RTIC Softpak 20 Review: The Coolest Cooler on the Market

Imagine bringing your favorite leftovers to work, and you have to put them in the fridge. But by the time lunch rolls around, a nasty colleague has nabbed your food. In this RTIC Softpak 20 review, we want to take a look at a popular cooler that you can use to avoid problems with shared fridges.
However, this cooler is also great for camping, tailgating, and just about anything you could use a cooler for. But is the RTIC Softpak 20 the best option? Is it really worth the splurge?

Comparison Table

What Is the RTIC Softpak 20?


RTIC Soft Pack 20, Grey

  • RTIC 20 Soft Pack – Keeps Ice up to 5 Days (See details).
  • Holds up to 20 Cans Plus Ice.
  • No Leak Zipper.

The RTIC Softpak 20 is a soft-sided cooler or soft pack. You can use it like any other cooler you may have, such as for storing cold drinks.
This cooler is practical so that you can take it almost anywhere. Whether you want to keep your lunch out of the break room fridge or just keep some drinks cold on a hike, the RTIC Softpak 20 is a good choice.
But, why exactly would we do an RTIC Softpak 20 review if the cooler wasn’t unique in some way? 
Well, you’re right, because the RTIC Softpak 20 does have some unique properties.
Some of these features you won’t find on your standard cooler.

Keeping it cool

If you hate the taste of lukewarm water, soda, or other drinks, a cooler is a helpful tool. However, it’s only beneficial if it actually keeps your food cold.
For our RTIC Softpak 20 review, we had to explore how cold this cooler can get.
The RTIC Softpak 20 has some fantastic features that anyone would appreciate from a cooler. First, this cooler keeps ice frozen for up to five days, which makes it the perfect companion for many camping trips.
It can also be useful if you want to take food on vacation but aren’t sure if you’ll have access to a fridge.
And for tailgating or other parties, the cooler can hold up to 20 cans of your drink of choice. You’ll still have extra space for ice.
The zipper won’t cause leaks, so you can rest easy if you have to put your cooler next to other items. And the outside of the cooler won’t sweat, which can also help protect your other belongings.
Finally, the outside of the cooler has up to two inches of foam insulation to keep the contents as cool as possible.

Other reviews

red cooler on top of a rock rtic softpak 20 review

Image via Unsplash

For our RTIC Softpak 20 review, we wanted to know what others had to say about the cooler. Of course, the features can tell you a lot. However, nothing can tell you as much as customer reviews.
A second customer said they packed the cooler and left it for six hours. There weren’t any signs of the items melting or warming up.
However, a third customer noted that the outer seams started to come apart just after they’d had the cooler for a year. They added that the zippers can be tricky to use.
Another customer noted that ice doesn’t last past a couple of days.
When it comes to professional reviews, the results are also mixed. One review said the cooler is a fantastic alternative to the ones from Yeti. However, the shape can be awkward.
Another review said the cooler is portable and perfect for packing lunch for work. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hold a lot of stuff.

Pros and cons

Like any product, the cooler has some pros and cons. Here are some we found when doing our RTIC Softpak 20 review.

PROS

  • It’s portable

  • Has straps to make carrying easier

  • Doesn’t leak or sweat on the outside

CONS

  • Expensive for a basic cooler

  • Doesn’t always keep food cold very long

  • Zippers can be tough

Not Your Average RTIC Softpak 20 Review

For our RTIC Softpak 20 review, we wanted to find out what the cooler is all about. To do that, we started by looking at its features. After all, a cooler isn’t worth it if it can’t do its job.
We also wanted to know a bit about the company, which also offers hard-sided coolers and drinkware. While they may not be the most popular cooler company out there, they do have some good things going for them.
Once we learned about the cooler and the company behind it, we searched for other reviews. We found customer reviews as well as professional ones. That way, we could get a well-rounded view of the cooler.
From there, we were able to list the essential pros and cons. And finally, we looked at similar coolers from significant competitors. After comparing them, we were able to give our final RTIC Softpak 20 review.

Ice Cold

To give a more complete RTIC Softpak 20 review, we had to compare it to other popular choices. After all, you should know what the competition looks like before you invest in an expensive cooler.

YETI Hopper TWO Portable Cooler


YETI Hopper Two 30 Portable Cooler, Fog Gray / Tahoe Blue

  • The YETI Hopper Two 30 is the first 100% leakproof, portable cooler that’s built for the long haul and can keep ice…
  • The updated design of the Hopper Two means your contents go in (and out) more easily
  • A tapered body makes extended hauling more comfortable. Inside(inches) : 9 × 14 × 17

If you’ve heard of insulated coolers and drinkware, you’ve probably heard of Yeti. And yes, they’re one of RTIC’s biggest competitors, especially with the Yeti Hopp​​er Two 30 cooler. So we had to look at a Yeti cooler for our RTIC Softpak 20 review.
This cooler is 100 percent leakproof, and it’s portable. It can keep your food and drinks cool for days, and the design makes it easy to take things out and put things in.
The design also makes the cooler more comfortable to carry long distances. This cooler has straps, as well so you can sling it over your shoulder.

PROS

  • Sleek design

  • Portable

  • Can keep food cold for days

CONS

  • Pricey, like most Yeti products

  • It’s heavy, at 5.5 pounds when empty

TOURIT Soft Cooler 30 Cans Leak-Proof Soft Pack Cooler


TOURIT Soft Cooler 30 Cans Leak-Proof Soft Pack Cooler Bag Waterproof…

  • ADVANCED COOLING PERFORMANCE: High quality insulation in 3 unique layers work together to keep your food and drinks cool…
  • 100% LEAKPROOF and IMPACT RESISTANT: TOURIT soft cooler features a waterproof and tough shell to resistant to punctures…
  • BPA FREE and FDA APPROVED: The liner of soft-sided coolers made from BPA free material, superior quality, competitive…

Another competitor to the RTIC cooler is the TOURIT box. This cooler has a similar, box-like design to the RTIC.
However, it can hold an additional 10 cans for a total of 30.
Regardless of the size, this cooler has three layers of insulation and can keep food and drinks cold for up to three days. The cooler is leakproof and impact resistant. It will keep your food and drinks safe as well as cold.
This cooler has an FDA-approved lining, which means it doesn’t contain any harsh or harmful chemicals. You won’t have to worry about chemicals leaching into your food.
However, a second customer said the zipper broke after a few months of using the cooler.

PROS

  • More space

  • Resistant to harsh impacts

  • FDA-approved lining

CONS

  • Has a box design, which can be awkward

  • Quality control isn’t the best

RTIC Softpak 20 Review: Perfectly Packed

Whether you’re headed to the office or the lake, you want any food and drinks you bring to stay cold. That’s where a cooler, like the RTIC Softpak 20, comes in.
For our RTIC Softpak 20 review, we wanted to see if the cooler could really keep your food and drinks cold. And we think it can. Of course, some customers had a negative experience.
However, most customers love the cooler. And even if it doesn’t last for days, it can probably get you through the morning or afternoon.
Have you tried this cooler? Leave your RTIC Softpak 20 review below!
Featured Image via  Flickr

Best Kids Tents that Even Mommy Needs to Buy!

You’ve wracked your brain trying to find new, creative ways to keep your kids entertained. If you’re out of ideas, perhaps you should look at some of the best kids tents for indoor or outdoor use to provide your little ones with a new space to play.

Who doesn’t love camping? You can make so many wonderful camping memories around the campfire, roasting marshmallows, telling ghost stories, and sleeping under the stars. Any night of the week can turn into an adventure but taking the bedroom outdoors.

The best part is you don’t even need to leave your own backyard to create these long-lasting memories with your kids. And play tents don’t have to just be for backyard camping, either.

The best kids tents will serve as castles, little make-believe classrooms, cabins in the woods, and any other place your child can dream up.

Things have come a long way from throwing a blanket over a few dining room chairs. Today’s technology has made the best kids tents light, portable, and easy to assemble in a matter of minutes.

With any of the options on our list of the best kids tents out there today, you’ll be sure to provide your kids with the perfect spot for camping and letting their imagination run wild.

How the Best Kids Tents Promote Imaginative Play

via GIPHY

One of the best ways encourage your child to flex their imagination muscle is by providing them a space specifically designed for creative play. Finding the best kids tents does just that without taking up too much space or costing you a fortune.

Keep in mind, the best children’s play tents are more than spaces where kids can play, crawl around, and take naps. Children love playing in tents because they become secret hideaways. It becomes their personal space to do with what they will.

The best kids tents help to keep your child happier, leave your house mess-free, and give your family plenty of opportunities to create new memories.

Choosing the Best Kids Tents to Nature Imagination

When it comes to choosing the best kids tents from the hundreds of options that are on the market, you should keep in mind a few factors. At first glance, many manufacturers claim to make the best kids tents, but they fail to live up to their customers’ expectations.

The best kids tents must be easy to assemble and break down quickly. Consider tents with a pop-up design, since they require little to no assembly and often fold away into a carrying bag.

Bright colors are one of the early aspects of sight that allow children to identify and categorize things around them. The best kids tents will be bright and colorful.

A tent that is all shut up can be a microcosm of germs. Well-ventilated tents decrease the likelihood of harboring nasty bacteria.

Manufacturers have started creating tents that have connector features allowing you to connect several tents. Many models also have extra rooms that you can attach to increase imaginative play. Look for tunnels, ball pits, and basketball hoops that can expand your child’s play space.

How We Reviewed the Best Kids Tents

When it comes to your kids, you want nothing but the best. There are hundreds of different play tents for kids on the market these days. You are too busy managing your household to separate the best kids tents from the sea of average.

We’ve done the work for you. We’ve pursued through blogs, looked at other lists of the best kids tents, read what other consumers had to say, and compared prices. After all that work we narrow down the list to nothing but the best kids tents for your money.

The Top 9 Best Kids Tents

Some of these are so cool; you’re going to wish they made them for adults. Be prepared — your blanket fort of old is about to seem way less cool than it once did.

Please note that we include these tents in no particular order.

Monobeach Princess Tent


Monobeach Princess Tent Girls Large Playhouse Kids Castle Play Tent…

  • # NEWFANGLED CASTLE DESIGN: Inspired by castles in fairy tale, this beautiful and remarkable princess house can help…
  • # SPECIAL GIFT: This is the cutest fairy house tent, providing a private space for your kids to entertain themselves,…
  • # DIMENSIONS: 55 x 53 inches. Made from high quality polyester taffeta which is also quite comfortable, durable, and…

The Monobeach princess Tent is inspired by castles in fairy tales. In this tent, your child can play out their fantasies of battling dragons, rescuing princesses, or throwing tea parties with the king and king.

This princess tent has a 530-inch diameter and stands 55 inches tall, providing plenty of space for up to 3 kids to let their imaginations run wild. The curtains are made of polyester taffeta, specifically designed to be hard-wearing, stain-resistant, and easy to clean.

The frame is made from PVC support rods and sturdy connector pieces to be more stable. Manufacturers have been kind enough to include extra parts for those houses where things seem to walk off on their own.

This Monobeach ranks in our best kids tents because it comes with a string of 40 star lights to increase the magical feeling. Amazon customers gave this tent a 4.3 out of 5.0 star rating.

The downside of this tent is that it’s not as quick or easy to assemble as some of the other tents. It can take as much as half an hour, and the directions aren’t very helpful. You set up this princess tent, and your kids will beg you to never take it down.

Rocket Ship Play Tent


USA Toyz Play Tent for Boys or Girls – Rocket Ship Kids Tent,…

  • ROCKET SPACESHIP KIDS PLAY TENT: Blast off for out-of-this-world fun in this kids tent; includes 1 space projector toy…
  • SPACIOUS INDOOR KIDS TENTS: This roomy tent for kids with original illustrations comfortably fits up to 3 children
  • EASY SETUP AND CLEANING: Assemble this kids pop up tent with the included foldable tent poles (no tools required), and…

For your budding NASA employees, the best kids tents are ones that inspire their cosmic imagination. This rocket ship tent comes with vibrant starry-sky panels and rocket fins. It’s the perfect place for your little ones to blast off into space, explore the galaxy, and discover new beings across the universe – all in time to come home for lunch.

It’s easy to see why Amazon customers gave this rocket ship tent a 4.5 out of 5.0 star rating.

The base of this tent has a 41-inch diameter and stands 53 inches tall. Three of your little astronauts can comfortably explore space together. With just a damp cloth and mild soap, you can keep this play space clean and bacteria-free.

You don’t need any tools to build this rocket. With a twist of the wrist, the rocket unfolds and the sturdy, durable poles to assemble in a snap. With similar ease, you can fold the tent and store it away in it’s carrying case.

Your little one’s imagination will soar with the bonus torch projector. Simply turn on and light up your astronaut tent (or any blank surface) with 24 NASA-inspired images!

The one common complaint about this tent is that the fabric is prone to ripping easily. Some customers noted that their children tore the fabrics within minutes of construction.

Fire Truck Pop-Up Play Tent


WOOHOO TOYS Big Fire Truck Tent – Spacious Indoor & Outdoor…

  • UNLIKE ANY OTHER FIRE TRUCK TENTS: Our fire truck tent is the “BIGGEST” on the market with more square area for…
  • VENTILATION THROUGHOUT: Allows fresh air to flow through for your child to breathe with all-around mesh windows on each…
  • FITS CRIB MATTRESS / CRIB TOPPER: Turn this pop-up firetruck into a bed for your little tykes to sleep at night or use…

You kids are going to love this fire engine tent. They will have hours of fun role-playing as a fireman in their make-believe fire rescue missions.

It’s one of the best kids tents on our list, according to Amazon customers who gave it a 4.7 out of 5.0 star rating. This tent is lightweight, portable, and easy to set up anywhere you find a flat surface.

This tent is designed for many kids to use it at once. It’s 54 inches long by 28 inches deep and 36 inches tall, meaning plenty of little ones can respond to the 4-alarm fire in your living room at the same time. You can even fit a child’s mattress inside!

All parts of this tent are laboratory-tested and contain no lead or phthalate. There are no loose parts that can be misplaced or lost. The tent is made from easy-to-clean polyester fabric that water-resistant, and each side has mesh windows for ventilation.

It’s hard to find many negative reviews about this tent. Though a few customers said that this tent was poorly constructed and too flimsy to stay standing for long, most raved about how much their kids loved it.

TazzToys Kids Teepee Tent


TazzToys Kids Teepee Tent for Kids with Fairy Lights – Kids Bedroom…

  • Our UNIQUELY DESIGNED teepee tent uses BEAUTIFUL KIDDO-SAFE EXPOSED PINE POLES & durable, 100% COTTON MATERIAL to…
  • DESIGNED TO GIVE YOUR little ones a SAFE & FUN PLACE to let their imaginations run wild, our kids teepee tent was…
  • Our tent CAN BE BROKEN DOWN & EASILY TRANSPORTED in our COMPACT CARRY BAG, which can be worn like a string backpack to…

If you’re scrolling through this list of the best kids tents to find something unique, then this is the one for you. This stunning teepee is crafted from cotton fabric and stands 49.6 inches tall.

It’s held up by exposed pine poles and has ventilation panels at the top to keep the air well-circulated.

Safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to your little ones. The manufactures have stated that this teepee was lab-tested for a Child Safety Certificate in an independent lab.

This cotton is 100 percent non-toxic and unpainted. Likewise, the smooth pine contains no chemicals or splinters.TazzToys has designed a tent that breaks down compactly. It’s easy to store and transport in its accompanying carry bag, which can be worn like a backpack, keeping your hands free to hold onto your littles and their belongings!

A unique aspect of this teepee is the waterproof base, keeping your carpets safe or your child dry at the beach. That’s why Amazon customers give this tent a 4.6 out of 5.0 star rating.

Though there aren’t many negative reviews, some parents have expressed concern that there is no support or device at the bottom of the teepee to keep the legs open. They fear the tent will collapse easily on their children if they are playing too hard.

Sunny Days Entertainment Thomas & Friends Pop-Up Play Train Tent


Sunny Days Entertainment Thomas & Friends Pop-Up Play Train Tent for…

  • Designed with durable fabric for indoor and outdoor fun with distinctive Thomas the Tank Engine art for more realistic…
  • Designed to fit multiple children, this tent is 4 feet long for added play value. The multiple entryways keep kids busy.
  • Use the tent as a place to play with toys, and read or entertain with Thomas the Tank. Promotes creativity and imaginary…

What toddler doesn’t love trains? If your child wants everything train-themed, then this distinctive Thomas the Tank Engine is your last stop in the list of the best kids tents.

This tent is constructed with durable fabric for indoor or outdoor use. It’s four feet long, meaning there is enough room for up to three children to play. There are multiple entryways on the different side of the tent to keep kids busy the whole afternoon.

Amazon customers gave this tent a 4.6 out of 5.0 star rating for its pop-up design that allows for easy assembly and fast storage.

Despite its positive reviews, a few customers have pointed out that the tent tends to be pretty flimsy and there is no bottom to it. So Thomas is likely to collapse or fall over if played with too roughly.

Kids Model Clubhouse Playhouse


Kids Play Tent Children Playhouse – Indoor Outdoor Tent Model…

  • GIVE THEM THE GIFT THEY’LL REMEMBER FOREVER The Little guys are OBSESSED with this. Kids don’t need expensive toys to…
  • KEEP YOUR CHILD ENTERTAINED AND GIVE YOURSELF MORE TIME Help your child to become more independent and social by…
  • INSPΙRE YOUR KIDS TO READ. YOU’LL BE SURPRISED TO SEE THAT THEY LOVE READING Inside their own private area. Every…

Did your little one go off to summer camp for the first time this year? The Clubhouse Playhouse tent is the best kids tent to recreate that summer camp magic.

The walls have a wooden kiddie clubhouse design that is immediately appealing to your little ones. There are also lots of cute signs to make this tent feel like your child’s very own secret clubhouse — no adults allowed.

Setup is also reasonably simple, although older kids or adults should do the job. Construct the clubhouse frame by placing the G3 poles into their connectors and stretch the polyester fabric over it.

Aside from the zippered front door, the clubhouse also has plenty of mesh panels which serve as windows. You’ll be sure your child is getting plenty of air circulation inside. The round tunnel port is both a second entrance and a connecting point where you can add more play tents.

Amazon customers gave this clubhouse a 4.3 out of 5.0 star rating.

 Playz 3-Piece Rocket Ship Astronaut Kids Play Tent, Tunnel, and Ball Pit with Basketball Hoop


Playz 3pc Rocket Ship Astronaut Kids Play Tent, Tunnel, & Ball Pit…

  • ASTRONOMY TOYS FOR KIDS Your child will take off into an outer space adventure with this 3-piece playhouse castle tent,…
  • NASA BABY APPROVED We were inspired by dozens of little kids opinions which led to our innovative child-friendly &…
  • FAST INSTANT ASSEMBLY Portable, durable, easy to setup & foldable into a lightweight zipper carrying bag for convenient…

This three-piece tent set is out of this world! Not only can your child blast off into space in the rocket tent, but they can also crawl through the mesh tunnel into the solar-system-themed ball pit to play basketball among the stars.

Playz designed this set with soft, thick fabric, breathable mesh walls, and flexible padding. Your kids can romp around safely, knowing that Playz toys all meet USA CPSC Toy Safety Guidelines.

Despite its size, each piece is portable, durable, easy to setup. You can fold them all together into a lightweight zipper carrying bags, which is small enough to store underneath your couch!

Amazon customers gave this set a 4.4 out of 5.0 star rating. The biggest concern was a lack of connection between the tunnel and ball pit, meaning the balls don’t stay contained. Also, some have said that the material rips easily.

Alvantor Starlight Bed Canopy Dream


Alvantor Starlight Bed Canopy Dream Kids Play Tents Playhouse Privacy…

  • 2-in-1 BED TENT, FITS TWIN BEDS. Patent Pending construction keeps no collapsed, no bent, no leans off, no unstable, no…
  • INNOVATION DESIGN: durable pop up PVC poles and fibreglass rods, compared to other steel frame make the bed canopy stay…
  • EASY SET UP and TAKE DOWN: pop up frame and shock corded poles make it super easy to set up in a minute. No need…

Some children have trouble sleeping away from home or ay be scared of sleeping outside. The Alvantor Starlight Bed Canopy is one of the best kids tents to get your child ready for outdoor camping.

Durable pop-up PVC poles and fiberglass rods support a canopy as it stretches wide enough to fit over a twin bed mattress. It’s also constructed of high-quality fabric covered in glow-in-the-dark stars that transform any bedroom into the night sky.

These tents easily fold down in a figure eight and pop right back up for your next use.

Amazon customers gave this canopy 4.3 out of 5.0 star rating. Reviews were concerned with the safety of the poles; for example, they’ve been known to cause fiberglass splinters if the poles break because they shatter into small pieces.

Others were concerned that the stitching wasn’t very good quality.

 BESTEN Floorless Indoor Privacy Tent


BESTEN Floorless Indoor Privacy Tent on Bed with Color Poles for Cozy…

  • HAVE SOME PRIVACY. For Both Adults and Children, It is a Great solution when sharing a room with others. (Dorm,…
  • KEEP YOU WARM. The Tent Blocks Drafty Wind in the Room while Circulating Fresh Air inside through a Mesh Vent on Top….
  • PLACE FOR RELAX & FOCUS. This Canopy Makes a Great Nook for Reading, Studying, Meditating, etc. You Can Even Turn It…

We think this may be the coolest of the best kids tents. Besten has created a floorless canopy tent that you can pop over the top of your existing bed.

You can choose either a twin or a full/queen canopy, depending on the size of your bed. Once you place the tent on top of a mattress, pull each the corners to fit snuggly on the mattress.

It’s made with lightweight fabric and a mesh top to promote good air circulation; however, it should be kept clear of heat or fire. There are three different doors, so you can choose how you want to set it up.

Many Amazon customers pointed out that the canopy doesn’t fit as snug to the bed as they’d hoped, and they have to readjust it after a night’s rest. They gave this canopy a 4.4 out of 5.0 star rating.

Imaginative Play and Its Benefits for Kids

Kids Play Tents that Even Mommy Needs to Buy

Image Via unsplash

Childhood is a time of magic and wonder; it’s when creativity and imagination rule the day.

Bath towels become superhero capes, teddy bears morph into best friends waiting to share adventures — helping pint-sized warriors storm the castle brandishing a sword to save the princess from the fiery clutches of a dragon.

Though parents blinded by adulthood only see a cardboard box, a lifeless doll, and a broken broomstick, kids see adventure.

Play is like a full-time job for children. What may seem like nonsensical fun is actually your child putting in a full day at the office. These crucial hours spent working their imaginations are when children develop vital psychological and emotional capacities.

These early developments help children gain a better understanding of the world around them and how they relate to it. At the same time, children start to explore their inner selves, learning how to recognize their emotional and physical responses in different situations.

During this crucial period, children begin to develop many key skills that will set them on the path to success.

Social and emotional skills

When your child partakes in imaginative play, she is learning how to navigate the various social and emotional roles she will experience in life. She’s testing the boundaries and establishing who she’ll be in each of these various scenarios.

Pretending to be someone else enables your child to feel what it’s like to be in someone else’s place. Taking on someone else’s role helps her develop empathy, decreasing her natural egocentric point of view to understand how others feel.

Playing with others teaches her how to take turns, share with others, think creatively, and get along with others. The younger a child develops these skills, the more it will help her in the future.2 kid playing in kids tent

Image via Flickr

Language skills

Imaginative play exposes your child to the power of language. It teaches her how others react to her words, both positive and negative reactions.

Your child also begins to understand how words give her the ability to reenact a play or story. Often she’ll be playing through sentences that have happened that day or week.

Children are prone to mimicking their parents, caretakers, teachers, and anyone else with whom they spend significant amounts of time.

Cognitive skills

Imitative play provides your child with a multitude of problems to solve. These critical thinking skills that he will use in every aspect of his life, now and forever.

Perhaps two children want to play the same pretend role; they have to learn how to compromise. In searching for the right material to make a castle that won’t fall, your child musters essential creative thinking skills to reinforce those pesky pillows.

They learn how to better negotiate and express their needs in a healthy manner. On top of that, they gain better coordination, balance, and flexibility.

Nurturing the imagination

When your child learns how to flex their imagination muscle, there’ll never be a dull moment in your household. Providing spaces, tools, and opportunities for your child to use their imagination is the best way to keep their imagination at the ready.

Just like a muscle in your body, one’s imagination needs plenty of exercise to stay fresh and healthy. Turn off the video games from time to time and encourage your children to make up stories or games of their own.

By showing your child how to play creatively or make up games, you are encouraging them to do the same for themselves.

Best Kids Tents: The Decision Is Yours

When it comes to finding the best kids tent, it comes down to your child. Would they be interested in a camping tent or something themed like a firetruck? Will they want to play with it during the day or sleep in it at night?

You should also consider if you’re going to use it indoors, outdoors, or a little bit of both. Remember to set them up in places that are well ventilated to keep them cool, especially during hot summer days.

Whichever tent you choose, we hope that it’s the start of many happy childhood memories making s’mores and telling ghost stories.

Tell us what you think is the best kids tent. We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

 

Featured Image via Flickr

Best Swing Set for Those Priceless Backyard Moments

It’s easy to determine the world’s best swing set when you’re a kid. It’s always the one you’re playing on, no matter the location — your backyard, the school playground, a friend’s house, or someplace else.

Parents don’t have it as easy. Shopping for the best swing set requires striking the right balance between several variables, starting with the size of your budget.

Plastic or metal? Swings only or slide too?

How big should it be? Which part of the lawn is best?

HAPPY PIE PLAY&ADVENTURE Adult Super Big Wood Tree Hanging Swings SeatImage from Amazon

Sifting through the choices to find the world’s best swing set is one of those milestone decisions in the life of a family. Get it right, and it will provide unforgettable moments of fun, laughter, and love. Do your homework, and you’ll be sure to deliver priceless backyard memories.

What’s the best swing set? You’ll know it the first time you hear your little ones gleefully cry: “give us an UNDERDOG!” Some things never change. Other things, like swing sets themselves, do.

On This Day in Swing Set History

Backyard Discovery Skyfort IIImage from Amazon

The backyard swing set is a relatively recent phenomenon. But the urge to swing — to experience flying, without wings — definitely is not.

Archeological discoveries including drawings in caves and other artifacts suggest a deep fascination with swinging, perhaps as long ago as 1450 B.C.

The first examples of swings “may have been fashioned from plant fiber and woody vines of tropical jungles,” according to the National Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York,

The first swing sets in the United States date to the early 1800s, but were anchored in nature, the Toy Hall of Fame indicates. If you had a tree, you could establish a swing for your children.

The concept of public playgrounds began spreading toward the end of the 19th Century and into the beginning of the 20th Century. A key milestone was the formation of the Playground Association of America, which advocated for play spaces to help with the physical and emotional development of youth.

Skyfort IIImage from Amazon

The popularity of backyard swing sets came into its own in post-World War II America, according to Backyard Discovery, a maker of playsets.

In the decades since, home swing sets and playsets have evolved to feature different materials and different configurations to capture youthful imaginations.

The sets provide more option and are safer than ever, but there’s still plenty of think about before you buy.

How to Pick Out the Best Swing Set

Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing SetImage from Amazon

The first and most important factor in selecting the best swing set: Know your child.

Today’s swing sets will clearly state the age ranges they support. But even then, consider your child’s unique personality before you decide. What activities will he or she most enjoy? Do you just want swings, or would you like to add on a slide or a rope climb or a jungle gym?

You’re also going to have to know your yard. You want to place the set on flat ground with enough clearance at the front and the back — sometimes this is required. Children are known to appreciate the flying forward dismount, after all.

Consider what materials fit your style and budget. Plastic and metal sets tend to be lower on the price range but are geared toward younger and lighter children. Wood sets tend to be more expensive but will usually last longer.

The material you choose will impact the challenges of installation. If you’re someone who wants to do it yourself, and you choose a wood set, you’ll need skills with a measuring tape, a hammer, a saw, and other tools. Or you’ll need some extra budget to hire professional installers. Metal sets tend to be a little easier to construct.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, you should take time to think through issues of safety. Swingsets have their hazards, so you’re going want to make sure you read reviews and consider the safety recommendations and record from the manufacturer you choose.

Follow the directions to the letter — for instance, one company stresses that you should use only commercial-grade hardware. You don’t want protruding bolts or screws to create scratches, or worse!

Safety Rules!

Backyard Discovery Big Brutus Heavy Duty Metal Swing SetImage from Amazon

Safety is essential even after building the best swing set for our family.

You’re going to want to teach your kids and their friends to follow some basic safety rules. This may well impact which set you choose as the best swing set.

Backyard Discovery Big BrutusImage from Amazon

Even with a buffer zone, make sure your children know to avoid walking near friends and family who are swinging, either in front or back.

As well, kids shouldn’t stand on swings (though they will try to — didn’t we do that when we were young too?) The swings are made to be operated from a seated, balanced position.

One element you can control as the adult owner of the playset is ongoing maintenance. Make sure you regularly examine all the nuts and bolts on a swing — perhaps as often as twice a month during peak months, according to PlayNation.com. You want to spot any situations early-on where bolts have come loose.

Also, as the years go on, look at swings and other parts of the set for cracks or other signs of wear. Sometimes aging from the weather can catch up on you.

All that said, don’t go into the world of swinging with fear. Follow a few basic rules, such as these from Good Housekeeping, and the best swing set will give you memories to last a lifetime.

How We Selected the Best Swing Set

Ironkids Challenge 100 Metal Swing SetImage from Amazon

Americans love their playthings. And so do publications and media organizations established to keep parents informed of the smartest choices. To build our list of best swing sets, we consulted reviews and recommendations from publications both in the lifestyle category as well as those focused on parenting and the family.

Our list of resources included Family Living Today, Good Housekeeping, The Spruce.com, Gardener’s Path, and Heavy.com. We also looked at reviews in mass-market publications such as the Chicago Tribune and others, as well as Amazon.com — with a particular emphasis on customer feedback.

From our analysis, we selected swing sets that will appeal to various age groups. And we’re confident you’re going to find one that fits your definition of the best swing set.

The Best Swing Set for Priceless Backyard Moments

Plastic. Wood. Metal. Surprisingly enough, the best swing set could come from any of these materials.

Notably, some might just offer positions for swinging. Others provide an all-around experience involving slides, and climbs and clubhouses. For older kids, there may even be an opportunity to go back to nature and use a tree branch as you anchor.

The best swing set will always be the one you have in your backyard. Follow our advice, and you’ll be a backyard hero in no time.

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Backyard Discovery Skyfort II Wooden Swing Set


Backyard Discovery Skyfort II All Cedar Wood Swing Set

  • Elevated play: Backyard Discovery offers a large, raised clubhouse on the Skyfort II featuring a wooden roof, trimmed…
  • Crow’s nest: the elevated crow’s nest with telescope provide a rare feature that will bring out imagination and…
  • Lower fort: a lower deck packs in ground level fun by including a snack stand picnic table as well as a sandbox area,…

Why settle for swings when you can build a fort in the sky? That’s the question behind the Backyard Discovery Skyfort II Wooden Swing Set. This set will allow your kids to move their play to another level.

The Skyfort II offers three swinging positions – two for belt swings, one for a two-person glider swing. But that’s just the start of the fun.

As the name suggests, the centerpiece of the Skyfort II is a raised clubhouse, complete with a wooden roof, bay windows, a covered entryway, and – get this – a porch! It provides a place for kids to escape the sun or enjoy a snack.

The set also comes with a crow’s nest with a telescope to encourage imagination and a rock wall for climbing skills.

Pros

  • Multiple play options
  • Three swing positions
  • Clubhouse for shaded rest

Cons

  • Footprice – set requires a big lot
  • Assembly – not a one-person job
  • Cost, this is not a budget item

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Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set


Lifetime Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set, Primary Colors

  • Featuring 3 Belt Swings 9-ft. Wavy Slide All-Weather Resistant – Will Not Crack, Warp, Rot, or Splinter
  • Fireman’s Pole, Free-Standing – No Need for Cement, Gym Rings
  • Hard Edges are Rounded or Covered with Plastic Caps

Perhaps your brood isn’t the sky fort type. Don’t fret. Many swing sets offer other pathways to activity, such as the Monkey Bar Adventure Swing Set made by Lifetime, in a more streamlined fashion.

The Monkey Bar Adventure features three swing positions, all of them for belt swings. But it also offers a set of other activities –- primarily a 9-foot wavy slide that the company promises will not “crack, rot, warp, or splinter.”

While there is no clubhouse in this set, your kids can also climb across a set of monkey bars, use the fireman’s pole, or get acrobatic on a trapeze bar with a set of rings.

Pros

  • Three swing positions
  • 9-foot wavy slide
  • UV resistant

Cons

  • Pretty pricey
  • Lower-quality hardware
  • Slide too high for young children

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Gorilla Playsets Nantucket Swing Set


Gorilla Playsets 01-0021 Nantucket Wood Swing Set with Wood Roof, Two…

  • Tongue and Groove wood roof protects from the elements
  • Recommended for ages 3 to 11 years old
  • 3-stations provide space for the belt swings and trapeze bar

It’s probably OK to assume that a swing set/playset made by Gorilla is built to take a beating that even a gorilla could dish out. Interestingly, the Gorilla Playsets Nantucket Swing occupies a smaller footprint than others on this list but is still full of fun and possibility. It’s worth a look as your best swing set.

The Nantucket offers three swing positions, one of which can be used for a trapeze bar. It also comes with a smaller wave slide, as well as a free-form open clubhouse –- definitely a place where the kids can take a breather or wait out a rainstorm.

Additional features in the Nantucket Swing Set include a rock wall with climbing rope as well as a separate safe entry ladder to the clubhouse.

Pros

  • 10 separate activities
  • Three swing positions
  • Sturdiness

Cons

  • Cost, not a budget item
  • Assembly – took one customer eight hours to build
  • Inconsistent customer support

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Step2 Naturally Playful Playhouse Climber & Swing Set Extension


Step2 Naturally Playful Playhouse Climber & Swing Set Extension

  • Climber has roomy deck with balcony railing
  • 5 1/2 foot slide; Adult assembly required
  • Secret playhouse with door and crawl-through portals

Not every parent is up for a neighborhood-sized construction project. That’s not to say they couldn’t do it, but sometimes either the budget or the age of the kids won’t allow them to go big. If you’re in this category, consider the Step2 Naturally Playful Playhouse Climber and Swing Set Extension.

The Naturally Playful Playhouse combination set is made of plastic, allowing it to come together (or apart for moving) reasonably easily. The Playhouse includes two belt-swing positions and a more manageable 5.5-foot slide. This alone makes it a contender for best swing set.

Your kids will enjoy the mystery of a secret below-deck playhouse as well as a ladder that leads to a deck (with a safety balcony railing.) The playhouse offers portals and windows for fun escapes to work out your kids’ fine motor skills.

Pros

  • Easy-to-assemble
  • Lightweight for relocation
  • Appeals to younger children

Cons

  • Assembly directions hard to follow
  • Tight space for kids to maneuver
  • Inconsistent service

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Backyard Discovery


Backyard Discovery Woodridge II All Cedar Wood Playset Swing Set

  • A woodridge swing set with an enormous upper backyard fort, porch and even a crow’s nest. There are also a lower…
  • Heavy duty Backyard Discovery kids fort with wood roof. Covered side porch with 5-ft high sun deck. An elevated tunnel…
  • Railings surround the lower wooden playdeck with a bench seat and a sandbox for kids in this large swing set

Sometimes kids just want to swing. For that, we recommend you consider the Backyard Discovery.

Big Brutus offers three swing positions with two belt swings, and a trapeze bar included. Additionally, it’s free-standing with molded feet and built-in anchors.

We liked the super durable swing chains. Some kids just want to go high, and these will give you the durability you can trust. The swings themselves are manufactured to be low-maintenance, resisting even some of the harshest conditions.

Big Brutus is rated for kids 36 months to 10 years of age.

Pros

  • Affordability
  • Safe – heavy-duty construction
  • Easy assembly, directions available on the app

Cons

  • Assembly – more than a one-person job
  • Only a swing set

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Ironkids Challenge 100 Metal Swing Set with Ladder Climber


Ironkids Challenge 100 Metal Swing Set with Ladder Climber and UV…

  • Swinging burns calories and engages muscle groups, particularly hamstrings and quadriceps
  • Monkey Bar -Builds arm strength and helps keep off excess weight through exercise; Also the arms, shoulders and chest…
  • Ladder Climb -Helps grow a kid’s sense of balance and co-ordination; Climbing on bars strengthens both arm and leg…

It could be that Big Brutus strips things down too far for you and your family. If so, then consider the Ironkids Challenge 100 Metal Swing Set with Ladder Climber as a candidate for best swing set.

The Ironkids Challenge is mostly focused on swinging but includes a couple of additional features. For example, the set consists of a ladder for climbing, a glider for two-person swinging, and two swing positions.

The set builds in a UV protective sunshade. While it’s not a clubhouse, it’s still a way for the kids to continue enjoying their swing time without melting in the heat.

In addition to the glider and belt swing, the set also comes with a position for a monkey bar.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Sunshade design provides UV protection
  • Multiple activities in a small footprint

Cons

  • Tricky assembly — screws connect inside pipes
  • Inconsistent customer support
  • Unsturdy feel

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Lifetime 90188 Playset


LIFETIME 90188 Playset, Children’s Picnic Table and Bucket Swing…

  • Bundle includes: 1 a-frame playset, 1 children Picnic Table and 1 bucket swing
  • Clubhouse with hardtop roof, 9-Ft. Wavy slide, 1 trapeze bar and 2 belt swings
  • All-weather resistant – will not crack, warp, rot, or splinter

Our last candidate for best swing set is one that offers additional value outside the A-frame that makes your swing set. In addition to swings, the Lifetime 90188 Playset comes with a children’s picnic table and a bucket safety swing. Significantly, for parents on the go, the four-seat picnic table is easily folded for transit to the park or grandma’s house.

The set itself has plenty to keep your children happy. In addition to the two belt swings, there is room for a trapeze bar. Your kids can also escape beneath a clubhouse with a hardtop roof and take a ride down the 9-foot wavy slide.

Lifetime promises that the set will last through all kinds of weather, resisting rot, or warping.

Pros

  • Very sturdy
  • Multiple activities, including a picnic table
  • Accessories available

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Assembly – confusing instructions
  • Requires ladder to install roof

(Bonus) Who needs a swing set to swing?

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You don’t necessarily need to invest in a full-fledged swing set to give your little ones the thrill of swinging. That’s because sometimes the best moments are made from spur of the moment inspiration — particularly for children at the younger end of the spectrum.

For those little ones, we offer the Little Tikes 2-in-1 Snug ‘n Secure Grow With Me Swing. This is a safety swing with a T-bar that can be made portable — attaching to a sturdy tree branch, for example, or taken to grandma’s for the afternoon.

Notably, one of the nice things about the swing is it can adapt according to the needs of your child. If necessary, you can secure him or her with a T-bar and straps, but you can also remove these as the child gets older.

For less than a family trip to McDonald’s and some ingenuity, you can have instant swing fun.

Swinging and Singing

As we’ve said, the mind of a child, the best swing set is the one you can get to the fastest. But the designs of modern playsets have grown to be highly sophisticated, offering children multiple enjoyable play options.

Determining the best swing set will be a very personal decision because it involves understanding what your child can do and wants to do. It also means having insights into how your child will grow and the ability to envision where your set will fit!

When you come right down to it, the swing set represents a snapshot in the life of your child growing up. Choose for fun, choose for safety, but most of all, choose for the memories it will bring.

How to Play Bocce Ball: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

The time has come to learn how to play bocce ball. If you don’t believe me, take a look at just how popular this sport is across the globe and decide for yourself.

Harvil 100mm Bocce Ball SetImage from Amazon

After my recent trip to the Amalfi Coast, I can guarantee that this is the game you should add to your summer barbecue. From one town to the next, I watched groups of Italian grandfathers, uncles, and old friends. They were lazing the days away under the shade of olive trees engaged in games of bocce ball.

You may not have played bocce, but I assure you that your ancestors probably did!

Historians have found evidence that Egyptians were teaching their neighbors how to play bocce ball as early as 5200 B.C. Since then, the game has swept across the globe, mostly thanks to Italian immigrants.

Bocce ball is arguably the world’s oldest sport. It has the third-largest number of participants in the world (after golf and soccer). It’s played across the continents, by people of all ages and in all social classes.Bocce has seen relatively little change over the millennia. Though we no longer toss polished stones or coconuts like our ancestors, the rules and gameplay are essentially the same.With your own set of bocce balls, you can play just about anywhere you find an empty space. So, dust off your bowler hat, make yourself a refreshing Aperol spritz, and settle in to learn how to play bocce ball once and for all!

A Brief History of

Bocce Ball and Its Rise to Global Popularity

Baden Champions 107mm Bocce Ball Set with Carry Case and Measuring TapeImage from Amazon

Many bocce enthusiasts agree that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans invented the earliest forms of the game.

The word “bocce” is a plural form of the Italian word “boccia” (meaning “ball”). “Boccia” stems from the vulgar Latin word “bottica.”

The Italians also refer to the game as Volo, from the verb “volare,” which means to fly. This second name alludes to the manner of throwing one’s ball through the air in an attempt of striking away your opponent’s ball.

Bocce has been called many other names — lawn bowling, nine pins, skittles, and petanque, to name a few. The French, meanwhile, use the name “Boule Lyonnaise.”

Though it may have many different names, the game is played across the globe in almost the same way as it was millennia ago. It’s not very common to find something in contemporary culture that reflects its origins from thousands of years ago, but this game holds true.

Before you learn how to play bocce ball, let’s take a look at the history of the sport and pay respect to our ancestors who invented the game so long ago.

From Egyptian Tombs to the Roman Empire

English scientist, Sir Francis Petrial, discovered a painting in an Egyptian tomb from around 5200 B.C. In this painting, two boys are playing an early form of bocce ball, proof that bocce is arguably the oldest sport in the world.

Others believe that the sport goes back as far as 9000 B.C., largely due to some stone balls uncovered in Turkey. However, no one has proven that these balls were used to play bocce.

What we do know is that through the centuries, bocce spread out of Egypt and across Asia Minor. Around 600 B.C., Greeks were learning how to play bocce ball. And they eventually passed the game to the Romans.

Initially, bocce ball was prohibited to people of lesser nobility. The upper class believed that playing the game diverted the working class’ attention from more important tasks, such as training for battle and manufacturing supplies.

However, despite many attempts to ban the sport, bocce eventually became a popular public game. Everyone was learning how to play bocce ball, and it was accessible to those from all walks of life.

We have the Greek colonists to thank for bringing bocce with them into the new world. As they spread their empire, they taught the inhabitants of modern-day Italy how to play bocce ball.

To the Olympics and Beyond

Some say that the Roman soldiers were the first to play bocce with contemporary rules during the Punic Wars in 246 B.C. They played the game as a pleasant distraction from the stresses of war and to help keep themselves entertained.

As Italians learned how to play bocce ball, and its popularity spread, bocce was threatened once again with prohibition. Legend has it that people were playing bocce in the streets so much that they were hitting the knees of passing noblemen!

While this problem shed an unfortunate light upon the lower classes, it also brought widespread attention to the sport among Italian noblemen who decided it was their turn to learn how to play bocce ball. Soon enough, bocce became a favorite pastime across the entire socio-economic spectrum.

Giuseppe Garibaldi was a famous Italian general, politician, and nationalist who played a significant role in Italian history. But while he unified and nationalized Italy, he also popularized bocce ball as it’s known today.

Despite the early fervor, bocce has frequently lost and gained popularity throughout the ages. But it experienced an intense resurgence at the end of the 19th century.

The first bocce club emerged in 1850 in Lyon, France. In 1896, bocce appeared as an Olympic event in Athens, Greece. Then, in the Paris Olympics of 1900, bocce was featured as an exhibition sport.

Bocce has been a part of international competitions ever since.

Who Was the Best Bocce Player Ever?

Umberto Granaglia (who passed rather recently in 2008) is indisputably considered the best bocce player ever. Born in Italy, he was named “Player of the 20th Century” by the Confederation Mondiale des Sport de Boules in 2005.

Players recognize Granaglia’s visage throughout the bocce world. To many fans, he embodies the perfect bocce player.

Umberto GranagliaImage by Antonio Busso from Flickr

After Granaglia learned how to play bocce ball, he had a 23-year-long career in which he won more championships than any other player. During his life, he won 13 World, 12 European, and 46 Italian Championships. He holds the record number of wins for all three tournaments.There are many great bocce champions, past and present. However, none of these players are quite as accomplished or famous as Granaglia.

How the Game Has Changed (and remained the same)

After thousands of years as a sport, it’s no surprise that bocce ball has changed quite a bit. But, on the other hand, there are a surprising number of ways in which it is exactly the same.

From ball construction to competitive spirit, modern bocce is both similar to and very, very different from its earlier versions:

Evolution of the Bocce Ball

Early bocce ball technology was crude.

In the time of Roman soldiers, players would use anything that resembled a ball, including rocks, bound rags, and fruit. Early participants were also known to use coconuts brought back from Africa. Later on, they switched to hard olive wood to carve out balls.

In the middle of the 19th century, players used custom wooden balls fortified with a few blacksmith nails. Unfortunately, these balls were defective and quick to become deformed, especially when used on rocky terrain.

Eventually, factory-made nails became available. The balls were covered in iron nails with round and flat heads and became much more durable. You could tell the different makers apart from one another because they started to use different metals (such as steel, brass, and copper) to create different designs and patterns.

In 1923, metal technology took off. Players were able to have balls made out of bronze. Makers were also able to create slight variations in weight, diameter, and pattern to fit the hand size of the player and their throwing style.

Modern bocce balls are about the size of a grapefruit. They are heavy, solid, and made of wood or epoxy. For most players, having the right set of balls is just as important as knowing how to play bocce ball.

Growth of Bocce Tournaments

In the past century or so, bocce has also become a popular tournament sport. Competitions regularly take place around the world, some offering significant cash awards to winners.

Today, the Federation International de Boules (FIB) regulates bocce play at the international level, dictating all official rules and instructing people on how to play bocce ball.

The FIB was established on April 14, 1946. Immediately after, the FIB held the first World Bocce Championship in 1947.

Today, this sport is most popular in the Mediterranean. The most skilled and highest concentration of players come from France, Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia. More than 30 nations participate in the World Bocce Championship, which occurs every other year.

Tournaments include traditional events like Singles and Doubles. They have also added newer events to the competitions, such as the Progressive Throw and Relay. These specialized events focus on the more athletic aspects of bocce rather than the original game itself.

The two biggest tournaments in the world are the Pentecote Tournament Bellecour in Lyon, France, and the Gara Alassio in Italy. Both tournaments take place over two days and welcome over 4,000 participants each year.

The Strange Legend of Kissing Fanny

Fanny_Le_RituelImage from Wikimedia

If you’re going to learn how to play bocce ball, then you also need to learn how to lose gracefully. This means you need to learn the story of Fanny.

When you’ve lost your match, and someone tells you to kiss Fanny, you shouldn’t turn red in the face or make a terrible faux pas. Though this ritual is a bit cheeky (pardon the pun), it’s not as crass as it may sound.

You see, Fanny is the patron saint of bocce ball. If you lose a game of bocce without scoring a single point, you are “être fanny” (being fanny).

Kissing Fanny, or experiencing such a dramatic loss, is the ultimate humiliation for players everywhere. And this is true in more ways than one since such a bad loss makes it seem like you don’t know how to play bocce ball at all!

So What’s Her Story?

As the story goes, just after World War I, there was a waitress named Fanny working at the Café de Grand-Temps. When someone had lost a game without scoring a point, she would take pity on them and allow them to kiss her on the cheek.

One day, the local mayor lost a game and went to the café for his prize. No one is sure what prompted Fanny to do what she did next, though maybe she was upset with the mayor for some other reason.

She lifted her skirt and offered him the other cheek!

Legend has it, the mayor didn’t even hesitate. Thus began the tradition that requires a player (or entire team) that loses a game without scoring a single point to “kiss Fanny.”

These days it’s common for bocce clubs to have a picture or sculpture of Fanny bearing her derriere, providing something to kiss who suffers this humiliation.

What You Need to

Know About How to Play Bocce Ball

AmazonBasics Bocce Ball Set with Soft Carry CaseImage from Amazon

It’s quite simple to learn how to play bocce ball. At its most basic, bocce ball involves two single players pitted against one another.

Bocce, however, is really a team sport and is best with two teams squaring off. Each team can have two, three, or four players, depending on the game.

Whichever way you choose to play this ancient game, here’s what you need to know:

Invest in the Right Equipment

A standard bocce set contains eight colored balls — four balls each to a color, typically green and red — and one smaller ball, called the jack or “pallino.” You can also find sets that have four different colors, allowing more players to join in a Singles game.

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Different skill levels require different sizes of bocce balls. Beginners and kids tend to use smaller balls, but professionals use the larger ones. Regulation-sized bocce balls have a standard diameter of 107 millimeters (4.2 inches) and a standard weight of 920 grams (less than 2 pounds).

You should also keep a measuring tape on hand to accurately assess who’s bocce are closer to the pallino. And if you’re playing bocce at a barbecue with friends, it may be useful to invest in a scoreboard to minimize any potential disputes.

Learn the Basics

Each game begins with a simple coin toss. The winning team picks a player to pitch the pallino from a line at one end of the court. The pallino must land past the middle line but no further than the 4-foot line.

If the pallino lands out of the designated area, the other team will then throw the pallino into the playing field.

Next, the same player throws or rolls a bocce ball, hoping to land it as close as possible to the pallino. Ideally, you want that first ball to stop right in front of the pallino.

Then, the opposing team rolls a bocce ball, also aiming as close to the pallino as possible. Skilled players will even knock the other person’s bocce out of the way or hit the pallino itself (moving it away from their opponent’s bocce).

The team whose bocce ball is farthest away from the jack now gets to bowl its remaining three bocce balls in succession, each time trying to get as close to the jack as possible. Once they have finished, the other team also gets to bowl their remaining three balls.After both teams have bowled all their balls, the round comes to an end. The team with the ball closest to the pallino earn points, the other team does not.

Toss, Lob, Throw, or Bowl

Knowing how to play bocce ball boils down to knowing how to throw or bowl your bocce. However, there is no one right way to do it.

Every bocce fanatic will tell you several different ways, but with a few simple techniques, you can maximize your chances of landing a great shot.

It’s best to throw a bocce ball underhand. Doing so allows the thrower the best blend of control and power. Most players grip the bocce ball with the palm underneath and the fingertips resting on the front of the ball.

Alternatively, you can grasp the bocce from above, with the palm gripping the top of the ball and the wrist flicking forward at the point of release.

Though you can “bowl” your ball, it’s better to throw the ball at least partially through the air before letting it roll the rest of the way. Players often find success with either high and soft lobs or low and strong throws. Try the different methods and see what works best.

Remember that balls will roll differently on different types of terrain.

When aiming, don’t aim directly for the pallino. Instead, aim in front of the point where you hope the bocce ball will come to a rest.

For low-angled throws, aim further in front of the target point to account for momentum upon landing. Higher arcs tend to stop dead upon landing, so you can aim closer to your target.

Where to Play Bocce

Once you’ve learned how to play bocce ball, you can play just about anywhere you find a stretch of level ground. Pavement, grass, gravel, hard-packed dirt, sand, and cement will all work. Wherever your chosen court, the surface should be level.

If you have a lawn, you can mow a strip short to create a bocce court.

For a friendly game or players just learning how to play bocce ball, the dimensions of the playing field do not need to be exact. For more serious games, you should try to get as close to a regulation-sized court as possible.

Measure Up

A bocce court, or “campo,” is 23-by-2.4 meters, or about 75 feet long and 8 feet wide. There must be a level surface of sand or clay enclosed with boarded ends that are 45 centimeters (about 18 inches) high and sides that are 30 centimeters (or 12 inches) high.

The court is divided into areas with five evenly spaced lines. You can mark these lines by drawing them in the sand or dirt, stretching strings across the court, or placing objects at the court’s edge.

Dressing the Part

The best part of bocce is how you can modify the game to your level of competition. This game is well-suited for amateurs and professionals alike.

Just like you can play the game anywhere you find a level surface area, you can wear whatever makes you feel most comfortable.

If you play at a country club or bocce club, they may require you to wear the proper attire. Most places also require their patrons to cover their shoulders, meaning no tank tops.

No matter where you play, it’s best to wear low, soft-heeled shoes. Bocce games can keep you on your feet for a long time. Therefore, you want to be sure to wear shoes that give you plenty of support.

High heels are a big no-no, as they can tear up or puncture the court.

Scoring Points and Taking Home the Trophy

Bocce Ball Set Game with Case - 4 to 8 Player Bocce Balls Set - 90 or 100mm BallsImage from Amazon

Once you’ve learned how to play bocce, the basic rules are simple to remember. The object of the game is to roll your bocce balls closer to the pallino than your opponent.

As you’ve probably guessed, the ultimate goal is to earn as many points as possible. Here’s how players earn those points and keep score:

Keeping Score

The game consists of several frames. Frames are played alternately from one end of the court to the other. Scoring takes place at the end of each frame, and only the team with ball(s) closest to the pallino earns points.

A team earns one point for each ball that is closer to the pallino than the closest ball of the opposing team. If a ball touches the pallino, it’s said to be “kissing the jack.” A ball kissing the jack is worth two points.

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If the two balls closest to the pallino belong to opposing teams and are exactly the same distance from the jack, neither team scores a point. Instead, the pallino returns to the team which delivered it for a re-toss.

Only balls which are proveably closer to the jack than any opponent’s balls may award points. This is why it’s good to have a measuring device to help you ensure accuracy.

Additional frames continue until one team reaches a set point total.

How to Win Bocce

More than even knowing how to play bocce ball in the first place, you probably want to know how to win bocce ball. Well, when it comes to this game, the best offense really is a good defense.

It will take some time, but to become a good player, you have to learn when to aim for the pallino and when to aim for other balls on the court. It might behoove you to knock an opponent’s ball out of play or knock one of your own balls that are already in play closer to the pallino.

Most importantly, keep in mind that winning a frame is far more critical than scoring additional points. You don’t score any points if the opposing team has the closest bocce to the pallino. So, defending your position may be wiser than trying to get an extra point or two.

Traditionally, frames continue until one team reaches a score of 12. Players may also choose other ending scores. It’s also common to use 11, 13, 15, or 16 points instead. In the end, it just depends on how long you want your game to last.

Get Your Bocce On!

Now you agree that it’s about time you learn how to play bocce, don’t you? After all, it’s a historical game that is once again sweeping the globe by storm!

Now that it’s growing in popularity in the United States, it’s gaining new momentum all around. Officials have even begun discussions to reintroduce bocce to the Olympics.

Bocce’s versatility makes it the perfect family game to play in the backyard or take on vacation. Teaching your kids how to play bocce ball could lead to years of family fun and healthy competition.

Plus, it’s a game for people of all ages, gender, and athletic ability. You can play on any level surface with anyone who is willing to try. The rules can be modified according to the player’s age, ability, and competitiveness.

Not only can you play games in the local park or your backyard, but many bocce locations are also springing up at country clubs and recreational centers across the country. So, get out there and bocce!

What techniques have you used to teach your family how to play bocce ball? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below!

Featured Image from Amazon 

Introducing Your Kids to Organized Sports

Put me in, coach! Whether it’s on a field, a court, rink, or a diamond, kids sports are part of growing up.

In 75 percent of U.S. households, at least 1 child participates in an organized sport, according to a Project Play (1). 

That amounts to almost 60 percent of the country’s youth ready to play.

Though data is a little harder to come by, sports are just as popular in other countries (2). In India, it’s cricket. In other parts of Asia, it’s badminton. And everywhere, it seems, kids are playing soccer.

If you’re a parent of youngsters, you might be wondering: 

What are kids sports all about? 

Are they right for my children? 

What’s the best way to get my kids involved? 

And most importantly, will they be safe and pressure-free?

Everyone’s situation is a little bit different. But, before you decide on your kids’ sports, if any, consider the benefits.

Benefits of Kids Sports

Kids have an abundance of energy. They are moving from the time they wake up almost to the time they go to bed.

At the same time, parents want to see that energy diverted toward learning about the way the world works.

Activities such as organized kids’ sports can help.

Let’s take a quick look at how the world of athletics will shape your child’s health and happiness and teach lessons that last a lifetime.

Get them to the field on time. You won’t regret it.

Strong Heart

The screen generation faces many temptations to stay in place from video games, movies, texting with friends, and other distractions. The lack of activity can create health problems down the road.

But get them involved in sports, and you’ll be activating their muscles — and not just the ones in their arms and legs. The heart is a muscle, too!

Sports means moving your body, and moving your body leads to improvements in cardiovascular fitness (3). In the near-term, playing a sport will help them grow by strengthening their little hearts.

And the benefits accumulate. Learn to stay active, and you’re increasing your chances of staving off heart disease, high blood pressure, and other ailments.

In part, that’s true because activity during kids sports pays dividends in terms of weight loss. 

Getting your heart pumping means you’re burning calories — something you cannot do while sitting still on your Xbox or PlayStation.

The fact is, the benefits go beyond the heart. Staying active during sports keeps your lungs in shape and helps by building a solid skeleton with the strongest of bones.

The physical payback from kids’ sports is enormous. But that’s not all.

Strong Mind

Kids sports also teach crucial life skills and provide support for emotional development (4).

Playing on a team requires learning not only to get along with others but also how to collaborate positively. Remember, there’s no “I” in team.

a coach and his youth soccer team

In many children, sports also bring out confidence, self-discipline, and leadership skills (5). Not everyone will go on to be captain. But getting through a game or a season successfully goes a long way toward a resilient attitude.

Perhaps you’re worried about putting too much pressure on your little ones. That’s certainly a consideration.

Make sure that the activity you choose is supported by good organization, excellent coaching, and a positive environment.

However, don’t be afraid to see them fall. Great growth comes from experiencing high-pressure situations and failing.

At some point in their lives, every child will go through the experience of a job interview. If you know how to harness the butterflies in your stomach from sports, it will go better for you.

The softer benefits don’t just go to the kids. Being part of the experience can have positives for the entire family (6). Being together, even if it’s just cheering together for your little one, makes for a happy household.

Best Kids Sports to Join

Which sport should you pursue for your child? It’s a good question — and not one anyone can answer for every family.

Every child is different, as is every family’s circumstance. And all sports have their pluses and minuses. Only you will know what’s best in your case.

a

To help, though, the Aspen Institute Sports and Society Program created the Healthy Sports Index (7). It’s an online tool that looks at the pros and cons of 10 popular sports for the target population.

You can adjust various factors in the tool to account for what’s most important to you. The factors to consider are physical activity, psychosocial benefits, and safety.

The tool allows you to click and read more about each sport. The tracker provides information on the types of physical agility needed to succeed in each and recommended alternatives.

We picked out three from the list to discuss more in depth. Since we’re focusing on children between the first and fifth grades, we thought it’s probably too soon for organized cross country or track and field.

Baseball

Baseball is America’s pastime for a reason. It’s a rite of summer, drawing millions of kids outside to swing bats, run bases, and field ground balls.

The Health Sports Index ranks baseball tenth out of 10 sports, though mainly because playing the game requires lots of downtime between plays. When there’s activity, it’s intense; however, many times, players are waiting for something to happen (probably two-thirds of the time, HSI says).

Still, the HSI likes that baseball requires balance, reactionary capabilities, hand-eye coordination, and many basic movement skills. The sport is considered the fifth safest on the list of 10 sports.

The analog for girls is softball. That sport ranks ninth best out of 10 for girls but very high for psychosocial development.

In either case, boys or girls, get started in the sport by finding a T-ball league. You can probably find one through your local town recreation association or even a church league.

Setting aside the data-oriented approach, what are some of the intangible reasons for choosing baseball?

Well, for one, the teams are big — nine to each side. Anyone can participate and succeed — you don’t need to be the biggest, strongest, or fastest kid on the block.

It’s also hard to resist a sport that such an essential part of American history (8).

Soccer 

Parents have always considered soccer (or futbol depending on your nationality and country) to be one of the best kids sports.

And the Healthy Sports Index agrees. 

The survey ranks soccer the fourth-best sport for boys and the fifth-best for girls out of 10. (9)

little league soccer teams facing off.

Soccer is a sport that requires vigorous exercise about 50% of the time during a game. It rewards footwork, stamina, leg strength, and teamwork, the HSI survey suggests.

A downside: 

The injury rates in soccer for girls are the highest of the 10 suggested sports, and seventh out of tenth for boys (10).

Yet consider also the intangibles of soccer when deciding on which are the best kids sports for your family (11).

It’s a game enjoyed around the world that can be played almost anywhere and requires minimal equipment. If you have two goals, a ball, and the right shoes, you’re good to go.

Soccer also enables broad participation. 

A full game takes 22 players!

Lacrosse

We wanted to include a game that probably doesn’t get enough recognition as one of the best for physical and emotional development.

Lacrosse is also one of the nation’s oldest games, which adds a historical component to the experience. The Healthy Sports Index ranks lacrosse ninth for boys and eighth for girls, out of the 10 kids sports it reviewed.

Youth lacrosse players on the field squaring off.

You should know upfront that lacrosse involves more contact than you might think. 

HSI ranks lacrosse as the ninth safest sport for boys and eighth safest for girls out of the 10 kids sports on the list.

But it also requires maximum activity from participants… 

Players are vigorously active about 40% of the time.

Lacrosse is a fast-moving game that calls for hand-eye coordination, endurance, balance, speed, flexibility, and agility, according to the HSI social scientists.

One of the significant intangibles of lacrosse is that it develops the full athlete (12). To be successful in lacrosse, you must build speed, strength, and coordination, while calling on various skills utilized more prominently in other sports.

And teamwork is paramount, which is, in our view, one of the best reasons to involve your children in kids sports (13).

Here’s the Pitch

Parents have other choices in addition to soccer, baseball/softball, and lacrosse. Running, swimming, wrestling, basketball, tennis, all have attributes to help your little one gain confidence and grow.

Should you take the leap with them or not? That’s a question you’ll have to work through as a family, based on what you know about your child’s physical and emotional maturity.

A youth baseball coaching team a young player proper form.

Tools like the Health Sports Index can help but aren’t a replacement for real experience and understanding of the world around us.

If you’re leaning towards getting in, your best bet is to check with your kids’ school, town’s recreation league, church leagues, or even consult physical education teachers at your local school. They’ll point you in the right direction.

And don’t be afraid to get involved yourself. Our youth need caring parents with perspective to realize the benefits of organized kids sports.

One final word: Our list focuses on warm-weather sports. To learn more about kids activities in the winter, read our guide (14) to cold-weather kids sports.

What sports do your kids play and why? Let us know in the comments below.

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Best Bento Lunch Box

If you spend any time on Instagram, especially in the foodie or parenting circles, who’ve probably noticed a certain trend cropping up to replace traditional lunchboxes: the Japanese bento box. But before you hop on the wagon and start crafting your own adorable lunches, you need to know which style is the best bento lunch box for you and your family.

What once was only adopted in the West by anime and manga fans (often called otakus or weeaboos, both lovingly and not so much), is now used by trendy bloggers and creative parents.

And with the growing popularity of meal prepping, or pre-assembling meals for the busy week ahead, the bento box is now almost entirely a part of U.S. culture.

But what exactly is a bento box? Where did the concept first originate?

And how do you choose the best bento lunch box out of the seemingly endless options currently on the market?

Comparison Table

What Is a Bento Box?

The concept of a bento box is actually quite simple. A bento lunch box is a reusable, Tupperware-like lunch box from Japan. These boxes can be made from plastic, bamboo, steel, or other durable materials.

Traditionally, bento boxes include foods like rice, fish, and vegetables. However, with the adoption of these boxes in the U.S. and elsewhere abroad, today’s bento boxes can contain practically anything.

Where did the bento box come from?

The history of the bento box is surprisingly murky. While we know that Japanese farmers and soldiers packed their food in boxes as early as the 5th Century and that this utilitarian trend spread across China, Korea, and other parts of Asia, things are a little unclear after that.

a bento rice meal on wooden lunch box

Image Source: Instagram.com

We do know that the bento box was a standard for schoolchildren in the early-1900s, and about its role as an economic status symbol between the post-war haves and have-nots. When standardized school lunches were introduced, the bento box fell out of popularity.

That is, until the 1980s.

As frozen dinners and convenience foods dominated the market, the bento box reappeared. This also coincided with Japanese-American immigrants bringing the concept over to their new home.

a bento meal on rectangular containers

Image Source: Instagram.com

A few years later, around the 1990s, character-themed bento boxes became the new trend. Today, we still see these elaborate boxes on Instagram, YouTube, and personal blogs across the Internet.

Why the Bento Box Isn’t Just a Cute Trend

Yes, the best bento lunch box photos might dominate social media, but this isn’t the only reason why this trend seems to be here to stay. In fact, bento boxes offer several benefits.
Here are just a few reasons you should consider jumping onto this new lunch trend:

They can help save the environment

One of the most important aspects of a bento box is that it’s reusable. Unlike plastic sandwich bags and brown paper lunch sacks, the bento box is just as permanent as your ceramic dishes or glass cups.

However, unlike your home dinnerware, a bento box is meant for transport. This means you can also avoid buying prepackaged foods. And, as a result, cut down on the amount of waste you produce with each meal.

a stacked of colorful lunch boxes

Image Source: Instagram.com

Many of the best bento box brands of today emphasize this focus on sustainability by choosing eco-friendly materials and manufacturing practices for their products.

If you care about the environmental impact of your purchases, we suggest seeking out one of these companies for your new lunchbox!

They can save you time and money

Dining out, even if you just make a pit stop at a convenience store or fast food joint, is expensive. This can also be true for children’s school lunches, depending on your district.
Actually, reports say that U.S. citizens spend an average of over $1,000 per year on restaurant lunches. And professionals aren’t the only ones affected by this, with college students spending an average of $27.47 dining out per week!

a bento box with rice chicken and spinach leaves

Image Source: Instagram.com

If you need a little extra motivation to pack lunch each day, a stylish bento box could be just the thing you need. Plus, when you’re not rushing out of the office to grab take-out on your break, you’ll have more time to relax before you get back to work.

They can help you eat healthily

Of course, switching to a packed bento lunch won’t do much good if you fill it with junk. Fortunately, there are several resources and cookbooks out there for healthy, bento-based meal inspiration.

a healthy bento meal on pink lunch box

Image Source: Instagram.com

First, bento boxes offer built-in portion control. Not only can you only pack so much food into a single box, but most boxes feature individual compartments that let you portion out carbs, vegetables, sweets, and more.

Second, the bento box goes hand-in-hand with creative, brightly colored lunches that are often in the shape of cute animals or cartoon characters. Who doesn’t want to snack on a carrot in the shape of a star?

Okay, and they’re cute and fun

Alright, while bento boxes are much more than just a cute photo op, we can’t deny that the bento community creates some absolutely adorable and delicious-looking lunches.
For example, a bento box can turn a normal, healthy lunch into something out of a culinary magazine:

a bento rice box with honey chicken and fresh veggies

Image Source: Instagram.com

Or, you can use your bento box to scratch that itch for symmetry and organization:

a bento box with different textures and shapes

Image Source: Instagram.com

Obviously, we can’t forget the incredibly creative lunches that bento fans are constantly putting together, like this Hermione Granger-themed lunch:


a hermoine themed bento box

Image Source: Instagram.com

You can even celebrate holidays with themed lunches, like this creepy and cute Halloween-themed box (just look at that orange disguised as a spooky pumpkin!):


halloween themed bento box

Image Source: Instagram.com

As you can see, there really is no end to the amazing things you can create with a simple bento box.

So, are you feeling inspired? Well, then it’s time for you to find the best bento box for your newfound creative passion!

The Best Bento Box for Every Lunch and Lifestyle

Just a few years ago, buying a proper bento lunch box meant visiting a specialty shop or ordering one online. Today, though, you can find bento boxes almost anywhere.

However, just because you can run to your nearest general store and pick up one of these trendy lunchboxes doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily get the best bento lunch box for your needs. With their growing popularity, there are numerous types of bento boxes to choose from for packing your next lunch.

Whether you want something sleek and office-appropriate, or something you can haul around in a backpack all day, here are some of the best bento lunch boxes you can buy today:

For the office

Sure, panda-shaped or colorful bento boxes might be adorable. But if you work in a professional setting, they might not be the most appropriate.

If you want a high-quality bento box that your coworkers won’t raise their eyebrows at, may we suggest one of the boxes below?

BentoHeaven Bamboo


Original BentoHeaven Bento Box Bundle with FREE Lunch Bag, Divider,…

  • GET THE MOST STYLISH BENTO LUNCH BOX: Friends, family, colleagues will be longing for your lunch box by BentoHeaven from…
  • EAT SAFE HEALTHY MEALS ANYWHERE: reusable, airtight, leak proof bento box containers made of food grade BPA-FREE…
  • GIVE THE BEST MOMENTS OF THEIR DAY: use your FREE lunch box notes to send a personal message to your beloved ones! Print…

The BentoHeaven Bamboo box, available in black or white, is the quintessential bento box. This classic lunchbox is perfect for the office, or anywhere you don’t want to draw attention to your day-to-day lunch.

With two 20-ounce, stackable containers and individual sealing lids, you can pack anything you’re craving. Plus, the attached chopsticks and cutlery set mean you don’t have to haul around silverware or waste plastic utensils. Everything stays secure with the removable elastic strap.

monbento MB Square


monbento MB Square Matcha – The bento box

  • Microwave-safe
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Airtight

If you want a bit more room for your meal, the monbento MB Square box is what the brand calls a “King-sized bento” option. This square bento box features a modern design and is available in several different colors, from matte black to rose pink.

With this bento box, you get two just over 28-ounce, stacking containers with airtight sealing lids and a secure elastic strap. Unfortunately, this bento box does not come with utensils, though you can purchase them from monbento separately.

While some say this is the best bento lunch box for men, really it’s just a great choice for anyone with a big appetite. 

Bklyn Bento Stainless Steel Bento Box


Stainless Steel Bento Box Lunch Box, A Large Metal 3 Tier Tiffin Food…

  • 3 TIER 100% STAINLESS STEEL LUNCH BOX: Some foods were simply not meant to mingle. Separate containers keep your…
  • 20% LARGER: Ahhh, nothing like market research. We found most people that use bento boxes really like them….
  • ECO & ENVIRONMENTAL FRIENDLY: Not even a touch of BPA, PVC , BPS or PHTHALATES goes into making this food…

Are you trying to limit your plastic use? Even if you choose the best bento lunch box made from reusable plastic, there are still downsides to how these products are created. Fortunately, you can do away with plastic completely with the Bklyn Bento Stainless Steel Bento Box.

This bento box offers a secure, airtight seal for all of your favorite foods. It includes three separate, stacking containers that hold 9 ounces, 16 ounces, and 17 ounces, from top-to-bottom. Unfortunately, because of the lid sealing design, you can’t use just one or two of these containers at a time.

For the kids

Being an adult might mean doing away with cartoon-themed lunchboxes and overly bright colors. But that doesn’t mean your children can’t indulge in these simple pleasures.
For many kids, their school lunchbox is a core part of their identity. Luckily, bento boxes come in all types of cool colors, designs, and themes!

If you’re thinking about switching your child to a bento-based lunch, here are some of the best bento lunch box styles for younger kids:

Bentgo Kids Prints


Bentgo Kids Prints (Pink Dots) – Leak-Proof, 5-Compartment Bento-Style…

  • LUNCH IN STYLE: Bentgo Kids has upgraded America’s favorite children’s lunchbox with fun patterns that showcase your…
  • IDEAL PORTIONS FOR KIDS: 5 practical compartments portioned perfectly for a child’s appetite to encourage a healthy…
  • LEAK-PROOF TECHNOLOGY: Keeps meals and snacks fresh and mess-free during transport – Designed with 2 kid-friendly…

One of the best bento box options for kids is the Bentgo Kids Prints collection. These bento boxes come in six different colorways, each with their own fun design on the top (our personal favorite is the Mermaid Scales version!).

Each of these boxes has a hinged outer shell that securely clasps shut and a removable, segmented tray inside. The tray features five different sections of varying sizes. Bentgo states that these sections are the perfect size for portion control in children ages 3 to 7.

YumBox Original


Yumbox Original Leakproof Bento Lunch Box Container (Neptune Blue)

  • PRACTICAL LEAKPROOF DESIGN: Yumbox Original is designed to make your packed lunches easy & delicious. Molded silicone…
  • IDEAL PORTION SIZES FOR KIDS: Yumbox Original is designed for little kids. Our goal is to promote healthy & balanced…
  • PERFECT HEALTHY PACKED LUNCH: YUMBOX is a winner of Good Design Award for a Children’s Product. Yumbox makes it so easy…

If your child is a slow or reluctant eater, how about trying a bento box with a design hidden inside? The YumBox Original bento box, with its colorful interior images, is just one example.

These bento boxes come in all different designs, from adventurous astronauts to quaint forest creatures. YumBox even has one design that maps out the different food groups and appropriate portion sizes. Whichever design you choose, your child will be eager to finish their lunch so they can see the scene underneath!

YumBox Original bento boxes feature a hinged lid with a secure but easy to open latch. These boxes are great for toddlers and children up to 8 years old and fit perfectly into a standard insulated lunch tote.

OmieBox


Yumbox Original Leakproof Bento Lunch Box Container (Neptune Blue)

  • PRACTICAL LEAKPROOF DESIGN: Yumbox Original is designed to make your packed lunches easy & delicious. Molded silicone…
  • IDEAL PORTION SIZES FOR KIDS: Yumbox Original is designed for little kids. Our goal is to promote healthy & balanced…
  • PERFECT HEALTHY PACKED LUNCH: YUMBOX is a winner of Good Design Award for a Children’s Product. Yumbox makes it so easy…

The OmieBox bento box is specially designed to withstand the use and abuse that comes from young kids. You can even order replacement parts if your child is prone to losing or breaking things!

This bento box features three double-walled, insulated compartments, one of which can be used as a normal segment or hold an insulated thermos (which is included with the box). The OmieBox comes in several bright colors and includes a secure latch that’s still easy to open with small hands.

For on-the-go

We don’t all have the luxury of walking into the office and tucking our packed lunch in the breakroom refrigerator. If you’re constantly on the move, whether for work or for play, you need a bento box that can keep up!

From carrying a whole day’s worth of food to feeding a small crowd, you’ll find the best bento box for your busy lifestyle below.

East World Bento Box


East World Lunch Box for Kids- Leak Proof Kids Lunch Box – Bento Box…

  • SOUP-SAFE AND LEAKPROOF When lunchtime arrives the last thing you want is soggy bread and a soup catastrophe, right?…
  • NOT JUST A LUNCHBOX: As well as being an insulated lunch box that keeps food safe, Bento Friend comes with a reusable…
  • EASY TO CLEAN AND STORE! The East World Bento Lunch Box is Freezer, Microwave and Dishwasher Safe (hand wash the lid)….

What good is even the best bento box if your food ends up warm and soggy by the time you sit down for lunch? Fortunately, the East World Bento Box has you covered.

This bento box features six compartments with an airtight lid and miniature cutlery set. Each piece is entirely microwave- and dishwasher-safe.

But the key element of this bento box is the insulated carrying bag. This bag is the perfect size to fit your bento box, utensils, and an ice pack to keep everything fresh throughout the day. The handle means you can grab-and-go while the durable material means it can safely go in your standard washing machine for easy cleaning.

YBOBK HOME Cute Bento Lunch Box


YBOBK HOME Cute Bento Lunch Box with Flatware Set Stackable Lunch Box…

  • 【Safe and Durable】The cute lunch box is made of food grade stainless steel interior and high quality plastic…
  • 【Unique Design】This stacking lunch box mainly has 3 layers, adding 1 mini bowl is equal to 4 layers, keeping food…
  • 【Freedom to Combine】The stainless steel lunch box is designed to be stacked, you could freely combine them into 1, 2…

If you’re on the hunt for a versatile and hyper-mobile bento box, the YBOBK HOME Cute Bento Lunch Box should definitely be near the top of your list. Available in several different colors and designs (our personal favorite for this box is the Cactus pattern, in case you were wondering), this bento box can go anywhere and hold almost anything.

The three-tier version of this box includes three sealed containers, one small non-sealed container, a lid that doubles as a bowl, and a convenient carrying handle. Each section is fully insulated, and you can use them all together or pick and choose which containers you need.

In total, this box carries holds over 40 ounces. It also comes with a utensil set and a carrying bag that you can easily sling over your shoulder.

YBOBK HOME Insulated Lunch Box


YBOBK HOME Thermal Lunch Box, Leak Proof Insulated Stackable Round…

  • 【Food Grade Material】High quality food grade stainless steel liner and eco-friendly PP outer, BPA free, toxin free,…
  • 【Keep Food Warm for up to 4 Hours】Insulated lunch box and bag, keeps your home-cooked meals warm, fresh and ready to…
  • 【Leakproof Lunch Box】Each layer has a separate lid with the sealed silicone ring that prevents the spillage of…

If the stacked bento box above isn’t quite big enough for your needs, then here’s another box from YBOBK HOME that might be a better fit. The YBOBK HOME Insulated Lunch Box offers many of the same features as their Cute Bento Lunch Box but with larger containers and higher overall carrying capacity.

While the bento box above can hold just over 40 ounces of food, all three tiers of the Insulated Lunch Box can hold 71 ounces! That’s enough to feed a small crowd or keep you fueled through your whole workday.

Each 23.67-ounce section can be used alone, paired, or as an entire set. With this stacking bento box, you’ll also get a portable utensil set and a carrying bag.

Upgrade Your Bento Box with These Accessories

So, you have your new bento box, and you’re ready to create a picture-perfect lunch. But, of course, the bento trend isn’t fueled solely by the concept of using a box to carry your food. If it was, there would be no difference between a bento lunch and a Tupperware lunch.

Instead, the bento box trend is actually fueled by the use of shapes, characters, and colorful palettes. This concept, which started in the 1990s, is what makes bento boxes so special.

Ready to step up your bento skills? Well, you’re going to need some tools.

Fit the mold

What says bento lunch more than anything else? Molded rice balls.

You might not be sticking with the traditional rice and vegetables found in Japanese bento lunches. However, you can still take advantage of cool shapes when creating your own box.

animal themed bento snack

Image Source: Instagram.com

For example, you can mold soft sandwich bread into an adorable panda or create cat face cut-outs with cheese and lunch meat. If you can think of it, there’s probably a bento-approved way to make it!

Make some shapes

Bento lunches are supposed to be helpful for getting kids to eat healthier and learn proper portion sizes. Still, it can be hard to get picky eaters to eat their carrots and zucchini.

star and fish shaped food on bento box

Image Source: Instagram.com

One of the most popular trends in bento box lunches is fun-shaped vegetables. With a set of cute vegetable cutters, you can offer a little extra incentive to that veggie hater in your life. Or, you can use these shapes in your next themed box creation!

Keep it neat

Your new bento box might have its own built-in organization. But that doesn’t mean certain foods won’t make an absolute mess!

To help keep your lunches even tidier and more aesthetically pleasing, you can use reusable cupcake sleeves. Unlike paper or foil sleeves, these silicone cups can be washed and used many times over.

snacks on a bento box

Image Source: Instagram.com

And since you’re likely choosing to use a bento box for its sustainability, the last thing you want is to create unnecessary waste.

Or, you can spring for a whole kit

If you’re not too keen on buying a dozen separate accessories, you’re in luck. With the rising popularity of bento lunch boxes, especially for young kids, it’s easy to find complete kits that contain everything you need to master the best bento lunch box game in town.

Yes, these kits are typically marketed to kids and their parents. That said, we won’t judge if you start sneaking dinosaur-shaped sandwiches into your work lunch!

What’s in Your Bento?

If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably feeling pretty gung-ho about your upcoming bento box adventures. Bento boxes offer tons of benefits, from cutting down on food packaging waste to teaching children healthy habits. So, combined with the cuteness factor, it’s no surprise that this Japanese trend has taken off around the world.

But remember, having the best bento lunch box doesn’t need to be a competition. If you choose to dive into the world of themed boxes, don’t let Instagram and Pinterest discourage you.

We promise all your kids will care about is the love and care that goes into their star-shaped carrots — not how many likes their school lunch garnered on social media!

If you decide to try out the bento box for yourself, keep in mind that these boxes aren’t one-size-fits-all. What works for someone with an office job might not work for someone who’s running errands all day. And vice-versa.

At the end of the day, what’s important is that you choose the best bento lunch box for you.

What do you like to pack in your bento box? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured Image Source: Pixabay.com

Best Ping Pong Table Reviews

There are all kinds of game tables that you can have in your home. One of the best options, though, is to go with the best ping pong table.

Ping pong tables are fun and cause you to get active. Sure, playing ping pong may not burn as many calories as a full-blown tennis game, but it does work your arms and get you moving.

If you think a ping pong table could be a good addition to your home, then take the time to learn about the best tables available. Read reviews and do your research so that you end up with the best table for your home and your wants.

Consider Your Goals and Your Playing Level

two pairs playing table tennis

Image Source: Unsplash.com

First things first, when choosing the best table for your home, you need to think about your playing level and what your “ping pong goals” are in the future.

If you just want to play ping pong with your family and friends and have fun, then a basic table at an affordable price is all you need. If you’re more serious about table tennis and maybe even want to get into competitive table tennis (yes, that’s a real thing), you’ll probably want a more professional table.

Typically, the more professional a ping pong table is, the more it is going to cost, so also consider your budget as you choose which table is right for you

Ask for Table Dimensions so You Can Plan Accordingly

table tennis paddle and ball on the corner of a ping pong table

Image Source: Pixabay.com

In addition to thinking about the quality and the price of your ping pong table, you should also consider the size of the table.

Obviously, you need a table that you can accommodate size-wise, also bearing in mind that you’ll want plenty of room to move around the table as well since table tennis can get quite active.

Instead of guessing about whether or not a particular table will work for you, always measure exactly how much room space you have for your ping pong table.

Then, keep these measurements with you as you shop. Ask for dimensions of specific tables, and use those figures to determine how well a particular table will fit into your home.

Remember, it’s a lot better to be safe than sorry when it comes to sizing your ping pong table

Look for a Tabletop that is Thick and Strong

game room for table tennis

Image Source: Unsplash.com

One of the easiest ways to determine the quality of your ping pong table and to ensure that you get a good table is to pay careful attention to the thickness of the tabletop.

With ping pong tables, tabletop thickness is one of the simplest but most effective measures of quality.

The very best, most well-made ping pong tables can have tabletop thicknesses of 25mm but as long as your table isn’t thinner than 12mm, it’s not completely flimsy.

Just remember that thickness does matter when ensuring you get a high quality ping pong table.

Think About Portability and Whether it Matters to You

portable table tennis on a patio

Image Source: Unsplash.com

Something else you will want to consider as you shop for a ping pong table is how important portability of the table is to you.

If you plan to leave the table set up in a specific area of your home for as long as you have it, portability probably won’t be that big of a deal for you.

If, on the other hand, you’d like to move the table from one room to the next or you’d like to be able to take it with you when you go visit friends, an easily portable model is probably a better option.

There are fold up options, as well as more lightweight options out there, so you definitely can find something portable. Just remember that, if you’re not careful, portable can often translate to “flimsy” or “low quality,” so make sure, if you need a portable table, that it is also still a good, quality table.

Does the Brand Name Matter When It Comes to the Best Ping Pong Table?

portable ping pong table

Image Source: Wikimedia.org

One final thing that people often want to know when choosing a ping pong table is whether or not the brand name of the table matters.

The short answer to that question is no, not really. Good, quality tables can be made and are made from all kinds of manufacturers of varying popularity.

With that said, though, there are some brands that have developed a name for quality. These include brands such as Butterfly, Joola, Donic, and Stiga.

Your table doesn’t necessarily have to be made by one of those brands to be a great table, but you can’t go wrong with those tables either.

Obviously, you have a lot to think about, but, with some thinking and some effort, you can sort it all out and find the best table to meet your needs.

Featured Image Source: Unsplash.com

Have You Ever Tried These Awesome Water Sports?

Tired of beach games and looking to explore other ways to have fun? Read on to find out some of the best water sports that are adventurous and fun for you and the children.

Summer is a perfect time to spend time with your kids and explore what nature has to offer. Nothing says fun and adventure like being in the water. Children naturally love having fun in the water, and it’s an excellent way to help them develop fitness, strength, and coordination.

Let’s look at some of the benefits of water sports and some water sport options to explore during the summer.

Benefits of Water Sports

If you thought water sports are a favorite because of the adrenaline rush you get, you’d be surprised to learn that water sports have other benefits like:

Enhanced Physical Stamina

Most games require muscle coordination and the combination of aerobic/anaerobic exercises. The combination helps to improve stamina, which in turn leads to you pushing more. Young children will enjoy being fit while still having fun.

A way to Learn Teamwork

Allowing your children to interact and play with other kids enables them to learn the benefits of teamwork. Your children can work with people from different cultures and temperament. Moreover, your kids learn how to work as a team, something that helps them develop cooperation and leadership skills.

Improved Mental health

Water sports helps to enhance mental health. Research shows that water can help reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. Also, swimming can help enhance any one’s mood.

man surfing sunset

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The Best Water Sports to Explore

Below are some of the best water sports to explore this summer.

Swimming

Swimming is a favorite water sport that you and the kids can enjoy in a personal pool or at the beach. You may find swimming more enjoyable and adventurous when you visit the sea. The best part is that you can enjoy the activity no matter the age or budget.

Swimming promotes heart health and increases one’s endurance. It’s also a perfect way to reduce weight and improve lung capacity.

Canoeing

Canoeing is a great way to enjoy the scenery as you take to the water. You can explore different stretches that are safe and have slow-flowing waters for the young ones. However, children need to be over the age of eight and able to swim for at least 50m without any help.

Jet Skiing

You can explore various forms of jet skiing. Some water parks have these skis at an affordable rate, and it’s a perfect way to spend time with your kids on holiday. Also, you can opt to hire them from a resort or a water sports center.

What’s more, you don’t need any special skills or training to enjoy jet skiing. It’s also a fantastic way to be in the water without getting wet.

boy waterskiing

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Waterskiing

Waterskiis give you that feeling of accomplishment and exhilaration. Moreover, it gives you a full body workout, which is another way to promote fitness for your kids. If you have teenage kids who love having fun in the water and would rather participate in something else instead of swimming, you may need to explore waterskiing.

Wakeboarding

Wakeboarding resembles snowboarding, but the former is easier to the large surface area of the board. The best part about wakeboarding is that you can stay grounded if you’re not prepared to ride up the slope.

Body Surfing

Body surfing is an excellent alternative to regular surfing or bodyboarding. You get to enjoy the relaxing feeling of swimming coupled with the fun of getting to a wave. The fact that you don’t need any extra equipment to explore body surfing makes this activity a perfect way to spend some time in the water.

Surfing

Your children will love learning how to surf if they enjoy playing in the water. Moreover, it’s the best way to get them to win a challenge of staring on the surfboard for long. Most destinations have surfing lessons for children; this means you don’t have to worry about your children doing it wrong.

Skimboarding

Sandskimming or skimboarding comes with a small board, and all you need is to balance under shallow water and wet sand. All you need is a flat beach and a wave to get started. Also, you can opt to skim on waves that are about to crash.

woman kayaking

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Kayaking

Kayaking is a fun activity for both adults and teen children. The kayak boat resembles a canoe but comes with a paddle to help you move forward. What’s more, you can explore kayaking in rivers and seas.

Kiteboarding

Kitesurfing is different from windsurfing, as the former allows you to attach your feet to a wakeboard. The kite acts like a parachute, and you have control over how the kite behaves. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy wakeboarding without having a boat.

Paddle Boarding

Paddle boarding involves getting on the paddle board, standing up, and floating on the water. Older children will enjoy this activity due to the waves. However, it’s recommended to ensure there’s supervision by a professional to prevent any incidents.

Windsurfing

Windsurfing is an easy sport that requires steady winds and an ideal location. You need to have precise movement as this helps you maintain balance. It’s an excellent way for the whole family to stay in shape.

You don’t have to worry about getting bored as every day comes with a new challenge. For example, you may have to experience new speeds or deal with new waves. Moreover, you can find windsurfing groups, which make the experience more enjoyable.

sunset sailing

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Sailing

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need an expensive, large boat to explore sailing. You can now find places that provide affordable sailboard rentals to get your family out on the waters. Those new to sailing may need to take a lesson, but with time, you’ll be a pro in sailing.

Parasailing

Everyone should try parasailing once in their lifetime; you’ll enjoy the feeling of getting strapped and feeling the parachute catch wind as it lifts you. You can now experience soaring the sky while above the water.

If you love adventure and you’re an adrenaline junkie, parasailing will be a sport you’d want to explore. It’s a safe activity when done by professionals.

Whitewater Rafting

As a family, you can enjoy whitewater rafting if you’re planning to go camping. The sport enhances teamwork and is an excellent way to bond. The thrill that comes with whitewater rafting is something your family will never forget.

Pool Games

Another perfect way to enjoy summer is to have the kids participate in pool games like Marco Polo, Sharks and Minnows, and more. These games are enjoyable and cut through different age groups.

man jetski in beach

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Safety Tips When Participating in Water Sports

Participating in water sports with your family is an excellent way to bond. However, before you pick up the paddleboards and kayaks, you need to understand some safety tips to ensure you have an enjoyable summer adventure.

Some of the must-know tips include:

Have Basic Swimming Skills

If you plan to bring the children along, make sure that they have the necessary swimming skills. Also, you can have someone with these skills supervise them to prevent any chances of drowning.

Always Follow the Instructions and Rules

Some water sports require guidance from an experienced person. Make sure that you follow the stipulated rules, monitor the wakes, and stay in navigable waters. Get to learn the communication –  especially the hand signs when out on the water. Avoid operating in restricted areas and obey the warning signs.

Wear the Appropriate Gear

Don’t assume that you’re a professional and you can do without protective gear. For example, if a specific sport requires you to have a life jacket, ensure that it’s the right fit and size. Secure it well as it can help you stay afloat in case of any issue when out on the sea.

Remember to carry your sunscreen if you plan to explore these activities during spring and summer. Apply it as often to protect your skin from sunburns. Also, bring along plenty of water.

Moreover, you need to have an idea of how some equipment work. You may come across life preservers, GPS devices, radios, and other items. Safely store the times when out on the water.

Have Someone Supervise the Children

Children are curious and sometimes want to explore the restricted areas. You need to ensure that an adult supervises all kids the entire time they are near water.

Pay Attention to the Weather

Read the weather man’s prediction about the time you plan to be out on the water. Get to know the sea condition and water levels. If you notice that there’s a likelihood of storms or rough water, avoid planning any activities around this time.

Final Thoughts

Kids love playing in the water during the summer. You can find various places that allow you to enjoy water sports with the children. However, ensure that you’ve taken all the safety precautions before planning for any activity. Don’t forget to have fun while exploring some of the above water sports activities.

Featured Image: Pexels

Everything You Need to Know about Making a DIY Piñata

A piñata is usually shaped like a donkey or other animal and is traditionally made from a clay pot, paper mâché, color tissue. A piñata is filled with candy, small toys or fruit.  Piñatas are sometimes shaped like a seven-pointed star, cartoon character or superhero. 

A DIY piñata lets you use your imagination to create a party favor to entertain all your guests. The piñata dispenses treats or gifts when the guest of honor breaks the paper mâché or cardboard decoration. Use a stick or small bat to break the piñata.

History of the Piñata 

We know that piñatas are a part of Spanish and Mexican culture, but the Chinese smashed large, stuffed paper ornaments shaped like animals as early as the 13th Century. The Chinese burned the remainder of the paper ornaments and thought the ashes were a sign of good luck. 

Marco Polo saw these paper ornaments on one of his trips to China and brought them back to Italy, where the decorations were adapted for use in pre-Lenten festivities. Explores then brought the hanging paper ornaments to Spain, and then across the Atlantic to Mexico.

How to Use a Piñata   

Piñatas are suspended from the ceiling by a rope, and guests take turns hitting the piñata. Guests are usually blindfolded as they hit the piñata, and someone may spin the piñata or move it to make it harder for the blindfolded person to hit it.   

After a guest (or the person celebrating a birthday) breaks the piñata, everyone scrambles to retrieve the treats or toys. 

Should You Buy a Piñata or Make One?

You can buy a piñata online or from a party store. (Piñatas cost up to $50 if you buy them from a website or chain store.) Save money and create something unique for your friend or family member’s birthday with a DIY piñata. You can make a piñata with items you probably have around the house. 

Experienced crafters will have an easier time making a piñata than novices, but the process isn’t complicated. Piñata-making takes a bit of patience, but you’ll have a unique party favor when you’re finished.     

How to Make A Donut Piñata

Some piñatas aren’t shaped like unicorns, horses or donkeys. A do-it-yourselfer’s imagination is the limit for homemade piñatas. Follow these steps to make a donut-shaped piñata: 

Get several different colors of crepe paper and cut some fringe. You’ll need one color for the donut, a few colors for the sprinkles, and one for the frosting. Gather some cardboard, twine, masking tape, scissors, and white craft glue.  

Use a large circular object to trace for the outside of the donut. Trace the inside by using a bowl. The exterior of the circle should be about 30 inches wide, and the inner circle about eight inches wide.

Cut out two circular donut shapes, along with a few strips six inches or wider for the sides. Tape one of the pieces along the inside of one of the shapes. Bend the cardboard, so it curves, and it’s easier to do this before you apply the tape.

Repeat the cutting and tapping for the outer donut circle. Don’t put tape on one piece of the outer ring so you’ll be able to fill the piñata with treats later. Poke a hole to add string or twine. Tape the second donut shape to the first using the same steps.

Use two or more sheets of crepe paper and crepe paper streamers to cut fringe for the piñata. Wrap the fringe you’ve cut around the piñata. Start at the inside of the piece and wrap around it. The inner circle is smaller than the outer one so that the fringe will overlap several times.

Keep wrapping until you get to the last bit of fringe. Bend the fringe to get to the cardboard and glue the final piece.

Now add the donut frosting. Cut pink crepe paper into an uneven circle shape and cut a hole in the middle. Use white glue, a glue stick or double tape to glue the pink crepe paper to the piñata. Add dots of various color crepe pepper as sprinkles. Glue or double tape them to the frosting. 

Add treats or small toys to the open flap of the outer circle; then close it and hang the piñata from the ceiling of your party area.   

How to Make a Seven-Pointed Balloon Piñata

pinata for party

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The traditional seven-pointed piñata is used at Cinco de Mayo celebrations and other Mexican festivities. Here’s how to make your own version of the classic party favor from South of the Border.

Gather the following items:

  • Water

  • Flour

  • Container

  • Seven or eight cardstock sheets

  • Punching balloon

  • Masking tape

  • Utility knife

  • Tacky glue

  • Twine

  • Scissors

  • Thick rope

You’ll also need newspaper cut into one-and-a-half-inch strips, and fine crepe paper cut into two-inch and one-and-a-half inch strips

Use paper mâché to create the piñata core. Blow up the balloon and tie it with a knot. Remove the rubber band off the other side and put tape over the overhanging part. Make the paper mâché by combining one part water to one part flour. Three cups of water and three cups of flour should be enough for this project.

The paper mâché paste should be thick because it needs to bind the newspaper strips. Soak the newspaper in the glue and take off the extra paste before you put the pieces on the balloon.

Tie the twine to the end of the balloon, and add most of the newspaper strips while the balloon is hanging from the ceiling. Overlap the pieces as you add them. Let the first layer dry before adding a second and thirds layer of newspaper. Let the strips dry entirely overnight before going on to the next step.

Create cones (the points on the star) to connect to the piñata while the centerpiece is drying. You can order them pre-made or use cone-shaped cardboard to make an open-ended cone. Form a cone shape and tape the edges if you decide to make your own “star points.”

Now poke a hole in the balloon. Place a cone over the hole in the deflated balloon and a trace a circle around it. Cut a hole inside the traced circle with scissors, but leave one side intact.  Reach inside and take out the balloon, and shake out the excess, dried paste. 

Use a utility knife to poke a hole opposite the opening. Take the end of a rope and tie it into a double knot and tread it through the hole. Now fill the piñata with candy or other treats. Close and tape the hole.  

Cut a few quarter-inch tabs into the cone bottom. Fold the cone in and glue it to the piñata. Tape the cone to make sure it stays attached, if necessary. Hang the piñata and add the rest of the cones using the same method.  

Cut the two inch and inch and a half strips of crepe paper three-quarters of the way into one-quarter inch wide fringe. Cut the pieces while they’re folded. Put a thin line of glue on the paper fringe.

Wrap fringe around the piñata base. The fringe should face downward. Make sure fringe overlaps as you wrap new layers. Cut fringe, so it doesn’t fall on the cones. Use small strips of fringe to cover cones once the piñata base is covered. Trim and cover any unkempt areas. Now you’re ready to hang the piñata for fun and games.      

Other DIY Piñatas 

multicolored donkey pinata

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You can make your piñatas in just about any shape you desire. There are online tutorials for piñatas shaped like hearts, hair spray containers, blow dryers, pineapples, cake slices, diamond rings, and the ever-popular unicorn or horse-shaped piñatas. 

Regardless of the shape or size of your DIY piñata, you’ll need some essential items to build your creation. You’ll need crepe paper, twine, scissors, glue, tape, and cardboard (or card stock) for most projects. For a slice of birthday cake piñata, you’ll need straws to serve as candles.  

You can turn a donkey piñata into a unicorn piñata with a few materials and a bit of ingenuity. Start with a homemade or store-bought donkey piñata and remove external decorations. Trim the donkey ears, so they’re smaller, and then spray paint the figure white. Now you have a blank slate to turn into a unicorn. 

Use cardstock, several colors of cellophane and crepe paper, and make a colorful cone to use as the unicorn’s horn. Fashion the mane out of cardstock and add bright color fringe to complement the otherwise white body.  

Several do-it-yourself piñatas require you to outline the donkey or other animal or object on a piece of cardboard, cut out the separate parts and attach them with tape or glue before adding fringe and filling the inside with treats.

Let your imagination be your guide as you make piñatas suitable for themed-parties and your friends’ (or family members’) interests and personalities. 

How to Make Your Own Slip and Slide Kickball Field

Slip and slide games are a great Summer water activity, as is kickball. Both are great ways to have fun in the sun. But they can get boring. So why not combine them? Slip and slide kickball provides competition and teamwork while also cooling the players down in the summer heat.

How to Make Your Own Slip and Slide Kickball Field

Slip and slides are a great summer water activity. People of all ages enjoy the feeling of sliding fast across their lawn.

Not only that, but many throw their own small slip and slide races with their friends.

Kickball is a favorite outdoor game that kids and adults both enjoy playing. It teaches teamwork, agility, speed, and coordination. More importantly, you can have fun playing it while still being competitive.

Kickball is such a favorite game that there are teams that compete against each other.

Kickball is a fun game and slip and slides bring joy. But why not make them both a little more interesting?

Add some pools, tarps, water, and soap. Kickball is now slightly more difficult, but even more exciting.

Slip and slide kickball is just kickball with a twist. All you do is play a typical game of kickball but use slip and slide as baselines and kiddie pools as bases.

With this game, you can enjoy two great summer activities in one! A game like slip and slide kickball is the perfect pass time to play with your friends during the warmer seasons of the year.

The History of Kickball

Kickball, also known as kick baseball, is about a century old and invented by Nicholas C. Seuss in 1917. He developed it to teach his kids how to play baseball. Seuss did not have any baseball equipment. So he opted for a ball to kick with feet instead. He referred to it as kick baseball.

Children mostly play it, but during World War II, soldiers would play it to keep themselves entertained.

The game lost popularity until the late 90s. Since then, adults are playing kickball more than children. The World Adult Kickball Association (WAKA Kickball) formed in 2011 in Washington D.C.  Now, there are 2,000 teams and more than 40,000 players that take part every year in the competition.

Teenage girl is enjoying the slip and slide kickball while at her back are some people having a picnic

Image via: Flickr

How to Play

Men are enjoying the kickball slide field

Image via: Flickr

Slip and slide kickball is an easy game to understand. If you know the rules to kickball, then you are set. If not, here’s what you need to know to play.

Start by creating two teams. Next, choose one member from each side to be the pitcher. Then divide the rest of the members into other roles. Here are some different roles for the game:

  • Catcher
  • First base
  • Second base
  • Third base
  • Shortstop
  • Outfield

The teams will then decide who will kick first.

The team that is kicking first will send a player up to Homeplate. The pitcher will roll the ball without the ball bouncing, and the kicker will try to kick it. If it goes past the pitcher’s mound without getting caught, they will run to the first base kiddie pool.

The goal is to get to the first kiddie pool (base) before getting tagged.

If concerned about falling and injuring yourself, you can run alongside the slip and slide then hop on and slip at the end.

Others often run on the wet sheets from the start which is more difficult when you are trying to reach the base because you will slip too much, but it is more fun this way.

Score more runs

The main point of the game is simple; one team needs to have more runs than the other.

To achieve this, players will kick the ball and run to all the bases to score points. When not kicking, the opposing team will try to stop players from scoring by catching the ball or striking the kicker out.

To build a slip-n-slide kickball field, you will need supplies to get it set up. It is a cheap project; you will not need to spend much. In fact, there is a good chance some of the supplies required can be around your house. Here is what you will need:

  • Four 3’x50’ plastic drop cloths or four slip and slides
  • Four kiddie pools (round or square)
  • About 18-20 tarp stakes
  • 4-8 bottles of dish soap
  • A kickball
  • Spray paint
  • Garden Hoses
  • A hammer

Building The Field

To begin building your slip and slide kickball field, you must first lay out the plastic drop cloths in the shape of a baseball diamond. These will serve as your baselines and will work best if laid on the flat ground.

If you are using real slip and slide mats, be sure to hammer them I with the stakes that came with them.

At home base, create a fair-sized gap between the tarps. With this space, players can kick the ball without slipping on the soap and water.

Once the tarps are laid out, you must place a kiddie pool at each corner of the diamond. These will be your bases. If worried about sliding on the rough ground, you can make the game safer by placing cardboard under the tarps for a smoother slide without any injuries.

Man with a green life saver is sliding at the slip and slide kickball

Image via: Flickr

Nail down the slip and slide

All you have to do is nail down the plastic drop cloths with the tarp stakes. To be sure that the tarps are secure, be sure to nail them down deep into the ground.

Check the stakes every once in a while to make sure they do not come above the surface. If this happens, it could cause injuries if any players happen to fall on one by accident.

The final step in building a field is to add soap and water. Fill each kiddie pool; a lot of water will splash out during the game. Then add the dish soap to the baselines and rub it in to make them slippery.

If you wish to make the field more realistic, then you can spray paint the home plate and the pitchers’ mound.

Have Fun

Creating a slip and slide kickball field is simple, comfortable, and cheap.

Now all you need to do is lay down some plastic drop cloths in the shape of a diamond, nail them to that ground, and place kiddie pools at each corner of the diamond.

Fill the small pools with water and lather the plastic drop cloths with some soap and water and then play an average game of kickball.

Now that you know how to build the field, have some fun!

Gather your friends on a hot summer’s day and enjoy a fun round of this tricky game.

Boys and girls of all ages will love the fun and competitive feeling that the slippery kickball field provides. If everyone playing is having a blast, it is unlikely that you will care about keeping score.

Check the field

Make sure to check on the field after every few rounds and make fixes where needed.

Some stakes may rise out of the ground and will need to hammer it back in. We don’t want a tarp stake to poke someone’s foot. It is also a good idea to refill the pools and add more soap to the tarps to keep the fun going.

Before you start playing slip and slide kickball, it’s not a bad idea to stretch out to help you prevent some major strains, sprains, or aches.

As with any water activity, don’t forget to put on a generous coat of sunscreen to avoid a painful sunburn at the end of the day. If you’re playing with a variety of age groups, make sure to set some rules on how “rowdy” you can get to avoid preventable injuries.