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Other than groceries and gifts, I didn’t think I’d have the need to buy much while staying home and riding out the cold winter months. But then I realized something: Entertaining a busy toddler for months on end is hard. If an $11 Frozen sticker book can grant me even 20, sanity-saving minutes a day, it’s worth it. (There are 1,000 stickers! My son is obsessed!) That’s why we decided to ask other moms and dads about the best purchase they’ve made during this time.

1. Portable Ping Pong

“It attaches to the dining room table and allows my husband, my 7-year-old and me to decompress and giggle a lot at the end of every day. Sometimes, I’m cooking and I hear the two of them giggle and the plop-plop-plop of the ping pong ball and it puts such a big smile on my face.” — Maayan, IL

Buy It ($39)

2. Twister

“I’m hoping it will facilitate physical sibling bonding through fun, healthy competition. Plus, it’s a game my 4-year-old and 6-year-old can play without me. (Score.)” — Randi, FL

Buy It (Starting at $12)

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3. Mucinex DM

“Mucinex DM has saved me from the symptoms of some of the nastiest colds on record. This year, it also saved the rest of my family's peace of mind in the process.” — Jillian, NY

Buy It ($7)

4. A Guitar

“Why not learn a new instrument while they’ve got some down time?” — Carin, CT

$180 at Amazon

5. Kinetic Sand

“It’s one of the only things that holds our toddler’s attention for more than five minutes.” — Jamie, IL

Buy It ($20)

6. Bunk Beds

“Endless amounts of fun.” — Keith, MA

$811 at Amazon

7. Noise-Cancelling Headphones

“Five Chromebooks in the house, all with different Zoom meetings. This was a necessity.” — Kate, MA

Buy It ($50)

8. Pop-a-Shot

“It’s basketball for two!” – Nicole, CT

$300 on Amazon

9. New Bikes and Scooters

“We shopped at the bike shop in our town. They have a website and are available to answer questions via phone, then offer curbside pickup. Local, fun and hours burning off energy when the weather gets warmer.” — Samantha, MA

$80 at Amazon

10. New Bedding

“Mama’s tired. It was the least I could do for myself!” — Kate, SC

Buy It ($116)

11. A Whiteboard

“We use it for daily schedules, help with schoolwork, Pictionary, doodling, reminders of what day it even is! I don’t know how we lived without one for so long. I’m even thinking about ordering a few more.” — Lori, NY

Buy It ($7)

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