Lakeside Selections: Rainy Day Activities for Kids

For kids fresh out of school and excited for summer vacation, waking up to a gray, rainy day can be pretty disappointing. Games are cancelled. The grass is a muddy mess. Lightning branches across the sky and puts puddle-splashing plans on hold. Thankfully, for most kids, the disappointment is temporary. It’s summer vacation, and there’s still plenty of fun, creative activities to do indoors. Here are a few rainy day activities for kids that will help pass the time and transform a drizzly afternoon into an exciting indoor adventure.

Build-a-Fort-Kits

Creative Campsite

When the rain is falling, the living room can be just as appealing as the backyard. With a Build-a-Fort Kit, kids can construct their very own fortress. Use the fabric panels, rope, clips and suction cups to design the fort. Once it’s built, kids can bring their toys inside and use the included glow wands as an exciting way to illuminate a favorite activity. Kit also includes a storage bag. Adult supervision suggested during assembly.

MLB-1,000-Pc.-Panoramic-Puzzle

Rain Delay Ready

Just because the ballgame is delayed doesn’t mean your kids can’t spend an afternoon on the diamond. They can easily celebrate their favorite home field with the MLB 1,000-Pc. Panoramic Puzzle. The large puzzle is perfect for the entire family, satisfying puzzle enthusiasts as well as die-hard baseball fans. Each puzzle offers a sweeping view of their favorite field from inside the stadium, and the humongous piece count provides a challenge that rivals hitting a grand slam or striking out the side with runners in scoring position.

Discovery-Kids-Spaceship-Laser-Tag

Sci-Fi Solution

A rainy day is the perfect occasion for a little friendly competition. With the dual player Discovery Kids Spaceship Laser Tag game, kids can score hits by firing invisible infrared beams. With each direct hit, the spaceship-shaped shooter makes intergalactic sound effects and vibrations. The shooters have a dome on top that lights up and an easy-to-grip handle with a ‘fire’ button. Effective shooting range up to 33 feet. For indoor and outdoor play. Reset and reload button. On/off switch. Requires 6 “AAA” batteries.

Wood-Shut-the-Box-Game

Great Mind Game

Whenever your kids need a break from running around, they can still enjoy a friendly, competitive activity at the table or on the family room floor. With the Wood Shut the Box Game, kids have the opportunity to hone their math skills while trying to defeat their opponents. A traditional game of counting and probability dating back to the 18th century, the strategy game involves rolling dice and using combinations to shut down your numbers 1 through 10 before the other players. For 1 to 4 players. For ages 8 and up.

Stuffing-Free-Farm-Animal-Dog-Toys

Play with the Pup

Dogs are stuck inside on rainy days just like everyone else, and are almost always excited to get involved in your kids’ fun games. With the Stuffing-Free Animal Dog Toys, your kids can pass the time playing fetch, tug-of-war and much more. Sold as a set of four, the durable toys will bring out your dog’s natural instincts, and the stuffing-free design means they won’t make a mess if they get too wild and accidentally tear open a hole. The soft, easy-to-grab toys have two squeakers inside for double the fun!

10 Things To Do To Pass The Last Week Of February

FebruaryWe have finally reached the end of February, and it seems like the winter will stretch on forever. Spring is right around the corner, but you need to find some fun ways to get through this last icy patch. Here are 10 things to do to pass the last week of February.

  1. Clean out your closet. Spring often means new fashions. Make some room for those new looks and get your winter clothes ready for storage with a little work. Check out these tips to get to the bottom of your closet clutter.
  2. Binge on your favorite show or movie series. Binge watching is the newest way to keep up with the best in entertainment. Thanks to online streaming services and DVDs, it is possible to watch entire seasons at once. Catch up with a show you love or are curious about, or dig into a film trilogy.winter-running
  3. Start training for a summer run. Join a gym and start off on a treadmill for an energizing workout. Talk with your doctor first, and follow a beginner’s program to get moving.
  4. Begin a new book. Feed your mind with a new and interesting book. Start a reading habit with a bestseller, or try out a piece of classic literature. Winter is the perfect time to curl up with a book.
  5. Build a winter campfire in the yard. If your city or homeowners’ association allows it, set up a backyard fire pit and have a winter campfire. Don’t forget the s’mores and hot chocolate.
  6. Play snow soccer. Give your favorite sport a winter twist while keeping warm by running around in the snow. Make sure to check out your playing space for ice before you start, and use a brightly colored ball so you will not lose it in the snow.
  7. Build a model or puzzle. A model or a puzzle is a wonderful way to pass the time alone or with a group. Start with a small puzzle and work your way up to something more complex.playing-game
  8. Make an indoor fort or a snow fort. It’s always delightful to create a space just for fun. If there is snow on the ground, use it to build your own fort to prepare for a snowball attack. Stay indoors and pile up pillows and combine it with a fort kit for hours of fun.
  9. Go on a winter scavenger hunt. Try one in the outdoors to show children the beauty of nature in winter, or set up some clues indoors for a cozy treasure hunt.
  10. Play a new board game. Set up a family game night, and try something you have never played before. Rolling the dice on something different will keep you from getting in a rut, and you may find a new favorite.

Soccer Mom Must-Haves

soccer-momSchool is back in session and that means it’s time to work sports into your fall schedule. Whether your kids are new to the field or you’re a veteran to the sidelines, here are some soccer mom must-haves so you can show your support all season.

Comfort You want to be as close to the action as you can and seating isn’t available at every soccer field, but you need to be comfortable when you give your soccer player a shout-out – have a collapsible chair handy in the car. And, for the most part,  games are played, rain or shine, so keep this in mind as you pack your car. Bring gloves, ponchos and umbrellas so when the weather turns, it won’t turn you away.

soccer-momCravings Every good soccer mom has a cooler packed with snacks and sodas for her hungry brood and their friends for after the game – but while the game is on, you’ll need to do snacking and sipping on your own. Bring a travel mug full of hot coffee — it goes well with the fall weather.

Camera Your smartphone likely has a camera on it, but in case you don’t have enough cloud storage for all of the action shots you want to take of your soccer player (that perfect header or that surprise save) having an extra contraption to capture those once-in-a-lifetime moments couldn’t hurt.

soccer-momConclusion Winner or not, your soccer player needs just as much support after the game as he does during the game. Make sure to bring him a change of clothes and a blanket to stay warm, a first aid kit to bandage any scrapes and bumps and a big hug just in case he didn’t hear you cheer from him on the side lines.

Being a soccer mom is hard work – getting everyone to and from games with enough energy to root for your team can drain you, but if you’re organized, you can cheer with the best of them.

Fall Football Kickoff: Tailgating Tips

tailgatingPartying in the parking lot before a game has become as much of an institution as the sport of football itself. Tailgating can be so much more than just a cooler of drinks and a portable grill. It is a movable feast of food and fun that can get complicated. Here are some tailgating tips to make sure you don’t miss anything and have plenty of time to enjoy yourself.

Food and Drink Plan your menu ahead of time to ensure you have everything you will need. Hot dogs, hamburgers, kabobs, barbecue chicken, and brats are tailgate classics. Pack the right charcoal or propane canister to cook them on your portable grill. Sides like chips, potato salad, deviled eggs, and dips are a must. If you or your guests are watching what you eat, try some lighter options. For dessert, try something sophisticated or go for home-baked favorites like cookies and cupcakes. Y ou can even whip up icing in your team’s colors. A wide variety of drinks chilled in a cooler of ice will tackle your thirst. If the forecast suggests a hot day, include plenty of water and sports drinks to keep everyone hydrated.

tailgatingBase Camp Essentials The spot around your vehicle will be your headquarters during the party and the game, so make sure it is fully equipped and comfortable. Bring a portable canopy to keep the sun off your spot and help your party stand out in the parking lot. Camp chairs and a folding table to hold all the food are necessary. For safety, pack a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, and extra sunscreen. Stay on top of all the game action with a radio or portable television. Remember plenty of batteries or a generator and extension cords for all your electronics. Pack a box or bag with the plates, cups, utensils, and napkins, and throw in cleaning supplies like garbage bags, paper towels, and extra water to put out a charcoal grill.

Games and Fun Tailgaters begin the party hours before kickoff. Lawn games and other portable pursuits give the guests who are not cooking something to do. They also keep children out of the chef’s way! Many games like bean bag toss and ladder ball are delightful for all ages. Kids practice their aim with hoop toss and mini disc golf. Take along a football for a game of catch.

tailgatingDesignated Drivers Perhaps the most important things for any party are the designated drivers. This is especially true for tailgating parties. Because they are held often at crowded stadiums, it can be difficult to catch a cab after the game is over. If you are hosting the party, encourage your guests to plan ahead to carpool to and from the tailgate site. If you are a guest, make sure you know how you can get home if you enjoy a beer or are simply tired out by all the fun.

Fall and football go hand-in-hand — here’s to a great season!

End of Summer Countdown: 6 Ideas for Having Fun with Your Family

Family-FunAugust is Family Fun Month! We’re counting down the days before the kids go back to school, so we want to make the most of the time we have left with the family. Here are 6 ideas for having fun with your family.

Be Nostalgic Put together a family time capsule. Have everyone collect items to remind them of what they did this summer – shells from the seashore, artwork, postcards, photographs, small toys, books, calendars, lists of your favorite intangible items (TV shows, songs, bands), ticket stubs (movies, airline, sporting events). Put all the items in a sturdy container that locks out moisture, seal it and make sure you have an open date clearly written on it. Burying it could ruin the contents, so store it in a cool dark corner until it’s time to open it.

Be Active Play a game outside. Badminton is a great game for the family because you can play as individuals or as teams and it doesn’t take a lot of athletic ability for it to be fun for just about any age. If you want to do something less competitive, plan a family day at the pool.

Family-FunBe Hungry Go on a picnic. Choose the most beautiful park in your community and plan a big portable meal. Get everyone to pitch in to make the food and prepare the coolers for an afternoon of eating in the outdoors. Make a whole day of it by planning games or flying kites.

Be Creative Make a summer family scrapbook. Have all the photos of everything you did this summer – include individual activities like Girl Scout camp or tennis camp. Come up with scrapbook themes and ideas as a family. Give everyone a few pages to decorate and include pages for journaling about how each of you spent the summer.

Be Curious Plan a treasure or scavenger hunt for around your block. Scavenger hunts are a great way for kids to explore the neighborhood and see it from a different perspective. Hunts encourage team work and give families the opportunity to communicate and interact. It sparks unique quality family time you won’t have during the school year.

Family-FunBe Constructive Build something as a family. A tree house or a fort in the backyard will be fun to plan and make together and the kids will get use out of it for the next few months. But even smaller items like a table or bench made from an upcycled wooden pallet to add to your outdoor décor is fun for the whole family to build and enjoy. If you don’t have the time or materials to build something permanent, there’s no shame in building a blanket fort in the backyard.

The summer has flown by, but it’s not over yet! Enjoy the summer with your family while you can! Check out our emails and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more  #familyfun as the summer winds down this month.

Tips to Pull off a Stress-free Kids’ Birthday Party

The birds are chirping, the sun is shining and your kids have spring fever. Add planning a birthday party to that and you have the recipe for the perfect headache. But a birthday party doesn’t have to be a chore — here are tips to planning a stress-free kids’ birthday party.

kids-moms-birthday-partyPlan Reasonably

Remember to take on only what you can handle. Not every parent is a party planner, but most parents want to be pleasing parents.  A good party doesn’t have to be a grand party.

Involve Your Child

Let your child’s personality dictate what kind of party you throw. If he or she is shy, have an intimate party where your child feels comfortable. If he or she is an extrovert, a bigger party with more games might be appropriate. Don’t force your child into something you want, make it about what they want.

Themes

Start with a theme. Themes add consistency to the party. When the decorations, food and drinks all coordinate, it’s easier to streamline planning. This is something you can recruit your child to help you with. If he or she chooses the theme, it will likely be a hit.  However, stay away from themes that require costumes. It adds stress to the planning and it may be asking too much of other parents.

Invitations

You don’t have to invite the entire class. Keep it simple and invite just girls or just boys. You can even do the “age plus one” rule and invite one more child than the age your child is turning. 10 nine-year-olds is much more manageable than 25 nine-year-olds and it’ll be a better opportunity for the kids to bond in a way that’s not like being in class.

Kids-birthday-cakeYou don’t have to do paper invitations, but if you want to keep your child part of the fun process, he or she can help with them – just make sure to send a follow-up email so you know it gets in the hands of parents. Otherwise, the Internet has many options for sending out cute invitations through email.

Internet invitations allow you to be very specific. Extend the invitation to allow as many family members you’re comfortable with and they can RSVP with the exact number of attendees.  The “drop-off age” is typically five, so assume with caution the child is the only one attending from ages five and up.

Include the start and end time to give you added control around clean up.

Delegate

For food and decorations, involve the whole family. Don’t take on all of the responsibilities yourself. Have your spouse take care of the grocery shopping. Have your kids help bake and decorate. Everyone can take part in set-up and break-down.

Bookend with Fun

Start the party with your best game and end with cake and ice cream. You want to get them interested at the start of the party and you want to keep them interested until the end.

kids-birthday-party

Image credit: http://thetimecapsule.c5host.com

Goody Bags

If you want a no-stress party, skip the goody bags. Kids don’t expect them so they won’t know the difference. What the kids are there for is fun and cake. Save yourself time, money and energy by leaving goody bags out.

You don’t have to go bananas for your child to have a blast and the less stressed you are, the more fun you and the party will be.

 

7 Ideas for Throwing the Perfect Weekend Party with Kids

Family-Party

As we grow, the term “party” seems to evolve. In college the word meant “all night experience” filled with lots of friends and unknown shenanigans. But things like a full-time job, children and other responsibilities get thrown into the mix as we get older. We have a few ideas that can incorporate the entire family when throwing a fun weekend party.

Keep it Simple, Keep it Small

It doesn’t have to be tiny, but when you want to keep both kids and adults entertained, it’s easier to keep everyone engaged when there are fewer people to deal with. No one gets overwhelmed, and parents can keep track of their kids.

Invite Adults with Kids

It’s easier to keep kids interested in the party if they have other kids to play with. Having playmates will make the party feel less like a chore for kids – you can even encourage them to invite their own friends. There’s more incentive for them to get out and have a good time if they have someone to have a good time with.

Game OnFamily-dancing

To stir things up and get guests of all ages mingling, make a game the centerpiece of party. Divide everyone up into random teams, have several big games like charades or a dance competition planned that involve team-work and keep score. Everyone stays involved, everyone behaves and everyone has fun. It also gives the party a clear beginning, middle and end so guests and kids can gauge their comings and goings.

Go Easy on the Booze

If you’re serving alcohol, keep it simple and stick to single-serving beer and wine for the adults and soda for the kids. The single-servings will prevent mix-ups with mixers so the kids stay safe and the adults can still have fun responsibly.

Host as a Group

Divide the hosting responsibilities up and give everyone a job to do. It will keep kids busy, involved and feeling important. The pressure of entertaining the kids will be taken off parents and it will keep the adults socially active.

Taco-Bar

Photo credit: http://frostmeblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/mexican-fiesta-party-ideas-and.html

Make the Food Fun

A build-your-own taco or burrito bar will keep the kids as well as adults active and interactive. With finger foods and barbeque, it’s easy to walk off on their own to eat.  They have more opportunity to talk with everyone and stay engaged if they have to fiddle with their food rather than if a grab and go buffet is an option.

Hard and Fast Times

Have a set starting and ending time. It’ll save you the grief of putting a cranky child to bed and your friends will be grateful that they have answer to the question, “When are we leaving?”  It doesn’t seem like it would be a big deal, but try a party with kids without a closing time and you’ll notice a difference.

 

10 Christmas Party Games For Kids You Definitely Should Consider

Kid-Christmas-gamesChristmas is a very joyous time and is particularly fun for kids, who don’t have to go to school, get to have fun in the snow and receive presents. There is a lot of good food and plenty of sweets and the house is decorated and lit up, so you can expect the little ones go a little crazy with excitement. There are a number of great Christmas party games that you can play with your kids to give them a more creative and constructive outlet for all that extra energy.

1.Crafting presents

Kids love to get creative and use different materials and tools to craft unique items. You can use this fact to your advantage and kill two birds with one stone – just set up a crafting area where kids can draw, paint, make sculptures and have them create presents for each other as well as other family members. They can even create cute Christmas tree ornaments.

2.Gift wrapping and Christmas tree decorating

Have the kids help out with the preparations – they will have fun, your job will be a bit easier and you won’t have to worry about them running around the house while you are doing the decorating. You can use items that the kids have crafted as tree ornaments or decorations around the house. You can also hang up their paintings around the house.

3.Hidden treasure

Get up a little earlier in the morning and hide a couple of toys or bags of candy (you can use those chocolate gold coins as the perfect treasure) around the house or yard and prepare little hints in a form of a riddle or an encrypted treasure map.

4.Snowman competition

Divide into teams and see which team can build a snowman the quickest. You can switch up the rules and judge the quality of the snowman or the size, see who can build the most mini-snowmen in a couple of hours or build the best snowman family.

5.Building a snow fort

This one requires some space in your backyard and a lot of snow, but it is incredibly fun and you can use the fort to play tons of different games. It will take a good part of the day to get it right and you can customize the fort gradually over the next few days.

6.Snowball fight

The fort can be a perfect setting for a snowball fight – one team can defend it while the other attacks or you can play capture the flag, where you have to get the opposing team’s flag back to your base to win a round. Alternatively you can just make it a free-for-all and have everybody play against everyone else.

7.Sled racing

Sled races are some of the best fun you can have in the winter, for both kids and adults. Just make sure the hill you are sledding on isn’t too steep. The kids will already be wearing multiple layers of clothing and thick jackets, but  you don’t really want to have to worry about anyone getting hurt.

Captain-America-Costume

Image Credit: www.costumecollection.com

8.Dress up

Since you will need to get your kids dressed in layers of clothing, it is a great idea to make a game out of it. Hey, even Superman wears his costume underneath regular clothes, so you can buy a superhero costume and some superhero-themed socks, hats and underwear for them to wear instead of the boring plain clothes. Getting dressed will no longer be seen as a chore – it will be something they can’t wait to do.

9.A Christmas play

Speaking of dressing up, you can organize a small costume party and have the kids act out a short play. It can be something Christmassy with reindeer and Santa; it can be an epic battle from one of the latest superhero movies; it can be about medieval knights and dragons and so on. You can even get the kids to work with you on the play and help with set design and choreography.

10.Fun with Santa

Of course, no Christmas party would be complete without Santa Clause. You can hire a Santa, but it is much easier and cheaper to just rent a Santa costume and have a family member wear it. .

There are a lot of fun things you can do around Christmas and the most important thing is to give the kids some way to apply themselves in a creative manner, while keeping it safe.

Image Credit: womenontheirway.com

Big Cash Kickoff Sweepstakes — Everything You Need to Know to Get That $500!

Lakeside-sweepstakesWhether you’re a fan of college football, prefer the pros, or just look forward to tailgate parties, you’ll love our Big Cash Kickoff Sweepstakes that could earn you a $500 American Express gift card to use on any of our merchandise. To make your chances of winning even better, we select two lucky winners every day from now through Sept. 16, so that’s $1,000 a day in prizes that you could win!

NFL Gear
It’s no secret that the Lakeside Collection has some of the best NFL gear for your home, and with an extra $500, you could spend it on showing your team spirit. Get a new, licensed NFL grill cover to keep your grill in great shape for backyard barbecues and game-day parties. Is your team set to play postseason games this year? Show your faith in their late-season success with a fleece throw that’s as cozy as it is colorful. Take it to your next outdoor stadium game or tailgating party when temperatures take a dip. You can stock up on all of this and more if you’re one of our sweepstakes winners!

Retail, Remodeling and Holiday Shopping
Of course, you don’t have to be a football fan to score big with our sweepstakes. With an American Express gift card, you can choose how to celebrate your luck. Use your winnings to redo your kitchen decor, pick out that new tool set you’ve been wanting, or invest it in a new library of how-to books. Choose a new fall wardrobe for you or your family, and enjoy the prices and quality you’ll find at Lakeside. Take care of holiday shopping for your friends and family a few months early with an unexpected win. From NFL or college football merchandise to make-up kits, how you spend your prize is up to you.

Enter to Win
Our sweepstakes have been phenomenally popular events, so we’re giving you more ways to enter your name and win. Click here to start.To give everyone a chance to participate, sweepstakes entries are limited to one per day, but you can double your chances of winning when you share the news about the Big Cash Kickoff with your friends. It’s easy to spread the word; just follow the instructions on your entry form after you’ve submitted your entry, and your information will be entered twice for that day’s drawing. If your name is selected as one of our lucky $500 prize winners, we’ll notify you quickly, so you can enjoy your gift card as soon as possible.

We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the start of the new NFL season than with a sweepstakes event. Imagine how much bigger your next barbecue or tailgate party will be with an extra $500 to spend any way you like. For 30 lucky winners, that daydream will come true; enter today, and one of those winners could be you. You might want to get your end-zone celebration dance ready just in case!

Let the Games Begin

The Olympics are upon us. While the Games have technically already started with soccer, the London 2012 Opening Ceremony takes place today. As you settle-in for 5,535 hours of TV coverage across several channels, here is some interesting trivia you can share with friends and family.  The below trivia is from topendsports.com

– When London hosts the Olympic Games in 2012, the city will become the first to host the Games three times:1908, 1948 and 2012.

– Greece is the only nation to have participated under its own flag in all modern summer Olympic Games.

– The only Olympian ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize was Philip Noel-Baker of Great Britain, who won the silver in the 1500-meter dash in 1920.

– At the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, silver medals were awarded to the winners and bronze to the second place getters.

– More athletes than spectators attended the 1900 Paris Olympic Games.

– Oscar Swahn became the oldest gold medalist when he won gold at 64 years and 280 days old in 1912