Tag Archives: play

Guest post: Best Ways to Play Together as a Family

Families that can play together spend more quality time together. If you want to strengthen the ties and bonds within your family, playing together is one of the best ways you can do that. This is a holistic approach that has worked for many families. There have been studies done to show that families who play together will be closer to one another.

If this is the type of family you want to have, learning more about the best ways to play together as a family is a great idea. However, before doing so, there are a couple more things to note. First, there are so many adults who are so busy with work and other responsibilities that they forget to take the time to play. Just because you are an adult, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play. You can have a great time, relieve stress, and bond with your family members through play. Choose one of these ways to start playing with your family today.

Finding Ways to Laugh More Often
Laughter really can be the best medicine for your family. Laughing helps you and your family members to decompress from complicated and stressful situations. It helps to prevent stress in the family. When did you last belly laugh? You know that full type of laugh that really comes from inside of you. Research does show that laughter helps to increase longevity. If you can find more ways to laugh with your family, this can help you all with so many things. Not only will it help relieve stress and improve longevity, but allows you all to connect with one another as well. Many families don’t like spending time around each other. This may be because they don’t laugh and have a great time together. The more you do this, the more you may actually enjoy each other’s company.

Keeping Things Simple
It is easier than it seems to make things simpler in life. When you spend time with your family, you don’t have to do something complicated and intense. There are many ways to play together and have fun without getting even more stressed out. You can take a small getaway to the local park. Maybe you can even have a quick picnic instead of eating out at fast food. You can make memories by playing in the river down the street, instead of driving all the way across town to a lake. Think of the simple things. Do you have trails in your yard? If so, you and your family can play in the trails. Make a tent out of sticks. Keeping things simple really is the best way to have fun and play together as a family.

Meeting the Needs of Everyone
Do you feel that everyone in your family is getting their needs met? If not, there are ways to make sure this happens. You can let everyone pick one weekend a month to plan a playful activity. Family meetings are a great way to get everyone involved in planning out fun events as well. Maybe your youngest child loves going to the park while your oldest loves playing board games. You can always play chess in the park or do one of these things every other weekend. Being positive around your children and making sure they know you want to meet everyone’s needs is a great way to teach them to care for others. By meeting everyone’s needs, you might just find that everyone in the family is happier and more content on a regular basis. In addition, you teach your children to take turns.

Spontaneity Can Breed Happiness
Some families stick to the same routine repeatedly. While routines are great for children and entire families, sometimes spontaneity can breed happiness. You can find many fun and spontaneous things to do. You can spontaneously decide that instead of electronic time, you are going to take the children outside to play in the mud. You can decide that instead of taking an afternoon walk outdoors, on a rainy day, you make forts in the bedroom. Being spontaneous can help everyone to loosen up and have a great time. You can also find new things that members of your family didn’t know they enjoyed by being spontaneous.

Letting Go of the Electronics
There are so many families that spend most of their extra time on electronics. When everyone is glued to electronics, you can’t truly bond with one another. It may be time to let go of the electronics. How do you feel your family would do if they didn’t have electronics for 3 hours, 1 day, or even a weekend? At first, they may not know what to do. However, in time, they are going to find other ways to spend time together. Your children may start playing together. They may go outside and build a fort. They may pull out those Legos they haven’t played with in months. You can join in with them as well. Letting go of the electronics is something that you may want to implement regularly to help everyone grow and connect as a family.

Taking Pictures
When was the last time you just got everyone together for some pictures? Maybe you snap a few pictures, here and there, on your phone. However, when you look through them, when was the last time you had a true family picture. You can take pictures of everyone doing their favorite things for instance. If your youngest child loves reading a book, have her pose while reading a book, and you snap a picture. If your oldest child, loves playing basketball, have him jump in the air with the ball, and you snap a picture. Taking purposeful pictures of the family can be a fun and playful activity you all do together. Let the children take pictures of the parents doing fun and exciting things as well.

Making Up a Game
Have any of your children ever tried to make up a game before? What did you do? Were you responsive to their ideas or did you put it aside? Don’t worry either way. Now is your chance to get more involved. Everyone in your household can get involved. Let everyone take turns making up a game and having everyone play. This could be a game that involves everything made up or they can change around a game they already have. You might just be surprised at the ideas they come up with. You can come up with a game that everyone has to play as well, even if it is a cleaning game.

These are some of the best ways to play together as a family. If you or anyone in your family is stressed out, tired, bored, or just need to have some bonding time, any one of these ideas can give you something fun to do. If you are worried your teenager may become a teenage alcoholic, these ideas can show them how much you care about them. You can use these ideas to help you create other fun ways to spend time with your family as well. What are you waiting for? Go and get with your family. Pick one of these activities and do something fun together as a family. Remember, playing is for the entire family, not just for the children.

Author Bio:
Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.

Patrick Bailey

Guest post by Patrick Bailey

Guest post: Growing Up Green

Growing Up Green: The Importance of Teaching Your Children About Sustainability

Children are naturally drawn to their environment. They see the world as one big playground to explore and experience, but it’s up to the adults around them to show them their roles as stewards of the earth. It’s our duty to teach them good practices that could eventually form into habits. Teaching children about keeping the earth in good shape when they’re young is the best way to ensure that they grow into environmentally conscious adults. Something as simple as reducing plastic consumption is an easy and realistic way to contribute to green advocacy.

Why Teach Your Kids About Caring for the Environment?

What your children do today will have a major impact on their future. Previous generations, including ours, have made quite a mess because of unbridled consumption. For instance, the world has already produced more than eight billion tons of plastics and of that total, less than 10% is recycled. The rest ends up in landfills or oceans, where it can be ingested and endanger marine creatures.

This is significant considering that plastics don’t completely dissolve until after 400 years. That piece of plastic that you allow your kid to just throw out on the street? It will outlive them by five generations. So, how do you teach your kids the importance of going green? Here are a few simple tips to follow.

  1. Start green education early

According to House Method, you should introduce your child to plastic alternatives early on. Instead of using water bottles, invest in a reusable bottle. Have your child come grocery shopping with you and explain how you can pick vegetables and fruits without having to buy plastic packaging. The sooner you start teaching your children about the importance of sustainability, the more likely that green habits will form.

  1. Be a role model

Children pick up habits from their parents. That’s why it’s important that you instill in them good practices through your own actions. Let’s take the example of climate forcing – this condition occurs when our human activity forces a change in either the cooling or warming balance in the atmosphere. Instead of taking the car to the grocery store and contributing to this issue, why not bike or walk your way there? This is not only a bonding opportunity, but a teaching moment as well. Some other things you can do include stop usage of plastic straws, bring a reusable bag with you when you go shopping, and recycling all papers and plastics in your home.

  1. Make the conservation fun

Let’s face it: most kids would rather be glued to their mobile phones or tablets than help you garden or prepare that compost pit. But you can make the whole activity fun with a little creativity. For instance, when you go exploring the park or the woods, you can challenge your child to a game to see who can pick up litter the fastest. For composting, let them help you dig for worms.

  1. Visit the zoo or nature reserves

Children really fail to appreciate the importance of conservation when they don’t explore their environment. You can rekindle their curiosity by taking them to see wildlife or birds they haven’t seen before. Introduce them to animals at the zoo and show them how nature doesn’t create an anomaly. Everybody has a role to play and humans have the biggest responsibility to make sure that the gains we made in nature conservation in recent years won’t be wasted.

Teaching your child about sustainability is both incredibly important and surprisingly easy. It just takes a bit of creativity, dedication, and consistency.

Guest post by Kaytie Pascale

Board Games Championship Bloggers Event

On Saturday I was very excited to be attending my first ever blogger event, namely the annual Board Games Championship Bloggers Event, held at The Owl and The Pussycat micropub in West London and hosted by Pork Farms. This event was scheduled to tie in with National Board Games Week 2017 which is this week, from 8th – 14th May.

Pork Farms Board Games Championship Bloggers Event

So train into London, then a couple of tube rides to Northfields. A short walk later and I found the venue. My first visit to a micropub and it certainly lived up to its name. The smallest pub I have ever visited and very cosy, with plenty of Owl and PussyCat decor. Book shelves lined the walls, very fitting as the premises was previously a childrens’ book shop. They even brew their own beer out back, so definitely no room for a kitchen. But not a problem, as naturally the Pork Farms team had brought along plenty of pork pies. A selection of brand new Hasbro games were laid out ready to play.

Pork Farms pork pies

So first up was Trivial Pursuits. This was the 2000s edition and I was rubbish, earning no points in the first round. My knowledge was abysmal. Think I’m too old for this and should stick to the original edition.

Next was monopoly. I bought plenty of property, but no full sets, so no building houses for me. Bad mistake. I should have looked at the score sheet, like winner Lea had obviously done, with her hotels on Whitechapel and the Old Kent Road. You only scored for houses, hotels and the most cash. So my property portfolio was worthless. A second big fat zero, but at least I was having fun with a lovely friendly bunch of bloggers.

Pork Farms Board Games Championship Bloggers Event

We were so into the games, we didn’t break for lunch, but kept snacking on the pork pies as we played. Boggle was next and I was really looking forward to this. It was the game I chose to review with my family. And finally I had something to write on my score sheet. A respectable second place with 26 points.

Then onto Jenga which I’m usually useless at, but by some fluke, I didn’t knock the very precarious tower over on either round.

Finally Taboo, a team game in which your team has to guess the word you’re trying to describe without saying it or any of the 5 other taboo words within the allotted time. This certainly had us all in stitches, plus quite a few oops moments when someone accidentally uttered a forbidden word. Think I’ll be buying Taboo for Christmas as I’m sure my boys would love it. And hurrah I was on the winning team.

Pork Farms Board Games Championship Bloggers Event

And then to reveal the winners. I knew I wasn’t in with a chance after my bad start, even though my scoring had started to pick up. So in reverse order, in third place was Lea from Food Steam Ahead then second was Chynna from The Invisible Child and the grand prize winner of a huge pork pie was Laura from What’s Hot.

Of course we all got pork pies to take home too. My favourite variety were the Branston pickle topped pies. What a clever innovation as who doesn’t like pickle with a pie?

Pork Farms pork pies

And a huge thank you to Charlotte, Lotte and team from Pork Farms who kept us entertained and topped up with pie and drinks throughout the event. I won’t forget the story about the Christmas Day pork pie breakfast.

Lastly I must wish good luck to all those who have made it through the heats of the National Board Games Championships. The semis and grand final will be held at BeerheadZ Grantham, next Saturday, May 13th. They will be battling it out at Boggle, Taboo, Monopoly, Jenga and Trivial Pursuit 2000s, just like we did. Hope they have as great a time as us bloggers.

I’d love to hear about your favourite board games.

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Disclosure.  This post mentions an event I attended and products I tried all for free.  All opinions are my own.

Boggle – National Board Games Week

Did you know that 8th-14th May is National Board Games Week 2017? For the second year running, Pork Farms have been hosting National Board Games Championships in micropubs across Britain with the grand final to be held at BeerheadZ Grantham on May 13th. Contestants have been battling it out at Boggle, Taboo, Monopoly, Jenga and Trivial Pursuit 2000s.

And families can get involved from home by downloading a free printable pack from Pork Farms website to help them plan a board games activity night, and then share a photo of their evening on social media for the chance to win a stack of board games and a year’s supply of Pork Farms pork pies.

We love playing games as a family, so we were very pleased to be offered the chance to choose one of the five Hasbro games for free. We opted for Boggle.

Boggle
We had great fun playing this. We adapted the rules slightly so that the boys could score for all their words, whilst the adults had to stick to the proper rule of only scoring for those words that nobody else spotted.

Playing Boggle

The boys loved shaking the letters too.

Such a quick fun game. You can opt for a set number of rounds or first to a pre-specified number of points.

Playing Boggle

A dictionary was required to verify some of the more dubious word suggestions.

Playing Boggle

I’ve always loved the taking part element and remember fun time spent one lunchtime every week at my first job playing board games. One of my colleagues owned enough games to fill a whole wardrobe sized cupboard and would bring a different selection into the office each time. I think that was my first introduction to Taboo, one of the games mentioned above.

Both boys belong to Chess Club at school and son1 has qualified for the county Megafinal again.

Is there a game you would like to play? I’ve got Ticket To Ride on my games wishlist after trying it out at a café last year.

And I’m looking forward to attending the Board Games Championship Bloggers Event on May 6th. Watch out for my post on that afterwards.

I’d love to hear your favourite board games or your best memories of playing games. Son1 likes the Harry Potter version of Cluedo best whilst the Doctor Who board game is son2’s favourite.

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Disclosure.  This post mentions a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Turning tears into smiles

Britmums have challenged bloggers to participate in the #TearsIntoSmiles Campaign. I received two free packets of Elastoplast plasters and a garden ring toss set. We already have a quoits set and the boys have come up with the idea that they can both play simultaneously now.

Elastoplast challenge

Regular readers of my blog will know that son1 was diagnosed with leukaemia back in 2013 and was on chemotherapy for over 3 years which he completed last summer. During that period he had a weekly blood test for which we tried to numb the pain sensation by applying Emla cream an hour in advance. We then had to talk soothingly to him whilst he removed the large sticky dressing holding it in place. He would never let anyone else take it off. So by the time the blood test was completed, he had had enough of anything adhesive and my brave boy would always refuse a plaster.

But at least now son1 has finished chemotherapy and had his portacath removed, we can enjoy outdoor play so much more, without the worry of bumps and tumbles. So he now can join in with his classmates playing rugby and he has done his Bikeability. He’s slowly building his stamina back up again.

Playing Quoits

Meanwhile son2 is usually distracted by a picture on a plaster whenever there is a scrape or a cut. Luckily we didn’t need any first aid on this occasion, but he likes the look of the Star Wars pack. Both my boys are keen Star Wars fans. However he has declared that we can give the Frozen pack to my niece. I wish there had been pictures on plasters when I was a child. What a clever innovative step forwards.

Elastoplast challenge

So my top tip for happy outdoor play in the event of tears, besides remembering to pack the plasters and rest of my mini first aid kit in my bag before we head out for some fun is distraction. This could be pointing out nice things nearby, telling a fun tale, singing a song, promising a treat or finding something your child will want from your bag like a biscuit or toy. Don’t forget to follow through if you make a promise. Hugs and cuddles used to be good too, but sadly the boys are now getting to the stage of rebuffing me, if I try to give them a hug.

I’d love to hear how you turn tears into smiles?

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Disclosure. This post is an entry for the Britmums #TearsintoSmiles Challenge, sponsored by Elastoplast http://campaigns.elastoplast.net/plastermoments/uk. This post mentions products I received for free. All opinions are my own.

Magformers toy review and giveaway

The boys love reviewing toys, so of course I said yes when Magformers approached me to ask if I would like to review their magnetic construction set. They have now sent us one of their Magformers WOW sets for free.

Magformers magnetic construction toy

Magformers magnetic construction toy

The WOW set contains 16 various magnetic pieces which can be assembled in a multitude of different ways. There is also a pack of designs for various 2D shapes and 3D models. The boys tried a few of these first before experimenting with their own designs.

Magformers magnetic construction toy

Magformers magnetic construction toy

Magformers magnetic construction toy

Magformers magnetic construction toy

I was very impressed how many different things you can make with just 16 pieces. And it is a great idea to include the pack of designs. Although I must say that son2 would only try making the models. He wouldn’t attempt the 2D shapes because the colours of the pieces didn’t match. That is his OCD streak coming through. I assembled the shape below for him, but he still insisted it was wrong.

Magformers magnetic construction toy

Son1 gives his thoughts on Magformers in the video below.

The WOW set retails at £29.99 and is suitable from age 3. The children and I loved this toy but I did feel that it is a little pricey in my opinion. You can purchase it online from Magformers own webshop. And  Magformers will be available in Hamleys later this summer and are already sold in many smaller shops through the country.

A great toy that will appeal to both boys and girls in my opinion. And educational too. The magnetic shapes allow children to naturally understand the underlying geometry of 2D and 3D shapes. Through fun and innovative play, children can develop their mathematics and creativity while building whatever they can imagine.

Magformers magnetic construction toy

Magformers magnetic construction toy

I’d love to hear what your child would create with Magformers?

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a WOW set courtesy of Magformers to one lucky winner.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

You can find Magformers UK on social media as follows:-
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Creative Play

Gemma of My Mills Baby has challenged bloggers in association with Toyella to share the story behind an image of their children at creative play.

I have so many great memories of my children playing creatively, be it at home or out and about. They mostly go into their own imaginative world together using toys to make up their own stories or re-enact their favourite scenes from games, books or films. They build props out of bricks or lego and use teddies, playmobil people, moshi monsters, angry birds or other figures as the characters in their story. Meanwhile us adults are blanked out and we have to break in if we wish to communicate to the boys.

Difficult to choose just one photo, however with Halloween fast approaching I have decided to share a picture from this time last year. The boys are in costume enacting their own scary story, trapped in the spider web. Son1 is even pretending to eat bugs like a spider would. I don’t remember what happened next, but I am sure it would have been along the lines of being rescued by some of their toys.

halloween

So how do your children play creatively?

ToyellaBadgeComp zps7631f58f Calling all Bloggers: Have a #ToyellaChristmas and win £150 in Toys (CD: 25/10/2014)

Disclosure.  This post is my entry to the #ToyellaChristmas Blogger Competition hosted by My Mills Baby and sponsored by Toyella.