Keep Your Kids Engaged With Smarty Pants Flash Cards From Melissa & Doug and Mental Floss

Melissa & Doug/Amazon
Melissa & Doug/Amazon

It's not enough to just keep a child occupied while they're stuck at home during the quarantine—you want to make sure their minds are actively engaged in something exciting and educational, too. And with the Smarty Pants line of flash cards, which our co-founders Will and Mangesh developed with the Melissa & Doug toy company, your child will always be learning something new and having fun while doing it.

You can find the Smarty Pants cards both at Melissa & Doug and at Amazon, and there are versions suited for kids in preschool ($11), kindergarten ($13), first grade ($12), second grade ($25), and third grade ($13). Each set was created with the input of teachers and educators, and every 120-card pack is full of activities like puzzles, bits of trivia, math problems, and tongue twisters that are tailored for each age group. After the kindergartner set, each pack is also designed so children can play alone or with a friend or parent.

Melissa & Doug/Amazon

The Smarty Pants line debuted back in 2013, and it was Mental Floss’s first collaboration with the Melissa & Doug toy company. Melissa and Doug Bernstein are the duo behind their namesake company, and they’ve been designing toys aimed at fostering creativity and curiosity for more than 30 years.

If you're still looking for more ways to keep your kids entertained, check out these DIY science experiments you can do at home by heading here.

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Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Turn Your Laptop Into a Multi-Monitor Hub With This Lightweight Accessory

Mobile Pixels
Mobile Pixels

If your dining room table has been doubling as your work-from-home station over the past few months, you’re probably missing the extra space, supportive chair, and the dual-monitor setup at your old office. The Mobile Pixels Trio, a portable triple-screen laptop monitor accessory, is designed to give you the space that multiple monitors provide without needing to be hardwired in a cubicle.

The Mobile Pixels brand offers an innovative multi-screen laptop accessory that's easy to use. Once you fit the magnetized accessory to the back of your laptop and plug it in, you simply slide the extra screens out and start working. The product began on Indiegogo with a single monitor attachment, but the new Trio model comes with an additional monitor, bringing the total number of screens at your disposal to three.

The lightweight tool comes in two sizes, Trio (12.6 inches across) and Trio Max (14 inches), and is compatible with any Mac, Linux, Chrome, or Android device with a USB connection. The Mobile Pixels Trio and Trio Max can be configured however you want, so if you need one monitor to be in portrait mode for design and coding work, you just need to turn the screen and you're good to go.

Right now, both sizes are discounted, with the smaller screen going for $214.99 and the larger one for $269.99.

Price subject to change.

Mobile Pixels TRIO: Portable Dual Screen Laptop Monitor - $214.99

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