Tag Archives: games


Creative Games for Your Dog

Lately, we’ve been focusing on our health, our families, and delicious desserts. While all of these topics are all well and good, our furriest family members are left out of the fun. Take a moment to honor man’s best friend by checking out these puppy-approved games!

Is your pup a little too plump for his britches? A treat ball like one from PetSmart is perfect for dogs who get more treats than exercise. Put treats in the middle of this hollow ball. You can also put dog goodies in the easily-accessible outside craters if your dog deserves double treats. With the alluring scent of the dog treat holding his attention, your pup will entertain himself for hours, all while getting much-needed exercise.

PuppyThis doggy version of “hide and seek” takes a twist on a childhood classic. Doggy hide and seek is simple to set up, easy on the wallet, and perfect for a rainy afternoon. Thanks to Disney’s Babble for this DIY idea!

All you need are small-to-medium-sized empty boxes, your dog’s favorite treat, and little quality time to spend with your pup. If your canine friend is on a diet, substitute treats with toys. Place the boxes around a room, or multiple rooms if you want to take the game to the next level, and place a treat under each box. Tell your dog to “go find” the treat. Keep in mind that you might have to point to a box housing a treat the first few times you play so that your dog can learn the game. It will not take long for your dog to learn to find and flip over boxes hiding the treats! Kids love setting up this game, too.

Lost KeysOnce you and your dog are doggy hide and seek pros, stimulate your dog’s brain with this game from DogProblems.com that is incredibly useful for the household humans. This game is a twist on doggy hide and seek but adds a little more complexity to the mix. Do you have problems with losing your keys from time to time? This doggy game will solve your problems!

  1. Attach a small piece of leather to your key chain. Spend two minutes pinching the leather between your thumb and index finger. This will transfer some of the oil in your skin to the leather and link your “scent” to it.
  2. During your next game of doggy hide and seek, substitute your key chain for the treat.
  3. When your dog finds the bucket that hides your keys, lift the bucket to reveal your keys. At this point, abundantly praise your dog for his feats and make a big deal about your dog finding the keys. You may also want to give a rewarding treat to your dog, at least at first.
  4. Finally, you can start hiding your key in other places around the room, away from the buckets. Start out easy. Place them on the floor, next to the couch, or anywhere your dog can almost stumble upon them quite easily.
  5. After a few days, you should be able to hide your keys in some really difficult places, and your dog will be able to find them for you.
  6. Imagine how handy this trick will become when you really lose your keys!

Give your dog the tender loving care that he deserves with games that will keep his tail wagging for hours. For more dog tips, check out our collection of canine reads that will help you be as loyal to your dog as he is to you.

What other games does your dog love? Share below in the comments!

st. patrick's crafts

St. Patrick’s Day Ideas

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, which means it’s time to think about festive recipes, decorations, and crafts for the special day. Here are a few of our favorite ideas:

1.) Recipesrainbow-cupcakes

Let your inner leprechaun out by creating some of these fun recipes. If you’re looking for a festive recipe to make with your kids, consider Rainbow Cupcakes. First, make a white cake mix according to package instructions. Then divide the cake batter between five bowls. Put a different color of food coloring into each bowl of batter. Spoon some of each colored batter into cupcake tins. Bake according to package directions. After the cupcakes have finished baking, they will look like the colors of the rainbow. Frost them with blue frosting. Pipe white frosting on top for clouds. Decorate them with Airhead Extremes Sour Belts for rainbows and Rolos for gold coins. Kids will love these colorful and creative cupcakes! If you want more fun recipes to make with your kids, subscribe to Yum for Kids. For a classic corned beef and cabbage dinner, combine 4 cups of water and 1 corned beef brisket with spice packet (most grocery stores carry the brisket around St. Patrick’s Day) in a pressure cooker. Close cover tightly. Turn regulator knob to pressure and select high pressure. Cook for 45 minutes. Next, cut a head of cabbage into 8 wedges. Combine the cabbage with 2 chopped red potatoes and 1 can of chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add 4 chopped carrots and 1 chopped onion. Cover and simmer 20-25 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender; drain. Release pressure cooker according to manual instructions. Remove beef to a serving platter. Discard cooking liquid. Serve beef with cabbage, potatoes, carrots and onion. This recipe serves around 4-6. You can find more classic, traditional recipes like this one from Taste of Home.


2.) Decorationsst. patrick's day jars

Trying to add some Irish flare to your home? For an easy-to-make decoration sure to add extra St. Patrick’s day charm to your household, use puffy paint to draw shamrocks and write sayings on Mason jars. Next, spray paint the jars green. Fill them with flowers or other decorations. You can also spray paint wooden blocks and stencil Irish sayings onto them. If you’re hosting a party at your house, consider making a green yarn wreath to stick on the front door. You could also hang a horseshoe on the door. For more simple ideas like this one, consider a subscription to Real Simple. The magazine is filled with easy decorating, craft, and recipe ideas designed to simplify life for today’s busy women.


3.) Craftsst. patrick's crafts

If you have young children, make finger paint rainbows with them! To complete the craft, you will need white and black construction paper, rainbow paints, glue, scissors, and gold glitter glue. Start by cutting a black “pot of gold” out of the black construction paper. Glue it onto the bottom corner of a piece of white construction paper. Then, have your child dip their pointer finger into one of the paints. Starting at the pot, make an arch across the rest of the page. Continue making arches with different colors, wiping off their finger before switching to a new color. After you’ve finished the rainbow, use the gold glitter glue to decorate the “pot of gold.” For a fun craft to give their teachers or friends, put a layer of gold-foil wrapped chocolate coins on the bottom of a Mason jar. Top the coins with a row of blue skittles, then a row of green skittles, then a row of yellow skittles, then a row of orange skittles, then a row of red skittles. Put some miniature marshmallows on top for clouds. Tie a gold ribbon around the lid. This is a cute, creative, and simple craft idea! For more details like this one, subscribe to Decorating Digest Craft & Home Projects.

May the luck of the Irish be with you!

Family Fun magazine February 2012 cover

How to Get Your Kids to Enjoy Cleaning Up

Family Fun magazine February 2012

Family Fun magazine Feb. 2012

Turn the chore of cleaning into a fun game with three great tips from Family Fun magazine.

It usually starts bothering me around dinnertime. The mess of toys that my children have slowly strewn about our house throughout the day reaches its peak in the evening. If you walked into my otherwise fairly neat house at the end of the day, you’d likely find a partially constructed tent in the dining room, an abandoned Lego tower in the den and every matchbox car we own lined up carefully down the hallway. I know I should get my preschoolers to put away one toy before getting out the next, but their games often involve a little bit of everything all at once.

On many evenings, I have them clean up on the way to their baths. But I have to admit that on some days I’m so eager for them to get to bed that I’d rather put away wooden blocks in peace myself after they’re asleep. Still, I know I need to do a better job of involving them in the cleanup, and an article in the February 2012 issue of Family Fun magazine gave me some great ideas. I love that each tip is from a real mom who’s tried it on her own kids.

Here are a few that we will be trying at our house:

  1. Shine Your Light. Heidi Lee of Coronado, Calif., plays flashlight tag with her kids to get them to pick up their rooms quickly. She turns out all the lights and shines a flashlight on a particular item that needs to be put away. Her kids love racing around the room to grab what’s been tagged. “My 6-year-old has even cleaned up his sister’s things, just so that he could play the game,” she says.
  2. Start the Clock. This one works better with kids who understand the concept of time. Cristin Frank of Williamsville, N.Y., assigns each child  few tasks and then asks them to guess how long it will take them to do the job well. She sets different timers and they race to see who can finish their jobs closest to their estimated times. “While the kids are working, they’re focused on the clock, not on the fact that they’re doing chores,” she says. My preschoolers don’t understand time yet, but they thrive on competition. I might try setting different timers and seeing who finishes first, emphasizing doing the job well. I have visions of every dollhouse piece being shoved into the oven of the toy kitchen just to be done “first.”
  3. Make it a Mystery. Heather Tomasello of Land O’Lakes, Fla., has created a brilliant game called “cleaning fortunes and cookies.” She writes different tasks on slips of paper, such as “put away toys” or “clean windows.” Then her kids each choose a slip at random and complete the tasks they’re given. Some slips say “Mystery! Ask mom.” For those jobs, Tomasello requires something funny like dusting while walking backwards. “The word ‘mystery’ makes these slips the most popular,” she says. If you reuse the slips each time (only including tasks that need to be done that day) you can quickly implement the game when it’s needed. The cookie part comes in the end: “After all the cleaning fortunes are done, we enjoy a cookie together,” says this creative mom.