Whether you’re a “Nana” or a “Gigi” a “Pops” or a “Grandpa,” you undoubtedly love spending time with your grandkids. And with the holidays coming up, you’re probably looking for ways to spend quality grandchildren time that doesn’t involve them staring into a screen. According to a recent study in the Journal of Children and Media, kids spend roughly half of their time on screens when they are visiting with grandparents. In general, grandparents have a harder times saying “no” and tend to let their grandkids overindulge in screen time. 

This year, instead of saying “no” to them, say “yes” to our list of fun, screen-free activities and ideas. Start by sitting down with your grandkids and making a Holiday Bucket List. Know that grandparents play an important role in grandkids’ lives, and be a good role model by giving them your full attention and taking time to listen to their thoughts and ideas. Make sure to include a variety of activities that allow you to interact together without screens and create special holiday memories. Here are some fun ideas to get you started.

  1. Explore the outdoors. Grab your jackets and scarves and head outside for a nature hike, bike ride or scavenger hunt.
  2. Learn a new craft together. Stop at the hobby store and buy supplies to make homemade holiday-scented candles, festive beaded-jewelry, DIY winter snow globes or gingerbread houses.
  3. Teach them about your generation. Bring out the vintage clothes from your closet, play your favorite old tunes and show them your (ah, cringe) dance moves.
  4. Let them teach you something from their generation. Let them show off their Lego expertise or how to play Pokémon cards.
  5. Build something together. Draw up a blueprint for a fort or a bird feeder or a doll house, gather the supplies and start building. 
  6. Bake something together. Enliven this grandparent go-to, by letting them pick a new recipe for cookies, homemade pizzas or holiday candy.
  7. Plan a special outing times two! You pick a place that you’ve been wanting to visit like an art museum, or live theatre event, and then let them pick one that they’ve been wanting to visit like the zoo or aquarium. 
  8. Work on a challenging puzzle. Pull out a card table for the holidays and start a challenging puzzle that you can work on together over time. When you are finished, glue it to cardboard, frame it and then hang it in special place. 
  9. Have an outdoor (or indoor!) campout. Kids don’t care if you roast marshmallows on an outdoor fire pit or in the microwave, as long as there are s’more ingredients to go with them. Tell ghost stories by flashlight and cozy up together under the sleeping bags. 
  10. Play a new game together. You just might win “Coolest Grandparent of the Year” if you have one from Starlux Games. For younger grandkids, choose a magical, glowing game like Protectors of the Rainbow https://www.starluxgames.com/product/protectors-of-the-rainbow-by-starlux-games/ where you can be the leprechaun and they can pretend to be unicorns, racing to find hidden glow-in-the-dark gems. For older grandkids, check out Vikings of the Northern Lights https://www.starluxgames.com/product/vikings/ which can be played outside in the snow or in the sun. And, for all ages, choose Glow Battle https://www.starluxgames.com/product/glow-battle-ninja-game/ and show them just how ninja-like and fun you can really be. 
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It’s March and time to get your green on for St. Patrick’s Day! But why not add a little more sparkle to the holiday this year and celebrate with a whole slew of bright and festive rainbow colors? Everyone knows that rainbows are a magical part of St. Patrick’s Day tradition. They bring the wonder of sunlight, water and color together. Plan a day – or even a week – full of fun rainbow activities with your kids, and maybe you’ll find something way more magical than a pot of gold.

RESEARCH RAINBOWS

Did you know that rainbows can appear at night and are called moonbows? And, did you know that rainbows can appear without any rain at all? Read the truth behind these myths and more interesting facts about rainbows here

FACE DECOR

Face paint has the power to magically make kids smile! And, nothing is easier or more fun to paint on faces than a rainbow. So pull out the face paints and paint your kids’ cheeks or foreheads to celebrate the day. If you’re feeling extra daring, search online for tutorials on how to paint a rainbow butterfly or rainbow tiger look!

MAKE A MAGICAL RAINBOW CAKE

Imagine cutting into a cake and discovering a rainbow of brightly colored layers. It’s easier than you think to make this seven layer cake. All you need is two boxes of white cake mix, three containers of whipped frosting, three equal size round cake pans and gel food coloring. Prepare the first box following the directions and then split the batter into three equal bowls. Add food coloring to make purple, blue and green batter and then bake according to the instructions. Then, repeat the process with the second box of mix to make the red, orange and yellow layers. After all of the layers have cooled, level off the tops and begin to layer the colors in order of the rainbow with a layer of frosting in between. Then frost the top and sides. Decorate with sprinkles if you desire, and cut into the cake to reveal a beautiful rainbow! You can find more detailed instructions here

GO ON A RAINBOW SCAVENGER HUNT

Looking for more than green and gold on St. Patrick’s Day? Plan a scavenger hunt using every color of the rainbow. Make a checklist for kids to find specific items of each color. For example, find a red fruit, an orange sock, three things that are yellow, something green and gooey, something round that is blue and a purple toy. Make up your own crazy and creative rainbow search or find one here

PAINT A RAINBOW

 If there are no signs of a real rainbow overhead, paint your own bright and colorful one to hang up. Simply grab some butcher paper or a large sheet of art paper and a sponge. Then, use craft or poster paint to squirt blobs of paint directly onto the sponge in a straight line in order of the colors of the rainbow. Next, slowly slide the sponge across the paper revealing a magical rainbow creation. Add details as desired – the sun, clouds, butterflies, birds, or a glittery pot of gold! See this craft here

DO A WALKING RAINBOW EXPERIMENT

To see a rainbow grow right in front of your eyes, try this really cool experiment. Line up seven clear plastic cups and fill them 2/3 with water. Then add 5 drops of red food coloring to the 1st and 7th cup, add 5 drops of yellow to the 3rd cup and 5 drops of the blue to the 5th cup. Next, take paper towels, fold them in half and in half again lengthwise. Place one end of a paper towel in the first cup with the other end in the second cup. Do the same between the remaining cups. Wait a few minutes and watch the colors spread like magic. See this experiment here


PLAY A MAGICAL RAINBOW GAME

Nothing can spark your kids’ imaginations more than pretending to be unicorns racing to find hidden, glowing gems to protect a beautiful rainbow of colors, or the leprechauns that are hiding the sparkling lights. Perfect for kids ages 4 to 10, Protectors of the Rainbow can be played indoors or outside. It’s a magical treasure hunt game that keeps kids active and their imaginations active, too. It’s so fun, they will want to play it over and over again!

The plan is in place, now it’s time to enjoy a festive St. Patrick’s Day surrounded by color and magic!

No doubt it’s been a challenging year for everyone, and we’re all ready for some good times! If you’re searching for a fun and festive reason to celebrate, why not plan a Mardi Gras party for your family or a small group of friends. Choose any combination of the following FAB FIVE of FAT TUESDAY and let the good times roll.

1. GET YOUR FAMILY OR FRIEND GROUP

What matters above all else this year is being with your family and friends. Gather your family or a small group of friends and invite them to get in the Mardi Gras spirit. The actual holiday is on February 16th this year – but feel free to pick any date around then to celebrate! Check out some fun and free printable invitations here.

2. GET YOUR FRENCH ON

Most know that Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday,” but here are a few more fun French phrases that you can practice for your festive fête. To hear the proper pronunciation read aloud, click here.

Laissez les bons temps rouler: Let the good times roll

un bal masqué: costume ball

un feu de joie: bonfire

le masque: mask 

une perle: bead

la plume: feather

la reine: queen

le roi: king

3. GET YOUR FESTIVE ON

One of the best parts of Mardi Gras is that just about anything goes…bright colors, beads, bangles. Decorate your party space by hanging beads and streamers in the traditional colors of purple, green and gold. Create fun paper mâché or paper plate masks with poster paint and faux jewels. Get a free mask template here.

Then, dress in glittery costumes or Mardi Gras colors, choose an honorary king and queen, and throw your own parade or costume ball complete with jazzy music!

4. GET YOUR FEAST ON

Since Fat Tuesday is the last day before traditional Lenten fasting, food is undoubtedly a main event of the bash! Classic Mardi Gras food includes Cajun inspired gumbo, red beans and rice, or jambalaya. But, feel free to improvise with fun finger food, or snacks that are purple, green or gold. Some version of a King Cake is also a must. Most King Cakes involve pastry dough formed into a ring with a small plastic baby hidden inside. Whoever gets the slice with the baby wins a prize! Find the recipe here.

5. DON’T FORGET THE FUN GAMES!

Finally, don’t forget to have an arsenal of exciting games on hand to keep the party hopping. For younger kids, choose a magical, glowing game like Protectors of the Rainbow that is designed for kids ages 4-10. Spark your imaginations as you pretend to be unicorns, racing to find hidden glow-in-the-dark gems in this treasure hunt game that can be played indoors or outside. For older kids and groups of mixed ages, check out Vikings of the Northern Lights. Another magical game driven by your imagination as you pretend Ice Dragons have invaded the lands! It’s up to the Vikings to drive them off by restoring the glowing gems to the medieval scepter before the ice dragons freeze-tag them all. Designed to be played in snow or sun, teams work together to guard, protect and restore the scepter to its full power.

Now that the festivities are set, it’s time to throw a Mardi Gras gathering that’s a blast for the whole gang! Decorate, dress to the nines, create a delicious spread, and enjoy some fun filled games that will keep the party going well into the night!

Super Bowl Sunday…it’s much more than just a game. It’s an entire day when families and friends gather to spend time together and enjoy food, football and fun. This year, your crew may be smaller than usual, but your fun can still be just as big! Whether you’re celebrating Super Bowl Sunday with just your family, or with a few friends, you are sure to win with these activities to keep the party going all day long.

PRE-GAME

Often, the time before the big game can be just as fun as the game itself. Get your crew into the spirit with some pre-game activities to get them fired up!

Poster Station: Create an area for sign making complete with poster board and markers where they can decorate a sign for their favorite team or player.

Face Paint: Nothing says “ultimate fan” like face paint in team colors! For an added crazy bonus, buy some colored spray-on hair paint. You just may win the trophy for host of the year.

Football-Themed Snacks: The ingredients for success include snacks that can be shaped into something fun and football-related. Ideas include a football shaped cheese ball, a snack board shaped like a stadium, and a pan of brownies decorated to resemble a football field. Stock up on the snacks, and then let your imagination go for it!

GAME TIME

Even if the game is a dud or your football-attention span is short, keep the excitement going during the game with these game time activities.

Commercial Bingo: Create bingo cards that have squares with different products you think will be advertised during the game (for example: chips, beer, deodorant, soda). Then let your crew use M&Ms in team colors to mark off when an ad runs for those items. Be sure to have a small prize for the winner!

Football Trivia: Do you know what NFL team is known as “America’s Team”? Or, what year the first Super Bowl was played? Or, which NFL team’s mascot is Sourdough Sam? Create a list of twenty football trivia questions to read during time-outs and give everyone six points for each one they get right. Then, give them extra points for bonus answers about the mascots. 

Do Your Dance: Have each family member or guest make up their own personal victory dance. Every time a team scores a touchdown, let a different person showcase their victory dance. At the end of the game, vote on who had the best winning moves. 

HALFTIME

Just because the teams are taking a break doesn’t mean the fun has to! If your crew isn’t interested in the half-time show, create your own kind of entertainment.

Be The Show-Stoppers: Now’s your chance to shine by making up your own half-time show to perform. Choose someone to be the lead singer or singers, and then pick some background dancers. Chances are it will be way more fun than watching. 

Take it Outside: Get a break from the screen by taking your crew outside for some fresh air and fun. Starlux Games are the perfect way to get your crew outside, active and engaged. Plus, their glow-in-the-dark games are ideal to play even if the sun has gone down!

Capture the Flag REDUX is the classic Capture the Flag game revolutionized with futuristic glow-in-the-dark lights. Split your game group into teams and watch as they break teammates out of jail, sneak into enemy territory, protect base and steal the glowing flag to win. Each game box includes two glowing orbs to use as the “flags,” color-coded LED bracelets to differentiate team members, glowing jail markers, and a rulebook. 

Glow Battle is another great halftime option that can be played indoors or out with 2 to 10 players. Players use harmless glowing batons to strategize and take down their opponents. Physical activity becomes part of the fun as players run, jump and swing at each other to win. Each game box comes with 10 weapons, 10 glowing wristbands, 8 regeneration station markers and 10 game playing cards with different game variations.

However you decide to bring the fun this Super Bowl Sunday, let these activities spark some inspiration to make it a great one! Game ON!

By now, we all know that sticking to New Year’s resolutions is hard. In fact, by mid to late January, most of us have already given up on our goals and are back to our old habits. If you fall in that category, don’t worry. There are a few tricks to making healthy, positive resolutions that will stick and you’ll actually want to keep. 

First of all, plan resolutions that incorporate fun. If it’s your goal to be more active, you’re more likely to succeed if your resolution is to play outdoor games that you enjoy versus doing an exercise that you dread every day. Or, if your resolution is to spend more time with your family, you’ll have more success if you have games on hand that make that time enjoyable. Turn your resolutions into small, positive steps that make them more manageable and more appealing. No matter what day of the month or year it is…here’s your chance to start fresh with some new resolutions that are fun, good for you and you’ll want to keep for years to come.

1. GET OUTSIDE MORE

Who doesn’t love the feel of fresh air and sunshine on their skin? Being outside is fun and studies show that it’s good for your mental health, as well as your physical health. To make it more convenient, keep all-weather gear in an easy-to-access location by the door. Get a small rack or bin for boots, gloves, sneakers, sunscreen or whatever the current weather calls for. Then, add some interesting outdoor activities to the bin depending on the season like water balloons or jump ropes, kites or sleds, flashlights or frisbees. Resolve to get outside three times a week for thirty minutes each time, trying to increase the minutes and days each week when possible.

Vikings of the Northern Lights, is a great way to get outside with family and friends. All ages can compete in this game that’s part freeze tag and part team sport as they work together to guard, protect and restore the glowing scepter to its full power. Designed to be played in snow or sun, kids can activate their imaginations all year with this magical game.

2. GIVE BACK

Did you know MLK Day is a nationally dedicated day of service?

Planning to volunteer more is a great resolution, but it is often a hard one to carry-out. Look around your community to find ways that you can give back doing something you truly enjoy. If you like to knit, then make blankets for newborn babies in need. If you love coaching soccer, find a community league and ask if you can volunteer. Maybe you get a kick out of organizing things, then see if there is a local clothing bank that could use your time to sort clothes and display them. Or, if your passion is cooking, find a soup kitchen where you can put your skills to use. Volunteering is rewarding and fun when you love what you’re doing.

3. LESS SCREEN TIME

Kids, teens, adults – we ALL spend too much time on our screens (The Social Dilemma, anyone?). Screen time can negatively affect your mental health, your physical health and even your sleep. In the age of COVID, it’s even harder to disconnect. Make it your personal goal to spend less time on your phone this year. Hang out (safely!) in person with your friends, get some books you want to read, take up a new hobby and implement designated screen time. You’ll feel better, we promise.

4. BE MORE ACTIVE

We know, we know. This is one of the most common New Year’s Resolutions. But take a minute to think about why you want to be more active. You’re a lot more likely to stick with it if you want to feel better, not just lose a few pounds.

Being physical active creates endorphins which make you feel good. You just need to find the right kind of physical activity that you look forward to and you’ll want to make it a part of your routine. If you love to walk with friends, but hate to run alone – then find a friend and make a date for a daily walk. If you like to splash around in the pool, but hate swimming laps – then spring for some fun pool games that will get you hopping in the water and moving. (Ahem, we suggest Starlux Pool Party or Starlux Dive Diamonds.) There’s no need to train for a triathlon, unless you really want to. Finding a fun, physical activity that you want to continue will help you keep up with your resolution to being more active each day.

5. MORE FAMILY TIME

Maybe you’ve had more family time than you can handle over the last year or so. But we’d venture to guess that it hasn’t all been good, quality family time. No one wants forced time with family members when half of them are saying “I’m bored” or “when is this over?” Having the right plan or activities can turn another boring movie night into a fun night of memories playing new games or activities. Try Capture the Flag REDUX. It’s the classic game with new, glow-in-the-dark lights.

There’s nothing like a new year to make us realize how precious time is. Don’t wait for the perfect day to start your resolutions. Rain, shine, snow, get out there and do it today.

Start a New Tradition This Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year when everyone runs to the grocery store to buy cranberry sauce and yams. In fact, it’s the only time of year that we all eat cranberry sauce and yams. They are part of the Thanksgiving tradition, after all. But who says that you have to eat dry turkey and stuff your face with pumpkin pie every Thanksgiving? Maybe Black Friday shopping online just isn’t the same, or your football team just isn’t that good this season. Thanksgiving break is one of the few times of the year that we usually get together with our families or our chosen families, but this year has obviously changed that for many of us. This year, choose to start some fresh and unique traditions to make extra special memories. They don’t have to be expensive or fancy. They can range from crazy to meaningful, food-focused to fun-focused, or both. You might just be surprised at how adaptable your family is.

1. BREAKFAST TRADITIONS

Move over big turkey dinner. There’s room for another fun meal in the house. What could be a better start to the holiday than staying in your pajamas and getting a delicious first meal of the day? Start Thanksgiving day off with a big breakfast that will hold everyone over until the main event. Make it extra fun with a top-your-own pancake bar, a hot chocolate bar or breakfast snack board. Check out Pinterest for some cool ideas on how to start the day off right. Or, choose the day after Thanksgiving to be your time to stay in PJs and host a fabulous fun-filled brunch.

2. GLOWING TRADITIONS

Add a little sparkle to your Thanksgiving weekend with some glowing evening activities. Start with a big fire pit and eat your dinner outside sitting around the fire. You can even roast marshmallows for your sweet potato casserole right over the fire.

Be prepared to entertain your family with some glow-in-the-dark games from Starlux Games. All ages will love playing Capture the Flag REDUX. It’s the classic Capture the Flag game revolutionized with futuristic glow-in-the-dark lights. Bring your backyard to life Thanksgiving night as you team up to break players out of jail, sneak into enemy territory, protect base and steal the glowing flag to win. Each game box includes two glowing orbs to use as the “flags,” color-coded LED bracelets to differentiate team members, glowing jail markers, and a rulebook.

Or, if the night calls for indoor play, try Glow Battle. Simply clear some indoor space, dim the lights and hand out the glowing batons. Then, use the harmless, glowing weapons to attack your opponents, and send them running back to their base to “recharge” before they get hit again. Players use strategy, teamwork, and their own warrior instincts to team up and take down their opponent. Both games are a great way to burn some Thanksgiving calories and energy!

Four kids point glow swords from Glow Battle at the camera.

3. THANKFUL TRADITIONS

When it all comes down to it, the real purpose of Thanksgiving is sharing what we’re grateful for, and there are so many fresh ways to add this tradition to your holiday. Pour some flutes of cider and go around the table after dinner letting everyone make a toast to someone or something that they are thankful for. You can also use butcher paper as your table cloth and include jars of markers and crayons for adults and kids alike to write or draw why they are grateful. Pass out cards for all to write down what they give thanks for and then play charades after dinner to guess the answers. You can make crafts or cookies or write notes to thank the people that have helped you throughout the year. You can also FaceTime family members or friends that are far away to send love and thanks.

4. SURPRISE TRADITIONS

Sometimes the best tradition is not having a tradition at all. Choose a night for a surprise adventure for your family and pick a last-minute, spur of the moment activity.  Pile into the car for a drive to the best view in your town or, if the weather permits, go on a scenic walk or hike before or after dinner. If you want to plan a stay-at-home surprise, try living-room karaoke where someone else gets to pick what song you sing or try renting a big screen and projector for a home movie night. Don’t forget the popcorn and soda!

5. TWISTED TRADITIONS

The fun of Thanksgiving weekend doesn’t have to end when the pumpkin pie is gone. Give the holiday weekend a twist by planning an extra day like Snacksgiving. This is a day for some serious junk food or everyone’s favorite snack, and a great way for the chefs to relax after a hard day or two of holiday cooking. The menu from the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special is a silly way to bring smiles to your crew. There’s nothing like serving a plate of jelly beans, popcorn and pretzels to make kids happy. And, if too much family time has you worn out and you need a break, you can schedule a TV or movie day guilt-free. Pets-giving can be a fun day too for everyone to bring their dogs to your backyard for a playdate. Twist it up this year… you’re only limited by your own imagination.

6. MUSICAL TRADITIONS

Thanksgiving kicks off a season of magical music, so why not add a musical twist to your traditions. Make a holiday playlist by getting input from your family about their favorite Christmas songs. Then, pull out the laptop and compile them all in a family playlist. Crank up the speakers and sing or dance the night away!

7. CHARITABLE TRADITIONS

The very best traditions are those that you share with others – whether it’s spending time with those you love or spending your time volunteering for others. Adding a little charity to your holiday could be just the thing you need to make you truly grateful. Plus, it teaches your children how to share with those who are less fortunate. Ask your family to help you go through their closets and donate gently used toys and clothes to a local shelter.

Sponsor a family in need and purchase Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas gifts for that family. Organize a canned food drive and collect non-perishable foods that you can donate to a food bank. Spending quality family time by helping others is the perfect tradition to make a difference and spread holiday cheer! Check out VolunteerMatch.org to get started.

Light, Moderate or Vigorous – how much of each should your child be getting?

Kids should be active in promoting a healthy lifestyle and growth. When children are trained to have a healthy lifestyle at a young age, they will manifest the effects and benefits in the long run. Through regular physical activity, they will improve their cardio-respiratory fitness and weight management. Moreover, it reduces the risk of health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Different Types of Physical Activity Based on Intensity

It is a form of exercise that requires energy and movement of the body. Any activity can have instant and long-term health benefits. Having regular activity improves the quality of your life. For kids, it would be best to have group activities to keep them entertained.

Light Physical Activity

Light physical activity is the movement of your body, reaching 1.6 to 2.9 metabolic equivalents (METs). METs are used by researchers to gauge the exertion of an individual in a standard way. The measurement is based on how much oxygen an individual utilizes during a specific activity.

Light-intensity physical activities involve standing up, sitting down, or moving around in a particular location. Some examples include:

• Household chores such as washing the dishes, ironing, and dusting
• Food preparation or cooking
• Light housework such as making the bed and doing laundry
• Working at a standing workstation.
• Simple gardening like pulling the weeds around the plant
• Doing your hobbies: sewing, drawing, painting, creating arts, and knitting
• Playing musical instruments like piano, guitar, violin, or drums.
• Casual walking such as strolling inside a museum, walking around a gallery, or window-shopping at a mall
• Playing billiards
• Basic yoga

Moderate Physical Activity

Moderate physical activities are actions that burn calories three to six times or faster than sitting quietly. These exercises reach three to six METs.

In these activities, children sweat more than light physical exercises and breathe a little harder, but they can still speak while moving their bodies. Some of the examples of moderate physical activities are:

• Walking briskly or jogging about 3½ miles per hour
• Bicycling around ten miles
• General gardening such as raking and trimming shrubs
• Dancing any genre
• Walking and carrying golf clubs
• Water aerobics
• Tennis or Badminton (doubles)

Vigorous Physical Activity

Vigorous physical activities are activities greater than or equal to six METs. Vigorous activities. These activities need the highest amount of oxygen consumption to accomplish a specific action.

Vigorous physical activities include:
• Running or jogging 5 miles per hour
• Walking rapidly for 4½ miles per hour
• Bicycling more than 10 miles per hour
• Heavy backyard work, such as landscaping and wood chopping
• Swimming in freestyle laps
• Aerobics
• Playing basketball with friends
• Tennis or badminton (singles)

Components of Physical Activity

There are four components of physical activity. To achieve total fitness, the body of an individual should focus on each component.

• Cardiovascular endurance measures the ability of your heart and lungs to work together to supply the needed oxygen of the body.
• Muscular strength is the amount of power you can exert in lifting. Fortunately, crossfit equipment for kids can provide tools for your children.
• Muscular endurance is the ability of a specific muscle to work continuously in an extended period.
• Flexibility is the ability of the joints to move in a range of motion.

Kids can attain physical fitness if they participate in activities that improve their cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility. They will most likely coordinate when they work with other kids. Doing collaborative activities like our Starlux Pool Party with friends can motivate them to exercise and move freely.

Key Takeaways

Nowadays, kids spend more time watching television and playing online games. They are now less active in playing and doing physical activities. Allowing the children to participate in group activities and competitive sports can help them maintain their physical fitness. Crossfit equipment for kids also encourages the children to have a workout.

Teach them to take part in simple household chores, such as gardening or washing the dishes. If the children want to have vigorous activities, some specific workouts or exercises work for kids. They will learn the value and benefits of doing physical activities if they start young. Moreover, they can carry this habit until they grow old. Read more to know how exercise can also benefit the mind.

Give your imagination a workout by stepping out of the (boardgame) box.

It was a dark and blustery night. The branches eerily rustled in the wind as the clouds reluctantly shifted, revealing bursts of silver from the full moon overhead. Noah reached into the hollow of an ancient scrub oak tree to remove a glowing gem that brilliantly reflected the beams from above. He waved frantically towards his sister, but then he heard them coming. His stomach dropped as he heard footsteps running faster and faster toward him. He raced for the safety of a nearby clump of trees, his heart pounding with excitement. Was this really happening, he thought, or was he merely a pawn in their intense game?

A man holds the Vikings of the Northern Lights scepter while dressed in medieval garb.

What if the next game box you opened allowed you to not only hold a game piece, but to actively be the game piece. In addition to all of the benefits you get from traditional game play like strategy and teamwork, active group games have the added benefits of encouraging physical activity and nurturing imagination. If you love opening a new game box, unwrapping the game pieces, digesting the rules and mastering the game, think about the excitement you would get going one step further…being a part of the game outside of the box.

A man stands inside a large, LED outlined box in the middle of a field.

In 2012, researchers built a literal five foot box out of PVC pipe and cardboard. They tested over 100 subjects by giving them word association tests while sitting inside the box and outside the box and also, in a room with no box. The people sitting outside the box answered more questions correctly than either of the other groups, proving the theory that you really should “think outside the box.” People that think outside the box grow their creative and strategy skills. That’s what game enthusiasts can do with active games and you – as a game retailer – can too.

Four kids run through a dark backyard playing Capture the Flag REDUX.

Adding active games like Vikings of the Northern Lights or Capture the Flag REDUX to your is a great way for you to expand your family game nights in a healthy, active way. Studies show that being outdoors and active can improve both mental and physical health. Plus, with most sports activities and group gatherings postponed for the time being, what better way to get out the wiggles than to run around the backyard in friendly competition!

Take a step out of that boardgame box. You may be surprised at what you find.

Which Witch?

Can you feel the magic in the air? With Halloween getting closer, it’s hard to resist the urge to throw on our pointiest hat, whip out our wands, and bust out our broomsticks like our favorite witches and wizards! Some are clever, some are cool, and some are just plain creepy. Witch-ever is your favorite, it’s easy to spell-out why October is the season of the witch!

WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST

Hold onto your hats and your little dog too because we’re starting with one of the classic witches! Since 1900, the Wizard of Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West has turned us all into cowardly lions with her gruesomely green complexion, high-pitched squeal, and nightmarish flying-monkeys. For better or warts, this iconic villain has become a fixture in pop culture history. Whether you’ve read the books, watched the movies, or experienced her softer side on Broadway, this clever crone has melted our hearts in addition to…melting.

GANDALF

Keeping up with the classics, we have to mention our favorite wand-ering wizard, Lord of the Rings’ Gandalf. His great power, wisdom, and leadership has taught us to never give up on our quest, no matter what dangers lie ahead. If only we all had mentors like Gandalf to guide us during our darkest witching-hours.

WILLOW ROSENBERG

If you love teen drama, amazing character development, and killer action sequences, chances are that Buffy the Vampire Slayer has played a huge role in your life. And even though Buffy is the supernatural star, we can’t help but relate to the endearingly awkward Willow. Nothing is better than watching Willow come into her own as the most powerful witch in Sunnydale. Although she sometimes dabbles too much in that ol’ black magic, Willow always comes through in the end. And for that, we will always be under her spell.

WITCH HAZEL

Who doesn’t remember watching Looney Tunes on a Saturday morning and trying to mimic her famous cackle? And who else learned just how painful that was for the vocal cords? That just goes to show you that the wand-erful Witch Hazel is an inspiration to us all. From her voice to her look to her mischievous schemes, Witch Hazel conjures up the perfect image of the cartoon witch.

SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH

Sabrina Spellman is one of those witches who really knows how to brew up nostalgia. Whether you know her as a cute cartoon in the Archie Comics, a sassy sitcom star in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, or a serious scream queen in the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, she is the kind of friend that would make any ghoul-squad complete. And if you have trouble deciding which Sabrina is your favorite, her feisty feline Salem will always feel familiar.

MERLIN

Here’s a warlock who really knows how to possess the cultural zeitgeist for hundreds of years. There are so many legends around him that no matter how many times you brush up on Medieval history or rewatch The Sword in the Stone, you may never unlock the full mystery behind this shape-shifting super-sorcerer. But no matter how mysterious, Merlin’s love of Camelot and loyalty to King Arthur has always left us charmed.

MARIE LAVEAU

The Voodoo Queen herself! A mainstay in New Orleans lore, Marie Laveau allegedly worked as a hairstylist and gathered many secrets about the elite of New Orleans from her clientele. She would then approach people on the street and know everything about them despite having never met them before. She was a seasoned Voodoo practitioner who also was a prominent community figure. Over time, her reputation continued to grow, and she remains a huge figure in New Orleans culture to this day. You may recognize her from American Horror Story, where she was played by the indomitable Angela Bassett.

ELMINSTER AUMAR

If fantasy role-playing is your thing, then you know all about Elminster from the Forgotten Realms campaign setting and novels for Dungeons and Dragons. Witty and wise, Elminster is a natural storyteller whose chaotic goodness creates excitement and intrigue wherever he goes. Known as the Sage of Shadowdale, Elminster is of curse the kind of warlock you want on your side.

SARAH, MARY AND WINIFRED SANDERSON

They’ve put a spell on us and now we’re theirs! Since 1993, Hocus Pocus’ Sanderson Sisters have made us root for the villains. With their relatable sibling rivalry, hilarious antics, and killer harmonies (Bette Midler, c’mon!), we almost want Hocus Pocus to be a hags to riches story rather than end with their demise. Well almost…they were pretty evil witches. Regardless, these iconic ladies have proven to be three of our favorite Hallo-queens and will continue to inspire group costumes for generations.

ALBUS DUMBLEDORE

It goes without saying that Dumbledore is not only one of the best wizards of all time, but he is an amazing influence on millions of Harry Potter fans. Whenever we felt like we’ve gotten the short-end of the broomstick, Dumbledore made us feel like we could overcome anything. Even though he proved to be a more complicated hero in the end, we will always be thankful for the expert advice he imparted on us: be kind, always fight for the greater good, and “one can never have enough socks.”

BONUS WIZARD… YOU

With Howl-O-Ween around the corner, we can finally unleash our inner-magic with an epic glow-in-the-dark game that brings fantasy to life! A combination of hide-and-seek, tag, and scavenger hunts, Wizards and Werewolves is a team-based game that brings two mythic forces together for a backyard battle of strategy, speed, and skill. Wizards and Witches use their wits to search for the glowing crystals and stop the hunting Werewolves from taking over the yard! Available here, the game comes with 12 light-up game pieces and offers three levels of play, ranging from easy-to-play for beginners to highly strategic for advanced game play. Be your own favorite witch or wizard with Wizards and Werewolves!

Embrace your inner monster.

Halloween is creeping up and it seems that everyone has a favorite monster of the season. Maybe you’re a sucker for vampires or your go-to is a ghost. Do skeletons make you weak in the knees, or maybe you’re more of the tall, dark and hairy Werewolf type? Whether you dig zombies or are spellbound by witches, find a way to honor your favorite monster this Halloween haunting season with these fun monster mania tributes.

1. BREW UP A BASH

A woman dressed as the mad hatter enjoys some tea and crumpets.

Nothing says “I heart witches” more than hosting a Witches Tea Party. Conjure up a spooky table with a cauldron centerpiece full of the perfect party potion punch and floating eyeballs. Decorate your table with fake cobwebs and spiders and serve witches’ fingers made from chocolate dipped pretzels. Witch-ever treats you choose…Halloween fun is brewing!

2. GHOULISH FUN

If you go ga-ga for ghosts, plan a fun and easy Ghost Hunt. It’s a spooky scavenger hunt game with lollipop ghosts. First, grab a batch of lollipops and  wrap them with white tissue paper or a Kleenex. Tie string or yard around the base of the lollipop to form the ghost’s head making an extra loop with the string to hang it.  Then, use a black permanent marker to draw eyes and a mouth on each one. Next, hang the ghosts around the yard or room adjusting the level of difficulty for the ages participating. For younger kids hang the ghosts at eye level, for older kids, make them higher and harder to find. To amp up the ghastliness, use flashlights to hunt them in the dark.

3. WALK WITH THE DEAD

If you go batty for Dracula, then Vampire Karaoke just might be your thing. Create a music playlist with fun party songs along with some Halloween favorites. Give everyone their own set of plastic vampire fangs and let them choose a song. It might be a pain in the neck, but everyone has to perform with their song with the fangs in their mouths. Bonus points if you can work vampire puns into your chosen song. You can even add some home made blood to your fangs. Get ready to laugh until the sun comes up!

4. JOIN THE DARK SIDE

Howl-oween is the perfect time for werewolf lovers to honor their favorite full moon monster with a glow-in-the-dark game that’s a combination of hide and seek, tag and scavenger hunts. Wizards & Werewolves is an epic team-based game that pits two mythical forces against each other in an exciting backyard battle of speed, skill and wits. Bare your teeth and howl as you join the werewolves, stalking prey, guarding the crystals and hunting down wizards. Available here, the game comes with 12 light games pieces and offers three levels of play ranging from easy-to-play for beginners to highly strategic for advanced game play.

5. ACT LIKE A MONSTER

If your favorite monster is the Frankenstein Monster and you want to leave your friends in stitches, play a few rounds of Monster Mash Charades. Here are the nuts and bolts of it: First make a list of Halloween type activities like trick or treating, carving a jack-o-lantern, or hollowing at the moon. Then, write them down on small sheets of paper, fold them and put them in a plastic pumpkin. Divide your group into teams and let team members choose a paper and act it out without talking, only grunting like a monster. Whichever team can guess the most right is the winner. Frankly, it’s the best version of charades out there!

6. GET WRAPPED UP

If your mummy is your favorite monster, then here’s a good way to show it. The Toilet Paper Wrap Relay Race always get the pulses racing as you try and mummify your friends. The best part is that you probably have the supplies for this game already on hand. Start by dividing your group into pairs and giving one player on each team a roll of toilet paper. Have the player with the roll stand across the playing field from his or her partner. At “go” the players with the toilet paper race down to the other end and start to wrap up their partners from head to toe like a mummy. Then the “mummies” must run back across the field to the finish line. It will be a race to see which team finishes first, and then everyone can relax and unwind.

7. DANCE YOUR BRAINS OUT

If you are looking for Zombodie to love, then hosting a Zombie Dance Party could be for you. Have your guests dress up like zombies with ripped clothes and fake blood. Then, dig up some tunes to die for, like Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Monster Mash. Begin the music and let everyone start dancing. When the music stops, they must return to being zombies. Much like musical chairs, the last one to stop dancing is out of the game. After several rounds, the last one standing is the winner. The rest of the dancers can R(est) I(n) P(ieces).