Playing around

Things to do with the whole family

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Ethan and Jeana Becker, owners of Dungeons & Dodgers comic book store, pose with some of the games and comics available at the store. While the shop had to close with the governor’s order that all non-essential businesses close, Ethan Becker is still accepting orders for delivery and is delivering to Fort Dodge and the surrounding towns.

With the spring weather starting and families getting stir-crazy being stuck in the house while isolating during this COVID-19 pandemic, it may be time to go outside for a while.

Current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines do allow for outdoor recreation, so long as individuals continue practicing social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from anyone who doesn’t live in their household.

One way for families to get outdoors and have fun together is to go geocaching.

“It’s a worldwide treasure hunt that is GPS coordinated with clues and puzzles to solve to find the location of the treasure,” said Kara Chandal, of Fort Dodge. “Fun for everyone and great to do with the whole family.”

The Geocaching app is free to download and use and there are hundreds of geocache sites around the area.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Dungeons & Dodgers comic book store offers a wide variety of board games, card games and table top games for families to play at home while socially isolating.

“There are actually a lot of them around and in Fort Dodge, so you don’t really have to travel far if you don’t want to,” Chandal said. “I can’t believe how many there are now around Iowa.”

In addition to seeking out the established geocache sites, users can add new ones as well.

Geocache sites often include some type of container filled with notes or trinkets for geocachers to take and leave their own notes or trinkets. With the risks of spreading the COVID-19 virus, it’s probably best to not leave items in the geocaches for now.

For those who do wish to stay inside during this time, there’s still plenty to do to bond as a family.

Some families are watching fun, family-oriented programming on TV or streaming services, and others are bonding over video games. Some families, however, are choosing to go with more low-tech activities.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
While Dungeons & Dodgers comic book store isn’t receiving its weekly comic book shipments, it still has a large stock of comic books and games.

Families can spend quality time together during this time at home by working together to complete puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles are an excellent way for families to pass the time together as there are puzzles for users of all ages and varying levels of skill.

Families can also entertain themselves with card games and board games.

A simple, standard deck of cards is all that’s need to play games like Go Fish,War, gin rummy, Crazy Eights and more.

For board games, families can turn to the various stores that remain open, as well as Dungeons & Dodgers comic book store, 1018 Central Ave.

“We’ve got plenty of board games,” said owner Ethan Becker.

Becker thinks board games and other table top games are a great way for families to bond during this crisis.

“It’s a break from the binge-watching,” he said. “It’s the face-to-face games, it’s the interpersonal relationships that people establish while playing these games that you can’t get from the clickity-clack on the computer, or playing these videogames. But it’s not as interactive.”

Many board games can be played with as few as two players and as many as eight or more, making it something the whole family can do together.

In addition to board games, including one called Pandemic, the shop also carries everything needed to play the game it’s named for: Dungeons and Dragons.

Dungeons and Dragons doesn’t require much to play – some dice and a healthy imagination covers most of it. Dungeons & Dodgers carries the polyhedral dice used in the game, as well as several books with adventure storylines already written for the players to follow.

The shop also carries everything someone would need to learn to play the collectable card game Magic: The Gathering.

“I’ve got three welcome decks to get people interested and involved in the game, to give them that taste to see if that’s something they’re going to be interested in,” said Becker.

And for those who take a liking to Magic, Becker also sells plenty of expansion packs and individual cards.

Magic isn’t the only collectable card game that Dungeons & Dodgers offers.

“We also have Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon, which are huge for the younger generation,” said Jeana Becker, co-owner of the shop.

While the Dungeons & Dodgers store remains closed due to the state’s order to close all non-essential businesses, Ethan Becker is still offering delivery to customers in Fort Dodge and surrounding towns. Families can place an order by calling 515-302-8670.

Whether it’s watching a feel-good movie, going on a local treasure hunt or facing off in a battle of Monopoly, there’s plenty of ways for families to spend quality time together while isolating at home.


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