75 Fun Things to Do with Kids During Lockdown

While we stay at home during the pandemic, we need to keep the kids entertained, ourselves sane, and everybody happy. Today, we have a fun list of 75 fun things to do with kids during the lockdown. We separated this guide in 2 parts – games and activities (some with a powerful educational and skill-development component) you can do indoors in your apartment or city home and outdoor adventures, games, and activities for the lucky ones who happen to also own a yard with their house.

We understand that during this time of restrictions and confusion you may not feel in the mood to play, but hear us out: many of these fun things to do in lockdown apply to adults as well. They are family-oriented activities requiring just a handful of supplies and you can turn many of them into new hobbies or out-of-the-box fun ideas to do on future rainy days. So let’s get started, shall we?

Indoor Fun Things to Do with Kids: Games and Activities to Spend the Lockdown (and Future Rainy Days)

As a parent, you probably know by now that this entire crisis with the pandemic and social isolation takes a huge toll on our physical and mental health. Adults have to deal with their own anxiety and depression issues while they have to keep an eye on their kids not to spiral out of control. On this list of indoor fun things to do with kids while in isolation at home you will find activities that are beneficial for children and adults alike, for the mind, spirit, and body. They help pass the time pleasurably, teach everybody something new, develop skills, and allow you to create an environment of safety, control, emotional health, bonding, and self-discovery. So let’s get down to having fun!

1. Board Games

One of the easiest and most versatile forms of couple or group entertainment of our times, board games address all people of all ages and interests. If you reserved a few Saturdays a month for board game nights with your friends, you know how fun things can be. Select the best and funnest board games to play in the family. Play competitive ones or collaborative ones. Go into complex strategies if you have to keep up the pace with your older kids (who probably play these games better than you) or select age-specific games to allow the little ones to shine.

fun things to do in lockdown boardgames

2. Play Games to Enhance Literacy Skills

When was the last time you played Scrabble? How is your vocabulary these days? If you want to keep your kids entertained while improving their literacy skills, we recommend you reserve an evening or a weekend for Scrabble, Super Sleuth, or Boggle. We also recommend Dixit – it may not tap into word creation per se, but it does prompt the use of words in connection to image processing. Such games boost kids’ storytelling skills, jog their memory, and foster the use of imagination.

3. Play Games to Enhance Math Skills

Ah, Math, and helping kids with their homework… Well, if you want to make Math fun for them (and for you), an assorted platter of Equate, Tri-Facta, or Math War may turn the daunting Math into something fun, relatable, and enjoyable. You can take advantage of this entire situation to polish your own calculus skills and help kids understand things in a smoother, funnier way. After all, learning through play is the best way of learning!

4. Puzzle Games

Puzzle Games

In the same vein of playing and developing cognitive skills, patience, and many other abilities, puzzle games are the best way to spend this social isolation period in an entertaining and educational manner. Puzzles go great for any age and interests. One of the best fun things to do with kids in lockdown, solving puzzles, and putting up together beautiful images is a family activity that can continue after this crisis is over.

5. Card Games

We are not talking about poker here, but about some of the best card games to play with children and family members. You can play all the good old-fashioned classic card games like Slapjack or Crazy Eights. Better yet, you can take things up a notch and consider trading card games like Magic the Gathering. Sure, Explosive Kittens is a party game for teenagers and adults, but you can order online any card game that everybody wants to try.

6. Lego

You saw this coming, didn’t you? If grownups are playing with their elaborate and expensive Lego sets, why wouldn’t kids? The kids in your home already have a few Lego sets and hundreds of pieces (you mostly step on), so setting up a “Lego session” for the entire family to enjoy should be a breeze. As fun things to do with kids in lockdown go, “picking the Legos off the floor and putting them back in their box” is also an educational activity.

lego for kids

7. Playdoh

Play-Doh is an all time favorite, especially for younger kids who are into arts and crafts. The creative potential is endless and you can always order more supplies to pass the isolation time with flying colors!

playdoh fun indoors

8. Make Some Slime at Home!

Some of the best science experiments for kids to perform at home include fun putty and making slime. You have countless options to make slime at home. The basic ingredients for slime or fun putty are glue, borax, water, a bowl, and a mixing tool. Food coloring and glitter also help 🙂

9. Pen and Paper Role Playing Games

All you need is a good storyteller and the basic books, rules, and sheets of pen and paper RPGs. Download all the materials online if you don’t have the means to buy books and beginner kits. You can try some Dungeons and Dragons campaigns and make a story long and intricate enough to keep the entire family entertained for weeks if not months. The longer the campaign, the better the quests, the thicker the plot, the most developed characters you will enjoy. There are many such RPG games requiring pens and papers, and you should try a few to engage the entire family in a magical atmosphere where everybody is a hero. The campaigns can continue long after this crisis is over, too.

10. Cosplay Contest

fun things to do indoors

A druid, an elf, and a superhero enter in a living room… Speaking of role playing games, don’t hold back! If you are going to spend a few weeks saving princesses, learning wisdom from witches, and battling monsters, you should immerse in the atmosphere completely. So dress up like the characters you play every time you start a new session with the Dungeon Master. If you are all into Comic Con, geek stuff, and superhero action movies, nobody can stop you from improvising costumes with items you already have in the house and organize a veritable costume contest. Enact favorite scenes from comics, TV shows, or movies, have the other family members play along (or act as “cosplay jury”) and turn dress-up into an act of art!

11. Painting

fun things to do in lockdown painting

Think watercolors, crayons, painting by numbers, contouring, color splashing, the works. It may be messy, but it is also fun and educational. If you have small kids that love drawing or using colors, make room in the kitchen and let them play to their strengths.

12. Pebble Art

If you want to up your ante or the kids’ levels of entertainment and skills, paint on pebbles or rocks you brought in the house last time you went shopping. Make sure the pebbles/rocks are clean (for safety, wash them in the bathroom and make sure you remove all dirt, debris, or mold). Choose river stones with flat smooth surfaces if you can and let the little ones paint faces, butterflies, flowers, etc. Organize an art exhibit once they finish their projects and put the best pieces on display for everybody to see.

13. Face Painting

face painting fun stuff to do at home

As a parent, we are sure you are more than happy to learn face painting to entertain the kids and help them with their “method acting” skills for the next role-playing game or costume party. Alternatively, you can help the kids learn how to face paint each other and have a bunch of superheroes, animals, fairies, and other magical creatures roaming around the house and making an adorable mess. These are the moments all of you will cherish in the future when you look back and reminisce about the fun things you did during the 2020 pandemic.

14. Theater Play

If your kids are into role-playing and dream of becoming stage superstars at the school annual play, offer them the chance to impress you. School is closed and it is not likely you will take them to the theater or to the movies any time soon. Allow them to select a story and stage a play for you. This will keep them busy with the decors, rehearse their parts, adjust the screenplay, fight, make up, and even send you official invites to the premiere. Theater play in the living room with their parents and siblings as the enthusiastic public can help the little ones overcome stage fright, own their personalities, discover new abilities, and, who knows, make some career plans! The older ones can even learn how to sew their own costumes and use the face painting skills to become their characters.

15. Hide-and-Seek

Adults are these serious beings, forever preoccupied with serious matters. Well, if this pandemic and social isolation situation taught us anything, it taught us to truly value the time we have now, remember the inner child we left behind so long ago, and seize the opportunity of letting go. There is no better way to pay tribute to childhood than a serious game of Hide-and-Seek in the apartment. Kids will love it and you will have the chance to remember those incredible times when life was about fun and play.

16. Charades

When was the last time you played Charades with your adult friends? Well, it is time to polish your skills and engage the young kids or your teenage children in a competitive game of Charades to spend a pleasurable evening or Saturday afternoon in the family. Charades, just like Mafia, make some of the best campfire games for adults (and society games in general), but you can adapt them to younger ages as well.

17. Build an Indoor Fort / Teepee

fun activities to do in lockdown

Building an indoor fort is the most pleasurable and fun things to do in lockdown. An activity that engages the entire family, the fort, or indoor teepee will become a home inside the home that can host a wide range of activities. We will discuss them in a few moments.

  • Consider bed sheets, the couch, chairs, hiking poles, the tent sticks, pillows, blankets, and anything else you can find in the house.
  • Embellish the fort with Christmas lights and gather the houseplants around the teepee for a more exotic, jungle look.
  • Add pillows and blankets inside, a lamp that does not generate too much heat, a tray for drinks and snacks, and so on.
  • Building the fort is a fun activity in and out of itself, but is also a useful one, as the new “construction” can generate plenty of new ideas about what to do indoors during the lockdown.

18. Daily Story Time

Before this entire lockdown situation, many parents complained they did not have the time or the energy to read to their children. You can now make up for lost time reading a few pages or even a few chapters to the little ones. Use the above-mentioned fort or indoor tent you just built for a magical atmosphere of comfort and coziness.

19. The Bookathon for Older Kids

Few people – kids and teens included – have any more excuses not to read books. Sure, video games and the Internet come with their fair share of educational and entertainment value, but now it is time to go back to the old-fashioned timeless book. Either they enjoy paper books or ebooks, as long as they read everything is just fine. So plan a reading marathon for the older ones. By no means tap into school books.

Allow your children to expand their literary tastes beyond the realm of the curriculum. Talk to them about the books they would like to read, make a plan, and keep the score. A novel a week is easily doable. At the end of each challenge, take the time to discuss that particular book. Compare opinions, and invite other family members to your improvised weekly book club. Use the indoor fort as an incentive. There is nothing like reading a good novel in a teepee far from the maddening living room 🙂

20. Camp Inside the House

You already have a tent, so why don’t you step up your game and turn a weekend day into a camping day in the living room? It would go better outdoors, it is true, and if you have a back yard and a patch of green lawn, take advantage of it in full. However, you can create your camping site in a small apartment as well if you get creative with the decor. Prepare some finger foods and add the soundtrack (you can find on YouTube hours and hours of streams murmuring, nature sounds, or birds chirping). There are plenty of indoor activities to do with the kids, but indoor camping is pretty crazy, perfect to shake the daily routine!

21. Living Room Picnic

If organizing a camping day in the living room seems to be a bit too complicated, turn things down a notch and organize a picnic. Since now we all enjoy family time together and gather together for Sunday lunch or dinner, why not going out of the box for once? Organizing a picnic in the living room is very easy and allows you to trigger your kids’ imagination and interior design skills.

You know you can make an educational and fun moment out of anything, right?

fun things to do at home

Place a duvet or a mattress on the floor, cover it with some blankets (green if you have, to mimic the green pastures of the picnic park), and add pillows for comfort. Finger foods, grilled chicken, lemonade, and other picnic-oriented dishes, light nature music in the background, and you have the perfect Sunday with the family!

22. Cook with the Kids

Cooking is a crucial independent life skill we should teach all our children from the youngest of ages. Do not make it a daunting educational moment, but a fun one. Cooking for the sheer pleasure of it is amazing. Just as it having a few helping hands around to help you with peeling vegetables, mixing in a bowl, or reading the steps of a recipe for you. It is messy, but it is fun, memorable, and very useful.

23. Bake a Cake with the Kids

Since you will be making their favorite cake, why not engage them in the process? It is going to get messier and messier as time goes by, but it will be the best cake or pie anyone of you have ever tasted. And, if you are planning a picnic in the living room, you cannot skip desert!

fun things to do indoors

24. Decorate Some Cupcakes

This activity requires some planning from your part, but you can get the kids involved with no problems. Do you know those tons of videos on how to decorate cupcakes in the craziest, most adorable ways possible? Pick a few and test them in your own kitchen. Your helpful and skilled sous-chefs can mix the colors in the frostings or be responsible for sprinkling the cupcake decorations over the freshly baked goodies. This activity is as messy as painting in the kitchen, but the results will be gorgeous, delicious, and memorable.

25. Organize a Movie Night

Of course, everybody watches movies and TV shows today, but offering your kids (and yourself) a true cinema experience in the comfort of your living room is another thing. Now that you cooked and baked and decorated cupcakes, all you need to do is pop some corn, bring a tray of refreshments, and pick a movie everybody wants to see!

26. Organize a Drive-In Cinema Experience

fun things to do during lockdown

Parents can sit on the couch. However, the kid can come to the drive-in cinema in the latest model of cardboard car you can build together. All you need is a large cardboard box, scissors, tape, and markers. Cut out the box to resemble a car, draw handles, decorate it, tape it together, and have the little one experience a joyful way of watching a movie. Did we mention that building the car together plays into the kid’s imagination and craft skills? Take the opportunity to teach a lesson about cars in general if you have a penchant for them!

27. Magic Carpet Ride

One of the most loved means of indoor transportation for little children is on daddy’s back or on daddy’s shoulders. However, how about mommy and daddy putting the kids on a carpet and dragging the carpet around the house? Consider this some sort of sleigh ride on the floor with a speck of Aladin’s magic and a welcomed indoor physical activity for adults. According to some of the parents we know, this is one of the best and fun things to do with kids – lockdown or not.

28. Create Your Family Tree

fun things to do in lockdown

You can spend a few afternoons during the lockdown creating your family tree. Print a sheet, add some family photos, discover connections, reminisce, and even teach kids a few things about genetics. A trip down the memory lane is a comforting exercise for adults as well. Gather materials and take the opportunity to call some family members you haven’t spoken to in a while to ask for information. Your kids will love this activity, as it will reveal more about who they are. If you have some fun or exciting family stories to tell, this is the right time!

29. Create a Family Album

In the tech-savvy world, we live in we almost forgot we, the adults, still have tons of printed photos in albums, envelopes, and boxes. Many of the kids today, used to smartphones and computers, have little knowledge of what classic photography was. Take an afternoon or more to put together a family album, talk about the people in the photos, reminisce about the moments captured by the camera, and bring the family closer by sharing memories.

fun stuff to do in quarantine

30. Teach Kids Photography

If you know your way with a camera – digital or otherwise – one of the best and most fun things to do in lockdown is to teach them everything you know about photography. Since children nowadays are all in favor of hi-tech, start taking photos with your phones and work your way up to DSLR settings, point of view, light, distances, focus, and more. As they grow older, your children will appreciate you for teaching them a useful and timeless skill.

31. Treasure Hunt

Write the clues on pieces of paper, hide them in the house in various places (and an apartment is a perfect place for such an activity), and send the kids from one room to the next in the search for the great prize. A good indoor treasure hunt should end with the discovery of an exciting “treasure”, be it a fresh cake for everybody to share or a new game for the whole family to play.

32. Scavenger Hunt

Naturally, the best scavenger hunts take place outdoors, but we have a few scavenger hunt ideas you can adapt to the indoor environment as well. Such activities are fantastic ways to shake off boredom, ignite kids’ imagination and cognitive skills, and even challenge you to become creative.

33. Listen to Some Fun and Educational Podcast Together

Online and homeschooling these days have their advantages and downsides. However, education is crucial at all times. One of the best ways to engage children in a learning session in a fun, relaxed, and playful method is to listen together to a bunch of educational podcasts. Many come with teaching resources, downloadable material, and attractive presentations adapted to all kids’ ages and interests. Here is a list of podcasts for children to inspire you, but remember that you will find dozens of such ideas online. Just pick the best topics for your children and enrich your knowledge together!

34. Visit Online Museums

In all honesty, we have to admit this year’s holiday plans kinda went down the drain. This does not mean you cannot still have some fun and immerse in culture and discovery from the comfort of your own couch. During the COVID-19 pandemic, famous museums in the world offer free virtual tours of their collections. It is an amazing opportunity for children and adults alike, as seeing the Louvre or the Hermitage with your own eyes or other great museums of the world is costly. You can spoil yourself and the kids with virtual tours of places you might have never dreamed of visiting in person.

35. Visit Other Interesting Sites Online

The truth is nothing beats the experience of visiting a national park, a museum, an amusement park, or a haunted house in person, but we have to adapt to the current situation. Here is a list of fun and free places to see online during the pandemic. Take this opportunity to make notes on places and things you might want to visit during your future vacations. After all, this pandemic is not going to last forever.

36. Make Invisible Ink

Yet another fun science experiment for kids to do at home, making invisible ink is fascinating even for adults. If you get things right, save a batch of ink for the next activity on this list of fun things to do during the lockdown!

37. Organize a Mystery Solving Party

Consider this a hybrid between a treasure hunt and a theme party. Everybody loves a solid whodunit mystery, so take your time and check out this guide on how to throw a detective-themed party. Adapt it to your situation and spend a few hours solving clues, discovering and interrogating suspects, investigate, laugh, have fun, and solve the crime! The invisible ink you already made comes in handy here.

38. Organize a DIY Music Concert

If one or some of your family members plays an instrument, you are all set. However, if you want to have some fun together (trying not to terribly disturb your neighbors), organize a music concert with “home” instruments you can find in the kitchen, such as spoons, pans, pots, lids, and more. You might want to wear some earplugs and make sure your neighbors do not complain (if you live in an apartment). If you live in a house, unleash the rock stars in your kids and put on a concert for the ages!

39. Build a Robot

You can start building a robot out of cardboard boxes and other items in the house, or you can take things up a notch and help the kids build one with Arduino boards and robot-building kits. The ones coming with technological backup will most likely move around the house for the enjoyment of the entire family.

40. Watch Online Tutorials and Take Free Lessons

Are your children showing interest in a certain topic or skill? Do they have drawing skills or writing skills or anything like that? Good, because you can watch tutorials together. For instance, Illustrator offers free drawing lessons for kids stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Others offer online piano lessons, cooking lessons for children, financial education for kids, and more. You can take advantage of some of these classes as well!

41. Make Your Family’s Comic Book

It is one thing reading a comic book and quite another creating one! If one family member draws well and another is a natural-born storyteller, you can all engage in the creation of your family’s comic book. Daily adventures, mom and dad superheroes, your faithful furry pet companion (that now can finally speak), your favorite comic book villain and you have plenty of work on your plate!

42. Create Your Family’s Newspaper / Magazine

Is the creation of a comic book a bit too complicated? Challenge the children to put up the weekly family magazine. It can include drawings and photo collages, interviews with the parents and grandparents, the recipe of the week, the latest news, a top of last week’s favorite activities, suggestions of new activities for the next days, and more. It is a creative, educational, and quite challenging activity for children who show an interest in storytelling, journalism, and visual arts. Keep these magazines, as they will put a smile on your face and some tears in your eyes when you all grow older.

43. Learn Magic

Speaking of fun things to do with kids during the lockdown, there is no such thing as the proper way to learn magic. From card tricks to quirky attention diversion tricks, you and your kids can become true wizards and witches in the comfort of your homes. You can learn magic yourself just to entertain the kids while you are all stuck at home, or you can all learn something and practice together. We don’t recommend you replicate some of David Copperfield’s or Houdini’s more dangerous acts, but living room magic will make the little ones feel at Hogwarts.

44. House of Cards Contests

You play cards and you learn magic tricks with cards, so why wouldn’t you organize from time to time a house of cards contest? The one family member building the tallest and most complex house of cards that do not fall wins a prize!

45. Grow a Plant from Seed

Whoever has a green thumb in your family should lead the way when it comes to fun things to do during lockdown inside the house. Look for plants you can grow from seeds of fruits or vegetables you already have in the house. One of the easiest plants to grow is beans – all it takes is a bean, some gauze, and a cup of water.

However, for more elaborate balcony-gardening projects, you can grow a lemon tree from the seeds of a lemon you have in the fridge. Teaching children about growing plants and caring for them is important and useful. If you want to mix fun with utility, start growing herbs and spices. From chili peppers to parsley, thyme, or basil, you can grow almost all scented herbs you use in your kitchen, on a windowsill, or on the balcony. Take the game up a notch and recycle some items in the house to turn them into plant pots! How about turning an old pair of boots into a pot for plants?

46. Play the Recycle/Upcycle Game

While school teaches our children a lot of useful things, the formal academic environment misses out on teaching them some life notions and abilities. They become the parents’ responsibility. How to live sustainable lives is a lesson we can teach at home as fun games and activities to do during the lockdown and beyond. Teaching kids to recycle and upcycle regular household items is one of the most useful skills they will benefit from in the future. So for this particular life lesson and game you need broken or old objects, items that might surely end up in the trash bin, and stuff around the house you want to repurpose. It is a healthy and lucrative exercise for children and adults alike.

47. Learn Napkin Folding

As arts and crafts go, folding napkins in more ways than the traditional triangle one is a skill for the ages, especially for those family members who take cooking, plating, and fine dining seriously. There are countless online tutorials teaching you how to turn the common napkin into a work of art, so use them and learn something new!

48. Teach Kids How to Knit

If you know how to knit, try teaching your kids too! It may not be a life or survival skill, but it is fun and useful nonetheless. More than learning how to make a sweater or a winter scarf, knitting teaches people patience and understanding patterns. It is a calming activity that keeps the mind focused but relaxed. It also develops fine motor skills and attention to detail. You could all learn how to knit and challenge yourselves to make something wearable by the end of the social isolation period!

49. Teach Kids How to Sow

Now this is a skill that people need for their adult independent lives! You can start easy, teaching kids how to sow buttons and make knots and stitches, fix a seam, or patch a hole. If you have a sowing machine in the house, you can make the lessons more complex, teaching boys and girls how to fix zippers, upcycle old clothes into new ones, and even make clothes to wear.

50. Home Yoga for Kids

Kids have a lot of energy and being stuck in the house does not help at all. Just as it doesn’t help adults physically and mentally. Why don’t you try some yoga lessons in the living room together with the children? Yoga helps everybody understand mindfulness, relax, stretch a little, and unwind. It works great for kids as it instills both discipline and relaxation in a non-invasive manner. Physical activity is of utmost importance while in lockdown and Yoga is not a pretentious one. All you need is a mat and some videos. Achieving physical and psychological balance these days is crucial to make it through the pandemic without anxiety, depression, frustrations, or anger.

Outdoor Fun Things to Do with Kids: Games and Activities to Spend the Lockdown (and Future Sunny Days)

The lucky ones owning a back yard have a bit more freedom than those of us who are stuck in apartments in crowded cities. A patch of lawn and a hedge are enough to spend some free time enjoying the warm weather and breathing in some fresh air daily. For those living in matchbox studios, working from home on the house porch would be enough to declare ourselves happy, but those who already do this need other ideas on fun things to do during the lockdown.

Obviously, having lunch/dinner outside every other day, playing with the pets, and organizing a picnic from time to time in the back yard are among the easiest projects to implement these days. So let’s put our creative caps on and see other entertaining activities we can do outside with the kids without leaving the premises and preserving social distancing!

51. Outdoor Sports and Games

Don’t think about building a tennis court on your front lawn. However, consider physical activities, games, and sports along the lines of circle games and group games that require a bit of running and physical effort. The exercise is beneficial to all family members. You can engage in competitions or collaboration games, split into teams, and have some fun outside while you move your bodies and clear your heads.

52. Fairy-Garden Scavenger Hunt

This is a two-parter activity, starting with a backyard scavenger hunt. This time, challenge the kids to find items they can use for a fairy garden: pebbles, plants, flowers, decorations, scraps, etc. Make this collaborative game or a team effort. Building a fairy garden is a fun way to spend an afternoon outside with the family, so make sure everyone has something to do.

53. Build a Fairy Garden

Fairy gardens are the best way to engage kids of all ages in gardening and sustainability – especially because we encourage you to build them from scraps, upcycled and recycled household and garden items, and objects you do not use. Fairy gardens, in all truth, work best for very young children. The older ones can start their own flower or vegetable garden in a corner of the yard if they have a soft spot for growing things with their own hands.

54. Build a Bird Feeder

Did you see that pandemic viral picture of a picnic table built for a squirrel? Yes, the quarantine showed people have no limits when it comes to creativity. However, if working in wood for squirrels does not appeal to you, how about building some bird feeders for the feathered friends visiting your property? It is a good educational and skill-developing activity for kids, not to mention a fun one for the entire family!

55. Lawn Twister

You can play Twister in the living room, but it is more fun to do it on the lawn! Check out this guide on other lawn games to play in your yard during the lockdown and after! Start by painting the “Twister board” directly on the lawn with a grass-friendly spray that washes away next time you water the turf and have a full afternoon of twisting and laughing!

56. Potato Sack Race

Mixing physical activities with competition and prizes? Yes, please! This is one of the most challenging outdoor and lawn games and activities for kids and all you need are some sacks we are sure you have around in the garden shed.

58. Obstacle Course Race

Keeping the entire family moving outside, consuming excess energy, relieve anxiety and frustrations, and getting as much fresh air as you can is an easy achievement if you consider mixing in some obstacle course race ideas with potato sack competitions and other lawn games. Here are some obstacle course ideas for adults, but you can easily adapt them to your kids as well!

59. Hopscotch on the Porch or Driveway

For a second, we thought of including hopscotch as an indoor activity, but your neighbors downstairs would not agree with us or with you. So we moved hopscotch into the category of the outdoor fun things to do in lockdown. A piece of chalk and the pavement in front or in the back of your house should solve this issue. However, if you don’t want to let the kids play on the driveway, paint the hopscotch on the porch with a washable paint or “draw” the lines with a roll of tape. You can also use an eco-friendly spray paint for the lawn. Anyway, hopscotch is a fun childhood game that keeps kids entertained for hours. If you were good at it back in your day, enter the game yourself and show them how it’s done!

60. Make a Volcano!

You could, in theory, make a volcano in the bathroom sink or bathtub, but you would not like the messiness. So learn how to make a DIY volcano as a home science experiment for kids of all ages. The older ones interested in science and chemistry in particular will have a field day with this! The back yard or the house porch is ideal for this fun and educational activity!

61. Pinata Party in the Garden

A Pinata party in the garden is a family project with all the trimmings, especially if you build the pinata yourselves. You can use cardboard, paper mâché, colored tissues, a clay pot, and more. Fill it with treats and toys, put on some fun music (on a decent volume as you don’t want to disturb the neighbors), have a snack, and hit that pinata for a fun garden party you will all remember!

62. Bird Watching

What you need for this relaxed and educational back yard activity with the kids is a blanket and the best pair of binoculars for bird watching and nature observations. If you want to turn this game into an educational moment, take some notebooks and pens, write down all the birds you see, make a sheet for each of them, take their photo if you can, and learn some biology between two laughs.

63. Flying Drones

As long as you do not disturb your neighbors and you do not invade anyone’s privacy, you and the kids can play with the drone and have a unique view on things around the house or neighborhood. Some drones for beginners have excellent flying potential, but if you have one with field-of-view camera and first-person view transmission, make sure you don’t break any laws!

64. Backyard Mini-Golf

If you have a mini-golf set in the house or you are willing to build a mini-golf course from scratch in the back yard, now it’s the perfect time! Since there are golf sets to install in corporate offices, we are sure you can handle things when it comes to your own lawn. All you need to do is polish your special, secret golf skills, tricks, and hacks and give your kids a good run for their money!

65. Camp Around the Fire

As we said, it is not likely we will go on vacations any time soon, but this does not mean we cannot welcome the spirit of vacation on our porch or patio! If you have an outdoor fireplace you are all set! Spend an evening outside by the fire, even make some marshmallows, sing some songs, gaze at the stars, tell scary stories, tell jokes, laugh, and warm up your hearts!

66. Astronomy and Star Gazing

Using a telescope for kids – as we just mentioned star gazing above – is the best way to teach them science, open their minds about the universe and challenge them to discover the mysteries of the sky. You can use the telescope from a city apartment, sure, but having a back yard for your astronomical observations and scientific debates is ten times better. There is not enough engaging science taught in school, so fix this problem by introducing the kids to one of the greatest questions of all times: what is out there?

67. Microscope Studies

If the kids in your family are science buffs, a microscope and a table in the back yard is all they need. Some kids started looking at the intricate microscopical construction of a leaf and ended up one of the brilliant doctors we praise today. Just like some love to look at the greatness above us and wonder about the outer space, others love to look at the tiniest building blocks of our existence and find answers there. Nevertheless, performing microscope studies on plants and insects they find in the yard with the help of a powerful microscope for kids may be the best gift you can offer your children during this pandemic.

68. Lawn Scrabble

Playing Scrabble in the house is one thing, but cutting carboard or wood pieces, writing letters on them with thick markers, and turning the lawn into a giant Scrabble board is quite another! The rules are the same. The hardest part is to create the actual board, but we do recommend a tablecloth. Such a DIY project can keep you busy for days. When everything is into place, keep the conversation going on your patio!

69. Ring Toss Game

This classic carnival game goes great in your back yard. You need some bottles, a crate, and some rings. Parents turn the game into a quick fun Math lesson as they encourage the kids to keep their own scores.

70. DIY Outdoor Chess/Checkers Table

You don’t need a pandemic to practice your chess or checkers strategies. However, since we are in lockdown and we already discussed it is important to recycle and upcycle old items, let’s see how you can turn a game of chess into a fun outdoor activity with the kids.

  • Find an old outdoor table you want to turn into a chessboard;
  • Fix it, paint it, and polish it nicely;
  • Paint the chessboard directly on the surface of the table;
  • Set the table on the porch as an invitation for all players to take their chances against you or the most skilled member of the family.

We all know you can’t play a mean game of chess or checkers without the proper set. In fact, it is one of those fun things to do with kids outside with or without a lockdown. Refurbishing an entire table to meet your competitive needs is an outdoor activity that mixes craft with family fun. It is also a lucrative endeavor, as you will have this chess table for the years to come!

71. Yard Yahtzee

Yahtzee is one of those fun things to do with kids that are timeless. All you need is a plastic bucket you can find anywhere around the house. Use a Sharpie to make dots on wooden cubes and keep the score for everyone to see! A giant lawn Yahtzee game works perfectly during the lockdown and way after!

72. Recycle Bottle Bowling

Do you have some plastic water bottles around? A tennis ball lying around somewhere? The you are all set! You don’t need to craft a bowling set in wood or other materials when you can reuse plastic or even glass bottles. The tennis ball is not quite a bowling ball, but hey, outdoor games for the lockdown should be challenging, shouldn’t they?

73. Giant Lawn Jenga

Speaking od recycling and reusing, what do you do exactly with those unused wood pallets you keep? How about taking a saw and some wood polish and turn them into Jenga blocks? Just make sue they all have exactly the same dimensions! If you want a clearer picture of how to make Jenga blocks of wood scraps, check out the video below!

74. The Kubb Lawn Game

Remember your own childhood with this all time classic lawn game! You can make the Kubb pieces on your own if you have the patience and the skills or you can order them online. Few kids nowadays know how to play Kubb, so this is where you come in! Did you forget yourself? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

75. Play With Water

Summer is coming and water games are the surefire way to tame the heat that is upon us. Water games can take a variety of forms, from a good old fashioned water pistol fight to installing an inflatable pool in the back yard. Check out this guide on the best water games to play at the beach or in your garden and beat the scorching sun! Put some ideas aside for those sunny days after the crisis is over too!

Bottom Line

This was our list of fun things to do with kids in lockdown! We are sure you already tried some, so feel free to tell us which are your favorite activities for indoor and outdoor entertainment. Also, complete our list with your own ideas and ask us for more guides and suggestions! Stay home, stay safe, and live life to the fullest!

All the Quinceanera Traditions

What is a quinceanera?

This article is a beginner’s guide to the Quinceanera traditions featured at coming of age parties. Quinceanera traditions can be found all over the Spanish speaking world. They are now eclipsing Sweet Sixteen as the dominant teenage birthday girl celebration in the United States. First of all, you’ve probably heard of the party name, but what does it even mean? Quinceanera is the Spanish word for a 15 year old birthday girl. In Latin American culture, the name also refers to the coming-of-age celebration that reigns in a girl’s 15th birthday party. 

This is one of the most widespread Latin American celebrations, experienced and celebrated all the way from Argentina to the United States. As we know the celebration as of today, it is a celebration that is celebrated by up to 440,000 Hispanic girls every year as they turn 15 in South, Central, and North America. It is also a tradition that dates back to the times of the ancient Aztecs.

History of the quinceanera 

Among the Aztec Indians, a girl was considered ready for marriage at the age of 15. The celebration that came to be known as the quinceanera sprang up as a result of this important age. Parents were supposed to beseech their girls to become good and outstanding wives in the future. 

In 1520, the Spanish attacked the Aztecs, invading what we now know as the modern day Mexico. They oppressed, colonized, and eventually intermixed with the Aztec people. The Spanish brought their foreign influence to the indigenous traditions that already existed among the Aztecs. These are the likely roots of the quinceanera celebrations.

Traditionally, these parties were meant for the upper-class society. This has changed as more Latin people have migrated into the United States. For these immigrants, the quinceanera is a fun and family-centric expression of their ethnic origins. The celebration is now widespread among the socio-economic classes of the USA and the Latin American region. This great event has been able to transverse boundaries and is now even celebrated in Cuba. These parties are now established as their way of celebrating the past as a girl. Furthermore, the parties serve to welcome the future as a woman. 

Quinceaneras today

The celebration has surprisingly had a rough patch with the Catholic Church. This is because the lavish air that comes with the celebration was threatening to overthrow every other celebration. The spiritual and religious aspect of this celebration is still very much honored. But, it became a problem for the church when quinceanera parties became so popular as to represent competition. The competition with religious spirit and traditional church was evident especially when quinceanera budgets rocketed beyond $25,000. Certain steps have since been taken by the church, such as blessing many quince girls at once. Another church attempt to clamp down on the competition aspect has been limiting the number of quince parties during mass.

Even these constraints have not been able to stop all the pomp and color that comes with these celebrations. quinceanera traditions, both old school and modern, are as popular as ever. 

The quinceanera industry rakes in a lot of money. The average spending today for one party runs over $15,000 per girl in the US. All this comes as a result of the quinceanera traditions involving many aspects. For example, venues are enlisted, invitations made, cakes prepared, and beverages served. Of course, the gifts for the birthday girl top the list.

Since 2007 in Mexico City, business owners and non-profit organizations have sponsored annual city wide celebrations. This allows girls of lower incomes to participate and be celebrated as well. Quinceanera inclusivity like this approach in Mexico helps reduce social inequalities, even if just for a day.

There are over a dozen fun quinceanera traditions that are worth discussing. 

The religious ceremony

The Quinceanera celebration typically begins as a mass at the Catholic Church. It is celebrated here inside the church as a mass centered on giving thanks and celebrating life. The birthday girl enters the church in a procession similar to that of a wedding. She walks in with a court of young men and women. There are usually fourteen ladies and their fourteen escorts plus the birthday girl’s parents and godparents. The girl is allowed to choose readings that she would like to read. Sometimes, she may choose to appoint a family member or members to read for her.

After the readings at mass, there is a gospel and homily performance. Next, the girl proceeds to renew the vows she made at baptism. The final step of the service is to commit herself to the Virgin Mary and most importantly, God. This is when the girl’s parents and godparents can present her with lavish gifts of all sorts.

Finally, the young lady can now make a devotion to the Virgin Mary. She does so by presenting a flower or a bouquet at the church statue where she attended her mass. The priest then has the duty of blessing the quinceanera, which is just the beginning of the real celebrations.

Alternatives 

If however, the quinceanera is not Catholic, there are alternative churches where they can have ceremonies. They could also have the ceremony completely separated from the church service. In such cases, the families write their own ceremonies. They can even choose a family member to preside over the ceremony and even officiate all the blessings.

The quinceanera has a court of young people, as mentioned earlier, consisting of fourteen damas (girls) and fourteen chambelanes (boys). They will accompany her during the ceremony. Each of these pairs represent the fourteen years that she has lived as a child. The fourteen pairs also serve to represent the years that she is now ready to leave behind. 

Some girls will ask their family and friends to be the ones making up her court. Just like in weddings where all maids wear matching gowns, all the girls are expected to wear the same gowns. The men wear matching tuxedos or matching suits. Etiquette demands that it is the birthday girl’s duty to inform each member of her court of the clothing requirements.

The dance with dad

The dance with dad is one of the most interesting quinceanera traditions. Customarily, the first dance is usually for the quinceanera and her father. The song is usually chosen by the girl’s father and often has great significance to the pair or her life. According to tradition, this is a girl’s first public dance. After the song, the father hands the girl over to her escort to begin the next song.

At the same time, the maidens and their escorts enter the fray to join the dance. This dance also acts as an emphasis on the role of the father as the first man in the quinceanera’s life. Here are some of the most popular quinceanera father and daughter dance songs.

Another fun and interesting quinceanera tradition is the Mariachi band. They will serenade the girl the night before her party. The Mariachi band will usually spontaneously appear right in front of her house. Band music marks such a sweet welcome into the world of adulthood. Adulthood, after all, can be spontaneous too. Womanhood is full of responsibility and requires a budding quinceanera to act with maturity.

The Waltz

The waltz is a well choreographed traditional dance routine that is usually performed by the quinceanera and her court. To achieve finesse with the dance, it usually takes long and tedious months of practice. However, the many months of practice are well worth it by performance time. It is every quinceanera’s dream to make her celebration perfect. Some families even choose to hire Waltz instructors to train the court for the celebrations. It all depends on the family budget.Some birthday girls consider the waltz to be very traditional and old fashioned and it is easy to find them choosing a more modern form of dance for their court. Some choose an elegant form of waltz and blend it in with another modern choreographed type of dance. Check out some of the trending and classic waltz songs being played at quinceanera celebrations right now.

The gown

This is the equivalent of a wedding dress on a bride when it comes to the quinceaneras. This dress is typically the first adult dressing that the girl will wear. The tradition started with the Duchess of Alba in Spain many years ago. These dresses are basically made to look like princess dresses because they have layers of tulle netting. Some other girls opt for gowns made of silk or taffeta. 

The most common colors at these parties are white and pink. Some girls may opt for less traditional colors, depending on the family’s level of strictness and adherence to tradition. These colors usually stay within the pastel family to represent life. It is tricky to use any other color apart from white in some parts. This is because the color white is often valued as a color that symbolizes purity and virginity. In such places, the family of the girl face criticism should they choose any other color. 

Modesty is also required when it comes to the dressing at quinceanera ceremonies. To alleviate this tradition, some of the girls wear shawls and jackets over their dresses. Later on, after the service has ended and the true party begins, they remove them to show off their dress. Finally, some girls may prefer really modestly designed dresses only.

The food

This quinceanera tradition is usually more distinct based on a range of factors. From social class, financial resources, regional culture, and taste, the food at these parties varies. With that in mind, any quinceanera celebration is not complete without a feast. Usually, it is the girl’s family who is responsible for preparing the feast. This responsibility may also fall onto the neighbors or close friends instead. 

In this day and age, and with increasing wealth, people are able to hire the services of experts. Caterers are increasingly taking on the role of food providers during such events. Mexicans usually have a variety of foods including but not limited to chicken mole, tamales, and enchiladas. More staple foods from the area also make appearances too, like beans and rice. Further south, in Chile, the party will feature more tortillas, a baked quiche of Spanish and native origin.

At quinceaneras across the Americas, you are bound to find a variety of tacos. Another common dish is picadillo, combining beef, onions, peppers and tomatoes into a delicious mixture. Picadillo can be served as a side dish or as the filling for tamales, tacos, and other wraps. Read more about culinary quinceanera traditions here.

The cake and treats

Just like in a wedding, the cake at a quinceanera party is the centerpiece of the party. Much pomp and circumstance surrounds the quinceanera traditions when it comes to the cake display, presentation, and serving. Some prefer the almond meringue cake while others like the spongy one known as tres leches. Tres leches, as the Spanish name implies, is made up of three types of milk. This can also be provided by caterers in keeping with modern day requirements and desires.

More traditionally, the cake is often made within the confines of the home if the family is able. Customary treats at quinceanera parties include cookies known as bizcochitos. Candied meringues are also increasingly popular. Dessert is usually served after a number of games and lots of dancing has taken place, so everyone’s appetite is worked up. Check out some more popular dessert options at quinceaneras here.

Changing of shoes

This is one of the more popular quinceanera traditions at the post-service party. Just like the first father and daughter dance, parents take the lead with the shoe changing tradition. During the church service, and at the beginning of the party, the birthday girl will wear flats. At a designated time during the party, one of the quinceanera’s parents will take off their girl’s shoes.

They will replace them with a pair of heels, usually her first pair of heeled shoes. The high heels are a symbol of growth and responsibility on the girl’s part. High heels also symbolize the girl stepping up in society to become an adult woman, bride, and mother.

Toast to the daughter

The toast is yet another role played by the quinceanera’s parents. Here, her parents will make a toast to her, while emphasizing her achievements and virtues. This is their chance to praise their girl for the good work she has done in her life thus far. The toast serves as a moment of pride for both the girl and her parents. It is also important for the party’s guest to get to know her just a little bit better.

It is the final step in the quinceanera celebrations where parents have a chance to endorse their young adult. As such, there is a longstanding tradition for the parents’ toasts to go quite long. Lastly, in most Latin American countries today, the drinking age is well over 15. Therefore, the parents and adult guests will be drinking alcohol. But these days, the chances are that the birthday girl and her friends are not. 

The sponsors

In the quinceanera celebrations, as you have probably noticed, there is a lot of pomp and glory that comes with the celebrations. This means that they incur high bills in preparation for the celebration. Even rich families that throw these parties sometimes have to rely on others to help them shoulder the costs. The girl’s parents usually cover a bigger part of the bill. Traditionally, members of the family and the neighbors can help to cover the remaining expenses.

Quinceanera traditions govern that there is a collective responsibility. The party involves doing whatever it takes to make the day as special as possible for the birthday girl. Those people who agree to pay for certain aspects of these celebrations are usually called madrinas and padrinos. Madrinas and padrinos literally means godmothers and godfathers. Traditionally, the way to handle the sponsors is to ask each one of them to foot a certain bill element during the festivities. For example, some will cover the cost of the cake while the others pay for the band or DJ.

Candle lighting

Candle lighting is a quinceanera tradition that involves choosing fifteen people to carry candles. This part of the ceremony is especially emotional. It is the moment when the quinceanera honors the people she considers most vital in her life. She often selects fifteen people, including her parents, siblings, neighbors and even friends, dedicating a candle to each of them. Some girls choose to make the fourteen people her damas, with the fifteenth being her mother.

The DJ or master of ceremony usually calls up each of the fifteen members one by one. Oftentimes they play a special song for them while she presents each of them with a candle. In the process of the candle presentation, she will give a speech. Her speech reflects how each of those individuals helped her to achieve maturity and why they are special to her. In some quinceanera parties however, it can be a bit different. Sometimes the fifteen people the quinceanera chooses are the ones who will talk about her instead. 

Marking of the firsts

So far, we have seen the quinceanera as a platform for which girls emerge as adults. It is during the celebration that she has her first public dance. Further yet, quinceanera traditions hold that she wears her first pair of heels to symbolize her maturity. Many times, it is also after the first quinceanera that a girl is officially allowed to date. Traditionally, this celebration was meant to introduce the girl to the public as eligible for marriage. 

Nowadays, fifteen is rightfully considered far too young to marry. Instead, after the quinceanera, they are generally allowed to interact more with the opposite sex through dating. This was also the first time a girl was allowed to wear make-up such as lipstick traditionally. All of these allowances represent bids to mark her entry into adulthood. Today, however, you find that by age fifteen most girls already use makeup by the time of their party.

The crowning of the quinceanera

Traditionally, the parents of the quinceanera buy her a tiara and scepter as gifts for her special day. These items symbolize the girl’s coming of age, maturity and responsibility. The girl’s mother usually presents the crown passing on the torch from one generation of womanhood to another. The tiara or crown replaces a more casual headpiece that the girl wears at the outset of the party. It is at this time that the quinceanera receives her scepter. This is always a moment of pride for both the parents and the girl. The end of the quinceanera brings confirmation and hope to parents that their daughter.

Gift reception

Another major aspect of quinceanera traditions is, of course, gift giving to the birthday girl. Quinceanera gifts often symbolize adulthood and maturity. So, quinceanera gifts are usually more in line with gifts given to grownups than kids. This is where the gift of ‘the last doll’ comes in. The last doll custom probably originated from Mexico in the 19th century. Others think it came from Puerto Rico in the same era. Essentially, the birthday girl usually receives a porcelain doll dressed like the quinceanera. Some families choose to have ribbons with the girl’s name and the date pinned onto the doll. They will pass the ribbons out to guests as they leave the party as a keepsake. The girl gets to keep the doll. She keeps it as memory to mark the moment that she crossed the threshold from girlhood to womanhood.

Other gifts during the quinceanera may include a bible, medal or a cross, the rosary. People usually give the religious gifts at the church or directly after the service. It is quite common for there to be two rounds of gift giving, both the religious and the more informal.

The birthday girl’s grandparents will often give her fifteen roses during the mass. Rose petals represent sweetness while the stems of the roses represent her strength. Quinceanera parents can also choose to give the birthday girl a tiara and a scepter too. Some cultures use a birthstone and bracelet as the traditional way of representing coming of age and femininity.

Celebrating life and tradition

While a quinceanera celebration can come across as overly extravagant and very expensive, it is chock full of tradition. These quinceanera traditions are an important part of individuality just as they are celebrations of Latin American and Mestizo culture. Traditionally, Latin American societies tend to place more responsibilities on the girl once the ceremony is over. She is now more deeply immersed in family household duties. 

The girl, now a woman, is expected to cater to family needs when she can. She can volunteer in more adult ways demanding more responsibility. And, fairly soon, she will be eligible for marriage in the community’s eyes. After this, tradition holds that the young adult will live a dedicated life full of morality and devotion.

Kids don’t have to face the same high and strict expectations. But for adults, such actions lead to a more wholesome life. The quinceanera is a form of giving thanks to God for enriching the lives of young people. Further, the mass and celebration also thanks God for guiding them into and through adulthood, along with life’s challenges. 

The fact that the first stop of the quinceanera is a church says a lot about this ceremony. Ultimately, organized religion and spirituality form the roots of quinceaneras. This continues to be important in sustaining values. Vows, at least as intended, maintain uprightness and purity into adult life. In many quinceanera held by religious families, the new fifteen year old will make vows to God before the congregation. This is an opportunity for the girl to showcase her personal values as well as her own goals for the path ahead. 

Conclusion

Quinceaneras are binding events for family, friends and neighbors, coming together to celebrate their girl. Many of these same people also come together well beforehand to jointly plan the celebration. Quinceanera traditions promote cohesion and unity through the planning process.  Just as in other collectivist societies, everyone involved in the quinceanera is responsible for a small contribution. This communal approach is often the only way that such big and successful parties can be put together. 

Because of the cost and resources involved, family income is a huge determinant in what the party will look like. Richer families certainly tend to hold bigger and better parties than those less privileged families due to money and resources. That is why some cities, like the Mexican capital, took interventionist measures to spread the joy of quinceaneras to everyone. For the most part, NGOs and sponsors representing the economic elite have made these large contributions.

The quinceanera traditions that we’ve showcased here are important parts of culture, but they’re also really fun. These parties are a lifetime highlight for Latin American women and their close friends and families. In conclusion, they are also a great opportunity to share incredible local foods and show off some great dance skills.

What are your favorite quinceanera traditions or stories from your experiences at these Latin parties? Do you have a favorite quinceanera dish recipe you’d like to share? Looking for gift ideas to bring to a quinceanera? Please leave your thoughts on our comments section.

41 Catchy Youth Group Names

Imagine the following scenario that brought you to seeking out the chosen youth group names. You woke up one morning with a calling. This was not just any calling. It was a message from higher up, with a call to leadership. Your faith is your own, but say that this calling brought you to a point of determination. You have decided that you will become the leader of an awesome youth group.

First of all, congratulations on reaching this moment! Leading isn’t for everyone. Leading a youth group presents an even greater challenge. But, let’s be honest, you don’t see a lot of big and successful youth groups without good youth group names. Be very careful about what choice you make. Your youth group name should remain at the forefront of these kids’ minds for years to come. It should be clever! It should also be catchy. And most importantly, it should reflect your mission statement. Let’s take a look at 41 examples of such names.

Plants & Pillars

This is based on the Bible verse Psalm 144:12, which reads, “Let our sons in their youth be as grown-up plants, and our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace.” You might be of tree planting variety or focused on outdoor activities. If so, this should at the top of your youth group names list.

Three SixTeens

This play on words references John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This is a great option if you are aiming for a cool vibe with music and fun activities galore.

GO

GO is quite a simple name with an appearance in virtually every book in the Bible. The most common command, usually issued by Jesus Christ. For this example, we’ll use its appearance in Mark 10:52 (“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.”). The context in Jesus healing a blind man is a testament to the power of faith and how much a belief can impact your life. The name is short and to the point. It implies action and gives a motivational feel.

Shield of Faith

This name alone would have no trouble appealing to an audience of young video gamers. It is taken from Ephesians 6:16, which urges readers to “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Shield of Faith? Flaming arrows? The defense against and destruction of evil? Sounds like a great time.

By Faith

“By faith” is a common phrase in Hebrews 11: 1-39. It opens up many of the verses, telling the reader about certain people and how they accomplished things through faith. This would serve as a great motivator for the youth.

young girl praying

Image via Unsplash

EBZ

This stands for Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, three friends of Job mentioned in Job 2:11. They all agreed to meet up and comfort Job when they heard about “all the troubles that had come upon him.” A strong friendship and bond is depicted here, and those should be the basis of all youth groups, in and outside the meeting. The name itself is subtle and doesn’t necessarily imply religion or even a youth group. It rolls of the tongue, and implies something unique and elite.

Four ThirTeens

Similar to the “Three SixTeens”, this name is a play on Phillipians 4:13: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” As one of the more well-known Bible verses, this will strike a chord among those both familiar and unfamiliar with the faith.

Everpresence

This name, which sounds similar to rock band Evanescence, is taken from Psalm 46:1-3: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” This name would also suggest (and, of course, guarantee) that the youth group will display similar support for the community’s children. It emanates a strong sense of community and existence.

Righteous Tent

This has the potential to be quite the memorable name. Kids would jump in excitement to head to this “Righteous Tent” based on Psalm 118:15: “Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: ‘The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!’” Just like a tent itself, this youth group names implies inclusivity and welcome.

The Immovables

This grounded name is a reference to 1 Corinthians 15:58: “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. […]” This name could also suggest that the youth will build strength in a faith, or at least the foundation for a capacity. The Immovables screams out that nothing can break the faith of its members.

young boy laughing and holding bible

Image via Unsplash

Safe Rest

Such an inviting name can be found in Job 11:18: “You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.” The youth of the community can feel at rest from the troubles of the world while putting one foot through the door to a life of spirituality. As far as youth group names go, this offers a sense of support as well as the basic drive for safety.

Tree of Life

Let your youth group stand as tall as a tree and offer sound advice taken from Proverbs 13:12: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Just like our first idea for youth group names, Tree of Life offers a great match for outdoor activities. By contrast, its also a great name for an urban community where the desire to connect to spirituality through nature is strong.

All-Time Love

This name also sounds similar to a popular band, All-Time Low. Children love catchy references to pop culture! This is a reference to the verse Proverbs 17:17 (A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity) and promotes and encourages strong bonds and friendships with the group and each other.

Ends of the Earth

This name can be found in Isaiah 40:28 ([…] The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth), and states that God has created, and therefore knows everything. It could also refer to omnipresence. The name gives off a good vibe of frontier adventurousness and scouts. It sends the message that your youth group members are brave and ready to tackle obstacles and face any challenge.

Eagle Wing(s)

This name also comes from Isaiah 40, just a few spots down on verse 31. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary […]” An eagle generally symbolizes freedom, and a youth group generally offers a freedom to learn more about the faith, so it would be a fitting name. The eagle also represents strength through flight.

young boy reading bible

Image via Unsplash

The Purpose

This is based on Romans 8:28 ([…]God works for the good of those who […] have been called according to his purpose). Is there a purpose your youth group has for the youth? Absolutely. This name offers a real sense of meaning to match the goals of your organization. For those who are still seeking a righteous path in life, finding purpose will drive them forward.

The Inseparable

From Romans 8:38-39, which states that nothing in all existence is able to separate you from the love of God. Any youth group would do well to stress a point like this, and having it in the name is a smart way to go. Pushing forward the values of brotherhood and sisterhood are critical to youth, and applying this to your youth group name sets the standard.

Reflections

This refers to 1 Corinthians 13:12: “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. […]” There are some who join youth groups knowing parts of the faith, possessing the intent to learn more or gain clarification. Part of faith is also being able to reflect on one’s mistakes and learn how to improve. Reflecting is critical to becoming a better individual as well as a better leader.

New Compassions

This verse refers to Lamentations 3:22-23, which states that the Lord’s compassions “never fail” and “are new every morning.” This name serves as great day-to-day motivation, especially when it comes to keeping the youth engaged! Compassion is key not only to keeping your members, but to gaining new members.

Day By Day

Another verse that deals with renewal, 2: Corinthians 4:16 states that “outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” We all have our own struggles in life. Sometimes the best way to move forward is to make it through and be our best selves one day at a time.

three people read and write

Image via Unsplash

Root Love

This name can also be seen as a play on the phrase “Route Love,” which sounds like a road youth groups like to travel down. From Ephesians 3:17, which states that we are all “rooted and established in love.”

Keepers of the Command

Children and teens can take this name home with them, almost as if it were a new job title or responsibility. Followers of 1 John 3:22 “keep His commands and do what pleases Him.” When it comes to catchy youth group names, this one literally commands respect as well as significance.

Living Way

This can also be read as a street name or simply as in a way of living. From Hebrews 10:20, which states that “a new and living way opened up for us through the curtain […]”

Pure Joy

Any type of struggle should be met with pure joy, as it builds character (James 1:2-4). Happiness and positivity is critical when it comes to radiating warmth in youth groups and youth group names.

First 2 Last

God’s righteousness is one “by faith from first to last,” and the righteous should live by this faith (Romans 1:17).

little girl on couch reading

Image via Pixabay

Firm Stance

This is also based on 1 Corinthians 15:58, which deals with standing firm and being immovable during “your labor in the Lord.” It is critical to hold your ground when it comes to your faith, so applying this to youth group names sends a strong message.

Good Thing Cling

Romans 12:9 says that we must “hate what is evil” and “cling to what is good”. When it comes to catchy names, you can’t go wrong with a good rhyme!

Fulfillment

Love fulfills the law by doing no harm to a neighbor (Romans 13:10). On the same side of that coin is the power that spirituality and community faith adds to the fulfillment of our lives.

Patient Love

This is based on the popular verse/saying “Love is patient, love is kind.” A youth group exercises patient love daily (1 Corinthians 13:4). So too does leading a youth group, so for leaders and members alike, this name will serve as a positive reminder.

Autumn/Spring Rains

Autumn Rains or Spring Rains is both beautiful and inviting, and it is based on the rewards that came with complete love of the Lord (Deuteronomy 11:13-14).

hands holding book

Image via Unsplash

Doorframes

Youth groups act as the very life lessons they teach, written on the doorframes of their own buildings (Deuteronomy 11:20). The practice of writing biblical passages on the foundation of new buildings and structures is growing is making a resurgence. It could also reflect well in youth group names.

Seal of Love

The love of your youth group should be placed over the hearts of the youth, for “love is as strong as death” (Song of Songs 8:6).

Unto Others

This name is based on the Golden Rule itself, which is based on the Bible verse Luke 6:31. Unto Others sends a guiding message to your members as to how they ought to help their community and help each other.

Wise Walk

Children become who their friends are. May they choose the wise they might find in your youth group! (Proverbs 13:20).

Iron-Sharp

Good people build up and strengthen good people, as iron does to iron (Proverbs 27:17). This is an extra catchy name for a youth group that centers on sports or martial arts as team building exercises.

asian child reading with headphones

Image via Unsplash

East From West

The Lord has “removed our transgressions from us” “as far as the east is from the west” May your youth group do the same to the youth of your community! (Psalm 103:12).

Faithline

Like a bloodline, sincere faith runs in the family. A love of God must be generational (2 Timothy 1:5).

Archer

Youth groups should be blessed to have a “quiver” of children eager to learn more about the faith. They surely must be predestined to hit their mark (Psalm 127:3-5).

Springwater

The love and knowledge the Lord gives us will spring up like water within us and give us eternal live. So should the teachings your group offers (John 4:14).

Covered By Love

We, as brothers and sisters, should care deeply for each other, because that love covers “a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

My Strength

This name simply states that the Lord is strength, and this will represent your own youth groups strength in what you teach (Psalm 18:1).

Did any of these catchy youth group names stand out to you? Perhaps you have an idea for an entirely new one? Post your ideas below if you have other suggestions or have used any of the names found on this list.

Either way, you are ready to give your youth group—and the youth—something to stand for.

 Happy teachings!

Featured image via Unsplash

Tips for Your Lunch: Stay Healthy and Pack!

Eat Lunch or Skip It?

Do not skip it; eat lunch!

If you think skipping lunch will help you lose weight, your thinking is on the wrong track. Skipping lunch can potentially lead to weight gain. When your stomach is empty, your brain lets your cells know to conserve energy — thereby slowing down your metabolism.

Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, author of “The Blood Sugar Solution,” says that eating triggers a process called thermogenesis. This process lets the brain know to activate the metabolic process of turning food into energy.

To keep your metabolism working at the highest efficiency, Dr. Hyman recommends eating small meals every three to four hours. Not only will that keep your metabolism working, but it will also keep your blood sugar levels stable.

Normal blood sugar levels mean your brain is getting the glucose it needs to run efficiently. And you won’t be irritable, tired, fatigued, or hangry.

Another negative of skipping lunch is that you are more likely to hit the vending machine around mid-afternoon. And there’s nothing nutritional or low-calorie in those machines.

So eat your lunch, you, and everyone you work with will be happier.

Pack It or Eat Out?

So, now that we know we shouldn’t skip lunch, we have to decide if we’re going to pack a lunch or eat out.

We don’t have to tell you that it’s more expensive to eat out, but have you ever added up what it does cost to eat out for lunch?

If you eat at a drive-through fast-food restaurant, you’re going to spend about $6. If you go to a national chain and have a sit-down full-service lunch, you’re going to spend about $20.

So, let’s say you do the drive-through for four days and treat yourself once a week. That’s going to total almost $3,000 for the year. Egads! That’s a chunk of change for most of us. And that doesn’t include the gas to drive there.

But the effects on your health could be more costly. Partly because you’re more likely to overeat when dining out and not even realize you’re doing it.

Here’s a good example you’ll recognize. We went out to dinner at our local Mexican restaurant the other night with a friend. And you know the drill, as they seat you, they also seat that big basket of chips and salsa on the table. And they do it for lunch too.

Of course, we immediately started munching those chips and salsa. The three of us mindlessly ate that entire basket of chips while catching up on gossip. Then dinner arrived, a large plate overflowing with yummy food.

A dinner chock full of too many calories, fat, sodium, preservatives, probably some genetically modified foods, and who knows what else.

We don’t need to go any further. Be healthy, save money, and pack your lunch.

What and How to Pack Your Lunch

You can always quickly throw something into your lunch box in the morning. Or you could give a little thought to tomorrow’s lunch before you head to bed.

But even better, think about what you’d like for lunch while you’re grocery shopping for the week. Then set aside about an hour on a Sunday afternoon or evening to pack a week’s worth of healthy lunches and snacks. Seriously, with a little thought and planning, that’s all the time it will take.

If you plan on packing sandwiches, it’s best to prepare them the morning of or the night before. But go ahead and portion everything out on Sunday, so it’s at the ready. Then it will only take you a minute to throw that sandwich together.

And a trick to help keep your bread from getting soggy is to spread a thin layer of low-fat mayo or mustard on both slices of bread.

If you’re going to have lettuce and tomatoes or pickles on your sandwich, pack them separately and place them on your sandwich right before you eat. Do the same with any salads, like tuna or chicken.

Green leafy salads with veggies are always a good idea but don’t mix in the dressing, unless you’re like me and sometimes enjoy a soggy salad. An excellent way to pack a veggie salad is to use a mason jar.

Put your dressing in the jar first, then add some chopped veggies, like tomatoes, celery, peppers, or carrots. Then put in your lettuce, and if you want some croutons, put them in last. Close up the jar and store in the fridge. You can prep a full weeks worth of salads this way.

Leftovers are always an excellent choice, but we’ll address that in a minute.

Unless you pick number 7 on our list of best lunch boxes for men, you’ll need to purchase something to hold the food you’re going to pack. And you’ll want to get some ice packs as well.

If you’re going for convenience, stock up on disposable sandwich and snack bags, although you’ll find reusable bags available too.

Reusable containers will cost less in the long run and are better for the environment. Plus they’ll give you more flexibility in the types of food you can pack, especially if you get containers that are freezer and microwave-safe.

Get a variety of sizes, some large enough for an entree, and some smaller for a veggie side or dessert. And if you like soup or chili on those cold winter days, get an insulated mug.

And don’t forget that snacks, sauces, and dips need containers too. You could spend an entire afternoon online looking at all the possibilities to include in any of our best lunch boxes for men.

Leftovers

I’m fortunate because the man in my life loves leftovers. He’d be perfectly content eating leftovers for lunch every day. But I know he’s not the norm, and I’ll leave it at that.

But just because you or the man in your life doesn’t want to eat tonight’s leftovers for lunch tomorrow, doesn’t mean you can’t pack them for lunch. Portion them out and freeze them in microwave-safe containers.

Next week, pull it out of the freezer the night before, or even in the morning. By lunchtime, it will be ready for the microwave — a nutritional, delicious, healthy meal at no extra cost.

Healthy snack options

Here’s where packing best lunch boxes for men checks all the boxes and shines. Say bye-bye vending machine with your expensive non-healthy goodies.

Fill a small snack container with some almonds or walnuts. Both are chock full of health benefits and will keep the body at peak performance all afternoon.

Some sliced veggies with some low-fat dip or peanut butter make a great afternoon pick-me-up. And don’t forget some fresh fruit. Pack an apple, orange, banana, or put some grapes in one of those snack containers.

If you’re watching your carbs and could use some more protein, roll up a slice or two of roast beef or turkey. Or pack some cheese cubes.

Keeping up with Yourself: Staying Healthy with a Busy Lifestyle

How often do you think to yourself, “I’ve got to eat better,” “I’ve got to get out and exercise more often,” or “I really should be drinking more water”?

Chances are it’s more than you’re comfortable with, and for good reason: Americans work anywhere from 44 to 50 hours per week, leaving us precious little time to cook, shop, exercise, and still maintain relationships with our friends and family. 

But every time that little voice in your head chirps an “I oughtta,” you should listen to it, because when you’re the busiest is exactly when you need to consider your health all the more carefully.

If that sounds impossible, don’t worry – there are a few ways to do this.

For one, it’s absolutely crucial to establish a routine. Part of why we don’t fit healthy practices like eating full meals, resting, and exercising is because all we can focus on is what’s on our to-do lists. But by snatching a quick ten or twenty minutes here or there, you can easily fit in a few healthy practices here and there. 

You can probably manage it today, but the key is to keep it up. Set aside the 15 minutes after your lunch break for stretching and breathing. Wake up ten minutes earlier to avoid feeling so rushed. Pre-cook meals at the weekend so you don’t leave yourself any excuse to dash out to the nearest fast food joint.

The consequences of overlooking your health and overworking include excess weight, hypertension, stress and depression, exhaustion, and even shortened lifespans.

It may be a little daunting, but you’re going to have to get creative, and you’re going to have to discipline yourself.

Take sleep, for example. One 2018 study found that nearly a third (32.9%) of US Americans got fewer than six hours of sleep per night. Much of that can be attributed to economic conditions, but it’s also important to note that people are pushed, and push themselves, harder than they have for decades. So the next time you feel like you just can’t leave that file for the office the next day or those figures have to be crunched or those materials have to be prepped, just remember this: there’s always tomorrow, and your health comes first.

Try setting yourself an absolute hard deadline for sleep. Chances are you’ll miss it once or twice to begin with, but the more you keep at it, the easier and more natural it will feel, and your body will thank you for it. 

Exercises, too, can become a force of habit if you incorporate them into your day. Try standing at work instead of sitting, or do lunges now and then, or take a walk while you make phone calls.

And of course, avoid snacks and too many long evenings on the couch. The biggest temptation can be to just collapse after a long day, but if you take the time and make the effort to put half an hour into a simple dinner or to go for a jog, you’ll be thanking yourself for years to come.

Share this Image On Your Site

Keep Leaves and Debris out with the Top 7 Best Pool Covers

Now that summer’s over, it’s time to start thinking about closing down your pool for the winter. There are a few tasks that you must perform to make sure that your pool remains healthy even during the off-season. You should clean the pool water and add winter chemicals. But you have to cover your pool too. So let’s take a look at some of the best pool covers you can get this year.

Types of Pool Covers

While you’re searching for the best pool covers, there are a few types that you should know about.

Solar pool covers

Automatic pool covers

Thermal pool covers

Winter pool covers

Hidden swimming pool covers

How We Revied

Our goal is to help you find the best pool covers to meet your needs. In our review process, we took a look at top-selling covers. We then narrowed down our list by researching professional and consumer reviews. We also compared the features and price of each cover. All of the covers on our list meet our standards for top quality products.

The Top 3 Best Pool Covers for Above Ground Pools

Here are our top three picks for the best pool covers for above ground pools this year.

1

1. Pool Mate 351632RPM Heavy-Duty Blue Winter Pool Cover


Pool Mate 351632RPM Heavy-Duty Blue Winter Pool Cover for In-Ground…

  • Heavy-duty, polyethylene
  • Stops algae growth
  • 5-Foot overlap for easy installation

Our first contender for the best pool covers for above ground pools comes from Pool Mate. This cover will protect your pool during harsh winter conditions.

One of the things that we love about this cover is that its heavy-duty polyethylene material stops algae growth. It does this by preventing UV rays from entering the pool.

This is a solid pool cover, so it will block out dirt and debris.

If you use this cover and close your pool with proper winterizing chemicals, you will have an easy time opening a clean pool in the spring. We recommend opening your pool by mid-May to prevent algae growth.

This cover is available in many different sizes. And it features a 5-foot overlap. It should float comfortably on the water.

The Pool Mate cover comes with water tube loops. You should use the loops with water tubes, which you can purchase separately.

We also love the lightweight material that is more durable than other covers because all of the seams are heat-sealed for optimal performance.

This cover also comes with a 10-year warranty.

PROS

  • Comes with a long warranty

  • Great entry-level cover

  • Easy to install and remove

  • Easy to store

CONS

  • The cover can leak

  • Not as durable as some of the others

2

2. Blue Wave NS110 8-mil Solar Blanket


Blue Wave NS110 8-mil Solar Blanket for Round Above-Ground Pools,…

  • RETAINS HEAT – Insulating thermal cells trap heat and retain warmth on cool cloudy days allowing you to swim in warmer…
  • LONG-LASTING – Created with UV-protected polymer, our solar blankets are resistant to the deterioration caused by…
  • EXTENDS THE SEASON – This high-quality 8-mil solar blanket uses passive heating to raise your swimming pool’s…

The next spot on our list of the best pool covers goes to Blue Wave. The first thing that we love about this one is that it retains heat. This cover features insulating thermal cells that trap heat and retain warmth even on cool cloudy days.

This solar blanket uses UV-protected polymer, which means that the cover is resistant to deterioration caused by pool chemicals and UV radiation.

This cover’s innovative technology can raise the temperature of your pool by up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

And the thermal bubbles will retain the warmth even after the sun goes down. That means that you can swim comfortably even at night or on cloudy days.

The Blue Wave cover optimizes heat retention thanks to the opaque, blue color, which allows the most sunlight to reach your pool.

It also reduces evaporation. This cover will prevent up to 95 percent of chemical and pool water evaporation. This means that it’s not only environmentally friendly, but it will also save you time and money.

This cover is available in many different sizes, and it comes with a three-year manufacturer warranty.

PROS

  • Circle shape

  • Warms the water and keeps the pool warm

  • Very durable

  • Lightweight

CONS

  • The bubbles can burst over time

  • The cover may be too thin for some people

3

3. Intex Solar Cover for Easy Set and Frame Pools


Intex Solar Cover for 16ft Diameter Easy Set and Frame Pools

  • Pool cover helps keep pool water warmer
  • Helps protect pool from debris
  • Designed with central drainage holes to prevent rainwater from pooling on cover

No conversation about the best pool covers would be complete without mentioning Intex. This solar pool cover will help to keep your pool water warmer.

The Intex cover is solid and will protect your pool from dirt, leaves, and debris.

One unique thing about this cover is that it is designed with central drainage holes. This is especially nice because it keeps rainwater from pooling on the cover.

Another thing that we love about the Intex solar cover is that it is lightweight and super easy to use. You just place the cover inside the walls of your pool and let it float to the surface.

When it comes to sizing, this one comes in many different options, but they are all circular and meant to fit Easy Set and framed pools.

This cover will also reduce evaporation by up to 95 percent.

We also love that this cover comes with a convenient carrying bag, which makes storing and transporting a breeze. You should always make sure that you dry the cover before putting it in the carrying bag.

PROS

  • Circle shape

  • Solar blanket

  • Comes with a carrying bag

  • Lightweight and easy to install

CONS

  • Not as high of quality as some of the others

  • Not as durable as some of the others

  • The holes in the cover can let some debris in

The Top 4 Best Pool Covers for In-Ground Pools

Here are our top four picks for the best pool covers for in-ground pools this year.

1

1. Blue Wave Rectangular In-Ground Pool Safety Cover


Blue Wave 20-ft x 40-ft Rectangular In Ground Pool Safety Cover – Blue

  • Select cover based on your pool size. Actual cover measures approximately 2-ft wider and 2-ft longer
  • Comes complete with all hardware to install on concrete decking
  • Includes: brass anchors, stainless-steel springs, buckles, installation tools, and storage bag

When it comes to the best pool covers for in-ground pools, you should consider this one by Blue Wave. This cover is durable and strong enough to support your whole family. However, it’s light enough to install or remove in about five minutes.

Blue Wave makes this premium cover out of super-strong two-ply mesh that has a break strength of more than 4,000 pounds.

Another thing that we love about this one is the safety features. When this cover is in use, it’s held in place with brass anchors that lay flush with the pool deck when you’re not using the cover.

The drill and tamp style brass anchoring system will permanently secure the anchors to the concrete.

This cover also offers great winter protection for your pool.

Multi-seamed stitching not only ensures safety, but it also prevents wear and tear. The reinforced wear strips on the underside of the cover guard against fraying and abrasion.

The mesh on this cover will allow rainwater through, but it will stop leaves and other debris. It also makes spring clean up a breeze because no water collects on the cover.

The Blue Wave cover also comes with a storage bag. And it is backed with an incredible 18-year warranty.

PROS

  • One of the most durable on the market

  • Looks great

  • Comes with a long warranty

  • High quality

CONS

  • The mesh will allow some debris in

  • Some complained that they received missing parts

  • Expensive

2

2. Loop-Loc Safety Pool Cover


20 x 40 Rectangle Loop-Loc Safety Pool Cover

  • 20 x 40 Rectangle Loop-Loc Safety Pool Cover
  • Size Listed is Pool Size – Cover will be 2′ larger
  • All hardware for cement installation included

Loop-Loc is the next contender on our list of the best pool covers this year. This cover will fit a 20-foot by 40-foot pool. The cover will be slightly larger.

All of the hardware required for cement installation comes with this cover.

One of the things that we love about this cover is that it is made of a new, thicker weave, which blocks nearly all of the sun’s rays from reaching your pool water.

But even as it blocks out the sun, it will still let in rainwater and snow, so you don’t have to worry about the cover breaking. You should consider this cover if you’re looking for less light and debris getting into your pool.

This cover system is strong enough to support the weight of your whole family.

The Loop-Loc cover is one of the strongest and most durable on the market this year. It’s also one of the safest.

PROS

  • Comes with all of the installation hardware

  • Super strong mesh that blocks the sun

  • Can hold a lot of weight

CONS

  • Only available in one size

  • You may need a pump to drain excess water

3

3. Water Warden Pool Safety Cover


Intex Solar Cover for 16ft Diameter Easy Set and Frame Pools

  • Pool cover helps keep pool water warmer
  • Helps protect pool from debris
  • Designed with central drainage holes to prevent rainwater from pooling on cover

Water Warden makes another of the best pool covers this year. The first thing that we love about this cover is that it is super safe. It’s triple-stitched and double-strapped on the top and bottom. That double strapping adds a second layer of durability and protection.

We love that this cover protects your in-ground pool from harsh winter conditions in just one step.

This cover features a lightweight mesh along with two-ply webbing. That means that it will trap all twigs, leaves, and other debris, while still allowing rainwater to seep through.

Another thing that we love about this cover is that it comes with a heavy-duty hardware kit. The hardware comes from finely crafted materials, including stainless steel, solid brass, and heavy-duty aluminum.

Water Warden designed the D-ring springs to eliminate the need for buckles.

You’ll also love that this pool safety cover can block out almost 100 percent of the sunlight. That means that you won’t get algae growth in your swimming pool. You’ll be very happy about that when you open your pool in the spring!

This cover will fit a pool that measures 20 feet by 40 feet.

PROS

  • Easy to remove and install

  • Comes with all of the needed hardware like springs and hooks

  • Easy to store

CONS

  • Only available in one size

  • It could require new anchors to be drilled into your pool

  • On the pricey side

4

4. Yard Guard Green Mesh Inground Safety Pool Cover


YARD GUARD 18’x36′ Green Mesh – CES Rectangle Inground Safety Pool…

  • High-quality in-ground pool safety cover with porous, tight mesh that keeps out silt and debris
  • Resistant to rot, mildew, UV, and damage caused by pool water
  • White thread is triple-stitched at all perimeter stress points

Last up on our list of the best pool covers this year is the cover by Yard Guard.

This high-quality in-ground pool safety cover features porous, tight mesh that keeps out all debris and silt, while still allowing rainwater and snow to seep through.

One of the things that we love about this one is that it is resistant to mildew, rot,

UV, and damage that can be caused by your pool water.

This cover also features triple-stitched white thread at all of the perimeter stress points. For added strength, straps run on both the top and bottom of the cover.

And on top of that, reinforced webbing on the top and bottom of every seam assure that it is super safe and strong. The rub strips on the seams will also protect your pool’s surface.

This cover is built to withstand many years of wear and tear.

Another thing that we love about this cover is that it features modern cover technology with a computerized shaping and cutting system that assures the best quality.

This cover also comes with a 15-year warranty.

PROS

  • Easy to install and remove

  • Comes with a 15-year warranty

  • Instructions are easy to follow

CONS

  • Straps can stretch a bit

  • Not as durable as some of the more expensive covers

The Bottom Line on the Best Pool Covers

That’s not all, here are a couple tips for those of you with above ground pools!

Hopefully, we’ve helped you narrow down your search for the best pool covers today. We highly recommend all seven of the covers on our list this year. We especially love the four in-ground pool cover options.

Now we want to hear from you! Let us know in the comments section below what you think about our list this year. Do you have any great tips for finding the best pool covers? Share those with our readers too!

Shutting Down For The Summer: How To Winterize An Above Ground Pool

If you’re lucky enough to own a pool, you should know how to take proper care of it. When you know how to winterize an above ground pool, you can save it from the damaging effect of cold air and other elements. Freezing can cause any pool to become useless by the time spring rolls around.

There are right ways and wrong ways to winterize an outdoor, above ground pool. Therefore, it’s important to follow a step-by-step procedure if you want a functioning pool at the end of winter. That’s not a task to rush through, or you might waste all your efforts.

There might be several misconceptions surrounding the concept of winterizing a pool, so you should be able to clear those up. You can then look at the correct procedure before getting started on your pool winterizing project.

Learning How to Winterize an Above Ground Pool Protects Your Property

So, what are the damages and dangers if you leave your pool exposed to the cold winter air? Knowing this will motivate you in learning how to winterize an above ground pool:

Clean water for protecting the pool

It’s a misconception that you need to drain the water from the pool completely. With no water inside, your tools and pipes won’t be likely to freeze, right? However, it’s now a fact that having clean water in your above ground pool is a better way to preserve its function.

Before we start with how to winterize a pool, you should know about the chemicals that go in the water first. These include chlorine shock, algaecide, and stain avoidance chemicals.

As the name suggests, algaecide prevents pool algae from growing and blooming. After you dissolve this in the pool water, you’ll use chlorine shock to help the algaecide along. That will improve water clarity and also speed up the destroying process of algae growth.

Finally, you may apply stain avoidance to do away with any stains that might spoil the appearance of the pool. It’s also necessary for maintaining hygiene, as the stains can harden and become permanent if you leave them for the winter.

All these chemicals are suitable for securing your above ground swimming pool during the winter season. They serve to stabilize the pool water, ensuring that the latter stays in a similar condition before you shut it down.

Knowing how much water to drain

You don’t have to drain all the water inside. The pipes system is among the most important components of any pool. If this system is frozen, you can face a lot of damage.

Naturally, you’d avoid paying for the expensive repairs come springtime. That’s why you should drain the pool to below the level of the skimmer or the filtration system.

Fortunately, most modern pool systems have a detachable pump and filtration system. That makes the steps in how to winterize an above ground pool much easier, as you may imagine. All you have to do is remove the skimmer and pump, make sure they’re dry, and store them separately.

Those who already know how to winterize an above ground pool will also be aware of the importance of air pillows. It’s an additional item that we place beneath the winter cover of our pool. The air pillow goes in the middle of the above ground pool. Its main function is to center any rain, ice, or snow pressure.

If these elements have too much pressure, they’d move towards the air pillow instead of damaging the pool. That way, even if you want to drain most of the pool water, a closely-fitting cover will still prevent most of the damage.

The maintenance of swimming pools

equipment for cleaning a pool

A swimming pool of any kind is a great luxury, but this also means that you have to make a lot of effort on its maintenance. If you’re not aware of how to winterize an above ground pool properly, be prepared to pay through the nose.

Think of your swimming pool as an investment. It can give you a lot of return for the money you spent on construction and water. However, if you don’t want this investment to fail, knowing how to drain its pipes and secure it from damage is a must.

The cold weather can freeze up certain areas of the pool. Additionally, it can also attract twigs, leaves, and other forms of debris into the pool. If you don’t winterize properly, you could end up with a choked and dirty pool that’s unfit for immediate use.

Once you know how to winterize an above ground pool correctly, you likely won’t have to pay for repairing much damage in the warmer weather. Plus, you can reopen an undamaged pool more easily when the right season rolls around.

Storing the whole pool

Some above-ground pools are not necessarily installed inside the ground, but stand above it. This type of pool is more economical and easier to protect during the winter. All you have to do is pull off the detachable parts and store away the whole pool in a large indoor area. Make sure you follow the storage instructions on the package: don’t just wing it.


When Is the Right Time to Winterize Your Above Ground Pool?

The closing time of your above ground pool will vary according to the temperature in your area. If you want to cut it as close as possible, you should wait until the temperature goes below 65 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 degrees Celsius.

The reasoning behind this is that algae need heat for growing, just like most plants. When the temperature is low, it’s more likely that your pool water is free of infestations.

That’s why we should leave the pool open until the cold season officially starts. An open pool will also give you time for cleaning, testing, and balancing the pool’s pH before closing it for the winter.

Some areas might see a rise in temperatures above 65 degrees during winter. If this happens in your locality, you can use the warm period to test the pool water chemistry. If it’s off, you can try balancing it again.

This testing and balancing will help to clean the water and keep it clear for the spring.


The Step-By-Step Process

We now come to the actual process of how to winterize an above ground pool. The following steps will make things easier to understand and follow:

Step 1: Remove some parts of the pool

First of all, you need to remove some parts of the pool. You can wrap them up and store them in a shed or any other sheltered place. It will ensure that they won’t rust during the winter season. The first two parts you need to screw off are the step ladder and the filtration system.

Next, remove the pipes. Wash these thoroughly, as they contain a lot of residue and gunk. Finally, dry off all these parts before securing them at a reasonable temperature.

Step 2: Make it hygienic by adjusting the contents

Next, you have to adjust the water inside the pool. That means balancing the levels of alkalinity, water pH, and calcium hardness. Every pool has different levels for these substances, though they’re all necessary. You’ll have to increase or lower the levels as required.

The general rule of thumb here is that the calcium hardness should be between 180 and 220. The pH level should ideally be between 7.2 and 7.4. Alkalinity levels should be at least 80 ppm and 120 ppm at the maximum.

To prevent the growth of algae as much as possible, it’s essential to measure all these levels precisely. After this, cover the pool as neatly and tightly as you can. This will help to enhance the performance of these substances, which in turn will maintain the hygiene of your pool.

Step 3: Clean it up

dried leaves on a pool

The next step in the process is to clean up your pool. When in use during the warmer months, the pool would naturally have some debris inside it. These include large particles, such as leaves (both fresh and dry). You’ll have to remove these from the pool’s surface as they have organic particles.

After the leaves, try to remove any foreign objects from your above ground pool. That also includes the tiniest amount of algae.

Step 4: Reduce the water level

While you shouldn’t completely drain the pool, it’s necessary to reduce the water level. At the very least, the pool’s water level should be beneath the filtration system or skimmer line.

This precaution will ensure that there’s no water splashing into the skimmer’s mouth. If there is any water there during a freezing winter, you’ll probably find some frozen water damage in the system afterward.

Step 5: Cover the pool

With the water balanced out and below a certain level, it’s now safe to close up your above ground pool. Make sure the cover is tight and neat, or a winter wind could blow it out. Cover clips will come in handy for securing the cover to the pool sides.

You should also inspect your pool cover before putting it on. When in storage, covers like these can develop holes. If this is the case, you can use patches for avoiding any snowmelt or rain damage.

If the rips and tears are too much, you might have to invest in a new pool cover. This additional cost would still be lower than expensive repairs for your pool.

An air pillow is also a worthy investment here. It will help to centralize your cover and keep any snow, rain, or ice away from the pool. If the winter is cold enough to form ice, that air pillow will function as an ice equalizer.

Step 6: Remove the filters

The final step in winterizing your pool is to remove the filters or the pump and filter system. Take off these parts, hose them down properly, and leave them out to dry. It’s best if you can leave them like this overnight.

Once these parts dry out completely, you can put the system back together. Finally, store it away for the season in a dry, sheltered place.


Time to Take Care of Your Above Ground Pool

Now that you know how to winterize an above ground pool, you’ll be all set for the cold season! Proper winterizing will help to extend the life of your swimming pool and ensure that you’ll have many more seasons to cherish. Stay on your toes about winterizing and enjoy the fruits of your efforts when spring finally comes around.

Do you have any additional information for those learning how to winterize an above ground pool? Let us know in the comments section.


Featured Image: Public Domain, by Jonathan Hogue via Wikimedia Commons

9 Simple and Meaningful Teacher Christmas Presents for This Holiday Season

With the Christmas season fast approaching, many parents out there are starting to think about gifts for all the important people in their lives and their child’s lives. It can be hard to spend the time and energy on a teacher’s Christmas present when you have to wrap your presents for the kiddos under the tree, but today we are here to take some of the difficulty out of the gift buying process. Here are some of our favorite cute and simple ways to thank a teacher this Christmas and put a smile on their faces. 

Baking Supplies

teacher christmas gifts

For this gift, all you need is some necessary cooking supplies, a mitt or small baking tin, and a spatula. Make sure that the teacher in question doesn’t have any significant allergies or dietary restrictions!

A Christmas Ornament

christmas teacher ornament

What better way to have a teacher think of your child and smile, then by getting them a creative ornament for their tree. Our favorite is one that has the teacher’s name on it and crayons inside. However, Etsy and other sites have many options of unique and creative ornaments that will fit any teacher’s personality. 

A Teacher’s Bag 

Christmas teacher bag gift

Lugging activities and assignments back and forth to school can make a teacher’s arms and back ache. Give them the gift this Christmas of a teacher’s bag that can help them to cart their supplies to and fro. Add their names on the bag and what grade they teach for an extra special touch. 

Starbucks or a Coffee Gift Card

thanks a latte teacher gift

What teacher doesn’t need a pick me up from caffeine now and then? A great gift is to give them the gift of a gift card to a coffee shop, Starbucks, or Dunkin Donuts and package it by saying, “Thanks a latte for all you do.”

Pens

teacher pen gift

What is one thing that teachers never have enough of? Pens or pencils. I can’t tell you the number of times my kids have gone to school for two weeks, lost all their pencils somehow, and had to ask the teacher to borrow one of theirs. Replace those this Christmas by creating a cute baggie to hold the pencils and pens with this sweet quote attached, “ you hap-PEN to be an INK-credible teacher.” 

A Plant

plant for teacher

Want to spruce up a teacher’s desk or home? Gift them a plant this Christmas. This pot below is our favorite, and it has a witty quote attached, “ Thanks for helping me grow.” 

A Personalized Teacher Sign 

personalized teacher signs

A great personal gift to give to any teacher your child admires is a sign that they can hang in their classroom. This sign can have a quote about shaping young minds or have their name. A personalized sign is a gift that, if you have the extra time to put in the effort, will last for the long run. 

Last-Minute Candy 

teacher candy jar

And if you are scrambling to find a last-minute gift, you can always give the gift of food. Don’t be afraid to give a teacher the gift of candy, chocolate covered pretzels, or Christmas popcorn. Buy a jar and some ribbon and the treat for inside, and the gift is complete.

A Movie or Restaurant Gift Card

movie gift card

Give your child’s teacher the gift of a night out to rest and relax. Get them a gift card to a nicer restaurant in town or the movie theater. You never know the financial spot your child’s teacher is in, and this gift might allow them to indulge in an evening they wouldn’t usually be able to afford. 

 

I hope that this article has helped to spark your brain with some fun and creative ways to thank a teacher near to your child’s heart this Christmas. Let us know how you plan to spoil your child’s teacher in the comments below!

 

What Size Cooler Do I Need? Pick the Perfect Size for Snack Attacks

As I headed out to see the game I thought it would be nice to have a cool drink and a sandwich or two by my side. I stopped at the store and as I picked up some drinks I noticed the coolers they had placed next to the refrigerators. I thought, “A cooler would be nice to have so my drinks stay cold, but what size cooler do I need?”

What Size Cooler Do I Need?

Long story short, they had small coolers, huge coolers, soft coolers and, backpack coolers. So many choices I didn’t know what to grab. I took a minute to decide and ended up picking a medium-sized cooler for the game.

For my situation, I had a few friends who were going to see the game with me. I knew they would need a cool place for their drinks as well. Even with the ice and the drinks, I was able to hoist the cooler into the back of my truck and head out to the game.

Sitting in the parking lot outside the game, I realized that my original decision may have been flawed. My cooler worked perfectly for this game, but would it be just as perfect for the other events I would attend?

I knew there were a few events I would be walking around. I couldn’t carry my new cooler around with me at those events. What size cooler do I need for those events? Since a cooler lasts, I wanted the perfect cooler for any outing. Like many things, the determination of the cooler rests the details.

And the simple answer you want to know is: The cooler size you need depends on what you’re doing, where you’re going, and who you’ll be with.

The Answer Rests in the Details

cooler-behind-the-car

Image via Unsplash

A cooler is made for many occasions. Considering this fact, we know that many variables apply when deciding what cooler to buy.

Coolers made out of fabric are mobile but don’t last as long as other coolers. Large coolers lack this mobility but have the versatility of a large space. Treated right, these coolers last for a long time. A medium-sized cooler is more mobile than a large cooler but wouldn’t fit all of the things you need for a large event.

So choosing the cooler based on your specific situation is ideal. When you ask yourself, “What cooler do I need?” Think of your needs and how the cooler you buy satisfies them.

The longevity of the cooler

Effective mobility

People, places, and things

The Determination

Based on these variables, you can make your determination. “What size cooler do I need if I am moving a lot?” you may ask. You need a small mobile cooler. What size cooler do I need if I have quite a bit of people to support? You need a large cooler.

Store your cooler in safe places if you get one with lighter material. If your cooler needs to be able to handle some wear and tear, then get a cooler made with stronger material. Make your determination based on the needs that you have for your cooler.

The Effect of the Right Cooler

drinks in cooler

Image via Unsplash

The right coolers have a big effect on the enjoyment you have at your events. The effect is felt by everyone around you. We all enjoy having a cool drink by our side, especially at the events we attend. And you don’t have to worry about your food going bad along the way.

You don’t have to run to the store as often since you have all of the storage you need. The event goes smoothly, and you travel easily. With all of the items that you need to keep cool along the way. A cooler isn’t essential for every attendee of an event, but one can be very useful for a group or party.

A cooler allows for some extra fun to be had in the time you spend out and about. They can save you money by preventing the need for stops at the store or food stand every time that you need food or drink.

Usability

The uses are vast with the right cooler. You can take your cooler to the park with a nice picnic inside. You can enjoy the game with some ice-cold drinks and even a small lunch by your side.

Or you can keep everything you need with you as you travel around in your vehicle. And you can enjoy your time at a festival with a mobile cooler.

You can even use a cooler for medicines that have to stay cool. No matter where you go, you may want to have a cooler by your side.

Ultimately the decision rests on the variables at play. Although, it may be of your own preference to go against the most logical of answers. Sure it’s difficult to carry a huge cooler around with you, but determination and strong muscles can allow you to have that preference.

Plus, if you’re moving around that much, get one with wheels!

Preference

beach cooler

Image via Pexels

It can seem so simple of a decision, but the necessity of the choice makes it an important one. When I made my decision, I made it based on the factors involved, but I also made it based on my preference. We all live our own lives and so thus have our own biases, beliefs, and preferences.

To live the best of our life is to make the most out of our choices. Logical decisions in a situation like this may not be your preference. The goal is to be happy, healthy, and fed. So make the choice that works for you.

On to the Game!

What size cooler do I need? The most effective and preferential one I can find. And the same goes for you. Whether it’s a fabric cooler, small cooler, large cooler, handheld cooler, or some other cooler in the family, it will do its job based on what it’s made for. So choose wisely.

Now it’s time to load up and head out to the game. Have fun, and stay cool! Did we help you pick the right cooler? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured image source: Unsplash

How To Set Up A Tent In A Matter Of Minutes The Easy Way

Camping is one of life’s greatest pleasures. However, you can’t enjoy this amazing outdoor activity if you don’t know how to set up a tent.

While straightforward for some, learning how to set up a tent is often more challenging than it looks. And this fact is especially true if it’s your first time. When you’re all alone at your campsite, it could be a struggle to pitch your tent. If you don’t do it right, you will not have a decent place to sleep and relax.

Fortunately, even a beginner can set up a tent. All you need to know are a few key steps. Soon enough, you’ll be enjoying the beauty of nature instead of crying over a tent pole you don’t know where to put.

​What Is a Tent?

It would be logistically impossible to take your home while camping. Although you can’t have your plush bed, comforter, and pillow in the middle of a clearing, you can have something that comes close — a tent. A tent is made up of sheets of fabric and other materials attached to poles and frames.

Tents have been used as portable homes for many years, especially by nomads, disaster victims, soldiers, and campers. The main purpose of tents is to provide users a temporary shelter.

Given the popularity of tents for recreational purposes, we focus on small and light types of tents, which are usually used by backpackers. Most of these tents are so compact they can easily fit in any bag.

​Types of Tents

​There are many different kinds of tents available that offer distinct features and limitations. Here are the most common types of tents you can find on the market today.

​Dome tent


Coleman Sundome 4-Person Tent, Green

  • Dome tent with spacious interior allows you to move comfortably
  • Easy setup in only 10 minutes
  • WeatherTec system with patented welded floors and inverted seams to keep you dry

One of the most popular types of tent follows a dome structure. Knowing how to set up a tent is crucial if you have this type of tent. This tent is known for its flexibility thanks to its pole that can easily bend into a half-circle.

The flexible poles of this tent cross in the middle. Its sides are more vertical, which gives better headroom space and a bigger floor area.

​Basic ridge tent


Paria Outdoor Products Breeze Mesh Tent – Ultralight 2 Person Mesh…

  • ULTIMATE PROTECTION – The 30 Denier rip-stop silnylon floor has a silicon/PU dual-coating and fully taped seams,…
  • LIGHTWEIGHT – So light, you won’t even notice! Our mesh tent comes in at only 24 ounces, which also includes the line…
  • VERSATILE – Pair the Breeze mesh tent with our Sanctuary Siltarp to get the perfect shelter every time! During clear…

When you think of a tent, this type of tent may be the picture that comes to your mind. Basic ridge tents have a pole at every end, and some models have a cross pole or ridge which holds its shape.

This type of tent is a popular choice for campers thanks to its incredible stability, especially in harsh conditions. Although it is stable, you may not like the space that it offers. There is limited headspace to allow you to stand, so it’s not a top choice for family holidays.

​​​​Geodesic and semi-geodesic


Hubs Geodesic Dome Kit

  • Simple to snap together connectors that make durable geodesic domes quick, fun and easy to build.
  • The kit contains everything you need except for the sticks.
  • Scaleable – choose the size that suits you

The term geodesic refers to the shortest route between the world’s two points. This idea applies to a tent whose pole crisscrosses over its surface to form triangles. This structure helps balance the stress to make it more stable in extreme weather conditions.

Geodesic structures are the best tent to take while mountain climbing. So if you plan to pitch your tent in more extreme climates, keep an eye out for this tent.

​How to Set Up a Tent the Easy Way

Sleeping outdoors doesn’t have to be tough. Now that you know the importance of this camping must-have, it’s time to learn how to set up a tent.

When setting up your tent, always take your time. While an experienced camper may be able to set up a tent in a few minutes, someone just learning how to set up a tent may need close to an hour.

If you rush any of the important steps, you may end up with an unsecured temporary home. Just make sure to pitch your tent before night falls so you can have shelter to protect you from the wind.

​Before setting up

Setting up a tent is an art form. When learning how to set up a tent, keep in mind that you will get better in time. You are bound to run into some troubles on your first try, but that doesn’t mean it would be a bad experience.

Don’t set up your tent just yet. You first have to complete these preliminary steps before you can successfully pitch your tent for the night.

​Ensure you are carrying all supplies

​Check your tent

​Examine the campsite

tent pitched in a campsite

Image Via Pixabay

Before setting up your tent, observe your campsite first. Check to see if the ground is flat enough to be your base. Pick a wide and open space where you can pitch your tent. If you’re camping in a national park, ensure that you are setting up in a designated area. If not, double-check to be sure you’re not pitching your tent on private property.

Remove all rocks and debris from the site you choose to pitch your tent. If you’re somewhere with pine trees, you may even use the leaves to serve as a soft layer underneath your tent. Never set-up your tent where there are hollow areas since water may accumulate there if it rains.

You should also check out where the sun casts its light and which way the wind blows. Also, be on the lookout for beehives, cobwebs, and trees around your site. The last thing you want is to have a tree branch fall on top of your tent.

​​​​​​​​Placing the tarp

​The first step in learning how to set up a tent is to place the tarp on the ground. This step will serve as the protective layer between the ground and your tent so that it won’t gather moisture. Fold the tarp until it reaches a smaller size than your tent, just enough so it won’t hang beyond your tent’s edge. If your tarp is larger, it may accumulate rainwater.

​Laying the tent

man teaching young guy how to set up a tent

Image Via Flickr

​Now, you’re finally ready to break out your tent. Put all the components of your tent on the ground, including poles, stakes, and the fabric itself. Then, lay the bottom side of your tent on top of your tarp. Check to find where the door and windows should be positioned.

​Moving on with tent poles

This part may be intimidating for some people, but it’s actually very easy. Depending on which tent you have, connect it to your tent poles or bungee ropes. Ensure that you connect every single one. Then, lay the poles together across your flat tent.

Most tents come with two poles that connect to form an X in the middle. Insert the pole through the flaps on the corners and the top of each tent. Then, attach the clips to secure it. If you’re unsure of how to do this, you may check the instruction guide that came with your tent to see how the poles fit the proper way.

​Raising the tent

After you’ve inserted the poles, the next step in learning how to set up a tent is raising it. This step may be hard to do if you’re on your own, so if you have friends or family with you, ask for their help.

When the poles are inserted in the right spots of your tent, they will bend. This effect makes your tent stand up tall so you can sleep in it. Pull the tent’s corners apart and ensure that the poles are untangled until it aligns with your square tarp. Attach the necessary structural components of your tent, such as plastic hooks, to make it stand up.

​​​​​​Securing your tent

man pitching a tent

Image Via Flickr

Now that you’ve gotten your tent perfectly aligned with your tarp, insert the stakes on the flaps near the ground and push it firmly. This step is particularly easy to do, but when you find yourself in hard ground, use a good hammer. Keep in mind that some stakes bend with pressure, so be careful. You don’t want to break it.

The next step to secure your tent is to add a rain fly. This sheet will cover your tent to protect you from any rain that comes your way.

​After Camping

tents pitched in a campsite

Image Via Pixabay

Part of learning how to set up a tent is knowing what to do after you’ve used it. In this section, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about how to care for your tent.

​Drying your tent

​Packing up your tent

​Airing out your tent

​​​​​​Ready to Go Camping?

woman sitting beside a pitched tent

Image Via Pixabay

​See? Learning how to set up a tent isn’t as challenging as you thought. Even if you’re not an outdoor person, you can easily do this when the situation calls for it. Whether you need a tent for an overnight music festival or a weeklong camping trip, knowing how to set up a tent allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Once you’ve got your tent ready, you can finally toast some marshmallows, listen to the calming sounds of nature, and sleep soundly.

So do you have any additional tips on how to set up a tent? We’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

​Featured Image Via Pixabay