How to Change up Your “Us” Time Routine


This post was sponsored and approved by Nintendo.
All images by Chelsey Werth
Video by Chris McDuffie

You are all welcome to join me on my five-star rated personal island getaway.

Of course, I’m talking about the Animal Crossing™: New Horizons game on the Nintendo Switch™ system. This is the home for my private island, and where I go when I need to take a break from, well, 2020.

Over the last few months, we’ve been looking for more things to do together as a family. Something a bit different than our everyday routine and activities that we had done in the past. We’ve run through our initial tub of craft supplies, and I wanted something that Joe and I could also enjoy when the kids eventually went to bed.

Admittedly, when we first started this partnership, it had been a LONG time since I’d played any video game (I was very much into Super Mario Bros™ back in the day), and I didn’t want to come across as a novice. Once the Nintendo Switch system arrived, I decided to sit down and get to some serious work. 

Before the Nintendo Switch system arrived, I debated where it would go in the house. I’m “old-school” when it comes to video games; I pictured a dedicated room in the house, where we’d have to keep the gaming system. However, to my pleasant surprise, I don’t NEED a game room. Or a dedicated place to play Nintendo Switch. It’s so versatile that I’m able to play all over the house.

Nintendo Switch has three different modes of gameplay: TV Mode, Handheld Mode, and Tabletop Mode that allow us to play the game just about anywhere. We aren’t confined to any specific room in the house to play when in need of a little family fun time.

Nintendo Switch has a ton of different games to choose from, but the ones in constant play in our home are the Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Mario Kart™ 8 Deluxe games.

I’d heard of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, in the vague way one hears of things these days: social media. So I had a bit of an idea of overall gameplay. But what I didn’t expect was how much I’d love it.

The whole objective (at least how I’ve been playing) of this game is to curate the ultimate livable island. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is THE game for me. I’m thrilled I’ve been able to channel all of my interior design inclinations and proclivities into the game instead of the new house. It’s been incredibly satisfying to apply some pretty out-of-the-box ideas, that I couldn’t achieve in real life, to my own little private island.

The kids have been fascinated with “Mom’s Game Work” (aka building up my island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons) since I’ve started. On rainy days, the kids have helped me with some of my daily Animal Crossing activities like fishing, planting flowers, and finding fossils. They have gotten a kick out of learning the different residents and fossil names from the game. We did a ridiculously simple craft of creating our fossils inspired by the game – you can learn how to make your own here.

If Animal Crossing: New Horizons was a discovery, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was like meeting up with an old friend. Both Joe and I grew up with Nintendo systems in our homes, playing the classics, and Mario Kart is one of those games that bring up fond memories. Apparently, those memories don’t include me being any good at the game. The instant Joe saw the words Mario Kart, his eyes lit up.

There has always been a healthy competition between Joe and me, but the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe game has brought it to a different (and enjoyable) level. 

When the kids go to bed, we put our Nintendo Switch in TV Mode, pop some popcorn, and spend “date night” playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Date night in front of the TV has been the norm for most of 2020 thus far, but with Nintendo Switch, we have more fun staying in at night.

I’ve been using Nintendo Switch as a way to unwind during the day in between meetings, or when the kids are napping. When Nintendo Switch is in Handheld mode, I can play virtually anywhere. When I’ve got a few minutes, I play Animal Crossing: New Horizons in the office.

There are a few tips on how to make any room extra-welcoming and ready for family fun in an instant.

  • Set the mood – We don’t have dimmer switches in the house, but we have a ton of table lamps and candles. When Joe and I are playing on the TV, we turn off all the overhead lights, ignite some candles, and play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
  • Get comfy – When I settle in to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons, I’ve got a favorite lumbar pillow I use to settle in. When I’ve played outside in handheld mode in the evenings or mornings, I’ll grab a light throw blanket, just in case.
  • Stay organized – I have been using a decorative box that sits next to our Nintendo Switch Dock, to hold the Joy-Con™ controllers and Joy-Con wrist straps and video games. I’m notorious for stashing things willy-nilly, but by placing a decorative container, everything is tucked away nicely and more importantly, together.

Our Nintendo Switch has undoubtedly shaken up our family’s previous routine. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to do more things as a family, and it’s fun to introduce the kids to new activities and experiences. By using Nintendo Switch, we’ve been able to connect more through playing the games and unearthing new interests.

If you happen to see me watering in the garden, or fishing in the pond, come on over and say “hi.”

Ed. note: This post was sponsored by Nintendo. The compensation we receive in exchange for placement on Wit & Delight is used to purchase props, hire a photographer, write/edit the blog post, and support the larger team behind Wit & Delight.

While compensation was received in exchange for coverage, all thoughts and opinions are always my own. Sponsored posts like these allow us to continue to develop dynamic unsponsored content.
Thank you for supporting our partners!

BY Kate Arends - September 16, 2020

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September 16, 2020 2:13 pm

My kids live these games. Thanks for sharing some more options.

September 17, 2020 12:34 pm

I am definitely not a Gamer™, and my husband is a developer for a game design company. Switch is the only console I have any interest in playing anything on.
If you’re looking for a fun cooperative game to play together, we both really enjoyed Unraveled. It was really fun even as a novice. We also like Heave Ho a lot- this is a really fun party game (remember those??)

September 18, 2020 8:46 pm

Video games are a great family activity! I don’t know why it has such a bad rap.

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