Adventures & Fun

Make Monsters with the Kids with PaperToy Monsters Book

By dadsplay at March 5, 2011 | 4:19 pm | 0 Comment

Make Monsters with the Kids with PaperToy Monsters Book

If you haven’t seen the PaperToy Monsters book from Workman yet, you are in for a treat.  It’s a really special book loaded with 50 die-cut templates, in full color, of Monsters that both big and little kids can make.  All you have to do is pop out the Monster pieces, made from heavy cardstock, then use a glue stick to attach where indicated.  We made three fun Monsters last night and they were really fun to create.  Now they’re setting on my desk looking at me while I type.

The Monster graphics are colorful and fun, combining the look of anime with a touch of Uglydolls.  Each character has it’s own little story.  Kids, especially the boys, are going to love this book.  It’s a perfect birthday or Christmas gift, so put it on your list of “must haves.”

This is a very impressive book and the value of hours of play, having 50 fun Monsters to play with when all are put together, is quite amazing.  We recommend this book highly … 5 stars from us!

PaperToy Monsters Book$16.95

By Brian Castleforte, an artist and graphic designer, who has created graphics for Nike, Sony, Warner Brothers and MTV.

A book was provided by the publisher for review purposes only.  All opinions are those of  Dads Playbook staff.

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Irish Wishing Rocks Game to Make

By dadsplay at March 4, 2011 | 1:00 pm | 0 Comment

Irish Wishing Rocks Game to Make

Here’s a fun game you can make with the kids for St. Patrick’s Day or any day of the year.  We made ours green but you could use any color.  It’s a fun original game created by our ZiggityZoom creative director.  Easy to make and easy to play…. for kids and adults.

Need:
MAKING the GAME :

What You Need:

  • 12 smooth stones/rocks (or make 12 smooth rocks out of clay that you bake)  You can also use plastic disks or make Cardboard disks.
  • Green paint (optional)
  • Brush
  • Marker or stick on Letters

What to Do:

  • Gather the 12 items you have chosen for your Wishing Rocks.
  • Paint green, if so desired.
  • Using marker (or stick on letters), put 2 letters each for I – R – S – H (you will only have 3 i letters).
  • Leave 2 Rocks blank and draw a Shamrock on the other 2 remaining rocks.
  • Put Rocks into container or Sock to start the game.
What To Do:
The object of the game is to get all the letters that spell Irish.  I-R-I-S-H The first person who can spell Irish, by “wishing” and choosing, wins the game.  Fun for kids of all ages.

RULES :

  1. Each player is given a piece of paper and pencil.  For ease of play with young children, draw the letters I-R-I-S-H on their paper, spaced apart just a bit.  When a player gets a letter, they can then just circle that letter.
  2. Put Wishing Rocks into a container that is deep enough so players can’t see the rocks.  Or use a large sock.
  3. Starting with the youngest player first, player will first say his wish …for example, “I wish for an H”
  4. Player then pulls out a Wishing Rock.  If they got their wish then they can circle that letter.  The rock is then put back into the container.
  5. Play contines as each player takes their turn.
  6. If a player pulls out a Shamrock they can circle any letter that they still need.  If a player pulls out a blank rock, the player must skip his next turn.
  7. The first player to circle all the letters to spell Irish is the winner.

For more St. Patrick’s Day activities

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Letters from Santa

By dadsplay at December 7, 2010 | 1:07 pm | 0 Comment

Letters from Santa

As a single dad, I’m always looking for fun things to do with my daughters or ways to really
brighten their day. We’ve done active things like geo-caching (hiking for ‘treasure’),
roller skating, and rock climbing. We’ve also done playful stuff like playing doll dress-
up or make believe or painting their fingernails (and occasionally mine). But I’m very
excited about a new (new to me) endeavor we’re going to do for the Christmas holiday.
The girls are going to ‘write a letter’ to Santa Claus and he’s going to send one to them!!
IMPORTANT – Letters have to be submitted by December 10th in order to arrive before
Christmas (according to the websites below)

I’ve reviewed several different sites and two that I really like are
SantaClausHouse and SantaSentMeALetter. Both place specific information about your
child in the letter from Santa and each site even allows for you to customize text.

The SantaClausHouse allows for a paragraph (254 characters) of custom text and they
simply replace one of the paragraphs in the stock letter with your paragraph. The cost is
$10 per letter and is mailed from North Pole, Alaska. It also includes several items in the
letter, but this really wasn’t the selling point for me.

SantaSentMeALetter allows you to type a complete letter, which you can obviously
customize with whatever details you like. This is the option I am going with as I wanted
to reference how much Santa loves the cookies they bake for him and how well they’ve
been sharing with each other. The cost is $7.95 per letter and is “postmarked with a one-of-
a-kind NORTH POLE POSTMARK” The paper they use ‘feels’, to me, to be more like Santa’s
paper. I also noticed they have a $9.95 option if you don’t want to write the letter, but
want your own customized details that the stock letters can’t include.

The one drawback to both of these is you don’t actually see the output of your
customized letter, which has me slightly concerned that it won’t fit or look right. I’ll
update this post once we’ve completed the letters and received them back from Santa.

Merry Christmas!

Randy

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Geocaching Is A Fun Fall Outdoor Activity With Kids

By dadsplay at November 10, 2010 | 12:32 pm | 0 Comment

Geocaching Is A Fun Fall Outdoor Activity With Kids

Fall is officially here in most of the country.  With leaves changing colors and crisp mornings and early sunsets, it’s hard to miss.  Now that the weather has shifted and we’re all bundling up a bit more, finding outdoor activities to do with kids becomes more difficult.  One activity my daughters and I like to do is “geocaching”.  Just last weekend, we hiked through Seashore State Park in Virginia Beach, VA for about 2 hours, with a nice picnic break after we found the ‘treasure’ and swapped out some of the girls own toy trinkets for new trinkets in the newly found treasure.  Treasure found, treasure traded, bellies full, we headed home talking about all the cool stuff we found/did along the way.

Taking the definition from www.geocaching.com, geocaching is: “a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online.”  “How does a geocache get created?” you ask.  A new geocache comes into existence when an individual (anyone that would like to hide their own container) hides a container in a public place, where geocachers are allowed to travel, then logs the container’s GPS coordinates at www.geocaching.com along with a description, size of the container and other miscellaneous details.  Then, would be searchers log on, identify the area they would like to hunt and identify the various geocaches they are interested in hiking to.

Here are some basic steps I go through prior to our adventure.  First I identify what area we’d like to explore and pull up the map of that area (Here is a map of one area we explore in Hampton Roads area of Virginia.)  Once I have the map, showing geocaches in the area, I mouse over each cache looking for our search criteria.  Criteria 1) Cache must be medium size or larger as this improves probability of toy trinkets (largest criteria for my girls).  Criteria 2) Difficulty and Terrain shouldn’t be greater than medium, as I don’t want my girls stressing over the trip.  As they get more experienced, we may change the criteria, but for now this works for us.  If a cache meets our criteria, I will click on it and upload to my GPS device.  While I am doing the research, the girls are packing the backpack with picnic items and toy trinkets as well as fall gear (hats, gloves, compass, flashlight).  Once they are packed and I have identified 3-5 caches, we head out the door for our next adventure.  Often Lola our dog accompanies us as an added bonus the girls really enjoy.

As a side note, geocaching.com has an iPhone app and probably apps for other smart phones.  The one issue I had using my iPhone was the signal would ‘bounce’ when I was in deep woods and could not hone in on the actual GPS location.  One moment, I’d be 10 feet away, 2 steps later, I’d be 50 feet away… in low wooded areas, I’d suggest using the phone app, but not for any serious woods geocaching.  Happy Hunting!!

By R.S.. Pierce

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Halloween Pumpkin Carving Fun for Dads & Kids

By dadsplay at October 28, 2010 | 6:31 pm | 0 Comment

Halloween Pumpkin Carving Fun for Dads & Kids

Remember helping mom bake around the holidays or shopping for a Christmas tree with the family?  I do.  Another one of my favorite memories is when my brothers and I would carve pumpkins at the kitchen table.  Mom and dad would clear the table, lay out newspaper, place the pumpkins on the table and we’d stand on chairs in front of our pumpkins ready to dig it.  The memories are still vivid and bring a smile whenever I think about the fun we had.  Build the same memory for your kids and it will be memories that will last a lifetime!

My daughters, Nannie (my mom) and I recently visited the local pumpkin patch to track down the coolest, biggest (this is my eldest’s criteria) and strangest pumpkins we could find.  The girls were so excited to get to pick out their own pumpkins and took a careful look at various pumpkins, examining bumps, which side would make for a good face or even the cool stalk coming out of the pumpkin.  After several trips around the patch and several selection changes, we finally found the pumpkins they wanted and headed home.

Once home, the girls insisted that they carry their pumpkins into the house, which was a chore for the older one, as her pumpkin was HUGE!  Somehow she managed to get it inside without making squashed pumpkin our newest Halloween decoration.  Then I prepared the table while the girls raced to our storage area and found the pumpkin carving tools and designs from the prior year.  Each one also donned one of my ‘grunge’ shirts for the messy moments ahead and within minutes was at the table, chairs in position hovering over their pumpkins ready to start.

Luckily I recalled a mistake I made last year where I neglected to cut the lid out using an angled cut.  The angled cut allows the lid to be placed back into position once the carving is complete.  Once the lids were removed, the ‘gross’, ‘cool’, ‘yuck’ comments started as each dug in pulling out pumpkin guts and seeds.  While they were busy at work, Nannie copied their selected designs to their pumpkins using a Sharpie marker.  (You can tape the design to the pumpkin, but I’ve found the design gets pretty beat up as carving continues).  After all the guts were out and the girls had taken several ‘opportunities’ to apply guts to my face, the carving began.  I’m far from a master carver, but have learned you do all of the interior work first, while the pumpkin walls are stronger.  Once the girls (with Nanny and daddy’s assistance) finished their pumpkins, we took them outside and found the perfect place to show them off, with lit candles and all.  The girls were so proud of them and I’m certain will cherish their pumpkin carving memories for years to come.

A few notes: 1) You can find carving kits at most super stores and probably even at your local supermarket.  Have these already purchased as the kids will be most into the carving when you first buy the pumpkin.  2) Be careful with the really big pumpkins, if the walls of the pumpkin are too thick, it can make it more difficult to carve.  3) if you will be using candles inside your pumpkin, make sure you clear all the stringy pumpkin matter from the inside of the pumpkin (particularly the top) as this can dry out and burn, creating an awful smell.  I’m not sure whether it catches fire, but know you don’t want it smelling from the burning.

By R.S. Pierce

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Try Geocaching for some Adventurous Fun

By dadsplay at September 28, 2010 | 12:09 pm | 0 Comment

Try Geocaching for some Adventurous Fun

I am the guy that needs to get out and be active.  Even when my daughter was only a few days old, I started to feel the need to get out and do something outdoors.   Now that my kids are both in school I love taking them to go hiking, swimming at the beach, and  Geocaching (sometimes called Geotracking).

If you have never been Geocaching, it is basically a world wide system of Treasure Hunting or Hide and Seek.  There is a website with thousands of geotracking locations.  You find one near you and enter the coordinates into a portable GPS system. Once you are nearby the coordinates, you begin hunting for the hiding spot where you will find a small box or other container and in it are little trinkets others have left.  You take something out and put something else back in.

My girls and even my nephews have the best time when we go exploring and for the kids the best part is the unexpected little treasure they get to pick out of the box.  Sometimes the weather is great when we go, but other times we come back muddy, wet and dirty as the fields or parks can sometimes get muddy if it has rained.

Hey Geocaching is a great adventure that gets you, and your kids outside and active and it gives you chance to spend some quality time with your kids.

Go to http://www.geocaching.com/ to learn more, and to find a location to find near you.

The other cool thing is no matter where you visit in the world there are geocaches hidden all over you can find.

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