Tags » ‘Play Inspiration’


Games to Play with a Basketball Hoop

November 17th, 2016 by

Shooting hoops or playing a game one on one can get a little boring after a while. Having a basketball hoop in your yard gives endless possibilities to enhance your skills by playing fun games. Here are a couple games that are great for your game and playtime.goalrilla basketball hoop

HORSE This classic game is a fan favorite for a reason; it’s simple and only takes a couple people to play. If you haven’t played this game before, start by having someone stand anywhere on the court and make a shot. The second person stands in the same place and tries to make the same shot. If they make the shot, they move on to a new location and try a different shot. If they don’t make the shot, they get an “H”. For every missed shot the player makes, they get a letter. Whoever spells out “horse” first loses.

Time Trials This game is a great one person game or can be done with multiple players. All you need is a basketball and a timer. The player sets a set amount on the timer and tries to shoot as many hoops as they can in the time allotted. Once the timer goes off, they can try again or the other player can try to beat their score. This game can get a little rough for your backboard, so be sure you have a hoop, such as a Goalrilla basketball hoop, that can handle the pressure.

Around the World You need at least two players for this game. This game involves setting up at least five spots around the court to take shots from. Both players start at the same spot and take turns shooting. If you make the shot, you can move on to the next spot. Each player has two chances to make the shot. If they don’t, they get sent back to the beginning. The first player to make it to every stop, or “around the world”, wins.

There are plenty of other games out there, so just be sure to get out and start playing! For more on Goalrilla Basketball hoops, accessories, and more, visit PlayNLearn.com today.

Cabin Fever Cure-alls: Ideas for Winter Break Fun

December 17th, 2015 by

Cabin Fever Cure-alls: Ideas for Winter Break FunIf you don’t have travel plans on the books for winter break, you may find the kids getting stir crazy. Once the holidays are over and the constant hum of activity and visits from relatives die down, your kids may not know what to do with themselves, especially with cold weather keeping them indoors. While it may seem difficult to come up with options entertaining enough to catch your kids’ attention, winter break is a great time to think outside the box and try some new activities.

After all, being out of school and off work is a great excuse to do activities you wouldn’t normally be able to. Now’s an opportune time to take advantage of all the fun indoor places to play that you may never have visited before, or that your kids have already come to love. Here are a few ideas for how to keep winter break fun and active.

Take a spin on the ice
To get your dose of winter fun, head to the ice skating rink with your kids and their friends for a few hours of free skate. Ice skating helps with balance and coordination and is great exercise…but your kids won’t realize it’s anything but good old fashioned fun. Top it off with some hot chocolate afterwards and you’ve had yourself an exciting day.

Try out an indoor trampoline center
For some higher energy fun, check out a trampoline center near you where you and your kids can go for an open play session, or you can invite friends for a special post-holiday jumping party. Jumping on trampolines is a great way to exercise for both kids and adults, so join in the fun! If your kid has already been to an indoor trampoline center, mix it up by going to a special class or dodge ball game.

Head to an interactive science museum
While some kids may balk at the idea of going to a museum when they’re supposed to be out of school, odds are good that your city has a science museum that isn’t just about displays and facts. If you visit a science museum that has interactive displays and experiential learning exhibits, you’re in for a fun day of hands-on learning and activity that the kids will be talking about for days to come. Plus, when you go to a museum with the family, there are no packets to do or quizzes at the end — it’s all about just running around and having fun . . . and learning something, too!

Blow off some steam with laser tag
Laser tag is tried and true — it keeps your kids moving, it keeps their minds active as they make up strategy, it encourages teamwork, and you can play as many or as few rounds as you’d like. Plus, you can show up with a huge group or just a few people and you’ll be paired with other kids. It’s the perfect outing for a day when you realize you have a few hours to fill and you want to spend them doing something fun that also gets the heart rate up.

Come visit a Play N’ Learn showroom
We get it: Your play set is probably going unused right now because of the cold temperatures. But if your kids still want to enjoy playing on a play set and the added fun of trying out features that your set doesn’t have (plus basketball, trampolines, and more), come visit us at a Play N’ Learn showroom for one of our open play sessions so they can try everything out.

We hope you and your family have a happy holiday season and enjoy the opportunity to play!

Simple Tips for Decorating Your Playset for the Holidays

December 3rd, 2015 by

Simple Tips for Decorating Your Playset for the HolidaysNow that Thanksgiving is over and December has arrived, it’s officially time to move on to the end-of-year holidays. That means celebratory decorations will be popping up all around the neighborhood, from wreaths on the doors to that one neighbor whose light show takes up 50 percent of the power grid (you know who you are). You probably have some tried and true decoration plans for your house, but have you ever thought about incorporating your swingset into the decoration scheme? While you decorate the house, your kids can take ownership of decorating the swingset. Here are some fun, simple ideas for how to get started and get the kids into the holiday spirit.

String lights around support beams
Your swingset is a perfect place to string lights; it’s easy to wrap lighted garlands around and when the whole thing is lit up, it’ll be transformed with holiday cheer, enticing kids to get out there and play. Try using icicle lights to run across horizontal beams, or wrap lights around each leg. While you work on the house and front yard, your kids can design the perfect plan for making your swingset the main attraction, from what color lights to use to the size and where they’ll put them.

Hang ribbons around the top of the fort
Your kids can add another layer of festiveness to the swingset by adorning it with the big, shiny ribbons that always appear during the holidays. A few ribbons on the upper level in the fort add a nice touch and make the whole structure look like a big present — and you’ll be able to appreciate them any time of day, not just in the evening when the lights are on.

Hang a wreath above the slide
Create a focal point for your holiday decorations by hanging a wreath above the slide. It can be small or large depending on whether your kids will still be sliding during this time of year. If your kids are still playing on your swingset throughout the winter, remember to make sure you’ve done a winter safety check as the weather shifts and keep lights and other decorations out of their way.

Hang birdseed pinecones
Let’s not forget to bring some holiday cheer to the animals that might hang out in your back yard alongside the kids. While you’re decorating, why not give the birds and squirrels an early present by making some birdseed pinecones? Using pinecones, peanut butter, and birdseed, your kids can make homemade feeders to string up on the swingset. If your kids still play a lot on their swingset during the winter, have them string them up in a less trafficked area of the set; otherwise, they can use the main support beams to hold the special treats.

Once all the decorations are done, celebrate with some hot chocolate in the fort with friends! You’ll be making good use of your swingset even when it’s too cold to enjoy it for playing. Thinking about adding a playset to your backyard? Come visit a Play N’ Learn showroom where we can walk you through all the options for how to ensure amazing play throughout the seasons.

Gobble, Gobble! Thanksgiving Crafts Perfect for Kids

November 23rd, 2015 by

Gobble, Gobble! Thanksgiving Crafts Perfect for KidsThanksgiving usually means traveling or a house packed with relatives. Kids can get stir crazy while the adults are busy socializing and cooking. With a few simple craft ideas to break out, it’s a lot easier to keep your kids occupied without too much legwork while you’re trying to entertain and prepare a meal. Here are a few quick and easy crafts for your kids to try at Thanksgiving that will keep them entertained and give them a chance to unleash their inner artist.

Leaf collages and wreaths
Leaf collages and wreaths not only let your kids get creative, but they also get your kids moving — a difficult feat in the colder weather, but still just as important. They’ll have to bundle up and go outside to scavenge for the best leaves in the yard — or have a relative take them for an outing to the park while you enjoy some quiet time at the house. Once they have all their leaves, your kids can use scissors, glue, and construction paper to make their own leaf collage. Or, they can use their creativity and whatever craft supplies you have on hand to make decorative garlands or leaf mobiles — perfect for celebrating the season.

Turkey hand drawings
This old classic never fails — the turkey hand drawing is easy and fun for all ages. All you need is construction paper and markers or crayons and you’re ready to go. Your kids can try to trace their own hands or take turns tracing others’ hands to make a turkey family. Color the turkeys in with markers as traditional turkeys or as funky ones with fun designs and patterns, or use your craft supplies to make glitter turkeys, give them googly eyes, or glue on pipe cleaner outlines.

Pinecone turkeys
Here’s another craft that will keep your kids active while they create: pinecone turkeys. The essentials are a pinecone and some feathers cut out of construction paper. You can use clay to make the turkey steady on the table, and then your kids can glue their feathers to the back of the pinecone, use an acorn for the face, and googly eyes. Once they’re done, these outdoorsy turkeys make for fun table decorations when dinner’s ready.

Art tablecloths
Instead of putting down a nice fabric tablecloth on your dining room table, cover it with parchment paper or a paper tablecloth a few hours before dinner and have your kids go wild decorating it with crayons and markers. They’ll be busy making sure the whole surface is covered and they can use their creativity to tell stories on the tablecloth. And your dinner guests will enjoy the details beneath their plates as well.

Take what some consider a stressful, hectic time and keep it the celebration of friends and family it’s meant to be by helping your kids stay occupied and engaged. After an active and creative day, everyone will be happy to sit down to a delicious meal together. And if you’re searching for even more ways to keep the kids entertained during Thanksgiving and beyond, head over to one of our Play N’ Learn showrooms to talk to one of our associates about swing sets, trampolines, basketball hoops, and more.

How to Join the Fun on National Play Outside Day

October 2nd, 2015 by

How to Join the Fun on National Play Outside DayDid you know that every first Saturday of every month is National Play Outside Day? Created in 2011 to encourage families to get outside and get moving, this “holiday” is a great way to make playing outside feel like an occasion. There are no formal, scheduled events associated with National Play Outside Day, but you can make it an event each month with your family. All you have to do to celebrate is go outside and have fun.

We’ve written before about just how beneficial and long-lasting the impacts of outdoor play can be. Yet in recent decades, children have begun to stay indoors more, spending as few as 30 minutes outside playing each day, but six or more hours a day on screens, according to a BBC article. All troubling information given that outdoor play can help young minds and bodies stay healthy.

In the face of chillier weather and shorter days, TV, computers, tablets, phones, gadgets, and other indoor activities become even more alluring. Some days it takes a concerted effort to get kids outside. Putting National Play Outside Day on your calendar for the first Saturday of each month is a great way to make sure you have dedicated time set aside for fun outdoor activities. If your kids love it, they’ll look forward to it over and over again each month.

So what kinds of activities can your family do to celebrate that will make outdoor play feel like a special occasion? Here are a few ideas:

  • Try a new biking path, let the kids help choose where to go, and then show them on a map how far you went.
  • Go apple picking at a local farm — see how many different types of apples you can identify — then make your favorite apple recipe at home with what you picked.
  • Hold a family HORSE tournament, and let the winner choose the dinner menu. Fun in the driveway often attracts other neighborhood kids. Before you know it, your kids will be making new friends around something other than a video game.
  • Invite neighbors to join in on a block party with relay games. Who doesn’t love a party?
  • Try out a different playground. It’s easy to go with what is familiar, but maybe the next town over has a playground that has different equipment, new slides, and new friends to meet!
  • Take your dog to the park to play catch. Even he probably needs more exercise! Let the kids invent a new game for the dog, or check out these 10 fun games kids can play with dogs.
  • Go on a nature walk and look for interesting plants and animals, or observe how the leaves are changing.
  • Make an obstacle course in the yard using household items and then invite friends — or even the family dog — to give it a try!

You get the idea — anything outside counts! Getting the whole family outdoors helps make new memories, models an active lifestyle, and creates respect for the environment — all important things for kids to learn early on. Take the opportunity for kids to use their imaginations, your family to meet new friends, and for parents to feel young again and have an excuse to unplug.

Getting outside doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or require a long trip in the car. You can celebrate National Play Outside Day in your own backyard or driveway!

If you’re looking for inspiration on how to encourage play in your yard or neighborhood, stop by a Play N’ Learn showroom to check out our playsets, basketball hoops, and more.

Bring the Fun of Summer Camp to Your Backyard

July 23rd, 2015 by

Bring the Fun of Summer Camp to Your BackyardDo your kids go to summer camp? Playing all day with friends, having adventures, and being outdoors make for an unforgettable summer. But guess what? Your kids can experience this kind of fun whether they go to camp or not! Here are some classic games and activities that let you bring the fun of summer camp into your own backyard.

Capture the Flag
Round up friends and neighbors for an easy game of Capture the Flag. The division between your front and back yard makes a good boundary for the two teams. All you need for a “flag” is a sock or handkerchief. You can play during the day or at dusk or dark, and any place in your yard is fair game for hiding the flag, whether it’s a tree, part of the house, or a good nook or hard-to-reach spot on your playset. Here’s an overview of the game’s rules.

Water Balloon Wars
Fill up a bunch of water balloons and split into two teams. Take turns aiming and firing at the other team — below the neck only! Anyone who gets hit has to sit down. After the first round, it’s a free-for-all, and the object is to get across the enemy line without getting hit. You can make this more challenging by extending the play area to include hills or obstacles.

Drip Drip Drop
A hot-weather variation on Duck Duck Goose, Drip Drip Drop uses the same rules of one person walking around the circle of players sitting on the ground. Instead of tapping the players on the head, the standing person drips water from a cup onto their heads. On “drop,” the rest of the cup is poured over the sitting player’s head, and the chase is on!

Nature Walks
Going on hikes and exploring the outdoors is a quintessential part of the camp experience that you can recreate in your backyard or neighborhood. Do some research about common flora and fauna in your area, and see how many different species you can identify. Have your kids sketch and record what they see in a journal.

Backyard Camping
Want to up the ante on your summer camp experience? Try making your backyard a campground, and plan activities like roasting marshmallows over a fire pit, telling campfire stories, and stargazing before your kids settle into sleeping bags and tents outside. You’ll have all the modern conveniences you need nearby, but your kids can still scratch their camping itch.

So if summer camp is not on the agenda this year, or if a week or two is just not enough for your kids, bring the camp experience to your own backyard. And if you’re looking for a permanent fun fixture, head over to one of our showrooms for built-in play for days to come.

5 Ideas for All-Ages Fun at Your Backyard BBQ

July 9th, 2015 by

5 Ideas for All-Ages Fun at Your Backyard BBQSummer is barbeque season — is your backyard ready for action? Before guests arrive, while the hotdogs are cooking, and after dinner, here are a few ways to get everybody involved in making your backyard party central.

1. Have your kids decorate your playset or patio.
For your kids, the fun doesn’t have to wait until the guests arrive. Keep them busy and creative by putting them in charge of decorating the playset for their friends or the patio where you’ll serve your meal. Break out the construction paper, streamers, glitter — whatever you have in the craft supplies box is fair game. Twinkle lights can add extra sparkle if the festivities will go on until after dark. Just have an adult plug them in!

2. Get a game of HORSE going.
A game of basketball doesn’t have to feel like the March Madness tournament — a casual game of HORSE on the hoop in your driveway can keep guests of all ages involved as they try to match each other’s shots. For something different, try one of these basketball games the whole family can play. Your family and friends will only be a shout away when the food is ready to serve.

3. Bounce on the trampoline.
Jumping on the trampoline is fun for everyone, and has a host of health benefits for both children and adults, so no one has an excuse not to join in. Try one of many trampoline games you can play with friends to get the whole group involved. You’ll be getting exercise and having fun, all while staying out of the grill-master’s hair.

4. Set up an obstacle course for the kids.
Using your playset, basketball hoop, trampoline, or other play equipment you have, challenge the adults at your party to create an obstacle course for the kids. Then switch it around by having the kids create one for the adults. If your guests have a competitive spirit, consider tracking times and giving out some fun awards. Who will finish the course the fastest, the most gracefully, or with the most pizazz? Get creative with your awards categories, and if you’re feeling brave, team up with the adults to take on the kids in a course designed by everyone!

5. Go on an after-dinner nature walk.
You may be too full to bounce on the trampoline after a big meal, but you and your guests can still get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors after dinner. Have your kids prepare beforehand and lead a nature walk around your yard or neighborhood. They can point out different types of trees, flowers, wildlife, and any other interesting facts about the local landscape. If it’s dark out, offer kids mason jars to catch lightning bugs!

With summer upon us, the time to savor the warm air and sunshine of your backyard is now. Happy summer and happy playing! And if you’re ready to add some built-in fun to your backyard, stop by one of our locations to learn get decked out with some great play equipment.

Fun Ideas for an Indoor Birthday Party

February 19th, 2015 by

Fun Ideas for an Indoor Birthday PartyWinter birthday parties can be tough. It’s too cold to have a party outside, but hosting an indoor party full of energetic kids, cake, and chaos can be too much for even the iron-willed to handle. Once you consider the pre-party prep, the post-party cleanup, the decorations, and entertainment, it starts to sound a lot simpler, more cost-effective, and more fun to host your child’s birthday party somewhere else. But where? We’ve put together a list of our favorite ideas for indoor birthday parties that everyone will enjoy.

Museums
Your local art, science, or children’s museum is likely all set up to host your child’s birthday party. All you have to do is bring the cake! Staff will lead age-appropriate adventures through the museum for your kids and their friends. Some museums have themes available to choose from like dinosaurs, space, the Ice Age, and more. Others have crafts, scavenger hunts, or interactive workshops. Your kids will learn and explore, all while celebrating and having fun!

Paint Your Own Pottery
If your child likes to flex her creative muscles, how about a party at a paint-your-own-pottery studio? The kids can create their own masterpieces and you don’t have to worry about the mess! Then, once they’re done firing the pottery in a few days, you or the guests can come pick it up and give kids a keepsake from the birthday party to take home. It’s even better — and more creative — than a goody bag!

GameTruck
Got a kid who likes gaming? Companies like GameTruck bring a truckload of excitement to your driveway. You can choose between video games and laser tag, and you don’t even have to drive anywhere! The truck comes to you, the kids climb aboard, and staff members oversee the party. For video game enthusiasts, this is a party-dream come true!

Bowling
Hit up your local lanes to add an element of friendly competition to your child’s birthday party. You can rent lanes with bumpers or without. Break into teams and then take a snack break in between games. Some bowling alleys will decorate your lanes and provide refreshments and music, while others are happy to have you put your own touches on your party area.

Iceskating or Rollerskating
For an event that will keep your kids moving, book a party at an ice rink or roller rink. The birthday boy or girl and their friends can lace up their skates and groove to the music, and when they’re tired, you can blow out the candles in a private party room. After all that activity, your kids will be more than ready to eat cake.

Parties at the Play N’ Learn Showroom
Want to bring the outdoors inside? Our Play N’ Learn showrooms are the perfect place to host a party filled with your kid’s favorite outdoor play equipment without having to worry about the weather. With tons of models available with all the hottest features you may not have on your swingset at home, your party is bound to be exciting. Plus, we’ve got basketball hoops, trampolines, and more to keep everyone in your group happy.

So don’t let party planning hold you back, just call one of your trusted indoor birthday professionals and let them do the heavy lifting. Your kids will love the change of scenery — and best of all, you won’t have to clean up!

5 Ideas for Active Indoor Fun

January 8th, 2015 by

Ideas for Active Indoor FunDuring the colder months when the whole family is cooped up inside, it can be tough to find ways to stay active and have fun. Instead of going into hibernation for the winter, use these cold days as reasons to explore new places in your town. There are so many options for indoor activities, and some are even free! Here’s a look at our top picks for fun and active places to play this winter.

1. Get a mental and physical workout playing laser tag.
Call up some neighbors and get a group together to head to your local laser tag spot for an afternoon of fun. Your kids will be running, rolling, hiding, aiming, making quick decisions, and forming strategies—a perfect mix of high-octane physical and mental exercise that will leave your kids happy and tired.

2. Swim during any season.
Who said swimming is just for summer? No, we’re not suggesting you and your family do a polar bear plunge to stay active—instead, head to your local YMCA or fitness center and hop in the indoor pool. Your kids can work on their swimming skills and treading water. Even with a lot of play mixed in, an hour of swimming is a great workout and will seem like a novelty since you’ll have to wear your winter coats over your bathing suits until you get inside!

3. Lace up at a skating rink.
Looking to have a lot of fun, but also get some exercise that will help develop balance and coordination? Your local roller skating or ice skating rinks can provide all of that and more. Your kids won’t even realize they are building important stability muscles while they zoom around the rinks and figure out how to do tricks, twirls, and high-speed chases.

4. Use your mall for walking, not shopping.
While you may feel like you never want to see the inside of a mall again after the holiday season, your local shopping center is actually a great resource for indoor fitness. Using the mall as a place to exercise might just be the only thing you can do there for free! You and your family can walk laps past the long stretches of shops, incorporating stairs as well to keep your hearts pumping. For the competitors in your family, you can break into relay teams and station yourself in different parts of the mall. Whichever team gets to one end of the mall and back first wins!

5. Come by our Play N’ Learn showroom.
Last but not least, Play N’ Learn can help you get through a cold winter day with open play at our indoor showroom. Loaded with playsets, basketball hoops, and trampolines, our showroom is like combining a whole neighborhood’s backyards into one. Get your kids and their friends into the car and come enjoy our tire swings, monkey bars, and slides, all for the cost of a ticket that won’t break the bank.

We hope these ideas have given you and your kids some inspiration for what to do this weekend. No excuses—it’s time to get off the couch and play!

Last-Minute Gift Giving Ideas for Kids

December 18th, 2014 by

Winter Break ActivitiesThe holidays seem to sneak up on all of us, and when your kids find themselves without presents for family and friends, they’ll need last-minute options that won’t break the piggy bank. From meaningful crafts to useful coupons for services or cost effective, creative gifts, your kids will have a back up plan to make sure they’re ready for the holidays! Here are our top picks for last-minute gift giving ideas for kids.

Handmade picture frames with special photos
Using an inexpensive frame from a craft store, or even popsicle sticks, your kids can make a personalized frame to hold a photo with special meaning. They can unleash their inner artists and decorate the frame with buttons, feathers, glitter, or letters to make the frame more personal. You can help them pick a family photo or a meaningful picture and get it printed. A thoughtful gift with a personal touch goes a long way!

Coupons for helping out mom and dad around the house
Who doesn’t love some free help? Coupons are a great gift for kids who don’t have a big budget to draw from. Your kids can create a coupon book that they can draw and decorate, or your older kids can make coupons on the computer if they are feeling extra professional. Have your kids think about coupons for items that would be truly helpful, like doing the dishes, helping with laundry, or walking the dog. Giving Mom or Dad back some of their valuable time by taking some chores off their lists can be even better than a physical gift!

Decorated mugs or cups
Using just ceramic mugs or cups and sharpies, your kids can create personalized and creative items for the whole family. For kids who like art, this gift is a great opportunity to show off their design and drawing skills. Simple white mugs or cups are inexpensive and provide a great blank canvas for creating a memorable and functional gift.

A future “Day of Fun”
For a gift that works for anyone in the family, your kids can give a full day of fun that they’ll spend with the gift recipient. Your kid and the recipient can plan the day together or your kid can plan it alone so that the day is a thoughtful surprise. Spending a day enjoying each other’s company is a nice way for your kids to show a family member they care.

Make a playlist
For tech savvy kids, making a mixtape of songs, podcasts, or books on tape for a family member is an easy way to make a gift at home that still shows that they put time and effort into putting something together. Your kids can research popular podcasts or artists and create a playlist that the recipient can download—a perfect last minute gift that your kids can do from home!

We hope these ideas have sparked your kids’ imaginations to make cost-effective, creative, and meaningful gifts this holiday season. Happy Holidays from all of us here at Play N Learn!