My kids got me hooked on ACNH, a surprising bonding tool

Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual school work aside, what are some activities you have been doing with your kids to keep the boredom at bay?

This is a tough one for me. With the kids older, finding an activity that appeals to us all is trivial. With the rain season in full affect, outdoor activities is a limited occurrence for us, for the time being. The good news is that the beaches are open here. Would be nice to be able to walk it again when the weather is beautifully inviting.

With that said, what has my family and I been up to during this 2020 pandemic?

A surprising bonding tool

My kids and I bonded over something unlikely, for us at least. I’m not really into virtual games, but my kids got me hooked on this particular game called Animal Crossing New  (ACNH). They’ve played an earlier version of it few years back on their DS handhelds, and now have been busy comparing the new and the old. I really do wish they will bring the swimming feature back. I really think it be cool to do dive fishing. 

A month into purchasing the game, they set me up with my own character, after my sister was set up with her own character by her kids, and with the promise that we’ll both get to see each other’s islands, and I’ve been hooked since. It’s different once you played it and have goals to complete. So, then I was hooked because I had to see it through, how it works and all that good stuff that appeals to a ISTP like me. Haha.

I bought the Nintendo Switch console as a Christmas gift for the kids, but the ACNH game just recently came out. My kids purchased and downloaded straight onto their Switch console a month out. It costs $60. We split the cost among the particpants, which is a budget learning moment. 

How the ACNH works for the “aged” new gamer – like me

I personally didn’t set up the island, and didn’t see the initial set up either. But, the ultimate goal for the kids is to reach 5-star island rating. I am all about achievable goals, and helping the kids, and so, between the kids and I, hours poured over the game, we attained 5-star rating in 2 months time! Yay!

I was the first one to have a fully upgraded house, be debt-free, and become a multi-millionaire. Coz you know, I don’t buy unnecessary items but paid off my loans instead, like a good adult. haha. However, I did go in the game riding on my kids’ already achieved 3-star rating.

I played the game with very minimal instructions from the kids. I wanted to learn it myself, by reading conversations between Tom and I, and Isobelle. Learning through trial and error appeals to me.

Here’s a few ACNH tips this mom learned along the way.

To achieve 5-star rating, talk to Isobelle, and take her tips into consideration to reach 5-star rating. We added more bridges, staircases, and fences to finally achieve the 5-star rating.

Also, having too many DIY cards on the ground outdoors affected our star rating, as does using bells (coins) to decorate the island. We teetered between 4 and 5 due to this.  You can only learn DIY once, but may get the same DIY more than once by means of Message in a bottle or balloons. 

Because we can only log one character at a time, we designated an area for extra DIY cards, so that the other characters can learn them too. To avoid leaving them on a the ground, my teen customized stalls to dump the cards to, except it can only fit a max of 2 at a time, so we have several. The DIY cards are available to be picked up whenever the next character chose to browse it. That, or sell the DIY cards at Nook’s Cranny.

Finding furniture was time consuming; however, since there’s more of us playing under one ACNH account, we have a more extended inventory. To take advantage of other player’s inventory, most items they have, except DIY items, can be purchased at Nook Stop multimedia terminal at the Resident Service – or via the character’s phone, once Tom upgrades his/her phone –  but only when the player who has the item is active. A max of 5 items can be bought per day, which was a pain! The items will be accessible via mailbox the next day, which was also a pain!


Everyday, depending on how many trees are on the island, furnitures will drop from the trees, when shook. It’s randomly placed, so you may have to shake a few, or all of them, every day. We maxed at 2 furnitures per day on our island, with the trees we have about. Most island available to visit will have a furniture hidden in the trees too, with the exception of the Fruit Island and the Bamboo Island.

This month, Harv’s Island is featuring wedding-themed furniture. So, be sure to check it out at least 7 times to access the full inventory available for purchase. You will need to use the heart crystals Reese gives and talk to Cyrus to use the hears to purchase a wedding themed item.

Other ways to get furniture:

  • Popping balloons – several comes per hour on one side of the island, then switches to the other side of the island, approx. 12 hours later. In our island, the balloons come from the West in the morning, and from the East at night. (FYI: balloons disappear in the flower populated areas, as well as disappear when it falls on water – bird baths and pond stones included. However, you do get nook miles one time when a balloon accidentally lands on water and disappears.)
  • DIY cards that comes from villagers – about 4 per 24 hour period
  • Gifts from villagers – befriend and make connections with them
  • Helping Gulliver – appears randomly and stays until 4 or 5 am next day.
  • Helping Wisps – appears randomly at night
  • DIY cards from a message in a bottle that washes ashore at your island and/or visiting other islands
  • Making a purchase at Nook’s Cranny
  • Redeeming Nook Miles
  • Nook Shopping
  • Nook Cranny

There are several ways to make money; but, most of my money came from catching and selling fish to Tommy and Timmy at Nook’s Cranny. And after a while, it got boring, but not before it helped me become debt-free. Haha.

TMI: For reason unknown to me, I have become a Coelacanth whisperer. Coelacanths are rare fish that only comes out when it’s raining. I have gotten many of these on and off island. They sell for 15,000 bells. Before the arrival of sharks this month, Coelacanths helped me pay off my loan faster. (However, I have been having a difficult time catching Coelacanths this month, even with fish bait! Did they take it out?)

Tip: If you are in no hurry to pay-off your loan, it is interest free after all, store more expensive fish for when CJ comes to the island. He comes at random times; but, he will buy the fish at 150% price. With a basement upgrade, the last house upgrade, I have 1600 storage space, which I utilize to store fish until CJ comes to town.


Tip: You will need at least one pond and one cliff top (waterfall) to collect all the fish available throughout the year, as certain fish are only available at certain location. For example, the Golden Trout, that sells for 15,000 bells, was only available at cliff top. We actually had to recreate a waterfall to catch these, after removing the original waterfall, plus fish bait to lure it. Or, fish for this particular fish by visiting Surprise Islands with a cliff top, just don’t forget to bring fish bait, coz it’s 2,000 nooks miles each time to fly to an randomly generated island. 

I’m not as invested in catching rare fish that necessitate more effort than casting the fishing rod, unless necessary, considering other fish that sell for the same price are more readily available, like the Dorado in the river, which are rare but I have no problem catching. However, I do want to fill my Critterpedia to finally get the Golden Fishing Rod, and donate each type of fish and bug to the museum.


Other ways to earn money:

Catching bugs and selling them at Nook’s Cranny. ( Or, sell the bugs to Flick, who comes to the island at random times but buys them at 150% price.)

Selling fruits – native island fruit (ours is cherry) sells at 100 bells each, but foreign fruits sells for 500 bells each. We have created a fruit orchard. There are 5 types of fruits, and the only fruit we don’t have atm are apples. Coconut trees only grow at the beach, and they sell for 250 bells each. I make a hefty amount selling peaches harvested from the Fruit Island, for example – when I’m out looking for a new villager.

Selling items – flowers, trees, furniture, wallpaper, flooring, clothes, DIY cards…Nook’s Cranny pretty much buys anything.

Selling shells.

Maximize the potential of your money tree by burying 30,000 bells. The money tree will give you at least 30,000 bells back, but can potentially give 90,000 bells, as it will bear 3 bags of money at 30,000 each. If you don’t have the bells in your pocket, it will multiply what amount is buried. 

What to do after reaching 5-star rating

I must admit, after reaching the 5-star rating, the game has been a bit boring for me. However, there are still a few more goals left to achieve in the game for me. Like, seeing all that Nook Mile page filled up.

What’s keeping my attention? Creating all the hybrid flower colors. Currently, the only flowers I am missing is a purple windflower and a purple pansy.


Here’s what I do have:

  • Lily of the Valley: only sprouts randomly on islands with 5-star rating
  • Roses: red, white, yellow, orange, pink, black, purple, blue, and gold. (Gold roses are a 5-star island perk. Talk to Isobelle, so she can give the golden watering can that turns black roses into gold roses.)
  • Mums: red, white, yellow, pink, purple, green.
  • Tulips: red, white, yellow, pink, orange, black, and purple.
  • Hyacinths: red, white, yellow, orange, pink, blue, and purple.
  • Cosmos: red, white, yellow, orange, pink, and black.
  • Windflowers: red, white, yellow, pink, orange, and black.
  • Pansies: red, white, yellow, and orange.

Flower tip: I have been able to achieve certain hybrid without effort, but some required me to combine certain colors together, which I was able to learn about with the use of this website (not a sponsored post): 

I am also trying to achieve completing my Critterpedia and Nooks Mile page, which will probably take a year, considering some fish/bug are seasonal. And finally, I am still working on getting the Golden House Award from the Happy Home Academy (HHA). The HHA do weekly home visits to judge the home’s interior. Last Sunday I was at S ranking at 138,747 points. It’s hard when you have limited furniture selection, but I’m trying….

Final words

For the mean time, ACNH is helping me bond with the kids, which I did not see coming. But I’m glad it did. Now that our state is lessening the restrictions on outdoor activities, we are starting to go out more, so the appeal of virtual gaming is decreasing for me. We went strawberry picking last week, for one. $15 per plastic bucket, to fill with however much we want.

I’m not ready to sit and eat at a restaurant but I know that will come too. Masks are required for when indoor (public business buildings) in our city, however, it can be removed when eating at a restaurant, which I don’t fully understand – having it on while at a restaurant, then removing it while eating only.

We have also started seeing my family, because they have also been social distancing, like us. I have to tell you, it is a very welcomed addition to our routine, seeing and chatting with people face to face!

Yesterday, we went shopping at TJ Maxx and was very surprised at how many people where there on a Monday! We didn’t have to wait in line to enter the store when we got there, but by the time we got out, there were several people outside waiting to get inside.

The downside to self-quarantining during this pandemic, gaining weight! We have 3 graduation ceremonies to attend this week. One of my teen needs to buy clothes.  Most of her school clothes do not fit because she’s still having growth spurts. But it was what probe the TJ Maxx shopping.

And lastly, here other indoor activities bonding ideas we’ve done to keep the boredom at bay

  • Movie Night – a designated night in the week just for watching a movie (or movies), no cell phones. Sometimes we pay for a rental, and, sometimes, watch freebies available on Netflix, Disney Plus, or Prime. (Not a sponsored post.) I keep it more interesting by having a themed dinner to go with it. 
  • Painting session with Bob Ross
  • Table tennis – I just cleared our dining table, and utilized the ball and paddles I already have on hand. 
  • Puzzle
  • Scavenger Hunt

I hope you are well and staying safe.

Until next time.


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