How to Serve in Tennis: Instruction for a Better Serve

Tennis is a beautiful sport. It helps you to stay active, have fun, and enjoy the great outdoors.

With that said, however, it is far from being a natural sport. Tennis is a very competitive, challenging sport to master, especially for those who are just starting out.

You might think that the only way to truly learn the game is to hire a professional coach or instructor. And, while this indeed can be helpful, it is also expensive and far from being your only option.

Thanks to the internet, you can now watch videos to learn things like how to serve in tennis or how to improve your swing. Whatever you want to learn, you probably can just by heading to YouTube.

In addition to what you learn from videos, you can also follow a few helpful tips to learn how to serve in tennis.

Remember the Importance of Stance

A lot of people are under the impression that learning how to serve in tennis is all about what you do with your arm and the ball.

And, while these things indeed are important, other, smaller things are equally important and work together to help you perfect your serve.

One such “small thing” is your stance. If you are not standing correctly, then you are going to have a tough time serving the ball accurately.

To serve correctly, you will want to position your feet in such a way that your front foot points toward the right net post. Your back foot should be next to the baseline. This stance, of course, will be reversed if you are a left-handed player.

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to stance is to keep the toes of your back foot aligned with the heel of your right foot. This will help to increase stability as you serve and will make for a smoother, more powerful serve.

While stance may seem simple, if you can master it, you will find that serving is a whole lot easier.

Grip can be everything

How you hold your racquet can determine a lot about the final way you serve and how effective it will be. This technique is crucial, and one of the most important things you can learn immediately.

The continental grip is the grip used by pros and is considered a “proper” tennis serve grip.

Looking up a description of this serve could prove confusing. There are a lot of different descriptions for how to hold this grip. Here are some basic descriptions to help you determine if your grip really is a continental grip.

Hold the racquet as if it were a hammer with the side edge perpendicular to the court, or the ground.

Clasp your hands together around the racquet with your right hand on the bottom and your left hand over your right. With your left index finger resting between your right thumb and index finger, align the fingers on your left hand in the valleys of the fingers on your right hand.

Your right index finger should be pointing to the top left corner of the racquet handle.

How to Serve in Tennis:

Practice Makes Perfect

Something else you will want to keep in mind as you work to perfect your serve is that repetition and a lot of practice are both vital to your success.

Top tennis pros will recommend that, on a daily basis, you fill a basket with 100 balls (or more if you can manage it).

Once your basket is full, you’ll want to take it out to the tennis court and then serve until your basket is empty.

If that seems like a lot of work, it is, but it’s the kind of work that is going to allow you to improve your serve honestly, so don’t shy away from it.

Master Your Toss Before

Anything Else

As mentioned earlier, a lot of little things go into determining the strength of your serve.

One other “little thing” is your toss. The full serve is built around that initial toss, so it does need to be perfect.

An easy way to master the toss is to take some balls out to the court. Then, stand in the serving position and toss the ball. Your goal will be for the ball to land right in front of your body. This is trickier than it sounds and takes some practice to master.

Once you are consistently getting the ball to land where you want, however, this is a good indicator that you’ve got the toss down pat and are ready to move into more demanding drills.

Give the Platform Serve Stance a Try

In addition to general practice, you are also encouraged to try out different types of stances. This will enable you to find the serving position that works best for you.

After you have mastered the basic stance, try the platform serve stance.

With this simple stance, you want to keep your feet in the same position as you serve. Thus, instead of moving your feet, you bend your knees, tilt your body, and push into the serve with an upward motion.

This simple stance works well for a lot of people, so it is worth a try.

Focus on Building Up Your

Serving Muscles

All of the practice and hard work in the world isn’t going to help you if you don’t have strong serving muscles.

Your upper arms, your legs, and your wrists all need to be healthy, firm, and capable if you are going to excel at serving.

One way to build up these muscles is through practice. They will get naturally stronger the more you practice your serving.

However, little extra work at the gym targeting these areas also doesn’t hurt.

As you can see, learning how to serve in tennis isn’t easy, but it is possible. You have to commit to doing the work!

Featured Image via Pixabay

Knock Knock Jokes For Every Occasion

Knock knock jokes. A classic form of comedy that has withstood the test of time. Knock knock jokes can be witty, silly, groan-inducing, or even weirdly romantic. While you might not see some of the top comedians on Netflix telling knock knock jokes you may find having some of these in your back pocket for a quick laugh is always a good strategy to break the ice.

Best of all, with knock knock jokes, there’s not much to memorize. The jokes follow a simple structure where only the last two lines ever change. Once you can tell one knock knock joke, then you can tell them all!

Ready to learn a few jokes?

Let’s dive in!

Romantic Knock Knock Jokes

You probably never dreamed of telling a romantic knock knock joke, did you? While these jokes aren’t going to make your crush suddenly fall in love with you they might get them to crack a smile, and everyone knows a smile is a fast lane to someone’s heart. You may have to say some of these out loud before they make sense.

Heartwarming:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Olive.”

  • “Olive who?”

  • “Olive you.”

The kiss:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Al.”

  • “Al who?”

  • “Open this door and Al give you a kiss.”

How are you?:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Hawaii.”

  • “Hawaii who?”

  • “I am great! Hawaii you?”

Boyfriend:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Disguise.”

  • “Disguise who?”

  • “Disguise your new boyfriend.”

Eye Rolling Knock-Knock Jokes

The One About the Cow:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Cows go.”

  • “Cows go who?”

  • “No, silly. Cows go ‘moo.’”

The One About the Owl:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Owls say.”

  • “Owls say who?”

  • “Yes they do.”

Another Cow Joke:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Interrupting cow.”

  • “Interrupting…”

  • “MOO!”

The sad one:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Boo.”

  • “Boo who?”

  • “Don’t cry. It’s only a joke.”

Candice comes to visit:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Candice.”

  • “Candice who?”

  • “Candice door open or not?”

Goat:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Goat.

  • “Goat who?”

  • “Goat to the door and find out!”

Stick up!:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Razor.”

  • “Razor who?”

  • “Razor hands up! This is a stickup!”

No Bell:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Nobel.”

  • “Nobel who?”

  • “No bell! That’s why I knocked!”

 

The Unique Jokes You Haven’t Heard

The thing with knock knock jokes is that there are a lot that get reused over and over again. Chances are someone has heard some of the jokes above.

If you really want to blow their socks off with a knock knock joke then try one of these more unique ones below. You will get a laugh and introduce someone to a classic new knock knock joke that they can tell their friends.

Moving On:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Billy.”

  • “Billy who?”

  • “Billy began to cry as he realized his ex-wife had truly moved on and forgotten about him.”

Tank You:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Tank”

  • “Tank who?”

  • “You are welcome!”

Little Old Lady:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Little Old Lady.”

  • “Little Old Lady who?”

  • “Cool! I didn’t know you could yodel!”

Bless You:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Etch.”

  • “Etch who?”

  • “Bless you!”

Don’t waste my time:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Doorbell repairman.”

  • “Doorbell repairman who?”

  • “Listen, I’m busy. Do you want your doorbell fixed or not?”

Beets:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Beets.”

  • “Beets who?”

  • “Beets me!”

Butter:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Butter.”

  • “Butter who?”

  • “Butter let me in!”

Says Who:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Says.”

  • “Says who?”

  • “Says me! That’s who!”

Hip-hop jokes:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Daisy.”

  • “Daisy who?”

  • “Daisy me rollin, they hating…”

You can then sing “Ridin Dirty” by Chamillionaire as long as you feel comfortable.

Grammar is important:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “To.”

  • “To who?”

  • “To whom…”

The more you can condescendingly emphasize this punchline, the better.

Idaho:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Ida”

  • “Ida who?”

  • “I think it’s pronounced Ida-HOE.”

Change Up the Format

Knock knock jokes usually follow a typical format, but there are some that deviate from the usual style. These jokes are great for catching people off guard and putting a unique twist on the typical knock knock joke.

You will keep people on their toes with these jokes.

Flip the script:

  • “I have a great knock knock joke but you have to start.”

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

This is the part where they stare at you until they realize what you have done.

Two in one:

  • “Why did the chicken cross the road?”

  • “Why?”

  • “To get to the village idiot’s house. Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “The chicken.”

This is the part where they stare at you until they realize what you have done.

Finish Your Own Jokes

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Control freak. Okay, now you say, ‘control freak who?’”

Fruit Salad:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Banana.”

  • “Banana who?”

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Banana.”

  • “Banana who?”

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Banana.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Orange.”

  • “Orange who?”

  • “Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?”

Control Freak:

  • “Knock knock.”

  • “Who’s there?”

  • “Control freak.”

  • “Contro…”

  • “This is the part where you say “control freak who?’”

Try Creating Your Own

If you enjoyed those jokes then try sitting down and writing some of your knock knock jokes. The style is simple to emulate and, who knows, you could create the next classic knock knock joke that gets told for years to come.

Featured Image via Pixabay

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9 Fun Indoor Kids Activities

Looking to escape the heat with some fun indoor kids activities? When you pair an unbelievably hot day with kids on the loose for summer vacation, you can have quite a dilemma on your hands! Here are some fun, unique, and educational activities to try with your youngsters that do not require you to leave the air conditioning!

Cooking

Kids love to help in the kitchen! While it may be too hot to cook anything in the oven, there are some no-heat options! Ask them for help in making sandwiches (cut them in fun shapes), making a fruit salad, or putting the peanut butter in their celery. Consider hosting an inside ice cream social for the kids and their friends! You could let them make their own desserts! Get some summer learning done while you’re at it – help kids practice measuring, fractions, and reading labels while they help with food preparation. Maybe you can even convince them to help clean up!

Take a Museum Trip

Shuttle the kids from one indoor location to another! During the summer, many museums have activities just for kids and families to enjoy. Pack a lunch so you don’t have to pay museum food court prices. Take a few hours to experience something new inside instead of melting outside. This is a great way to get out of the house, but stay out of the heat! Plus! Most museums are free!

Go to the Library

Again, go from one indoor spot to another! Many libraries have summer reading programs that reward kids for reading as many books as possible. This is a great chance to get some education and socialization over the summer. Enjoy free story hours and craft sessions whenever you can! You can normally find a kids calendar on your local libraries website, or posted on their bulletin board.

Indoor Trampoline Park

While this one could be pricey, hands down, this is one of the coolest ways to entertain a group of kids! Many locations offer open jump sessions, but also nights that are just for families. To save a buck or too, check coupon sites for promotions since these are often popular locations to visit during the summer. Burning energy and lots of social time – sounds like a great indoor activity to me!

Host an At-Home Spa

This activity might not appeal to every kid, but it might appeal to some of the youngsters in your life! Have your kids help you look around the house for the items you might need – nail polish, foot tub, lotion, etc. If you want to take this to the next step, get out the makeup too! Plan for a whole at-home makeover. Super easy and a great photo opportunity!

Board and Card Games

Games can be particularly fun any time of the year! Look for games that give everyone a chance to play! You might think about staying away from one player video games so that you can have some great interactions with the children while they play! We have compiled a list of the most fun board games for you and your family to try!

Create an Indoor Campsite

This can be the coolest way to camp, literally! Create enough space in your house to setup your tent and get out your pillows and sleeping bags. Pack your picnic lunch (or dinner) to eat by the tent. If you’re up to it, you could even roast some marshmallows on a gas stove in the kitchen if you have one!

Build a Yarn Maze

Get out at the yarn and get ready to have your kids entertained for hours. Take the yarn and wrap it around banisters, doorknobs, chair legs, door frames, basically anywhere you can wrap it safely. Watch the youngsters climb around this yarn maze and have a great time! Roll up the yarn as you go so that you can reuse it for other projects! Bonus activity: make it a scavenger hunt with something cool attached to the end of the yarn!

Indoor Slides

This one takes a little pre-planning and work, but it could be totally worth it to entertain the kids! Get large refrigerator-sized cardboard boxes and cut them to cover all the stairwells in the house. Slide from floor to floor for as long as possible! Be very careful of the little ones during this activity.

Volunteer

Take the kids to a place where your family can volunteer together! A few examples: many food pantries need help sorting and stocking, libraries need help re-shelving books, nursing homes need people to host activities, and so on. Look for opportunities that have educational and social value. Think of the great lessons for kids to learn while in service of others. You can find local volunteer activities on the website or app JustServe.

Even when the temperatures are scorching hot, there are a plethora of exciting and new activities to try with your youngsters. Stay cool and have a great summer!

Featured Image via Unsplash

5 Fun Team Building Icebreakers

When you bring a group of people together to work you might find that the range of personalities can take time to meld together. You can speed up the process by putting in place a number of team building exercises. The thought of icebreakers may make some people roll their eyes and sigh, but the truth is that they are an effective tool in making people feel at ease with each other. Getting to know a little about the people you are in a group with, even just their names, will make the rest of your group activities so much more fun and exciting.

With this in mind we have put together 5 of the best icebreakers for team building; giving you some great ideas to create a cohesive and effective team.

Dancing Names

Not only is the “Tell me about yourself” part of any team-building event more than just a little bit tedious, many people will struggle to remember all of the names that they hear. The Dancing Names ice-breaker is not only a fun way to get everyone warmed up, but also provides a visual reminder of all of the names. Everyone stands in a circle looking inwards at each other. Each person in the circle will say their name and follow it with a dance move. The rest of the group will then imitate this dance move and repeat the name 3 times. There are some groups that may be a little shy to start with, but once they get in the swing of things you will have people bringing out the worm and the running man, to name but a few dance moves.

Once everyone has gone around the circle and introduced themselves, turn on a song and have someone start the game. The one who starts will do their own dance move first, then do the dance move of another in the circle. Whoever’s dance move was performed, then does their own dance move and another person in the circle’s dance move. Then the dances go around and around until the song is over. Memorizing the dance move is a great way to memorize the names of those who performed.

Ask a Question

Ask a Question is a relatively simple icebreaker which puts the group in charge. This game allows the group to find out more about their team-mates and is a great way to get to know each other. Ask everyone in the group to write down a question that they would like to ask other people in the group. These can be a variety of questions such as “where is the most interesting place you have been?” “What is your biggest passion?” etc. All the questions are then popped into a hat before being pulled out and answered one by one.

Easy, but effective!

Back to Back Drawing

If you have a team that perhaps already know each other but need to work on their communication, then this icebreaker is a great idea. The group will need to split off into pairs, with each pair sitting or standing back to back. One of the pair will have a clipboard, piece of paper and a pencil, whilst the other will have a template of a shape. The objective is this: the person with the template has to get their partner to draw an exact supplicate of the shape, using only verbal pointers. It may seem easy but this can be a tricky one to get right.

This is a fantastic icebreaker which  encourages communication and interdependence. Use this at your next team building event and it is sure to be a hit!

The Big Calm Down

Towards the end of the session you might want to calm the group down and create a relaxed environment. A great way to do this is with an icebreaker that asks the group to focus on calming thoughts. Have them get comfortable and close their eyes. Tell them to take 5 minutes to reflect on the words that they hear. These words are of course up to you and can be tailored towards your business; however, some great ideas include “beach”, “sail away” or perhaps “green meadows”.

After the five minutes is up, gather the group in a circle and ask them to talk about what images came to their minds.

Baby Photos Icebreaker

Are you bringing together a new team for the first team in the workplace? If you are, then any baby photo based icebreakers are a great way to bring them together. Ask every member of the team (yourself included) to bring in a baby photo of themselves. These are all then pinned to a noticeboard and everyone is asked to guess who each baby is. You can do this as a week long game or perhaps split people into teams and give them half an hour to work out the answers; it is entirely up to you.

This icebreaker is a lot of fun for a few reasons. Everyone loves babies! Who doesn’t want to see a bunch of adorable baby pictures? This is a great way to get your team laughing and smiling without fear of being self conscious.

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Icebreakers for High School Students

Teenagers can be awkward; this is especially true when it comes to meeting new people and making friends. If you are a camp leader, after school worker or a teacher; you may want to put in place some icebreakers. This will help your students get used to each other and perhaps even encourage them to get to know one another and forge friendships.

With this in mind we have put together some of the best icebreakers for high school students.

Crossword Names

Image via Flickr

This icebreaker is ideal for a group that has  just met. This game encourages participants to walk around, talk to one another, and learn the names of their peers. Give each person in the group a pen and piece of paper. Ask them to write down their first name, in capitals, in the middle of the paper. They will then need to move around the room asking other members of the group to add in their name where the letters in their name match a letter on the paper; just like a crossword puzzle! This game is timed and the aim is to see who can add the most names before the time runs out.

This can be especially fun when you get players with unique letters in their name! Plus! If you think you might have made a friend, you will have their name down on a sheet of paper for easy reference!

Freeze Frame

Image via Flickr

One of the biggest things about icebreakers is that they are designed to relax people and make them feel less self-conscious. Games that get them up on their feet and moving about are best for this. Freeze Frame is a game that involves the group moving quietly around the room, waiting for your instruction. As they are walking you will need to call out the name of your chosen “activity”. This could be different sports, different animals, or perhaps emotions. The group then need to freeze in a position that acts out that activity. In no time at all you will have every member of the group smiling, laughing and ready to have some more fun!

Who is the Best?

Image via Flickr

This particular game involves the group working together to score the most points. The challenge of this game is discovering more about the others on your team and even uncovering some hidden talents that they might not realize they have. Split the group into even teams and move these teams into different sections of the room (or outside space if you have one available).

The object of the game is to be crowned the best at whatever activity or question which is put to you. An example of this is, “Who is the tallest?” The groups will then have 30 seconds to decide who is the tallest in their group and put them forward into the center of the space; whichever team puts forward the best will win a point. The questions can vary; “Who has the loudest scream?” “Who has the most brothers?” even things like “Who can hold a plank the longest?”

This game encourages participants to get to know one another and recognize their unqiue strengths and abilities. Then they get to use their talents for a common goal, to win! If the questions you prepare are diverse enough, everyone in the group will have something to contribute and be proud about.

So there you have it! Here are some ideas to get your high school students to let their guard down and get to know one another. All with the power of icebreakers!

Image via Unsplash

5 Large Group Icebreakers

As anyone who is tasked to manage a large group knows, keeping that many people entertained can be a real challenge. This is made even more difficult when the group is not familiar with each other. Whether you are planning a party with a bunch of friends, or leading group exercises for a corporate retreat, icebreakers are key to a sucessful evening! Below are 5 of our favorite large group icebreakers to warm up your group.

The Shoe Game

This is a simple icebreaker to get a large group mingling and talking to one another.  Ask the participants to take off their right shoe and toss it into a big pile in the middle of the room.  Participants are then asked to pick up a shoe from the pile and find the owner!  Once they find the owner, they must stand next to them.  The end result is the group collaborating to form a large circle.

In a group setting, most people will gravitate to those they already know. When organizing an event with lots of people, getting to know someone new can be awkward or uncomfortable. The Shoe Game motivates people to get out of their comfort zone and meet someone new! Give a couple of prompting questions for those in the group to ask their shoe partner if conversations seem strained.

Celebrity Heads

This is a fun icebreaker that is very simple to organize.  To begin, write the names of different celebrities on post-it notes.  Place a post-it note on the forehead of each participant without them seeing the name of the celebrity. The participants will them be told to mingle and ask “yes or no” questions of other participants.  They are only allowed to ask a single question of each person they talk to.  The first few participants to correctly guess their celebrity win a prize!

Not only is this game simple, and very easy to set up and explain, but the time you spend on this game is highly adaptable to your needs. If you don’t have a lot of time, you can set a quick timer to signal when to switch to a new person. If you want your group to spend more time with one another, you could skip the timer and add other clever rules.

Organize Without Speaking

This is a simple game that tests the collaborative skills of participants.  Ask them to arrange themselves in a line ordered by their birth year or another time based prompt.  The only catch — they can’t speak, they have to use hand signals!  Participants will have to organize themselves and pay attention to the signs from other people in the group. This is also a fantastic way to observe the group a get a feel for the individual dynamics. Take not of who takes charge. Pay attention to the ones who seem especially skilled or scattered. If you are worried about a long uncomfortable silence, you can always play some jaunty background music!

This ice breaker is a great way to encourage quick thinking and team building. Use this at your next corporate retreat, or your next family reunion! Quickly overcome any icebreaker-awkwardness with this quick thinking game.

True or False Running

This is a great icebreaker for energetic groups of young people.

Have the group stand in the middle of the room.  Place a marker on the right side of the room and on the left side of the room. Nominate the right side as the “true” side and the left side as the “false”.

The facilitator then asks a series of true or false questions of the participants.  They could include questions like “Small dogs live longer than big dogs” or “The capital of Australia is Sydney”.  Participants then have to choose true or false for the answer.  If they get the answer right they are given a token or their score is recorded on a scoreboard.  After twenty icebreaker questions, the person with the most points wins a prize!

This one can also be made with more personal questions to help the group get a better idea of those around them. You could say phrases like, “I am married” “This is my first time at ____” or “I have been out of the country.” This might just prompt some side conversations and give the people in your group a starting off point for a fun meet and greet.

Simon Says

Sometimes the silly games that you played as a child can bring back some great memories!  The facilitator rapidly yells “Simon says” orders to participants to get them moving.  Remember that participants should only do what the facilitator says when he includes “Simon says” in the request!  Shout the commands rapidly to see if the participants are paying attention and thinking quickly.

If you wanted to really spice things up, you could offer a prize to the last person who remains uneliminated! This game might not be what you are looking for as a “get to know you game” but it certainly is an icebreaker!

Collecting Autographs

Here is an icebreaker for an especially large group of people. It’s fast paced, fun, and great at getting a group warmed up. best of all, its easy!

Participants are given a worksheet that includes 20 questions on it.  They must find other participants who answer yes to that question.  Participants will then sign their name next to the question.  Participants can only sign once per sheet, so people must walk around the room to find 20 different people to answer “yes” and sign their worksheet.

Questions can include things like:

  • I have been to France

  • I know how to play guitar

  • I have rode an elephant

  • I am wearing a brown shirt

Featured Image via Unsplash

6 Fun Cooperative Games for Kids

Through cooperative games kids learn to think and work with one another as they apply skills learned to accomplish the goals of their group or team. These games are always fun to develop and play and have the effect of bringing children together. While competitive games focus a lot on losing or winning, cooperative games are all about the success of the whole team.  They give all children involved a chance to be winners.

What’s in a Name?

(for kids in grades 1-3)

While kids at any age or grade can play the game, there’ll be variations. For kids in grade one through three this game is effective to help them bond together at the start of a new school year or term.  In this cooperative game the pupils are grouped in pairs or with partners where one has to talk about the surname or first name of their partner. It starts with one of the two in a pair telling the other what their name is and its meaning. After sharing names and meaning, the kids should be allowed to share a little more about their names. Kids should be encouraged to talk about their unique names, how they are spelled, whether they hold any special symbolism, why they were given the name, the meaning of the name in other cultures/languages and whom they were named after.

One individual should tell all this information in two minutes before allowing the other to do the same. They should be encouraged to pay as much attention as possible throughout the game. After the two have shared names, two pairs should be joined together to form a team of four kids; each partner in a pair has to introduce their partner to the other pair until everyone knows each other.  Kids should be encouraged to tell as much as possible about the name of their partner.

“MAX” – A CO-OPERATIVE GAME


Family Pastimes Max (Cooperative Board Game)

  • Players work together to get the creatures safely home before Max the cat gets them
  • Children learn to use logic, consultation and cooperative decision making in an exciting way
  • For 1 to 8 players ages 4 through 7 years

A cooperative game available for sale, it’s great for kids 4-7 years of age and accommodates 1-8 players. The kids have to learn to work as a team to ensure the creatures have arrived home safely before they are attacked by Max the ferocious cat. The game calls upon the mind of the kids to make cooperative decisions, consult and use logic in the most exciting ways. It’s made using child safe paints, water-based glues, soy-based inks, recycled papers and boards.

Capture the Flag

Among elementary kids Capture the Flag is one of the most popular games. In this game the idea is to have players from one side making way into the territory of the opposing team to take their flag and make way back to their own space without being tagged in the process. Pylons and a flag are required materials and best played outdoors. It can be played for 10 to 15 minutes every time or until a given team/group has accomplished a specific score. In the game the playground is divided into two with each team on either side. The kids need to create two teams, each team on their zone. Every team should have a flag, made from a light material such as fabric and easy to carry around by one kid. Each flag has to be placed at the back of the zone of every team where it’s visible to the opposing side. On a part of their zone each team should create a ‘jail’.  The game starts by having all kids lining up at the periphery of their area.

Once a whistle is blown they should go to the zone of their opposing side and try to take their flag while avoiding being tagged. Those tagged while in the opposing side’s zone are put in the jail and only get out if tagged by a teammate. If the flag is taken and ferried to the other zone next to the other team’s flag the team has either scored some points or won. However, the rule of the game is that while defending their flag a team cannot remain standing around to guard it. The defending team has to be a minimum of five meters from the flag at any time.

Race to the Treasure!


Peaceable Kingdom Race to the Treasure! Award Winning Beat the Ogre…

  • WE WIN TOGETHER: Build a path with your team and collect 3 keys on a race to beat ogre to the treasure! It’s a game…
  • FUN CHALLENGE: Kids love working together to beat the ogre. Players strategize, cooperate & build the path together….
  • BENEFITS:Cooperative games cultivate emotional development, shared decision making, positive self esteem, creative…

This award winner is a cooperative game for 2-4 children from five years old and above. It offers a chance for kids to lean the art of strategy, grid mathematical concepts and critical social development tenets and skills with zero reading needed.  The game involves players working as a team to reach the treasure before the ogre by developing a path from the beginning right to the end.   If the kids are successful the victory is celebrated as a team.  The game has a Play Advances Learning approval seal and won the Oppenheim Portfolio Toy Platinum award.

15 Seconds

One of the most entertaining and fun way of letting kids know about one another, this cooperative game helps everyone to learn how to think fast on their feet. You only need a list with specific questions and a timer. Essentially, every kid should sit down, forming a circle. A question is picked and every person has to answer it within 15 seconds. Everyone has to be silent and if a kid answers early the person manning the timer should read out the remaining seconds.

The questions can be favorite food, favorite movies, favorite pet animal, what you do every Sunday or Saturday morning, and favorite color among others. In case you’re handling a huge group, break the kids into groups of six. You can also have a long list of questions and have one person answering their own unique question. Make the game fun by asking the kid who has just spoken to choose the next person and the question they’re to answer.

A hundred thousand men, coming one after another, cannot move a Ton weight; but the united strength of 50 would transport it with ease.

GEORGE WASHINGTON

US President

Human Knot Game

To play this game, divide players into teams, and have each team form a circle. Instruct players to hold hands with two different players, making sure that no one’s hands are joined with their closest neighbors’. Once this is done, start the game to signal that it’s time for the “knot” to begin unraveling. All hands must remain joined until the team is standing in a circle, or in two intertwined circles (Life a figure eight). Here is a link to some step by step instructions on how to set up the game.

Human Knot Game

Human Knot Game

8 Family Picnic Ideas

 

You want your family to go on a picnic together.  The weather is lovely, there is nothing on the TV and you have managed to drag the kids off the computer games.  How can you make sure your picnic is memorable?

Here are some ideas:

 

Have a picnic in your back garden.  

There is no need to travel.  Just throw down a blanket and decorate with balloons and throw around some cushions.  This is quick and a clever way to grab an hour or two with your kids.

Ban all devices and just sit and talk as a family for a short amount of time.

 

Have your picnic on a boat.  

Take a boat to the middle of a river or lake and eat as a family as you bob about on the current. There is nothing more calming than being in the middle of a body of water.  Also, Dad will become an expert in currents and how to get the most out of the boat – which can be funny to watch.

 

Encourage the Kids to Organize the Food!

Give them the freedom of the kitchen and the picnic basket.  Leave when they tell you they are happy with what they have made for you all to eat… potentially a disaster… always interesting.  I would suggest this might not be the option if you are trying to control the calories.  There is likely to be a strong emphasis on cake, chocolate and crisps… but you know you have taken this option because you want to have a day of eating this stuff too.

 

Colorful Jars of Food.

Cut up different fruit and vegetables as brightly colored as you can and fill up jars with a good variety.  These jars look awesome and are excellent to dip into as you are eating the picnic.  It really is an interesting way of getting kids to eat healthier and it keeps the food fresh and easily protected from the wildlife.

 

Make a Campfire.

Make yourself a camp fire… even though you are not camping you still want to roast marshmallows and bake potatoes at the base of the fire.  It also lovely to sit and watch as the light dims.  It will keep people out talking late into the night.  Make sure you dig a pit to build the fire it and ensure that it is completely doused with water before you leave.

 

The Snack that Smiles Back!

Give all your picnic foods faces… when you are making your sandwiches and cakes use salad and fruit to give all the food eyes, a nose and a mouth.  You could make it a competition to see who can make the funniest of faces and maybe give food names… it gets a bit brutal when you start chomping down.

 

Hide Mini Treasures

Hide mini treasure in amongst the food so that people find surprises as they eat.  I wouldn’t put these things in the food, otherwise the dentist will be busy, but in the packets.  People will have moments of excitement or feel special, even if it is just a little love note.

 

Sit and Talk

Just sit and talk and eat slowly.  This shouldn’t be unique… but in today’s world eating slowly and gently chatting is as rare as it comes.  Sit quietly and enjoy each other’s company.

 

Dinner and a movie, forget that, I'd rather have a picnic and a waterfall


Amanda Grace

Swimming Workouts for Beginners

 

Swimming is a fantastic way to get fit!  It is a physical activity that works every muscle group in the body, improving both strength and endurance.  Swimming is also a low impact activity.  If you have weak knees or ankles, you will find swimming much better than other workouts like running.   

 
Other benefits of swimming include:
  •  

    It’s a great stress reliever and a very relaxing way to exercise

  •  

    Swimming will greatly improve your cardiovascular fitness

  •  

    It burns a lot of calories!

  •  

    Your muscles will become toned and your posture will improve

  •  

    It can improve your balance and coordination

  •  

    Swimming is a fantastic way to exercise in summer when it can be too hot to work out in other ways

  •  

    Because swimming is low impact, it is ideal for people with injuries

To help you get started, this article will share some fantastic swimming workouts for beginners!

 

Some General Tips Before Starting

 

Before you “dive in” here are some general tips for beginners.

 
  •  

    Make sure you have a basic level of swimming before attempting a workout.

  •  

    Swim in a safe environment like a swimming pool.  Only swim in the ocean if you are an experienced and fit swimmer.

  •  

    Don’t overdo it early on.  Swimming takes a lot of effort, particularly if you are not used to it.

  •  

    Warm up before entering the water

  •  

    Remember to stay hydrated by drinking water

 

Short Freestyle Distance Intervals

 
 

This basic workout involves swimming freestyle for short distances with breaks. Start out by swimming 25 yards at a time, with a rest period of 30 seconds between each lap.  Beginners should swim at a slow to medium pace initially.

You may benefit from using breaths instead of counting seconds.  Perform a lap, then count to 20 breaths before starting the next lap.  This will also encourage you to really use your entire lung capacity while taking your interval break.

Depending on your initial level of fitness, swim between 10 to 15 minutes when first performing freestyle intervals.  Once you are comfortable swimming 25 yards, extend the length of your interval to 50 or 75 yards and extend the time you spend swimming.  Record your personal best distances and speeds!

 

Using a KickBoard

 
 

If you are not confident enough to swim 25-yard intervals, there are a number of workouts you can perform with a kickboard and flippers.  These workouts will help you practice kicking, putting your face underwater, and breathing correctly.

Perform your stretches to start, then swim 25 yards on your side.  Hold onto the kick-board with a straight arm and rest your head on that arm.  The other arm should be straight down your side.  Have a rest, then perform another 25 yards on your other side.

Then, perform 50 yards holding onto the kickboard with both hands and looking into the water.  Turn your head to breathe, using both sides.  This exercise will get you used to kicking and breathing alternately.

Need a kickboard?  Check out the Swimming Kickboard by TYR and this Kickboard Set from TYR.

 

Endurance Swimming

 
 

Once you have started to perform intervals well, you can begin to swim longer distances.  Endurance swimming will help improve your muscle tone and stamina.

Start by performing a few warm up stretches.  Jump into the pool and swim 250 yards at a slow pace.  Take your time and concentrate on your form.  Take a 20 seconds (or 20 breaths) break.  Then swim for another 150 yards and take another 20-second break.  Finally, swim for another 50 yards.

If these distances are too long or too short, alter them to a comfortable distance.  Eventually work your way up to 500 yards or longer.  Always keep a steady pace and think about your technique — it is not about speed, it’s about how long you can swim.

 

BREASTSTROKE and Freestyle Medley

 
 

By combining these two strokes, you can give yourself a more thorough, full-body workout.  Freestyle will really push your shoulders, while breaststroke will emphasize your chest muscles.

 
  1. 1

    Start with 50 yards of freestyle at a slow pace to prepare your body.

  2. 2

    Perform 4 x 25 yard intervals of freestyle, counting the number of stroke it takes you to perform each interval.  Aim to have the same amount of strokes per interval.  Afterwards, have a break of 30 seconds if you need it.

  3. 3

    Perform 4 x 50 yard intervals of breast stroke with 30 second breaks

  4. 4

    Perform 4 x 25 yard intervals of freestyle, counting the number of strokes

  5. 5

    Perform 50 yards of breast stroke at a slow pace

It is a hefty beginners workout that will address many muscle groups.

 

Work on Your Speed!

 

Once you have achieved a basic level of fitness in the pool, you might be interested in seeing how fast you can go!  You can perform this workout using any type of swimming stroke.

 
  1. 1

    Perform your stretches and swim 50 yards at a slow pace

  2. 2

    Swim 2 sets of 25 yards at a medium-fast pace to get your body ready

  3. 3

    Swim 6 x 25 yards at fast pace.  In between each 25 yards, take a full 60-120 seconds to recuperate.  Count your strokes per lap and check your times!

  4. 4

    Swim 4 x 25 yards to cool down

 

Working on Your Form

 

Maintaining correct form while swimming is crucial.  Proper form will ensure you are using the right parts of your body while swimming and maintaining maximum efficiency.  This workout is for freestyle and uses a pull buoy — a floatation device that swimmers place between their legs to give them additional buoyancy.  The pull buoy allows you to swim without kicking your legs and helps you to concentrate on your arms.

 
  1. 1

    Perform your stretches and swim 2 x 25 yards to warm up

  2. 2

    Using the pull buoy, swim 2 x 25 yards only using your right arm for momentum.  Keep your left arm straight in front of your body.  Concentrate on your shoulder rotation, pitch of your arm and the shape of your hand.

  3. 3

    Using the pull buoy, swim 2 x 25 yards using both arms.  Concentrate on the position of your body in the water.

  4. 4

    Using the pull buoy, swim 2 x 25 yards only using your right arm for momentum

  5. 5

    Using a kickboard, swim 2 x 25 yards kicking only

  6. 6

    Swim 2 x 25 yards as a cool down

Swimming is a fantastic way to stay fit.  Regularity is the key — if you have 4 to 5 workouts per week you will be amazed by the changes that happen to your body!