Tag Archives: game

Cops & Robbers

27 Oct

Now that it’s fall, my children and I are able to spend more time outdoors again.  This summer was so hot that we wound up spending most of our time indoors.  Oddly enough, even the pool was too hot this year.

I love being outdoors.  When I was a kid, you could always find me outside somewhere, playing with neighborhood kids, swimming at the neighborhood pool, riding my bike, climbing a tree, having an acorn fight, judging a talent show, or making a hideout in the bushes.  My siblings and I did not go in until it was time for dinner.

Back in those days, we used our imagination to entertain ourselves.  Over the past few years, I have been trying to instill the same love for outdoors and innovation!

This weekend, a neighbor boy came over and I taught the kids how to play cops and robbers.  You split the kids into two teams.  Half are cops half are robbers.  You designate a “jail” and conversely, a robber “hideout”.  From there, the robbers pretend to steal (we pocketed leaves from the yard).

If the robbers are spotted stealing, the cops try and catch them.  If the cops catch the robbers, the robbers are escorted to jail.  The robbers can stay in jail for a minimum time limit (we made it two minutes, so the kids would not get bored).

If the robbers get away with the theft, they can bring the monies back to their hideout and stash it.  The robber hideout is “base”.  Robbers can also bust their partners or teammates out of the jail.  If no police are guarding the jail, one robber can save another robber.

The cops win if all of the robbers are jailed.  The robbers win if they confiscate “x” number of fake money (we did 20 leaves).  If you can find an enthusiastic group of kids, they might even help you keep the brown leaves off your lawn and they wouldn’t even know it; less raking for the grown ups!

Traveling with Kids

22 Jun

All summer long, parents will be traveling with their kids.  Automotive or air travel can bring a family closer together and be a really positive, fun experience with kids, or it can be a complete and total drag (we’ve all been trapped somewhere with a screaming kid at some point- NOT fun!)

Every year, our family takes a road trip to the coast, which entails being in a car upwards of twelve hours (with plenty of breaks along the way!)  On the trip this year, I turned around and flew with my youngest to Austin for a 24-hour period to watch my Godson complete his First Communion.  Overall, it was a very pleasant experience and I’ll tell you what worked for me.

Any travel takes planning.  The more I plan, the more I feel prepared.  This time around I made a ton of lists (I know, I know, I’ve already broken one of my resolutions for the new year, but I just didn’t see any way around it).  I made lists for what I needed to do to prepare for the trip as well as a running list of what I needed to pack as well and what would need to be purchased.

I organized the way the car was loaded.  I made sure the kids had snacks and drinks that were accessible to them at all times.  For the older two kids, I filled baskets with things to keep them busy on the long trip.  For my 5 year old, I packed activity books with markers, sticker books (Usborne makes some awesome ones), regular books for reading, her school work, an MP3 player with headphones, and a book of mazes.  For my three- year old, I packed tons of little trinkets she could play with (a mini lunch box filled with dinosaur figurines, mermaids, etc,), a mini etch a sketch, dry erase activity books, lift the flap books, and a TAG pen with books (and ear buds to attach).  For the baby, I loaded the seat back pocket nearest him with baby toys, a scarf, touch and feel books, etc.

When the going got tough and I needed some quiet time, I would pop in a DVD movie.  (In fact, a friend of mine very generously loaned me a complete system that attaches to the backs of the headrests).  It was a life saver on the way home!

I also purchased a few decks from Usborne books, one of which is called 50 Travel Games and Activities.  The kids enjoyed taking turns drawing from that deck and playing new games together as a family.

As far as traveling with my youngest (11 months), I had to get creative at times.  He had a blast for almost an hour playing with an empty water bottle!  When we were at the airport, I made sure he walked/crawled around as much as possible before we would get on the plane.  I packed a carry on with a small inflatable ball, which I blew up while waiting in the terminal, and we would literally play “fetch” with it.  I packed lots of clean healthy snacks (like dried fruit) in the no spill snack cups that he could reach in and help feed himself with.  I made sure he had a sippy cup with water in it (just in case), but he ended up nursing both times on take off and landing, so we did not end up having any trouble with his ears popping.

On the actual plane, I used the mystery box toy Jen had made.  It completely entertained him for an hour.  He would pull one toy out; discover it for a few minutes, then move on to something else.  There was a scarf inside, which was a big hit too, because we could play peek a boo and hide the other toys with it as well.  Because I had worn him out so well in the terminal, he slept the entire leg of one flight.

In the carry on I also had lift the flap & touch and feel books, as well as a travel pouch of tissues (I figured if I got really desperate, I would let him pull them out one by one and/or tear them to shreds), a glowing spinny toy we got at the circus, a Cheerios board book (it’s really cute- there are cut outs in the book where you put actual Cheerios and the baby can eat them while you read) and a few baby toys he hadn’t seen in a long time.  (I tried to think ahead and put away things he really liked for about a month before we traveled, so he’d be really excited to see them).

In the past, I have exchanged books and toys with friends of mine (meaning I would lend them things to take on their trip that would be “new” to their kids and they have done the same for me).  That’s nice because then you don’t have to go out and buy anything and typically other moms have a ton of things that your kids love to play with.  Jen also has a really cool Hang Man puzzle by Melissa and Doug whereby the letters and hangman pieces are tethered to the board with bands.  It would be great for road trips.  I’ll be looking for one in the near future!

Feel free to share what works for you!

Night on the Town in Mansfield

27 Apr

Come to Town Park in Mansfield this Spring for “Night on the Town” movie nights!  Pack a picnic dinner and join the fun.  Along with other activities, movies will be played on a giant outdoor screen.

All movie nights will have games and prizes centered around the theme for that evening, and concessions will be available.  The playground at Town Park is brand-new and has lots of great features.  Sand volleyball and basketball courts are available for the older kids.

Town Park is located at 500 North Main Street in Mansfield. For more information please contact the Mansfield Activities Center at 817-453-5420.

April 30: Dog Show Extravaganza, Pet Parade & Vaccine Clinic at 5:00 p.m.; Dog Show judging at 6:00 p.m.;  Movie at 7:00 p.m. – “Alpha and Omega”
May 7: The Music Place & Arts Conservatory performs at 6:00 p.m.; Movie at 7:00 p.m. – “Cats and Dogs, Revenge of Kitty Galore”
May 14: Car Event at 6:00 p.m.; Movie at 7:00 p.m. – “Cars”
May 21: 1-mile Dragon Fun Run at 6:00 p.m.; Movie at 7:00 p.m. – “How to Train Your Dragon”

Nintendo Warning about 3D Video Games

20 Jan

Nintendo’s 3DS portable video game console is set to launch, which offers users a 3D gaming experience without having to use glasses.  However, Nintendo has issued a warning that 3D video games could potentially be harmful to children under the age of 6, whose eyes are still developing.

For the full story, click here.


13 Oct

Recently my family and I spent the afternoon in Dallas celebrating my father-in-law’s 70th birthday with my husband’s family.  My in-laws live near Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.  If you’ve never been, it’s a state-of-the-art, beautiful children’s hospital which specializes in pediatric orthopedics.  They also have a really awesome playground!

The playground is huge, and is divided into several sections, which are all within a fenced boundary.  There is a playhouse, some statues, a restroom facility, a pavilion, a large playscape, a small playscape, a play train, monkey bars, bouncy see-saw, monkey rings, built-in musical instruments, tunnels, silly mirrors, and more.  The area is surrounded by huge trees, which provide a large amount of shade.

While playing this last time, we ran into a Nana and Peepaw, who were there with their four-year-old granddaughter.  Nana explained to us that they frequently drive in from Frisco to bring the children to this park.  (The park is open to the public, by the way, you do not have to be a patient to play.  It’s never crowded, perhaps because most people do not know about it.)

Anyhow, we had a total of four kids, ranging in ages from two to ten.  I was feeling energetic and full of inspiration, so I taught the kids how to play Centipede.  A bunch of the adults got involved too, which was really fun!  The kids started whining when we had to quit playing and go home!

Centipede is similar to a reverse of hide and seek.  One person is “it.”  The “it” person runs and hides somewhere really good while all of the remaining players stand in a designated area and count.  We counted to 30.  Once the players reach 30, everyone runs and tries to find the “it” person.  The goal is to find the “it” person discretely, because when you find them, you have to hide with them, and you do not want to give it away to the other players.  The object of the game is for everyone to find the “it” person and hide with them, creating a piggy backing or centipede, if you will!  The first person to find the “it” person gets to be “it” and hide the next round.

Centipede was particularly fun at this park because it was large enough to have a plethora of really fun/good hiding places.  The fact that so many adults got in on the action only made it even more exciting for the kids!

For more information about the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for children, visit their website at http://www.tsrhc.org/.

Kick the Can

15 Sep

Every time I think of my childhood, I smile!  I was raised in a suburb of Houston, and in those days, times were different.  I hung out with a gaggle of kids who were all about the same ages as my siblings and I.  In those days, we didn’t worry about being kidnapped, robbed, or beat up.  We were completely carefree.  In fact, we literally played outside during the summers from about 10am until dark.  Long before the days of  “helicopter” parenting, our own mom and dad let us run wild throughout our neighborhood.  In fact, we even rode our bikes up to convenience stores to purchase candy and ice cream!  Can you even imagine letting your grade schooler do that now?

In those days, the outdoors was our environment; it was our habitat!  We were forever swimming, biking, exploring, dancing, and playing games outdoors.  I hope to instill that same love for games and the outdoors in my own children.

This past weekend, I taught the kids to play Kick the Can!  It’s SO fun and anyone old enough to play Hide n Seek can play!  You create a large square or rectangular boundary (we used the natural square of the concrete driveway panel) for the “it” person to stand.  Someone kicks over an aluminum can and everyone runs and hides.  Again, the need to create a boundary is imperative.  The “it” person has to run, get the can, set it upright in the square, close their eyes and then count (we kept it simple to 10).  While the “it” person is counting, everyone else hides.  The “it” person, then has to look around the area, and if one of the players is spotted, they must come into the square.  Now, persons in the square may do whatever they need to (short of hurting the “it” person, or getting physical) to distract the “it” person.  If the “it” person is distracted, another player can run or sneak into the square and kick the can.  Once the can has been kicked, everyone inside the square is released, and is allowed to find another hiding spot.  A player wins when they have spotted every other player, and there is no one left to try and kick the can.

I’d love to hear from you!  What are some outdoor games you remember from childhood that you want to pass along to your own children?  Let’s maintain a love for nature, the outdoors, and get those bodies moving!  Don’t be afraid to play with your children.  Those are the times they will remember forever!

Dried Beans

24 Aug

My 4-year-old son was working on some math problems today, and I was really trying to let him figure them out by himself as much as possible.  So as a visual aid, I got out a bag of dried pinto beans and gave him a cupful to use for adding and subtracting.  That soon led to my 2-year-old daughter wanting her own cup full of beans, which then led to bowls, scoops, paper towel tubes, and of course, a gigantic mess!

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