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Traveling with Tots: Five Excellent Tips When Traveling with Children

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“In the end, kids will not remember that fancy toy or game you bought for them; they will remember the time you spent with them.”-Kevin Heath

 

Traveling with your kids is not exactly a prospect most parents would look forward to.

After all, family road trips do not get a bad rep for nothing. More importantly, kids tend to have even shorter attention spans than their adult counterparts insomuch that they get bored easily and would incessantly nag their parents and ask whether they have arrived yet or not. Apart from that, it does not help that more often than not, you and your kids would be cooped up in a van for what would be a three-hour ride (or less, if you are lucky) at the very least. Indeed, from all these, it can be very easy for your little tots to get on your nerve and you would then begin to question why you even had this idea in the first place.

However, do not fret. Road trips do not necessarily need to be terrible and at the very least, they can be fun for everyone as well. However, you do need to be adequately prepared for the trip ahead to ensure that everyone will have an equally good time. So, if you have long been planning to take a day trip to Sandbox, Pampanga or elsewhere with your little kids in tow, here are some things you ought to keep in mind:

Include your kids from the start

Allow your kids to pick out a destination from a list of pre-selected places you have been thinking of going to. If you gave them the liberty to choose where you go, they will be far more receptive to helping you in planning the trip and will be a lot more excited about it because they are a lot invested in the process. Be sure that the list of places you are considering of having them choose from already have your prior approval so that your kids would not randomly think of a place you could not afford or make a trip to go. For trips that are already pre-planned, include your kids by asking them which stops they would want to take along the way. No matter how big or small, making them feel like a part of the planning process would psyche them up for your upcoming trip.

 Start a savings account

If a projected trip is going to last you for days, it would be wise to start saving for it. Anticipate what your expenses would be and have an account ready for that trip specifically. In this way, you would be a lot less stressed about how you would be spending for it and would be able to enjoy it instead with your family.

Make sure a parent sits with the kids every now and then

If you are traveling with your spouse or partner, it would make sense to take turns in driving and keeping the kids company at the back. In this regard, kids would not be causing too much ruckus at the back of the car and are less likely to misbehave owing to a parent’s presence. Furthermore, the parent sitting with the kids might serve as entertainment and comfort to the younger kids and if they are happy, everyone will be happy and a lot less stressed.

Start planning

To mitigate the likelihood of your kids waiting for something to do, start planning your itinerary the day you decide to make the trip. After all, part of what makes a road trip fun is looking forward to what you would do when you get there. So, encourage your older kids to do some research about your destination and ask them if there is anything they want to do or check out. From there, you can then curate a list of sites and activities you want to do. Remember, the earlier you plan, the better chance you will have in getting a reservation. Some places would require advance reservations and may often discounts if you purchase in advance.

Pack smart

One of the things you should keep in mind is not to cram your car with too many stuff lest your kids get cramped in the back seat. Bringing too many things can potentially spell a disaster and might mean your kids would be a lot crankier for the whole ride. Understandably, you would also want to bring enough to entertain your kids or else suffer through your children’s incessant whines and boredom complaints. So, how do you find a happy balance? Well, more often than not, each child would only need one backpack. Mobile entertainment would be enough to keep them hooked for hours and a few games of theirs. Be sure that everything is age-appropriate and leave toys that tend to have children fighting over. Have kid-friendly movies saved and ready in your electronic device in order to keep them still and quiet when they need to be. Make sure that these are downloaded so that you would not need an internet connection just to watch them.

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Travel EATineary: Five Excellent Reasons You Should Go on a Food Tour

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“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” –James Michener

 

One of the best ways to truly get to know a foreign city is to eat your way through it.

After all, eating itself is already a visceral and immersive experience. Consequently, indulging yourself in the foreign flavors a city can be a wonderful experience that is certainly nothing short of delightful. Seeing as the consumption food is known to be one of the best ways to explore and discover more about a city, the concept of food tours was then introduced and since then, it spread like wildfire. For this reason, localized food tours such as the one we have in the Philippines like the Pampanga food trip have been rather popular insomuch that it attracts tourists by the droves. So, if you wish to put a fresh new spin on your travel ventures and go on an epicurean journey.

After all, it has been said that food prepared on the other side of the world is all the more tasteful. In any case, here are some of the compelling reasons that should convince you to go on a food tour on your next trip:

It is an amazing introduction to the city

Of course, there are other ways you can learn about a country which is mainly done through research and reading articles and books. However, there is no better way to explore a country or city than to eat your way through it. In fact, one might even go as far as to suggest that each plate you consume and whatever meal you might eat in a foreign city will likely tell you a story. Similarly, it might even give you a glimpse into the city’s culture. After all, the harmony of flavors has subtle hints about the locality it is offered in. Plus, food tours also allow you to see the city in a different light than you would have had you been part of a food tour.

You visit the places locals love and take the road less traveled

Sure, while guidebooks and travel articles would proclaim where the best places and tourist spots to visit in the city are, there is a likely chance that they would miss all the spots which locals have developed a fondness for. However, as food tours are primarily organized by the city itself, you would then have the chance to get up close and personal to the locals as well as try out the food they know to be the best. Furthermore, you cannot always rely on reviews to point you towards the best restaurants in town. If you wish to get the best recommendation, there is no better person to ask than the locals themselves.

You can see and sample a lot

Walking in on a restaurant and asking to try everything they have to offer in their menu is not only unorthodox but rather impractical. In this regard, you can only rely on what you think you might fancy or from review recommendations. However, food tours are not so limiting. In fact, food tours would often encourage participants to try all of the dishes showcased and select the best one after their initial tasting. Of course, the most difficult part would be selecting one that you like as you are guaranteed to like quite a lot of dishes.

You meet other food enthusiasts

Of course, food tours will likely attract like-minded individuals who have developed a unique affinity for food and they come in all shapes and sizes (and ages too!). Some of these foodies would even be chefs and would love to share and swap recipes with you. Participating in a food tour means you would also get to know people who share the same passion for food as you do and if you are lucky, they might just recommend the next food tour you should join. Plus, who knows if you might end up forming friendships with them? You might not know it but they might just invite you to explore the city with them as well.

It is always a delightful experience

Regardless of what food tour you join, it would always be a delightful experience and one that is worth reminiscing over and over. In fact, it can be said that a food tour might just be one of the best experiences you will ever have while out of town. Take note: No two food tours are the same just as no two cities are entirely alike. Even the food tours within the city are not entirely alike so you might want to go on and try as many tours as you possibly can.

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Five Need-to-Know Tips for ATV Beginners With Quad Cars

 

Racing atv is sand.

 

“There is no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”-Nelson Mandela

 

ATV in the Philippines has been recently gaining quite a following. It is a type of sport wherein people have found themselves developing an interest in. After all, there is nothing quite like the pure exhilaration and the rush of excitement you would feel when you first get on a quad.

In some cases, the rush of being on a new vehicle is too much that you would be tempted to run it like you stole it. However, this is not necessarily a good idea—particularly if you are still a beginner. After all, it is always best to get a feel of the vehicle first before riding it to its full capacity. Furthermore, as you are technically still a novice, it would be best if you took some safety precautions first. So, if you are planning on going on ATV riding this weekend, here are some of the need-to-know basics you ought to keep in mind:

 

 

Get to know the quad

If you have recently taken home a new quad, know that the first thing you should do is to read the manual. Unfortunately, like most new car owners, most individuals who own quads would think that manual reading is negligible and not really all that important. However, reading the manual is pivotal to the proper care and maintenance of your ATV. After all, your vehicle is likely a significant investment so you would want to ensure that it is adequately taken care of. You do not have to read it from cover to cover but at least orient yourself to the features of your quad car, the functions, maintenance schedules, and proper break-in procedures.

Inspect and top off all fluids

While taking out your new ATV or quad car for a test ride might seem like a tempting prospect, you should hold that thought until you have already checked the lifeblood of the motor. Keep in mind that most common mishaps which would consequently damage your motor’s internal organs can easily be avoided simply if you took the extra time to check on your vehicle’s motor. Much like how you would routinely check a car if it has enough water, so should you for an ATV. Twist off the cap and ensure that the engine oil, coolant, and differential fluids are all at the proper level.

Tighten Lug Nuts

More often than not, ATVs would be packed tightly into crates when they arrive at your local dealership’s shop. In this regard, no one would exactly know for sure what happens during shipments. In this regard, it would be best if you tighten the vehicle’s lug nuts and torque it well on all four wheels. You do not want to be braving the dirt roads only to have one of the lug nuts coming off which is a potential accident waiting to happen. Besides, it does not take much of your time to tighten them, so take the extra time to do so.

Check the tire pressure

Having enough air in your tires would mean ease of ride. Furthermore, knowing the tire pressure is crucial to the handling characteristics of your vehicle. There are dangerous consequences posed by tires running out of air and if this were to occur to you, facing all kinds of difficulties would be a possibility. However, you should not run with too much air as well as this well lead you to consequently bounce uncontrollably on your quad. While lower pressure might mean that a tire would be easier to puncture, it allows for more traction in softer soils. On the other hand, high pressure would mean higher durability and predictable sliding. However, there is less traction. Your job as an owner is to find the balance between these two. You can always start with the manufacturer’s recommendation and pump in or out air as you wish and as you deem suitable to your riding needs.

Engage the clutch

Engaging the clutch takes no more than a few seconds to do and in turn, would give you a more convenient and comfortable ride. Setting your clutch in the position it engages allows you to pull your clutch lever with two fingers which means your other two fingers can hold on to the grips. In this regard, you can handle difficult terrains better and still have a good grip in your hands.

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Travel EATinerary: Five Excellent Tips for Staying Healthy While Eating on the Road

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“I am kind of obsessed with food. I like to eat. When I tour, it is like, well, life a food tour as much as a comedy tour.”-Aziz Ansari

 

It has been said that the best way to know more about a country is to eat your way through it. Resultantly, the concept of food tours was introduced. After all, according to Paul Prudhomme, one does not require a silver fork to eat good food. This sentiment alone tells us that excellent food can be found and enjoyed almost anywhere in a foreign city, from luxurious and sophisticated restaurants to obscure and relatively unknown eateries.

In fact, the very idea of food tourism capitalizes on showcasing tourists and locals the best of what the city can offer in terms of culinary treats while simultaneously exploring the locale. After all, food tourism is about the adventure as much as it is about the food. Unfortunately, while you are guaranteed to a smorgasbord of scrumptious treats at every stop, no one can vouch for the quality of food you are going to ingest—regardless of whether you are dining at a restaurant or in a food tour. The consumption of food may be a visceral experience, albeit enjoyable on a whole but that does not excuse our blithe attitude in terms of checking its quality before consumption. Getting sick in the middle of a trip can truly put a damper on your plans and deter you from trying out more local foods which is why we need to be a little more vigilant about the food we are about to ingest—most especially when we are on the road and in areas where comfort rooms are rather scarce. However, this article is not meant to deprive you of enjoyment associated with trying out new hole-in-the-wall restaurants and street food fares.

It does, however, caution you to be a little mindful of the basic sanitary practices that went into the preparation of your food. You can still approach eating with reckless abandon, but at the very least try to follow basic sanitary guidelines regardless of whether you are eating at a five-star restaurant or with some food buddies in a food trip in Pampanga. In any case, here are some of the ways you can have an authentic dining experience while you mitigate the risks of getting ill:

 

Wash your hands often

There is no substitute for washing your hands with soap and water. Alternatives such as hand sanitizers, alcohol, and hand creams just do not cut it. Before partaking in a meal, always ALWAYS wash your hands. In fact, wash them whenever you can and then, wash them again. Not to promote obsessive-compulsiveness but washing your hands is a good habit to develop. In this regard, wash your hands before and after a meal and anytime you can think of it.

Beware of fruit shakes in drink stands with no access to purified water

Sure, they look tempting enough on the stands and what’s more is that they are reasonably priced as well. However, before you try every flavor available and go on a fruit shake bingefest, be a hundred percent sure that the water they have been using (and the ice for that matter) has been purified. Of course, this is not to say you should deprive yourself of the inexpensive pleasure of drinking beverages made from a drink stand. But, if it does not have access to potable water and has questionable sanitary practices, you might want to skip this treat.

Choose cooked over fresh food

While food freshness is key, if you are uncertain about the hygiene and sanitary practices of a particular restaurant or eatery, it would make more sense to opt for food that is properly cooked. Anything that has been cooked in high temperature will kill residual germs and bacteria that might have been sitting on the food. Keep in mind that though a food might be fresh, if it was improperly handled, there is still a likely chance it would give you the stomach flu. So, when you are in doubt, go for anything that is fried, boiled or baked instead.

Take it easy on the meat

Meat can turn potentially rancid in a significantly shorter time that vegetables ever will. More importantly, it is a lot meaner on your body when ingested. If you are unsure about how your meat is handled (or how long it stood), go easy on it and choose vegetables instead. As much as possible, reserve your meat-eating exploits within the confines of formal restaurants and eateries where it is guaranteed to have refrigeration.

Look for high turnover and low fly-count

If you are feeling a bit adventurous and would want to try the flavors of the street, look for stalls that have a high turnover of food. More importantly, scout for food stalls that do not have flies atop their food. Flies are vectors of disease and if they have sitting atop food for a while, there is a likely chance that the food would already be contaminated with bacteria and germs.

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13 Outdoor Activities to Entertain House Guests

picnic in the park with guests and friends

It’s rare to have visitors come to your home. On the occasions you have guests drop by your house at Vermosa, you always end up going out. You head to the expensive restaurant in the town center. If not, you stay at home and catch up. But, there’s only so much you can talk about in one seating. You run out of ideas and news to share eventually. You’re lucky if they visit you for a few hours. What are your plans if you have them as guests for a week?

When that happens, you’ll need a diversion. You must have a few activities in mind for the restless kids and adults who are looking for adventure. That way, you can separate your unruly visitors from those who want to take some time off. Outdoor activities are a great way to take your guests around town. It’s also one way to get quality time. Use the activities below to come up with activities to entertain guests. You can also do them with your family if you’re feeling stuffy indoors.

  1. Go to a dog park

Bring your guests to a dog park nearby to watch the different pets do tricks and play with their owners. If you have a furry friend, you can take turns walking, and playing fetch. While at it, use your time at the park to talk with other dog owners to get insider tips on how to take care of your pet.

  1. Visit the playground

Don’t let your kids play with tablets or gaming consoles the whole day. Take them to the playground. Most playgrounds are free and open to all. The adults can get their caffeine fix while the kids run around the place. If the playground isn’t available, you can go to an open court. Don’t forget to bring a ball that you will use.

  1. See the animals

You can visit a sanctuary or a preservation area to see some animals. You can look at different species of animals and see how they act when in their natural habitat. It’ll make you appreciate how unique each animal is. You can also visit aquariums and oceanariums if you’re into underwater creatures.

  1. Volunteer at a shelter

Use your spare time to do something good. You can visit a rescued animal center or a place for the homeless. Their families and owners often abandon the people in these shelters. Show your love and care for others by bringing some food or showering them with affection.

  1. Watch the town’s Christmas tree lighting

Most towns come up with different ploys to make their Christmas tree lighting eventful. You should drive to your town center to watch the big tree come to life. You’ll feel twice the excitement for the holidays when you have other people looking forward to the same thing as you are.

  1. Try ice skating

Having to entertain guests gives you an excuse to try out new things. If you haven’t gone ice skating, then you should bring everyone to the ice rink. You won’t feel ashamed of slipping and falling on your butt when everyone is also out of balance.

  1. See a historic site

Don’t be a stranger to your hometown. Know what makes the place unique. Going to different historic sites don’t only help you get you cultured. It also makes you appreciate what your hometown has to offer. Most of all, knowing the story or little details about each place preserves its history.

  1. Build a snowman and have snowball fights

Don’t think that the only thing you can do during winter is to stay holed up in your home. You can still have fun even when it’s freezing. Relive your childhood days and build a snowman. Complete the look with a scarf, top hat, and a witch’s broom. If that’s not your thing, you can divide yourselves into groups for a snowball fight. Be sure to wear thick coats, gloves, and knit hats to protect yourselves from the cold.

  1. Have a picnic in the park

Prepare your favorite sandwiches, snacks, and salads ahead of time. Pack a cooler with a variety of frozen drinks so you won’t have to pack ice. You bring foldable chairs and tables, or you can spread some sheets to sit on the grass. Before heading out, you should check the weather forecast. You don’t want to pack up in the middle of your meal.

  1. Go on a hike

Those who love going out and taking a sweat are sure to enjoy hiking. If you don’t have experience in hiking, you start with beginner trails. That way, it won’t be difficult on your way up.

  1. Fly a kite

Flying a kite requires skill which a lot of people don’t possess. You should invite your family and friends to try kite flying. It’s a great outdoor activity that allows you to de-stress and breathe some fresh air.

Before you invite your guests to outdoor activities, you should be clear about the expenses. Some of the things on the list are free while others require you to spend on materials and entrance fees. Talk to your guests first if they are open to a few expenses before you go over your itinerary.

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Outdoor Adventures: Four Common Mistakes First-Time ATV Riders Make

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“If happiness is the goal—and it should be, then adventures should be your top priority.” –Richard Branson

 

The Philippines is no stranger to All-Terrain Vehicle Rides (ATV for brevity). In fact, ATV in the Philippines has been considered a popular outdoor activity insomuch that many tourist places would offer it as an attraction. In this regard, many locals have expressed their desire to try out this ride at least once during the summer season or whenever they can.

However, while riding an ATV can look seemingly easy and straightforward, it is actually a lot more complicated than it presents. Many riders, particularly novices, make the mistake of underestimating the skill and dexterity it takes to ride an ATV. After all, how can it be any different than taking your regular 4-wheel car for a ride around the block, right?

Well, in some aspects you are right. Indeed, ATV quad cars are easier to manage over their two-wheeled counterparts. Furthermore, the chances of crashing would be mitigated given that it is easier to learn. Unfortunately, just because it is easy to learn does not automatically mean that it would be easy on a whole. More often than not, beginners make the mistake of overlooking the skills required to execute some techniques that would often result in crashes, rollovers and even injury. These would all have been avoided had they been given adequate instruction from the get-go. So, if you are planning on trying your hand on ATV riding and get into the sport, it might be helpful to know what mistakes you ought to avoid that had been committed by most first-time ATV riders. In doing so, you are better prepared for what you are getting into:

 

Failing to learn about the new terrain

Much of what makes an ATV ride so enjoyable is the terrain itself. In this regard, it is best if you not only knew of the terrain but learned it as well. Apart from guaranteeing you a more enjoyable ride, learning about the terrain would also prevent accidents and injuries. Taking off without testing the terrain first would lead to more rollovers.

Failure to install nerf bars

Nerf bars are what you would call the foot pegs of your ATV. They are important as they give your feet a place to rest. Be sure to get the bigger ones and not the traditional foot pegs that tend to make your feet slip off more than usual. Remember, foot pegs are installed to avoid the possibility of you dragging your feet while you are riding—a sure recipe for serious injury. Nerf bars do not only keep you safe by stabilizing your feet but would also allow you to have maximum control over the ATV.

Rolling Over

Because an ATV is bulky and heavy, many riders would think it unlikely to roll over unless one is incredibly inept at handling it. However, it is fairly easy to roll one over and once it does, you would not want to be at the bottom of the equation. Most riders end up underneath of an ATV sandwich by looping out which is typically done with hitting the gas and having little to absolutely no experience with the power of an ATV. From there, the front would spike up and would throw you onto your back and pinned underneath the vehicle. Another way to do this is when you underestimate the terrain conditions and continuously slide in mud and other slick conditions. Remember, the tires are there to grip the ground and if it is slippery to begin with, your vehicle’s wheels will have nothing to grip onto. With both of these in mind, do not step on the gas as if you intend to floor it, ease on it and gradually pick up speed and avoid speeding on slick terrains as well to avoid rolling over.

False sense of security

Many riders have developed this false sense of security that because it is fun and enjoyable to do, they overlook wearing the proper protective equipment which is an absolute no-no. An ATV does not have any seatbelts installed so you are likely to need protective gear and some extra precautions. For a safe and enjoyable ride, wear a helmet, a pair of goggles, gloves and riding boots—and this is just for the minimum. If you wish to ride and take on more difficult terrains, your protective gear should also include chest protectors, knee brace and the like.

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Staycation Ideas: 14 Activities You Can Do in Your Backyard

outdoor activities for the family

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It almost sem break! Most students are already making plans with their closest friends and best mates. They’re planning a beach trip, elaborate sleepovers playing video games and bingeing Netflix and out of town excursions. They look forward to their time off homework, tests, and projects.

Unfortunately, not everyone can be with their friends to do these things. Some students have to stay at Nuvali home to watch over their siblings while their parents are at work. Others have to guard their house and babysit their dog. Still, other kids want to stay at home with their parents. It’s not a bad thing to spend time with the ‘rents. But if you wish to have a great time during your break from school, here are 14 outdoor activities to do in your yard.

1. Create a theater out of vines and tree stumps

It’s a simple yet fun activity to do with younger siblings. Gather twigs, thick branches, and vines to make a roof. The tree stumps can be your platform or stage to showcase magic tricks and handmade puppets. Use old curtains or sheets as curtains.

2. Transform the shed into a den

If you don’t want your parents hounding you for always bringing your friends in your Cavite townhouse, you can use the shed as your hideout. Bring in some chairs or your old sofa. Install some shelves on the wall if floor space is limited. Use the shelves to store your stereo, books, and other stuff that keeps you and your friends entertained.

3. Have a drive-in movie night

Gather some cardboard boxes and paint over them. You can also allow the children to design their car for the movie night. Get a projector, a white sheet, and prepare a booth for the snacks to resemble a real-life drive-by.

4. Play Twister

You don’t have to purchase the game. You can spray paint circles on your lawn. Then, make your version of the spinning wheel using a bottle and printing out a copy or painting it on the grass.

5. Grow a moss graffiti

Do you want to do something crafty but still be out in the sun? You can write your favorite quote using moss. Moss is fairly easy to grow. It’s also safer to use than spray paint. You can use it on concrete walls, rocks or bricks.

6. Initiate a game of beer pong battleship

Carve out ships using styrofoam. Every time a boat sinks, the player takes a shot. You can use fruit juices instead of beer. That way, kids can join the fun.

7. Create a mini golf course

It’s a shame not to put your yard to good use. Another game that requires a bit of creativity and strategic planning is mini golf. Think of different ways how you can come up with a funky hole. You can create a ramp or use everyday items like plastic cups, books, and soup cans for your backyard golf.

8. Use plants to make a secret passageway

If you have a hedge, you can carve out a passage that is highly useful when you play hide and seek. If you don’t, you can always wait for it to grow until it’s thick enough to trim down.

9. Build an outdoor reading nook

Use leftover wood from a previous project to build a mini fort or a shelter. Make sure it the right size to fit a comfortable seating and a shelf to hold your favorite books. It’s sure to become your favorite place especially when the heat indoors becomes unbearable.

10. Blow out some bubbles

Everyone loves bubbles. Little kids will enjoy running in the yard to catch them. If you want big, long-lasting bubbles, you can add a teaspoon of glycerin for every tablespoon of soap and glass of water. The kids will be amazed to find out they won’t pop out too soon.

11. Play with ropes

If you have a few thick cables and cords, you can use them for making a zip line, a rope bridge or a rope course. It will not only force your body to move. It also tests your knot tying skills. You have to be sure that you tie them, so you don’t come across accidents during activities.

12. Raise some sunflowers to create a fort

Form a circle on the ground. Mark it by adding some soil over the seeds. Diligently watch over them so they would grow healthy. Practice your green thumb and see them turn into healthy plants.

13. Play water balloon pinatas

The game is simple. You need to fill the balloons with water and hang them on branches. Look for a long rod or a baseball bat you can use to hit the hanging balloons. Don’t forget to remind players to wear board shorts or their swimsuits.

14. Attract butterflies

Fill your bird feeder or outdoor fountain with overripe fruit. Butterflies are sure to catch the scent and stick around for days.

Getting bored is not an option even if you are staying at home. There are several things you can do even when you are just hanging at home. Try these 14 backyard activities with your parents, friends or little siblings so you won’t feel the blue during your break.