking bats or utilizing pine tar will get you ejected. Summoning ghosts to hinder the velocity of fastballs? That’s a ground-rule double, at the very least.

Fun fact: you forgot both Matthew McConaughey and Adrien Brody were in this.

(Available to stream on Hulu)

A League of Their Own

(Columbia Pictures)

Tom Hanks stars as Jimmy Dugan, a luckless alcoholic tasked with coaching a baseball team of… g-g-g-girls?! Penny Marshall’s 1992 comedy-drama is exciting, relevant, and chock-full of women unrepentantly doing things the earlier twentieth century said they couldn’t. Mandatory viewing for those with young daughters.

(Available to buy or rent on Amazon Prime)

The Natural

(TriStar Pictures)

Widely regarded as the greatest baseball movie ever made. Robert Redford plays Roy Hobbs, a guy who fashions a magic bat out of splintered wood from a lightning-struck oak tree. He and the bat, aptly dubbed “Wonderboy,” then take the world of professional baseball by, well, storm. Just a trove of enchantment from start to finish.

(Available to stream on Netflix)

42

(Warner Bros.)

For those with mature tweens and teens, 42 is a deeply compelling, heart-wrenching biopic about the life of Jackie Robinson. An inspiring albeit sobering history lesson that’s bound to teach your kids about the power of dignity and the necessity of inclusion. Plus, Chadwick Boseman!

(Available to buy or rent on iTunes)

Bad News Bears (2005)

(Paramount Pictures)

Look. We know we’re gonna catch some flack for discounting the Walter Matthau original in favor of the Billy Bob Thornton remake. Spare us your indignation. The 2005 update is a very funny, very chill modernization of its 1976 precursor. But if, in gutsy defiance of this article, you choose to show your kids the original, please be mindful of some of its… um… painfully dated dialogue. Hoo boy.

(Available to buy or rent on YouTube)

10 Movies on Netflix That Are Kid-Friendly but Fun for Adults Too

(Paramount Pictures)

All things considered, let’s thank our lucky stars this quarantine happened in the age of Netflix. Had this occurred even just ten years ago, we’d all resign to cycling through our DVD collections, thirsting for featurettes and TV spots, giving Wedding Crashers a go with director’s commentary. Cool, you’d say. I’d always hoped Vince Vaughn was fun to work with.

Now, with the advent of streaming, our movie options are inexhaustible. It’s tough to pick, let alone come to unanimous agreement on one. But family movie night doesn’t have to be all minions and Elsas and toy commercials masquerading as films. Break out that big ass popcorn bowl, because here are ten movies available to stream on Netflix your whole family is bound to dig.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

The visuals are breathtaking. The jokes never miss. John Mulaney’s perfect voice? Oh, it’s in there. Into the Spider-Verse is so cool it almost makes up for whatever the hell Spider-Man 3 was.

Yikes.

The Adventures of TinTin

For more sublime animation, look no further than TinTin. Every frame of this criminally slept-on Spielberg flick is damn near jaw-dropping. We challenge you to not grin from ear to ear for the full length of its runtime. So fun!

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Sweet, frenetic, and loaded with visual comedy, Scott Pilgrim is an absolute feast for the senses. A delight for any age. Fun fact: to more effectively capture the feel of anime, writer/director Edgar Wright instructed the actors to not blink while on camera. Eat your heart out, Kubrick!

The Incredibles 2

The Parr fam returns in this massively entertaining followup to the 2004 Pixar classic. It’s touching, human, brimming with adventure, and serves as a reminder that sometimes sequels have the capacity to be much more than just soul-sucking cash grabs.

Why. Why is he dancing like that?

Good Burger

Nickelodeon’s second feature film (Harriet the Spy was first) is a classic in every regard. Just completely chockfull of nostalgia. It’ll have you saying things like “Hey, that’s Shaq!” and “Whoa, I remember restaurants!”

Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday

Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday reclaims all the peculiarity and inventiveness that made his Big Adventure so enjoyable. This is an incredibly funny movie. If you’re not doubled over cackling once it’s revealed what Pee-Wee’s screams sound like, you may very well be dead inside.

Groundhog Day

That’s right, you forgot this was rated PG. “Guidance” here, of course, being a stern lecture about never bathing with the toaster.

Big Fat Liar

A fun, good-natured, harmless little movie you can knock out in just 88 minutes. Your kids will love it. You’ll probably say something more to the effect of, “Yeah, sure, that was alright I guess. Only 88 minutes.” But this isn’t about you. This is about your kids receiving an introductory course on the work of Paul Giamatti.

Monty Python & The Holy Grail

As silly and quotable as movies get. When it was released in 1975 it was rated PG, then given a PG-13 rating in later years. Much of the humor will be lost on younger viewers anyway, so save it for your teens – they’ll stand a chance in discerning the comedic sensibilities of Brits. Be prepared to hit pause and clarify why that Knights Who Say “Ni!” scene is so funny. The reason? You don’t know. No one does. That’s why it’s so funny.

Goodfellas

Just foolin’. Unless you possess godlike “earmuff” capabilities, do not show your kids Goodfellas. That’s what uncles are for.

10 Amazing Baseball Facts You Can Bring Up During The World Series To Sound Smart

(NBC)

October is the best. Playing in leaf piles. Snuggling by bonfires. Watching a kid dressed as Mario eat too much candy and fall asleep with chocolate all over his face. But let’s not forget the true meaning of the month: posturing yourself as a real baseball fan while the bandwagoning masses clamor for some semblance of normalcy through sport-sanctioned tribalism. Chumps.

So go ahead and wow the guests at your World Series viewing party this year by mentioning some of these cool facts.

1. Don Baylor played for three different teams in three consecutive World Series. (1986 – Red Sox, 1987 – Twins, 1988 – Athletics)

(Topps)

(source)

2. Johnny Bench could (still can?) hold seven baseballs in one hand.

(Imgur)

3. Baseball was the first sport to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

(Sports Illustrated)

4. There are exactly 9 ways to get on first base: a single, a walk, fielder’s choice, hit by pitch, fielding error, dropped third strike, catcher’s interference, fielder interference, and if the ball hits another runner before a fielder touches it.

(The New York Times)

(source)

5. Several professional baseball players are known to pee on their hands to toughen their grips.

(Columbia Pictures)

(source)

6. A batter is more likely to swing at the ball if the pitcher is making a happy facial expression.

(Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

(source)

7. In 1963, Jimmy Piersall celebrated his 100th home run by moonwalking around the bases.

(MLB.com)

(source)

8. Charlie Sheen once bought 2,615 tickets to an MLB game at Anaheim Stadium so that he could catch a home run ball. No home runs were hit.

(Paramount)

(source)

9. Every ball used in an MLB game is rubbed in a type mud that can only find in a secret location in New Jersey.

(Baseball Magazine)

(source)

10. The process of compressing a bat to make it more dense is called “boning.”

(Sony Pictures)

(source)

Reddit Users Share Their Best “Don’t Tell Mom” Stories

(Getty/Hello World)

As any father worth his salt will tell you, there are some things they want their children to experience that their spouse probably wouldn’t be too thrilled about. It might be something small like buying some candy on the way home or something major like pulling them out of school to attend a baseball game.

They’re moments that build bonds and create meaningful memories, and usually, it’s the secretive nature of them that makes them so special.

Reddit user HumblePlatypus recently asked dads for their best “Don’t tell mom” stories and with over 800 comments, there were some real beauties.

Get ready for some wholesome dad secrets, and most importantly… DON’T TELL MOM:

1. When you’re raising a little narc

2. Technically, the truth

3. Too much of a good thing

4. Player 2 has entered the game

5. The most important meal

6. Salty and sweet

7. Fingers crossed they showed up to the same safety course

8. You know we’re married, right?

9. It was… inevitable

10. The perfect remedy

11. He’s lovin’ it

12. Always get your stories straight

13. Just another day of driving with a head injury

14. Start them young

15. Oh, FUN is against the law now?

16. Oh no… IT’S A SETUP, BOYS

5 Heartwarming Military Homecoming Videos to Make Your Eyeballs Sweat

5 Heartwarming Homecoming Videos
(The Dad)

Make sure you’re in the vicinity of someone chopping onions because you’re going to need a cry-alibi. That’s right, it’s time for 5 videos of men in uniform returning home to their loved ones.

1. Army Son Surprises Dad At Work

Watch this dad as he goes about his business, just having a regular day at work, until bam — a wild son in uniform appears, reporting for tear-jerking duty, SIR.

2. Military Dad Surprises Mom and Newborn Baby

A fresh-out-of-labor mom scrolls her phone — probably trying to stay connected with dad during this huge milestone — until she turns around to find him right next to her.

3. Military Dad Meets His Son For The First Time

Does it get any more tear-inducing than watching a dad meet his son for the first time? Watch this military dad enjoy three reunions back-to-back (spoiler alert: one is four-legged).

4. Marine Dad Surprises Daughter by Coming Home Gift-Wrapped In Box

You see the title — you’re already pulled in. You’re invested in the outcome. But then you notice the little dad-shaped pillow in her hand and crumble. And by the time you get to the part where he pops out and hugs his daughter? Well, you’re too far gone soldier. Take the day off to recover.

5. Heartwarming Military Homecomings

You know we love topping off our shiz with a good compilation. Get ready for 3 straight minutes of tears — and I’m saying back to back, to back, to BACK (that’s right, 4) heartfelt reunions in one video.

And if you’re a military dad, mom, son, or daughter, and feel like sharing your homecoming surprise with us, send it to us. We love a good reunion caught on video. Really clears out the ducts.

Need a palette cleanser that’ll have you laughing more than crying? Check out our previous list of videos featuring babies laughing at basically nothing.

6 Babies Laughing at Basically Nothing Will Make You Grin, Guaranteed

6 Babies Laughing Video Compilation
(The Dad Break)

Babies, man. Babies are nuts.

They’ll learn how to stand but not sit when you want them to. They’ll poop their pants while staring right into your soul. They’ll laugh when they see you get hurt. As a matter of fact, they’ll laugh at just about anything.

And sometimes babies laugh at…well, nothing at all. And we think that’s beautiful.

Here are five times babies laughed at pretty much nothing, plus one final compilation of lots of babies laughing at lots of nothings. We hope you enjoy it as much as these babies enjoyed, well, nothing.

1. Baby Laughs Hysterically When Older Brother Gargles Water in Mouth

I know what you’re thinking, “He’s gargling water! That’s something!” But listen to me: gargling water is nothing. It is literally just bubbly-water-in-throat noises. Exactly what is funny about that? That’s right: nothing. Yet here we are grinning from ear-to-ear while watching it.

2. Baby Laughs While Spraying Hose at Thirsty Dog 

I know what you’re thinking again, “He is spraying water into his dog’s mouth; that is the thing he is finding funny.” That’s not comedy, that’s just being a responsible pet owner, and frankly, I don’t find it all that funny. But I do find a baby finding it funny absolutely tickling.

3. Dad Makes Baby Laugh By Spitting Out Pacifier

I’ll admit that out of all the nothings on this list, this one’s the most something. A grown dad with a pacifier in his mouth? Now there’s some incongruity I can get behind. But then he spits it out?! Why does he do it – is it an act of rebellion? An attempt at physical comedy? Fine, I’ll give you this one, baby. This one is funny.

4. Baby Laughs Hysterically At Dad’s Weird Noises

Again, out of all the babies on this list, this is one of the least ridiculous. Noises are funny, especially when they’re of the fart genre. I’d probably dissolve into giggles too. You win this round, baby.

5. Baby Laughs at Balloons Tied to Hands and Feet

Somebody put this baby on the witness stand. Bring in the comedy experts and make him explain himself in front of all of them: what exactly is so funny about balloons tied to your extremities? Ok, ok, I’m going to go out on a limb here, it is pretty funny.

6. Babies Laughing at Their Dads

Let’s end this one on a high note with a compilation of many babies, laughing at many dads.

I’ll admit that for the sake of comedic science (which is a thing we do research on here at The Dad and not something I made up just now), I may have repeatedly questioned a baby’s sense of humor. Truth is, I love a laughing baby. I’ll take a laughing baby over a crying one any day of the week, and that includes babies who laugh at nothing at all.

So keep laughing on, babies. I envy you. I wish I could laugh at nothing at all. For now, I’ll just have to settle for getting my laughs from videos of you doing your thang, which is being so silly and pure that I have to laugh.

Laugh on, little weirdos. While you’re at it, have your dad film it and send it in to us so I can laugh along.

Oh Crap You Definitely Forgot A Present For Somebody: A Gift Guide

CrapYouForgot
(Walmart)

“It’s too late to post a gift guide,” they said. “Everyone’s already purchased their gifts for the season,” they said.

Oh, what innocent and naive fools they are. This week is the gauntlet that separates dAdS from THE DADS, and we’ve got your back. Whether you still need a gift for your brother, your brother’s kid…or if you put this whole thing off ’till the last minute, haven’t gotten anybody anything, and think it might be easier at this point to just get in your car and start driving…we’re here to help you be a holiday hero.

So keep your head on a swivel, and let’s do this while there is still time for 2-day shipping.

Stuff for Grownups

A FREAKIN’ SUPER NINTENDO

Super Nintendo
(Walmart)

That’s right, it’s back baby! The kids can keep their Switches and their VR nausea machines, this is where the action is. It comes with 21 classic games pre-loaded. Hey, just because you grow up doesn’t mean you have to start doing boring presents.

The indoor fryer

Fryer
(Walmart)

But what if fried food…was good for you? Okay, it may not be 100% healthy, but by using less oil to achieve golden crunchy perfection, this indoor fryer gives you all the flavor at a fraction of the cholesterol.

A hot sauce starter set

Hot Sauce
(Walmart)

What’s great about a hot sauce collection is that it’s a perfect gift for both someone you love and someone you can’t stand, depending on their tastebuds and how susceptible they are to a challenge.

This game where you chill out with Bob Ross

BobRoss
(Walmart)

In this game you earn “chill points” by faux painting happy little trees and other Ross-isms, in what is technically a competition but also probably a dose of therapy. Our favorite review: “Who is Bob Ross?!….4 Stars!”

Stuff For Kids

The LOL Surprise House with 85+ surprises 

LOL Surprise House
(Walmart)

What are the surprises? What are LOL Surprise Dolls? In a world where babies run everything, why is there a helipad on the roof? SOMEONE EXPLAIN THIS WORLD. Regardless of it making any sense or not, this mega gift is made from real wood and has a working elevator, so dad hats off to craftsmanship.

Laser Tag!

Laser Tag
(Walmart)

Ah, laser tag. Just like a video game, but outside!

The Fingerlings and their sinister Phase 2

Fingerlings2
(Walmart)

If we know anything, it’s that when a creature starts out small and adorable, it’s only a matter of time before it grows smarter, faster, and bigger in an attempt to take over the world. The Fingerlings may have started as cute finger pets, but the new hug-sized line proves that was only the beginning.

Baby’s First Microscope

Microscope
(Walmart)

This isn’t Hadron Collider level tech by any means, but if you know a kid with a curious mind, earn serious points for encouraging them to stretch that muscle. Even if they end up playing scientist more than doing any science, a half toy/half tool gift like this is cool af.

Catan For Kids

Catan Jr
(Catan)

Beating kids at Monopoly is fun only so many times.  Make sure your game nights stay ahead of the curve by prepping kids for the big leagues early. Our only problem with Catan Jr. is that we could have used the training wheels when we learned the original game ourselves. Where were you, Catan Jr?

Web Shooters. WEB SHOOTERS

WebShooters
(Walmart)

“OH, HELL YES!” any kid would be right to shout after unwrapping Spidey’s web shooters. And then you can punish them for swearing so you can play with it yourself. #DadHacks

The Ridiculous Gift You Could Never Buy For Yourself, But Looks Like It’s For Kids So You Can Maybe Get Away With It If You Play It Right

The Lego Millennium Falcon

LegoFalcon
(Walmart)

Of course this is for the kids…they’re just not allowed to touch it.

Those are our picks, and your holiday is saved! Of course, you’ll still have to wrap…

We participate in the Walmart Affiliate Program, and may earn fees by linking to Walmart.com. Because who doesn’t want to pick up some extra cash around the holidays?

6 Ways To Ruin A Steak Dinner, You Monster

Cooking Steak
(Getty/Westend61)

Is there anything more perfect than a perfectly cooked steak? Cooking steak is an art, and just like art there is no single right way to do it, but a looootttttttt of ways to screw it up. Here are six sure-fire ways to ruin your next steak dinner.

1. Pick cuts like an amateur

Omaha Steak
(Getty/Claudia Totir)

Don’t buy steak from anywhere but a steak store. Hey, maybe you have a nice supermarket, but if you’re buying your meat and shampoo from the same establishment, it’s your own fault you’re not getting primo results. Or, skip the extra stop at the butcher by ordering amazing cuts of beef online. Omaha Steaks has always been way ahead of the meal delivery box craze, and can deliver a week’s worth of a steakhouse menu, including sides, dessert and wine right to your door. Plus, dads who love The Dad are able to get 45% OFF and free shipping for a limited time, just saying.

2. Go straight from fridge to pan

Grinch NO
(Giphy)

Some of the most important steps in cooking a steak come before you actually cook the thing. You may have heard that a steak needs to be at room temperature to ensure even cooking, and sure that sorta helps. However, the real reason to take a steak out of the fridge early is the seasoning and crust. Big Kosher salt crystals use science to tenderize meat, but to do that they need time to seep into the cut. So, first up: generously season your steak and let it sit out for about 30 minutes. You’ll notice the meat start to “sweat” as it absorbs the savory goodness. For a great charred crust you want the outside of the steak to be dry, so wait until the moisture is reabsorbed, then pat dry the whole thing before tossing it onto direct heat.

3. Truck with marinades

Toss Out
(Giphy/)

There’s this weird notion that putting sauce on a steak is treason, but marinading one like it’s a BBQ rib is totally fine. What is that? First of all, there’s nothing wrong with dressing your finished steak in a delicious sauce like chimichurri. Does it need it? No. But if you only eat steak one way, then you’re missing out on lots of delicious steaks. However. Marinades. No. Come on. We just went over this. Steak needs to be dry when it cooks. Throw that bottle of prepackaged garlic herb butter juice in the trash. You can add real butter, garlic and rosemary as you cook. Trust yourself and your steak.

4. Burn it like an idiot

Firestarter
(Giphy/)

You want a nice sear to get that perfect crust, which means using high heat and an oil with a high smoking point, like peanut oil. If you must use olive oil, go for the extra light kind, as it can reach a higher temperature without burning. Now, once you get your sear on, you gotta move to a gentle heat to cook the steak through without tensing up the meat. Also, some people will tell you not to flip a steak more than once. Ignore them. Unless you have Predator-vision, flipping a steak regularly helps keep the heat evenly dispersed.

5. Be weird about doneness

Okay. Before we even get into this, let’s all just take a breath.

Adam Sandler Breathes
(Gifphy/)

Yes, everyone has their opinion about the “correct” doneness of a steak, but the fact is, a medium steak cooked well tastes better than a medium-rare steak cooked poorly. There isn’t one true ideal, so don’t freak out about it. Recently, blue-rare steaks have gained popularity and enjoying practically raw meat  basically makes you some sort of carnivorous bird. So let’s not be judgy. In reality, steak doneness is “a thing” and “things” are more about proving a point than what’s actually good. So feel free to enjoy your steak however you like, from blue-rare to medium. Even if you like medium-well, *deep breath* that’s honestly okay too. But you might consider just being a vegetarian.

All that said, if you like yours well-done, you are actually a sociopath.

6. Immediately eat it

Last, but extremely not least: LET YOUR STEAK REST. Meat will continue to cook for a bit after being removed from heat. So, using a good meat thermometer, track your steak’s internal temperature to about 5-8 degrees shy of the doneness you prefer. Then toss it on a warm plate, loosely cover with foil, and let it sit for about ten minutes. This will let your steak really absorb all the juicy goodness. Patience truly is a virtue.

Good Steak
(Giphy)

We love steak, which is why we participate in the Omaha Steaks and Walmart Affiliate Programs. We may earn fees by linking to Omaha Steaks and Walmart, which we will use to purchase more steak.