There are many ways to skin a cat.
- I2C backpack
- SPI backpack
- UART backpack
- OneWire backpack
- pin-sharing for a GPIO/Analog pin
- single-wire shift register trick in Bill's link
All of them require external chips or external resistors, capacitors.
As far as I know, Proteus Simulator can simulate an I2C backpack. However I don't have a Proteus licence.
So it all comes down to what the rules are for external components. And "Tinkercad" capability.
Regarding software. Several Arduino libraries handle I2C backpacks seamlessly. The more esoteric options require some investigation. (2) is straightforward. The others have no recognised "standard Arduino LCD" protocol.