If you have young chess players in the house, you might want to check out one of the many chess tournaments held here in Oregon. Our experience with these tournaments has been very positive. There is a range of players welcomed, with particular attention to encouraging the youngest of players. Events are typically inexpensive (less than $20 to enter), offer the chance to play 4 or 5 similiar-aged opponents, and are a great way to pass a rainy, cold Saturday.
It was ALL LEGO® - ALL day for us this Saturday!
Here's a few snapshots of the fun activities:
Here's a few of the store's great offerings:
Now, we're home and our our LEGO day continues. I'm sleepily sipping a cup of hot cider (with my feet up) while the boys are busy building with their new bricks. With their new purchases, and the 'mini-set' prizes they received at KIDSFEST, I'm not sure when they'll be ready for bed. Our eight year old keep announcing, "This is such a fun day!"
Who ever imagined that such small bricks could bring such joy and contentment to so many?
I couldn’t help but sing a few bars of the old Willy Nelson song each morning as we loaded into the car on our recent family vacation to Yellowstone National Park. My hubby and I are not “car people,” but we committed to this family road trip and so threw ourselves into the adventure. To pass time in the car as we traveled, my family listened to music, enjoyed audio books, and played games.
The two most popular games while in the park were the “find-a-license-plate-from-every-state-in-the-county” game and the “list-all-the-animals-you-see-on-this-trip” game. Our backseat drivers were given a clipboard and put in charge of tracking our progress.
Excitement grew just as our lists did. The screams of delight when we spied “Hawaii” (50 out of 50) were a bit much, but I calmed down quickly. J My youngest referred back to his animal list often: moose, elk, wolf, coyote, rabbit, pelican, goose, bison, marmot, big horn sheep, osprey, eagle, squirrel, snake.
Other games we tried as we traveled to and from home included Car Bingo (Thank you to Mom’s Mini Van for printable cards) and Slug Bug. We altered the original Slug Bug game and chose to keep a running tally rather than swapping punches. The family member who spied the most “bugs” didn’t have to help unpack the car upon return to our home in Oregon. Our oldest boy claimed the prize – and loved every minute of it.
Also, a car must-have when traveling great distances: audio books. We checked-out a few on CD from our library (Check-out this post about our favorite audio book title on this trip), but we also stocked our mp3 player. One boy could listen on headphones; one could nap; parents could talk. Thank you to Library2Go for the free downloads of children’s books.
Imagine two young boys who have just endured an 8.5 hour flight from Europe.
Imagine one mommy who has to survive a three hour layover in a dirty airport and is determined to keep her little darlings happy and awake. (They can sleep on the next 5 hour flight to the west coast - no use wasting slumber during the layover.)
Now imagine a family of four being incredibly too loud as they play airport balloon volleyball. Wait….. no need to imagine: that's my family.
On our trip earlier this summer, I tucked a few of those handy-dandy party balloons in my carry-on and pulled them out just in time to save us from the 'I'm bored travel blues.'
Choosing an empty gate, we used a row of chairs in the waiting area as our net - picked teams and went to work. It was hilarious! The boys were engaged, active (just tiring them out a bit more for that nap during the final flight), and happy. Oh, so happy! The giggles were too much. Twice we had a time-out so our youngest could catch his breath. We spiked; we blocked; we high-fived and occasionally had help from a passerby when the balloon wandered out of bounds.
Good, clean, airport fun: that's hard to come by, but (oh so sweet and) simple with a 99 cent pack of balloons.
Now that the days are a little longer and a little sunnier: I have a great outdoor activity for all the family to share.
First started in England, this international game of 'hide and seek' spans the globe with over 5,000 boxes in the U.S alone. There are over a hundred letterboxes hidden in our local area.
So… lace up your shoes and get ready to go!
Here’s how it works:
1) Someone hides a box and then posts clues or directions to
the box on the internet.
2) Those who want to seek can read the clues and set out to
find the hidden box. While on this expedition you’ll need
a stamp, inked stamp-pad, a pen or pencil, and a simple
3) Once you find the treasure – stamp the book that was
enclosed in the letterbox to show you’ve found it. Then
stamp your own book with the stamp hidden in the
letterbox. Lastly, place everything discretely back in its
hiding place for the next adventurer.
The great thing about this outing is that it works for both the youngest and oldest member of the family. My son loved to help us figure out the clues when he was as young as three and older kids can carve their own stamps and hide their own boxes.
Here are clues to a local Salem box to start you off. Good Luck!
To the tune of “I’ve been working on the railroad.”
“We’ve been visiting the train station,
in our hometown.
We’ve been visiting the train station,
the box is NOT on the ground.
Go and find the newspapers,
sold there just outside.
Reach on under the ‘Statesman’
and there our box you’ll find!”
My boys and I tried out Wunderland last week and were happy to find a clean, fun, nickel-arcade to keep our mind off the outdoor drizzle. With five locations, this is the ultimate tween hangout - but arriving at opening hours and with a coupon in-hand it was a great quick-stop for young kids as well.
Here's the Momma Inside Scoop--
1) Check this coupon page. We found a deal for buy-one-get one-free admission AND 40 free nickels!! Note: Adults Admission is usually $2.50, Children $2.00, and 4 and under FREE!
2) The video games are a bit much for players with slower/just developing fine-motor skills. Instead - stick to those games promising "a winner with every chance" OR the fabulous skeet ball and air hockey games!
3) Need a boost? Stepping stools are provided. Check near the front desk or ask an attendant.
4) While this outing is a fun and exciting novelty; it's also loud, chaotic and full of distraction. Be prepared to have some hyped-up kiddos who need some free-play time when done. Heading home afterward or to the local basketball gym? Absolutely! Making a pit stop at the grocery store, Great-Aunt Edna's or the Dentist's office? I wouldn't recommend it!
On the Go