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).

Awoooooooooo! Here are the top 7 full moon activities for kids.

Can you feel the excitement? The moon has been growing fuller night by night and now it’s shining its brightest. Every 27 days, the moon completes a lunar cycle and shines at its fullest, lighting up the sky, controlling the tides and stirring up all kinds of energy and excitement. Each full moon is another opportunity for heightened energy and activity that – with a little imagination – can lead to a lot of family fun. Let your toes start twitching, feel the goosebumps arise on your skin, and let loose the howl that is surfacing from deep within you! Here are the best full moon activities for kids to embrace your inner werewolves, harness the energy of the full moon and celebrate it.

1. GATHER FOR GHOST TALES

You can’t have a list of full moon activities for kids without throwing some ghosts in there. Gather some logs, gather some friends and gather around the fire pit for a chilling, thrilling night of ghost stories. There’s nothing like a full moon in the sky to create the perfect atmosphere for some hair-raising tales from the other side. You may want to consider the age of your audience before going all out creepy. Take a look at this selection of kid friendly ghost tales.

2. EXPLORE THE NIGHT SKY

Did you know that the moon is the easiest celestial body in the night sky to observe with the naked eye?  Because the surface of the moon is covered with massive craters and inactive volcanoes, it’s easy to distinguish the complexities of its surface. If you have a telescope or binoculars, it’s even more interesting to explore and chart the cool features of the moon. For more fun lunar facts and answers to questions like “How was the moon formed?” and “How big is the moon?” visit Nat Geo Kids.

3. WALK WITH THE DEAD

A full moon is the creepiest time to pull out your fangs, fake blood and green face paint and take a Zombie Walk through your neighborhood. Invite some friends and neighbors to dress up like their favorite monster or scary movie character and then take your party crew on a zombie parade under the moon. You can turn any traditional costume like a baseball player, nurse, or cowboy into a gory zombie by adding some torn clothes and blood, or you can choose some of your crew to dress like “the living” and then let the zombies chase them down your street. Plus, you probably already have the ingredients you need to make fake blood.

4. FIGURE OUT WHO DONE IT

If you’re looking for a party activity that your guests will die for, host a Full Moon Murder Mystery. You can create your own murder mystery theme with this beginner’s guide to planning a murder mystery. Or you can shop online for downloadable kid friendly mystery party games with all kinds of fun themes and virtual non-murder mysteries here. Whether you plan your own or download a game, customize the theme, storyline, and decor to include mentions and references to the full moon.

5. MEDITATE UNDER THE MOON

Harness the full energy from the moon by meditating with your family under its lunar light. It’s a fun and easy way to teach your kids the power of meditation. First, find a place where the moonlight is completely visible either outside or by a window. Next, sit comfortably and close your eyes. Then, let your body feel the luminous beams of the full moon. Take several deep slow breaths and concentrate on the moonlight and its cleansing effect on your mind and body.

6. TAKE A NIGHT HIKE

There are so many fascinating things to hear and see on a moonlit family hike. Find a path or trail that you are familiar with, bring flashlights or headlamps and wear reflective clothing. Listen for signs of nature that you can’t experience during the day like the hoots of an owl or the chirping of crickets. Look for bats and lighting bugs and other nocturnal creatures. And, let the full moon help guide your way to a fun family full moon memory.

7. GO WITH THE GLOW

As the full moon creeps near, organize some friends for a fun night of glow-in-the-dark games under its lunar light. For a pulse-pounding outdoor glow game that’s a combination of hide and seek, tag and scavenger hunts, check out Wizards and Werewolves.

It’s is an exciting backyard team competition of speed, skill and wits that pits two mythical forces against each other. Play as a wizard and embark on a perilous journey to capture glowing magical crystals. Or bare your teeth and howl as you join the werewolves, stalking prey, guarding the crystals and hunting down wizards.The game offers three levels of play ranging from beginner to highly strategic advanced game play and is the perfect game to play under a full moon.

Next time the moon is bright in the sky, try some of these full moon activities with your kids!

Another Sequel Nobody Really Wanted

The spring of 2020 was long and stressful. Many parents were juggling jobs and trying to homeschool multiple children, as well as keep them socially connected and active during the pandemic. To some parents, the quarantine situation may have felt almost like a horror movie, and the fall of 2020 could be the sequel. As the summer days wind down, it’s looking like more and more schools will be keeping their doors closed and offering virtually learning to their students. Parents, brace yourself for another semester as teacher, entertainer, discipliner and social coordinator. Here are some homeschooling tips that might help.

1. Entertainment for All

Two kids laugh in their backyard.

When you’re trying to keep multiple kids from getting bored, it’s easier to think of group games and activities that will entertain various ages all at one time. Start by making a “boredom buster” list of fun games and active ideas to post on your fridge. Then, when someone says “I’m bored,” consult the list. Be sure to let your kids contribute to the boredom busters – no idea is too silly. Activities like backward bike races, dance parties, blind-folded balloon volleyball, pillow fights, limbo contests, backyard bowling and freeze tag are all fun, easy to learn and adaptable for all ages.

Glow Battle is a great boredom buster and a wonderful way to get excess energy out of your kids. You can play Glow Battle anywhere that there is open space to run – in the yard, in a basement or in the garage. It’s easy to set up and simple for all ages to play. Identify your teams with different colored glowing bracelets. Then, use the harmless, glowing foam batons to attack your opponent, and send them running back to their base to “recharge” before they get hit again. Whether you are trying to get your group active or offer a creative alternative for your homeschooling version of gym class, Glow Battle is an ideal way to keep your kids entertained between subjects.

2. Time Off for Good Behavior

A kid crouches on the ground and smiles at the camera while taking a break from homeschooling.

Virtual learning is not just stressful for the parents. It’s also hard on kids, and their brains are going to need some breaks. Since the majority of virtually learning involves digital devices, students need time off of screens for a mental break, as well as to give their eyes a chance to relax from screen strain. Offer your kids an easy rewards system for school work completed. For example, for every hour of school work they do, give them fifteen minute breaks of free play time or board game play.

3. Encourage Exercise: Homeschooling PE

In addition to burning off excess energy and maintaining good health, physical activity helps kids learn better. Studies show that regular exercise allows kids to sharpen their focus, be less impulsive and have fewer disciplinary problems. Meaning that kids that get moving during the day, actually stay focused longer when it’s time to sit down for schoolwork. Experts recommend that children get sixty minutes or more of physical activity every day, either all at once or broken down into smaller time segments.

Capture the Flag REDUX is a good way to provide small group social interaction and also remain outdoors. It’s the classic game of Capture the Flag revolutionized with glow-in-dark orbs, glowing bracelets and futuristic borders marked with LED lights. It’s the perfect way to provide active, social interaction for kids, teenagers and even adults. Plus, you can mix it up with 12 game variation cards for more ways to play Capture the Flag and other games…because, let’s face it, who knows if this homeschooling sequel will become a trilogy or not!

4. Provide Safe Social Connections

Teens play Wizards & Werewolves while homeschooling.

With the new rules of quarantine, it’s best to limit large social engagements. However, even if they’re homeschooling, children do need some sort of social interaction each day whether it’s with siblings or the one or two friends down the street that are in your chosen circle. Playing with them outside might be the best way to encourage social opportunities with less risk.

Wizards & Werewolves is the perfect way to engage kids’ imaginations while getting them up and moving. Play as a Wizard to search for glowing crystals or bare your teeth and hunt as a Werewolf in this outdoor game of hunting, hiding and howling!

Seven Ways to Make Your Next Family Trip Memorable

When camping with kids and teens, you can sometimes face the problem of them getting bored, which can turn what you hoped would be a fun family camping trip into a bad camping trip.

In order to keep boredom at bay, it’s nice to have a list of the most fun camping games for kids and teens on hand for your next camping trip. Seasoned campers know how to keep kids and teens entertained and busy. Having them set up the tent, stack firewood, and hook up the water lines is a good start in my book.

For parents who are new to camping, you may need some games at the ready to keep the kids engaged in the Great Outdoors. The last thing you want is your kids sulking about their lack of wifi. Here are seven ways to make your drive-to vacation memorable this year: 

1. Camp Olympics

Sure, the real olympics are cancelled this year, but that doesn’t mean YOU can’t compete. A good way to get everyone involved in some physical play is Camp Olympics. No need to add weird sports like curling or pole vaulting. Stick with foot races, long jumps, swimming contests, and even some wrestling. These Summer or Winter Olympics can be used yearly to track record setters for years to come. Not a bad addition to the family history books that are hidden in your garage somewhere.

2. Glow Battle

Battle like a ninja samurai using harmless glowing swords! Family, friends and neighbors play organized sword fighting games using (harmless!) glowing foam weapons. With 10 variations, it encourages kids and families to play together. Available here.

3. Washer Toss

Washer Toss is a good way to rest up after the Camp Olympics. It’s a fun game that can get competitive even though it is played at a more relaxed pace. You don’t want your kids running all over the place right before bedtime. Washer Toss is a good way to calm everyone down and get ready for the sleeping bags or hammocks.

4. Fishing Tournament

How about a Fishing Tournament? The winner could win a cash prize or get to skip any part of the packing up chores when the camping trip is over. The winner is the fisherman with the most pounds or the largest number of fish overall.

5. Capture the Flag REDUX

Capture the Flag REDUX is always a go-to game for all ages no matter where you are. It’s definitely one of the best outdoor camping games. You can even play after those memorable sunsets with Capture the Flag REDUX, our glow in the dark version of Capture the Flag. The kit’s 25 reusable light-up game pieces allow for up to 10 traditional Capture the Flag players. It also includes 12 alternate ways to play, allowing for 4-20 players.

6. Scavenger Hunts

Whether you need a game for the day or a week-long challenge, Scavenger Hunts never get old. How many items could you find over the course of a week at a campground? I’d say 50-100 if you want to make things interesting.

Some honorable mentions for the best outdoor camping games include:

  • Mini-Ping Pong
  • Dodgeball
  • Tennis, as many campgrounds have courts.
  • Tent Race (Make setting up the tents a competition among the kids and keep the recorded times for each trip.).
  • Rain Hike Challenge (you thought I would throw in some board games for rainy days? Haha! Teach the kiddos a little toughness. They won’t melt).

Keep this list of games handy as you head out for your next camping trip. Getting active and competitive with your kids and will make them forget about the lack of wifi out in the woods. It doesn’t hurt us adults to forget the internet world for a while either!

Want more games? Here is our best outdoor games list that includes 50 of what we think are the best outdoor games.

When camping with kids and teens, you can sometimes face the problem of them getting bored, which can turn what you hoped would be a fun family camping trip into a bad camping trip.

In order to keep boredom at bay, it’s nice to have a list of the most fun camping games for kids and teens on hand for your next camping trip. Seasoned campers know how to keep kids and teens entertained and busy. Having them set up the tent, stack firewood, and hook up the water lines is a good start in my book.

For parents who are new to camping, you may need some games at the ready to keep the kids engaged in the Great Outdoors. The last thing you want is your kids sulking about their lack of wifi.

A good way to get everyone involved in some physical play is Camp Olympics. No need to add weird sports like curling or pole vaulting. Stick with foot races, long jumps, swimming contests, and even some wrestling. These Summer or Winter Olympics can be used yearly to track record setters for years to come. Not a bad addition to the family history books that mom keeps.

Washer Toss is a good way to rest up after the Camp Olympics. It’s a fun game that can get competitive even though it is played at a more relaxed pace. You don’t want your kids running all over the place right before bedtime. Washer Toss is a good way to calm everyone down and get ready for the sleeping bags or hammocks.

Kayaking seems to be getting more and more popular each year at various lakes. Teenagers would love to challenge their parents in a Kayak Race or Lake Cleanup Contest. For cleanups, players compete to see who gathers the most lake litter in an hour or two. The races could be sprints from one side of the lake to the other. Or for athletic families, an endurance race around the entire lake would be awesome. You might want to track the kids on a GPS. They are pretty crafty and could take a shortcut. Same goes for you kids… watch Dad, he hates to lose!

How about a Fishing Tournament? And don’t keep this game to yourselves. Have the kids invite neighboring campers over for the tournament. The winner could win a cash prize or get to skip any part of the packing up chores when the camping trip is over. The winner is the fisherman with the most pounds or the largest number of fish overall. Use those kayaks or do some casual bank fishing.

Rescue the Rookie Campers may be a game I just made up. However, it is a good challenge. Trust me, somewhere near your campsite will be a rookie camper with no clue how to start a fire. The poor guy probably didn’t even bring any firewood, much less kindling. So your mission as a family is to seek out the rookie and offer him some wood and let your kids start the fire. I had a Boy Scout Troop start a fire for me and my young family back in the day. Not a proud moment personally, but I appreciated them and eventually learned how to start a fire… all by myself!

Capture the Flag is always a go-to game for all ages no matter where you are. It’s definitely one of the best outdoor camping games. You can even play after those memorable sunsets with Capture the Flag REDUX, our glow in the dark version of Capture the Flag. This game is great for larger groups so this is a perfect opportunity to make new friends with other campers. Don’t let the kids be shy. Have them invite other junior campers over for a big game of Capture the Flag.

Capture the Flag Redux Game Image

Whether you need a game for the day or a week-long challenge, Scavenger Hunts never get old. How many items could you find over the course of a week at a campground? I’d say 50-100 if you want to make things interesting. Better watch mom. She’s prepared for everything, so she may have half of the items already in her bag!

Some honorable mentions for the best outdoor camping games include:

  • Mini-Ping Pong
  • Dodgeball
  • Tennis, as many campgrounds have courts.
  • Tent Race (Make setting up the tents a competition among the kids and keep the recorded times for each trip. Listen up dads – this is a good way to get out of the set-up duty).
  • Rain Hike Challenge (you thought I would throw in some board games for rainy days? Haha! Teach the kiddos a little toughness. They won’t melt).

 

Keep this list of games handy as you head out for your next camping trip. Getting active and competitive with your sons and daughters will make them forget about the lack of wifi out in the woods. It doesn’t hurt us adults to forget the internet world for a while either!

Want more games? Here is our best outdoor games list that includes 50 of what we think are the best outdoor games.

If the campground you are going to has a public swimming pool, check out our fun glow in the dark swimming games.

* The featured image for this blog post was taken by Martin Thomas and can be found here on Flickr.