This Memorial Day weekend will be more meaningful than ever.

We’ve all been missing social interaction with our extended family and friends. We’ve been missing the freedom to do what we want, when we want. And, we’ve been missing celebrations like birthday parties and graduations. As folks slowly begin to transition back to small group gatherings, make the most of your time together over the long weekend. Cherish the time you have to bond with your family over the holiday, and find fun ways to celebrate the little things. If you’re staying home this Memorial Day weekend, here are eight great ways to make it special.

1. CELEBRATE THE TRUE MEANING OF THE HOLIDAY

Start Memorial Day weekend off right by teaching your family the true meaning of the holiday: to honor those you have fought for the freedom of our country. If you know any veterans, help your kids make cards to thank them. Brush up on your US history and plan a trivia night for a fun way to learn it. Decorate your house and yard with flags and make a patriotic craft or dessert with your kids. Plan your own Memorial Day parade by decorating bikes or wagons with red, white and blue and riding through your neighborhood.

2. CELEBRATE THE START OF SUMMER

Memorial Day weekend traditionally marks the beginning of summer, and you can kick it off right with a Welcome Summer Party! The days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer, so break out the summer fun like water balloons, sprinklers and popsicles. It’s the perfect time to take advantage of sunny days and milder nights.

Get everyone outside, put on some sunscreen and play all day in the summer sun and all night under the stars.Some of the most interesting art activities can involve nature and observing the world around them. Plus, being outside means that you can be a little more messy which is a great opportunity for a tie dye kit or mosaic stone kit. You can also include supplies to paint so many fun outdoor projects like birdhouses, garden pots and pet rocks.

3. CELEBRATE AN EXTRA DAY

Memorial Day Weekend gives you an opportunity for a whole extra day with no work and no school work. Take advantage of the long weekend by sharing your favorite activities with your family. If you love music, plan a backyard dance party or download a new album to listen to together. Love food? Make a new recipe with your kids or try a new take-out restaurant. If you love art, buy a craft kit or some paints to start on a new group project. Or, if you love to garden, plan and plant a family garden. Make the long weekend count and take advantage of every minute by enjoying the day together and really bonding over shared activities.

4. CELEBRATE BACKYARD FUN

If you have concerns about heading to the public park or beach over Memorial Day weekend, just don’t go. There are so many ways to have a great holiday celebration without ever leaving your own backyard. Pull out the grill and some paper plates and enjoy the simplicity of cooking outside. Set up some backyard games like corn hole, Bocce ball, volleyball or badminton. Fill a cooler with drinks and kick back in your lawn chairs.

Better yet, get the whole family active with Capture the Flag REDUX. It’s the classic Capture the Flag revolutionized with futuristic glow-in-the-dark lights. Just like the traditional game, players split into teams and then work together to break teammates out of jail, sneak into enemy territory, protect base and steal the flag. But unlike the classic, the flag is now a glowing orb and players wear color-coded LED bracelets to differentiate team members and glowing jail markers.

5. CELEBRATE A STAY-CATION

Sure vacation is fun, but if you aren’t able to leave town, create your own stay-cation at home. A stay-cation lets you enjoy the long weekend without the cost or hassle of a traditional vacation, and it can be equally relaxing and fun. Step one is to put away your work emails and house chores. Step two is to plan fun stay-cation actives: take in some movies, go on long bike rides, soak up the sun, eat some junky food and read some junky magazines. And, if you need to make if simpler, just remember: eat, play, nap, repeat.

6. CELEBRATE THE END OF SCHOOL

We’re SURE you’ll miss being a stand-in teacher, but as the school work begins to wind down for the year, celebrate your children’s efforts as well as your own. Let Memorial Day weekend be a chance for them to put down their pencils, unwind from a stressful semester of digital learning and just play. Free play can be a great way for kids to learn creativity and build their imaginations. And, family gamily night is the ideal way to teach them strategy and teamwork. Let loose with some extra fun family activities like a slumber party on the family room floor or in a tent outside. Arrange an ice cream sundae party with all of the toppings. Stay up late, eat snacks and play together as a family.

Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t make this Easter a great one.

If your Easter bunny has been too busy social distancing to shop for baskets for your family… don’t panic. There is still time to compose a really fun basket of spring goodies that you can either order online or shop online and pick up at retailers. While candy and chocolate are always a good start, consider adding a few Easter toys or games that fit your child’s individual personality. With the days and nights starting to get warmer, it’s the perfect time to choose ones that will get your kids outside and active no matter what their specific interests are. So hop to it!

FOR THE EXPLORER BUNNY…

Spring is the ideal time to get outdoors and let kids explore their environment. If your child is curious about nature, look for fun explorer kits with magnifying glasses, bug catchers and binoculars to stick in their basket. If your kids are older, consider a microscope, compass or other camping gear. Be sure to include an age-appropriate book on nature so that they can look up and identify the bugs, birds and plants around them. If they are more of a night owl, consider a headlamp, night vision goggles or a telescope with a chart of the constellations.

FOR THE ARTISTIC BUNNY…

Capture the magic of the spring season with an assortment of art supplies for your budding Picasso. Include sidewalk chalk, watercolors, markers and a sketch book.

Some of the most interesting art activities can involve nature and observing the world around them. Plus, being outside means that you can be a little more messy which is a great opportunity for a tie dye kit or mosaic stone kit. You can also include supplies to paint so many fun outdoor projects like birdhouses, garden pots and pet rocks.

FOR THE ACTIVE BUNNY…

GLOW BATTLE. There is a really fun selection of basket-worthy active games that you can still order online at starluxgames.com. Glow Battle is a great game to get the whole family outside and moving. Players use strategy, teamwork, and their own warrior instincts to team up and take down their opponent using harmless, glowing batons.  Teams are designated by different colored LED bracelets have a base to “recharge” after they get hit. It’s a fun and fast-paced glowing game that incorporates speed with strategy. One of the best Easter games to burn off all the energy they’ll have from their Easter candy! Available here.

A family plays Glow Battle in their living room.

FOR THE ATHLETIC BUNNY…

You’ll win big when you customize your athletic-lover’s basket by adding fun sports gadgets and balls. Go for a classic collection of footballs, baseball gloves and tennis rackets, or mix it up with some non traditional outdoor sports toys like a disc golf, spike ball or bocce ball set. Spring time is the best time to let your little athlete get their sports fix. It’s also a great time to stock up on training gear like cones and jump ropes and hula hoops – all exciting and fun ways to brighten up their basket. Plus, the whole family can team up for some friendly, competitive Easter games.

FOR THE BACKYARD BUNNY…

Capture is the Flag REDUX is the classic Capture the Flag game revolutionized with futuristic glow-in-the-dark lights, and can be the centerpiece of a basket for your whole family. Bring your backyard to life at 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. As an extra bonus, each kit includes 12 game variation cards that offer even more ways to play Capture the Flag, as well as other games. Available here.

No school? No problem.

“School is cancelled” may be one of the scariest phrases that a parent can ever hear. All of a sudden, you are faced with a day or (gasp) multiple days with your kids in your house, and you’re just minutes away from hearing them saying “I’m bored” every ten minutes. Before you know it, your pulse begins to race and you start to sweat as you wonder how on earth you will keep your kids active and entertained in the endless hours or maybe days ahead. Don’t panic – stay calm and check out these fresh and fun cabin fever relievers for when you’re stuck at home: 

A girl holding four balloons jumps in the air as if they are lifting her off the ground.

1. BALLOON OLYMPICS

The summer olympics may be postponed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stage your own! Balloons are inexpensive and can be full of more than just hot air. They can be full of fun and imagination, crazy games, whacky challenges and silly pranks. Stock up on balloons of different shapes and sizes at your house and pull them out when you need some quick and easy entertainment. Whoever takes home the gold gets a week off from doing dishes!

• When it comes to Balloon Volleyball, there are no official rules and making them up as you go is part of the fun. Determine some boundaries, pick sides and keep the balloon in the air as long as you can. 

• Balloon tennis is a variation where you grab whatever you want such as a ping pong paddle, a badminton racket, or a book and whack the balloon to your opponent’s side to get points.

• Pick teams and have Balloon Relay Races down the hall or across the room. Take turns running with a balloon to a chair and then sit on it until it pops, and run back to tag your teammate.

Three balloons are tied to a toddler who crawls on the ground.

2. PLAN AN OLD SCHOOL NIGHT

Turns out, a trip back in time might just be the thing you need to create some new memories together. Spend the day letting the parents pick their favorite childhood meals or snacks, stack your music playlist with classic tunes from back in the day, and play some old school games.

A Family plays Capture the Flag.

• Look for a new twist on an old classic like Capture the Flag Redux. It’s like the traditional Capture the Flag game revolutionized with futuristic glow-in-the-dark lights. Players wear color-coded LED bracelets to differentiate teams, and then work together to break teammates out of jail, sneak into enemy territory and steal the glowing orb.

• Make a playlist of your favorite old-school music, have everyone dress in their best 80s wardrobe (or whatever decade you choose!) and have a dance party! Or watch a movie from the same decade.

• Play an old-school team game of kickball or wiffle ball outside or inside with a small foam ball. Tell your kids stories about how you used to play outside until the sun went down. Let them roll their eyes a time or two.

A small boy dressed in business casual wear gasps as he holds a book.

3. FAMILY STYLE TED TALKS

Let each family member put together a fun presentation about a topic they’re passionate about, and then have a presentation party. It can be about why pizza is good for you, or how video games increase coordination or anything really. You can even let them dress up if they want. Leave time for a Q&A session! Check out the most popular TED talks of all time here.

• If you have laptops that your kids are able to use, let them practice their powerpoint skills by creating a simple presentation. It’s also a great way to practice their speaking skills in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.

• If you don’t want to use laptops, have them create a poster of their topic and give them a pointer or ruler to do their presentation.

A family plays Glow Battle in their living room.

4. GLOW FOR IT!

When the days get long, turn out the lights for shining afternoon or evening of excitement. Be sure to stock up on glowing goodies like flashlights and batteries, glow bracelets and a few fun glow games. Glowing products are an exciting way to add a spark to any long day at home.

• Flashlight tag is an undeniably fun way to have a blast and also instill some thrill into your home bound crew. Players go around hiding from the person shining their flashlight. When the beam catches them, the flashlight switches hands, and they are it.

Glow Battle is a light-up battle game can be played outside, but is also great fun indoors, too. Simply clear some space, dim the lights and hand out the glowing batons. Players use strategy, teamwork, and their own warrior instincts to team up and take down their opponent. And come on, don’t pretend you wouldn’t love to thwack each other a bit after being stuck together all day!

• Play Glow and Seek, just like hide and seek in the dark while wearing neon glow bracelets.

5. FAMILY CAMPOUT

• If you have an indoor fireplace or a backyard firepit, grill some hot dogs over the open flames.

• When you’re cozied up by the fire, have everyone take turns telling ghost stories or funny stories. If you don’t have a fire, pass a flashlight around and illuminate their face while they tell their tales.

• Play a spooky glow-in-the-dark game like Wizards and Werewolves. It is a pulse-pounding outdoor game that pits two mythical forces against each other in an exciting competition of speed, skill and wits.

A family plays Wizards & Werewolves in their yard.

6. HELP YOUR NEIGHBORS

Even when they’re not in school, kids can still learn valuable lessons. And, there is no better lesson you can teach your kids than to think about others.

A girl rake's leaves in the yard.

• A day out of school can be the ideal time to help an elderly neighbor by shoveling snow, raking leaves, walking their dog, grocery shopping or bringing their trash can in for them.

• Deliver some happiness to friends or neighbors with a secret care package left at their door. Include some fun treats, kids’ artwork or a nice note. You just might realize that you worry a little less about your own problems when you put others first.

Military life comes with its own unique stressors. Here are some of our favorite ways to let off some steam as a family.

Military families face many challenges. While they are supporting their family members in uniform, they’re often also dealing with the strain from frequent moves on top of the normal challenges of having a family.  This makes it incredibly important for military families to become active in their communities, have healthy and fun games to relieve stress and find ways to keep family members connected with each other.
If you’re in the military, we’ve put together a list of ways to help you do just that!  

Five boys run happily on a trail through a field.

1. STAY ACTIVE

Studies show that almost any kind of physical activity can reduce stress. If your family is feeling the strain from a deployment or other military family challenges, find an active hobby that you all can do together. 

• Start a family garden and let each family member plan what they want to plant in their corner of the garden or yard. 

• Find an upcoming local race and train for it as a family.

• Visit the recreation center or gym and take classes together. 

• Search for physical fitness opportunities like joining a local swim team, training in martial arts or even creating an obstacle course in your backyard. 

A person crouches low to the ground as they plant seeds in a garden.
Kids run around a living room with glow batons from their Glow Battle kit.

• Choose a Glow Battle kit to play a number of active family battle games. Just find an open space, identify your teams with the different colored glowing bracelets, and break out the swords of light. Then, use the harmless, glowing batons to attack your opponent and send them running back to their base to “recharge” before they get hit again. Glow battles are a great way to keep your family active, teach your kids strategy and encourage social interaction.

2. SOAK UP YOUR SURROUNDINGS

Frequently relocating as a military family to new places can be scary for both kids and adults alike. Conquer your fear of the unknown by going out as a family and exploring together.

A family of three stands smiling on a path in a forest with their dog.

• Adapt to your new environment by trying new restaurants and exploring local shops and farmer’s markets.

• Visit a museum and soak up some history, science or culture. Be sure to ask about discounted tickets for military families!

• Learn a new language. Frequently moving may mean that you encounter diverse cultures and languages. Inquire at your local college or cultural centers and see if they have opportunities to learn a foreign language. You can also search for online courses or phone apps like Duolingo to easily learn a few new words a day. 

• Check out the local parks to give your family a chance to meet new friends, and also get outside and get moving.

• Take family cooking classes. Trying new foods and recipes is an ideal way to embrace your new community and the local flavors and traditions.

3. SPEND TIME TOGETHER

One of the realities of military family life is that you are often separated for long periods of time. When you do have time together as a family, make it count. Choose some fun rewarding activities that you can do together as a family.

• Create traditions with family friendly competitions of some kind. Consider a family corn hole tournament, scavenger hunt, talent show, or sports championship like backyard volleyball, wiffle ball or flag football. You can even make a funny trophy for the winners to keep and flaunt their victory.

• Compile a collection of your family’s favorite board games for a weekly game night. Classics such as Scrabble, Monopoly, Uno or Life are good games to get you started.

• Volunteer together as a family. It will help you connect to your community while you connect as a family. Inquire at local animal shelters, parks, soup kitchens, churches or community centers for volunteer opportunities.

A group of kids play Capture the Flag REDUX.

• Play a neighborhood favorite with Capture the Flag REDUX. It’s the classic Capture the Flag game revolutionized with futuristic glow-in-the-dark lights. What better way to spend time as a family or meet some new friends? 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. Available here.

Keep them Active, give their social skills a Boost and encourage Creativity.

Playing a variety of games can be an important part of a daily routine for every child, but especially for kids who are homeschooled. The power of playing games can have an amazing effect on kids. Not only does it provide kids with the obvious chance to have fun, but games can give children the opportunity to develop valuable skills such as strategic and creative thinking, as well as social and teamwork skills. Games that get kids up and moving have the added perk of providing ever-important physical fitness benefits, and it’s easier than you may think to have all these benefits with homeschool games.

Kids that are homeschooled have the unique flexibility to be able to play games as a part of their daily curriculum. Active games can serve as physical education development for these kids, as well as offering so many teachable moments and hands-on, experiential learning. A good arsenal of games includes those that offer a combination of these benefits.

A girl runs through a field

A is for Active

CHOOSE GAMES THAT ENCOURAGE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. Homeschool curriculum should include games that keep kids active for a number of reasons. The obvious reason is that all kids need activity and exercise to keep their bodies healthy. In addition, studies show that exercise can boost thinking skills and that being outside can improve mood, creativity and even IQ. Make time each day to get your kids active and outside if the weather is permitting. Choose games that involve running, jumping, stretching and tagging. Our favorites are:  

RED LIGHT – GREEN LIGHT
One player is “it” and stands with their back to the others. When the player yells “green light” the others move towards them until they yell “red light” and spin around. Players must freeze before being seen by the “it” player or go back to the starting line. The first person to reach the “it” player wins! 

MOTHER MAY I
The chosen “mother” faces away from the other players some distance from them and answers yes or no to their question of “Mother May I _____.” The blank should be some movement to get the player across the room. For instance, “Mother may I take four kangaroo hops?” or “Mother may I duck walk for three seconds?” The Mother answers no if players are reaching them too quickly, but they must also give an alternative movement by saying, “No you may not do that, but you may _____.” The first person to reach Mother wins! 

FREEZE TAG
Okay, we all know this one. One person is “it,” and if you’re tagged you have to freeze. Here are a few new versions to try:

  • TOILET TAG: When players are frozen they must get down on one knee and put their arm out to the side. To unfreeze them, another player sits on their knee and “flushes” the toilet.
  • SHADOW TAG: The “it” player has to stay in the shadow of something (a tree, building or fence all work). The other players have to run in and out of the shadow but can only be tagged when they’re in it.
  • CATEGORIES TAG: To unfreeze someone, a player has to tag them and call out something that belongs to whatever category you choose. Try movies, books, animals, countries — anything you’d like!

GLOW BATTLE
It’s an exciting game of fast-paced running and dueling. Teams are designated by different colored LED bracelets, and you can play with 2 to 20 players anywhere that you have open space. Players use strategy, teamwork, and their own warrior instincts to team up and take down their opponent using harmless, glowing batons.

B is for Boost

CHOOSE GAMES THAT BOOST SOCIAL SKILLS & TEACH TEAMWORK. Studies show that social interaction is important for children’s physical health as well as their mental well-being. Because homeschool kids often have less exposure to social situations during the school day, it’s important for them to learn social skills from other activities like homeschool games. This can include gathering with friends and family to play games that teach teamwork and require cooperation, leadership and decision-making skills. Here’s just a few of our favorites: 

FRISBEE H-O-R-S-E
It’s like the basketball game but with a frisbee! Players choose a target for their frisbee and try to hit it. If players don’t hit the target, they get a letter. Last person to spell HORSE wins! Plays as individuals or on teams.

CAPTURE THE FLAG REDUX
It’s the classic Capture the Flag game revolutionized with futuristic glow-in-the-dark lights and the perfect choice to play with friends as the sun goes down after a day of home-schooling. It will foster teamwork and interaction, as players break teammates out of jail, sneak into enemy territory, protect base and steal the glowing flag to win.

RELAY RACES
Try out these variations!

  • PENGUIN RELAY: Players hold an object between their ankles or knees as they waddle to the next team member. If it falls, you have to start over!
  • SLIP N’ SLIDE RELAY: Set up two slip n’ slides. Players can start at the bottom or top of the slide, but they must run up the hill and slide all the way down before tagging the next player in.
  • SAKHLI RELAY: Players stand in a line and put their left hand under the legs of the person in front of them and grab the hand of the other player with their right hand to form a chain. Run to the end and back without breaking the chain to win! This can also be played as a game of tag where the chain keeps growing with every tagged player.


C IS FOR CREATIVITY

CHOOSE GAMES THAT INSPIRE CREATIVE & STRATEGIC THINKING. Sometimes thinking outside of the box is the best know-how of all. Although critical and strategic thinking skills don’t fully develop until adolescence, the foundations for them can begin in childhood. Initiating homeschool games that require kids to think critically, discuss strategy and encourage creativity are a great way for homeschool parents to help strengthen these skills. Look for games that spark the imagination and foster creativity to keep young minds active and challenged. Giant outside yard games like Jenga and Connect Four encourage strategic thinking while home-made games like scavenger hunts or treasure maps develop creativity.


HOMEMADE SCAVENGER HUNT
Try dividing into two to have one team devise a treasure map for the other. Then, both teams start at the same time to see who finds all the treasure first. 

WIZARDS & WEREWOLVES
Bring fantasy to life in this outdoor game of hunting, hiding and howling! Play as a Wizard to search for glowing crystals or bare your teeth and hunt as a Werewolf. This unique game blends imagination with physical activity and is best played after the sun goes down. 

DIY BRAND NEW GAME
You can even let your homeschooler make up their very own active games. Provide them with a variety of sports equipment such as bean bags, jump ropes, hula hoops and different sized balls. Let them develop the rules and name the game. Change the equipment up each week to provide inspiration. You can even provide a variety of recycled goods such as plastic bottles or cardboard boxes. One week, they may create a bowling alley with 2 liter bottles and duct tape. The next week, they may want to create and master their own miniature golf course with foam pool noodles and empty metal cans. With your supervision, bring out the spray paint and let them paint a hopscotch or twister game on the grass.

With these basic ABCs for homeschool games, there is no limit to their active imaginations. Whatever you choose to play, keep them Active, give them a Boost and encourage Creativity. Make it a part of your daily or weekly routine and watch as the benefits take hold.