I'm looking for more ways to build things, solve puzzles, and play games
August 31, 2019 11:09 AM   Subscribe

I love puzzles, games, and building stuff. I was recently given a lego brickheadz character and loved building it. I had never played with legos before and it hit some kind of puzzle fix button for me. My ADHD brain can only seem to really focus on games and building.

I also enjoy putting Ikea furniture together. Buying tons of Ikea furniture is not an option. I also quickly learned how expensive legos can get. I have no desire to purchase and store or display a bunch of lego sets. My cats will not allow me to have a traditional flat puzzle and I don’t have space to store something large and flat. I also love video games like Zelda BOTW but I can not play video games all the time (unfortunately). I’m trying out a lego rental so I’ll get to see how that goes. What are some other ways to get my puzzle, building stuff with my hands fix?

I'm a bit of a hobby collector and am trying to be better about how I go about this. I knit, sew, crochet, make some paper crafts, tried jewelry making, bead making, and probably a few other things. This means I have yarn, fabric, needles, sewing machine, jewelry supplies, etc. This has to be a solo thing. My husband is not into games and I am not into socializing too much (at all). My cats are assholes so it needs to be something that I can put away when not in use and or easily contained/organized. Thank you!!
posted by mokeydraws to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Origami. Get a 365 day origami desk calendar and start figuring out how you can fold a bit of paper into impossible things without cutting it.

InstaMorph or similar. It's a plastic sort of thing that you put in hot water and it melts. You then mold it like clay. As it cools it hardens back to solid. The you throw the whole thing back into hot water and start over again.
posted by zengargoyle at 11:43 AM on August 31, 2019

Modular origami is also good. It can be repetitive but in a "get in the zone" type way. It's fun to see your pieces come together.

I like Tomoko Fuse's Unit Origami, which seems to be out of print but available cheaply used (all her work is amazing but this book is a good introduction to modular origami).
posted by darksong at 11:47 AM on August 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

Have you tried Sudoku? It’s not building but it’s pretty pure problem solving.
posted by ejs at 12:16 PM on August 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

On the game front, since you can play BOTW, let me introduce you to Captain Toad's Treasure Tracker. It is an adorable puzzle game that is playable in bite sized chunks.
posted by mmascolino at 12:32 PM on August 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

Parametric CAD + desktop 3d printing? Fusion360 is free to use for personal projects, and it's great for designing objects, and making them, if you have access to a 3d printer or CNC machine(s). When I'm in a "solve building-things problems" headspace, I can spend hours absorbed in playing parts-tetris in CAD to design things that are useful and can be built within the constraints of an additive printer. Small printers are relatively cheap (less than $200 gets you a MonoPrice Maker Select Mini which is more than enough to tinker around with). Some knowledge of computers and electronics will help but is not mandatory (and this is a good project to learn those sorts of things)!
posted by Alterscape at 2:48 PM on August 31, 2019

Have you tried your hand at designing knitting patterns?
posted by bq at 2:56 PM on August 31, 2019

I'm like you when it comes to hobbies, and am currently obsessed with these miniature room kits. They give you pretty much everything you need in the kit (I also used small scissors, toothpicks, better paintbrushes, xacto knife, ruler, & cutting mat). There are multiple brands available but the ones I've done were Rolife/Robotime.
posted by gennessee at 6:55 PM on August 31, 2019

If you're looking for the sort of thing where you first have to figure out the rules and then you can invent, cooking fits into this. Make a meat pie. Dispose of the pie, by yourself or with friends. Make a more interesting pie based on what you just learned. I rarely cook the recipe I read, even when I'm trying something new, because that would be boring.

Knitting works too, as someone said, as does crochet. Don't follow a pattern, just pick up the tools and see where it takes you; in both cases you can make a sample to a new pattern (I remember knitting a circle with cables just to see what happened) or a new design (look up hyperbolic plane crochet for someone doing weird stuff). Amigurumi is perhaps a useful launching point; work out the basics then make your perfect octopus to no one's specifications but your own.

You might also try spinning with a drop spindle. Learning can be frustrating, but succeeding is immensely satisfying once you get the knack, and the bits will fit into a small box. What you make will be something no one else has made before.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 10:37 PM on August 31, 2019

Puzzle magazines are great, cheap, and easy to put away quickly. It's not quite the same physical fix as doing jigsaw puzzles, but there's much more out there than just crosswords and sudoku. Anyway, $5 and your favorite pencil will keep you occupied for a bit. Flip through a few wherever you can find a decent magazine selection and see if any catch your interest. PennyPress has about a million different titles.
posted by asperity at 12:09 AM on September 1, 2019

Quilting keeps me busy and happy. Lots of bits of fabric to put together in different patterns. Right now English Paper Piecing is absorbing my attention. Check out the Passacaglia pattern.
Lego came out with a Minecraft edition you might enjoy. Solitaire, if you like card games.
Knitting amagurumi appeals to me, but I suck at knitting.
posted by Enid Lareg at 9:18 AM on September 1, 2019

Good call on Captain Toad's Treasure Tracker! I loved that game and it did give me that puzzle-solving fix. Cooking/baking isn't doing it for me anymore. It feels more like a chore and hasn't been fun for me for the last couple of years. Knitting and crocheting don't do it for me either. I made a cute amigurumi octopus a couple years back and that was enough for me. Mini kits either. I haven't quilted anything but I do have some fabric. I'll check out that pattern. Looking into some of the other recs as well.
posted by mokeydraws at 9:42 AM on September 1, 2019

Logic Puzzles scratch this itch for me.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 1:48 PM on September 1, 2019

Knot tying is cool once you start thinking about the topology without having cord in your hands. You can make leashes or bracelets or mats while you learn.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:39 PM on September 1, 2019

You've got a Rubik's cube already, I imagine, but if not... there's that, along with other puzzles of the kind that you hold and manipulate. (Rubik's Magic; this infuriating-looking thing; maybe even sliding block puzzles, like a tiny jigsaw your cats can't disrupt?) String figures (linked book arbitrarily chosen from an Amazon search) can be fun to learn - you need someone else to help you do a cat's cradle sequence, but there are many, many one-person figures. Origami, as people have said. Chinese or Celtic decorative knots (that book I can vouch for). Kumihimo with a disc (small and easily put away; the linked one is exceptionally small). All of these involve using your hands directly to work through a sequence of actions to produce a result: not quite the same as building a Lego model, but perhaps scratching the same itch.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 1:23 PM on September 3, 2019

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