• GIFT IDEAS THAT ARE PERFECT FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
  • This entry was posted in Table tennis on November 21, 2016

  • Growing up, each of my siblings received their gifts under the Christmas tree, as did I. But, then there was always a pile or a big box hidden away somewhere else that was from Santa and was for the whole family to enjoy, even my parents! We never knew what to expect, was it a new board game or a pack of movie tickets or in my wildest dreams, a trip to Disneyworld. But, every year without fail, we received a family gift. It was a great way for all of us to come together at the end of the day and really enjoy the holiday together and celebrate what Christmas is all about, spending time with family, not about what Santa may have left under the tree.

    Here are some great gift ideas that will surprise your family and provide hours of fun!

    Table Tennis Table

    Nothing says holiday cheer like a friendly game of table tennis. If you’re like my family, then this ultimately turns into a bracket style challenge, where winner takes all! It’s a fun way to be competitive, have fun and cheer each other on. You can get an indoor table or an outdoor table (depends on your home, location and preference), but either way, you can have hours of fun playing singles or doubles against the whole family.

    Board Games

    It may seem a little old-school considering there are so many different video games or apps out there that help foster family-time and game nights, but breaking out the good old-fashioned board games for a family fun night can be a great way to disconnect from technology and have fun with the whole family. From trivia games to word games, there are so many different options out there. So if Monopoly gets too competitive for your family, opt for something a little more light-hearted.

    Just Dance Games

    So while we just said that it’s great to disconnect from video games and technology, there are some really fun games that will not only be fun for the whole family, they’re actually really great ways to stay active while being stuck indoors during the cold winter months. Just Dance lets the whole family show off their dancing skills, and video play-backs definitely provide some great laughs. See who has the best moves in the family!

    Popcorn Maker & DVD set

    Movie nights are always fun! And while going out to the movies is always a great time, it can get a bit pricey for the whole family. So, why not bring the movie-night experience home. Get a cool popcorn maker, pick up different types of movie candy and then choose different DVDs for a full-on movie marathon. You can even pick your favorite childhood movies to share with your kids, they’ll love watching the oldies.

    The holidays are really about being a family and spending time with your loved ones. What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? Do you plan on starting a new tradition this year?




  • SMART SHOPPING - LOOKING FOR THE BEST BLACK FRIDAY DEALS
  • This entry was posted in Toys on November 15, 2016

  • Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, is the kick-off of the holiday shopping season where dedicated shoppers go out in search of the best deals and the biggest savings. Most all stores offer some kind of special sale for this unofficial holiday, major retailers open extra early and have their lowest prices and biggest promotional sales of the year. Being prepared with your shopping list and an idea of the stores you want to visit is the key to a successful day of shopping. If you plan on braving the crowds to get a head start on your Holiday wish lists here are a few tips for finding the best deals this Black Friday:

    - Plan your shopping trip ahead of time. Do some comparison-shopping the day before to decide what items you want to be on the lookout for and where to go to get the best value.

    - Print or cut out ads. Check the shelf price against the advertised price at the register to ensure you’re getting the deal you want.

    - Know the “early-bird” specials (sometimes called door-busters). These are the deals that have customers waiting in lines before the store even opens. Get there early to take advantage of these incredibly low prices.

    - Be familiar with store polices. Check the retailer’s website or ask a cashier for information on refunds, returns, cancellations and layaways.

    - If possible shop using a single credit card; this makes it safer and easier. Also be sure to get gift-receipts for all your purchases and keep them in a safe place in case you need to refer to them later.  

    - Divide and conquer. Getting together with friends and family saves time and ensure you get to all the deals by splitting up your shopping list between a few people.

    - Shopping can be exhausting often starting in the early hours of the morning and lasting a few hours. Bring a light snack and a bottle of water to keep you hydrated.

    - If you are doing your Black Friday shopping online make sure you have a secure internet connection and purchase only from sellers you know are trustworthy.

    - With planning and a bit of luck you can knock-out a good portion of your holiday shopping list while saving money this Black Friday. Have fun and be safe this holiday shopping season!




  • WAYS TO GIVE BACK DURING THE HOLIDAYS
  • This entry was posted in on November 07, 2016

  • With the holidays coming up, it's a good time to reach out and give back to the community. This is a wonderful way to get your children or grandchildren involved as well. Check around in your local area to see if there are any special causes or charities that need a boost this time of year. You should be able to get a receipt for a tax deduction from most agencies. Here are a few ideas to get you started in your quest to give back during the holidays.

    Volunteer

    Many non-profit organizations are in need of manpower and other forms of assistance. You can donate your time at the local food bank, place of worship or homeless shelter. You can also donate blood at a local hospital or through a local blood drive.  

    - American Red Cross – There are many opportunities to assist with fund raising or by supporting a blood drive at a location near you.

    Recycle Toys

    With a potential visit from Santa Claus waiting in the wings, now is the perfect time to go through your children's toys and set aside the ones they no longer use. These can be donated to a homeless shelter, daycare center or even the nursery at a local place of worship. Here are a few places with national collection that accept gently used toys.

    - Homeless Shelter Directory – Nationwide map to find a shelter near you.

    - The Salvation Army  – Collects gently used clothing, household goods and toys for its stores.

    Donate New Toys

    There are several charities that host toy drives for underprivileged kids. When buying toys for your kids or grandkids as holiday gifts, you might consider picking up one for a needy child and donating it through a local drop-off site. You can also let the kids pick out a special toy they would like another child to have while they're doing their own holiday shopping.

    - Toys for Tots – U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program collects new, unwrapped toys for less fortunate kids.

    - Ronald McDonald House Charities – The Ronal McDonald House network houses families whose children are receiving medical care away from home. It accepts toys such as board games, books, puzzles and stuffed animals. Non-perishable food and daily living supplies are needed as well.

    Charitable Events

    You can also give back to your local community by making monetary donations, organizing an event or participating in a charitable event. If you’re in a warm winter weather area, there are many golf tournaments and walks or runs that support a wide range of charities during the holiday season.

    - Wounded Warrior Project – Support wounded military veterans as an event supporter, or encourage the kids in your family to become Student Ambassadors.

    Giving back to the community is a great way to make the holidays even more special. It's also something you can do as a family year-round. Before making a monetary donation, you may wish to check with your state charitable organization regulation department to verify that they are registered.

     




  • REMINDERS FOR YOUR LITTLE ONES TO STAY HEALTHY AT SCHOOL AND AT PLAY
  • This entry was posted in Toys on October 18, 2016

  • The lifestyle habits learned and developed during childhood often become lifelong habits. This is why instilling healthy habits and safe behavior for your little ones from an early age is so important. The sooner you begin reminding them of what is healthy and safe in their everyday routine, they will naturally recognize right from wrong, safe from unsafe, and healthy from unhealthy. You teach them these lessons and trust them to make the right choices when playing with friends and when they are at school.

    Staying Healthy

    - Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once.

    - Make healthy food choices. Have a fruit or vegetable with every meal and choose healthy snack options.

    - Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before and after every meal, after using the restroom, after recess, and more often when you are sick or getting a cold.

    - Drink plenty of liquids. Stay hydrated with water throughout the day especially when playing.

    - Get active. At least 30 minutes of exercise and fresh air every day.

    Playing Safe

    - Look both ways before crossing the street, or crossing in front of a driveway.

    - Use all playground equipment as it was meant to be played on. No going up the slides or standing on the swings.

    When riding a bike always wear safety gear and a properly fitted helmet.

     -Wear sneakers for recess and outdoor playtime.

    - Dress appropriately for the playground. Remove necklaces, purses, scarves or clothing with drawstrings that can get caught on equipment and pose a strangulation hazard.

    - No pushing, crowding or shoving.

    - Limit the time playing video games and watching TV each day.

    Elementary age children are at an extremely important age mentally, emotionally and physically. Giving them these helpful reminders will ensure they are learning and growing into smart and healthy adolescents.




  • ACTIVITIES TO GET YOUR KID TO PUT DOWN TECHNOLOGY
  • This entry was posted in Toys on October 07, 2016

  • Whether your child is 3 years old or 13, chances are a majority of their time is spent in front of a computer, television or gaming screen. Providing other outlets and activities is vital for their development. Try these fun activities to get your kids active and to put down the technology.

    Sports & Outdoor Activities

    Have a supply of different types of balls, rackets, bats, and gloves. For older kids encourage getting involved and playing sports with neighborhood friends or through local leagues. Even if it is just 30 minutes of riding a bike or swinging at the park, exercise and fresh air is an important part of the day.

    Science Projects

    During the winter months when the weather may not always permit outside play, provide educational and creative alternatives.  3D models, erupting volcanoes, magnets, and nature discovery kits are all inspiring and scholastic activities children will enjoy.

    Arts & Crafts

    Drawing and craft materials are simple and provide endless possibilities. You’ll be amazed at what kids can create with a few basic crafting supplies.

    Games

    Challenge kids to mentally stimulating games and activities, for example playing cards, marbles, board games, building blocks and puzzles.

    Children’s Books

    Start a library of books for your kids, focused on all subjects and aimed for their age level. Check out Kettler’s list of Top 10 Children’s Books.

    Family Field Trips

    Go on outings together. Get involved with local volunteer projects or camps. Visiting parks, museums, mini-golf, the beach, amusement parks, zoos and aquariums is a great way to bond and have an adventure as a family.

    Here are a few additional tips to limit your children’s technology time:

    Set an example. Your children’s behavior is molded after yours, so put down the cellphone and close the laptop. Encourage healthy behaviors and activates while setting a boundary on the unhealthy ones. Set limited TV and gaming times, for an example one television show in the morning and one after school.

    Keep TVs in the living room. Bedrooms should be a place for rest and quite play. Don’t let children have a TV in their bedroom. Keep it in a family room where you can enjoy a show together and closer monitor their viewing time.

    Pay attention to any behavioral changes. After too much television or gaming time children tend to get irritable, aggressive, and impatient. Be on the lookout for these signs and know when to suggest other activity.

    Park the electronics. Have a designated spot to put electronics and cellphones when it’s time for bed.

    Cherish family time. Car rides and family meals are where some of the best family memories and conversations are had. Get involved and don’t take away from valuable family time by leaving the TV on in the background.

    As a rule of thumb: No TV for kids under 2 years of age, and one to two hours max per day for all other children.