Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mancala Game

This is the easiest homemade game ever! This is a popular game in Africa and Southeast Asia. It's popularity is due mostly to the fact that it cost next to nothing to make.

What You Need: A egg carton, 48 tokens (seeds, pebbles, pennies, dimes, buttons, paper clips, beads, etc), two small cups

What To Do: Carefully cut the top off the egg carton, leaving just the bottom. Put 4 tokens in each of the egg carton cups, or "houses". Place the egg carton between the two players with a cup at either end. The six houses closest to you are your houses.

The object of the game is to empty your houses  before the other player. Players alternate turns. On their turn each player picks up all the pebbles from one cup on their side of the board and places them one by one in the cups around the board in a counter-clockwise direction (to the right on your side, then to the left on the opponents side), including his cup, but not in the opponent’s cup.

BONUS:  You can have kids decorate the egg carton and cups before playing. 

There are many different ways to play this game so look some up or make up your own!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wind Sock

This is another creative and fun craft to help your kids to enjoy the outdoors this summer. You can use up all that left over streamer/tissue paper that has been collecting from parties and gift wrapping.

What You Need: 
1 piece of card stock/heavy paper
Streamers or colorful tissue paper cut into strips
pipe cleaners

What To Do:
Have children decorate the card stock however they'd like. When they are finished help them construct their windsock by gluing/taping strips of streamer/tissue paper along the edge of the back of the cardstock. Roll the card stock into a tube so that the streamers hang from the inside and the decoration is on the outside. Glue/tape closed. Create a handle on the top of the windsock by twisting two pipecleaners together and taping them to the inside of the cardstock like a rainbow.

Foil Wrapped Pineapple Chicken

This quick lunch or dinner is great for parties and bar-b-ques  or anything else where time is not on your side. Plus kids will love the individual pouches.  Easy to make fun for kids!

It's also another way to utilize the Hoisin sauce from the Chinese Chicken recipe.

What You Need:
Chicken Breast cut into chunks
Pineapple chunks
Minced garlic 1 tsp
Soy Sauce 2 tbsp
Hoisin Sauce 4 tbsp
Onion Powder
Ground Ginger
Black Pepper
Chives 1/2 tsp
Corn Starch 1 tsp
aluminum foil

What To Do: In a bowl mix Soy Sauce, Hoisin Sauce, minced garlic, cornstarch and chives. Sprinkle Onion powder, ginger, pepper, and a few squirts of honey into the mix. Mix well. Add chicken and pineapple chunks. Mix well and let marinate in the refrigerator at least 20 minutes -(the longer the better) Cut aluminum foil into squares so that when a pouch is formed it will sit in your palm.

Spoon chicken mixture into the center of the foil square and join the edges to make a pouch. Make sure to get some sauce in there, this will help keep chicken moist.

Place the pouches in a pan and cook for 40 mins in a 350 degree over.  Or Place them on a hot grill for 30 minutes.  Try not to over cook or the chicken will dry out.

Let cool and serve.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Felt Roads

Here is a simple way to help give your little ones Matchbox' and Hot Wheels a place to drive - that's not the edge of furniture, your leg, or expensive plastic track sets.

These customizable felt roads are easy to make and inexpensive. They can be arranged and re-arranged over and over in any combination your child can imagine.

What You Need: Black Felt, Yellow/White felt, scissor, craft glue, cardboard

What To Do: Cut the black felt into strips wide enough to drive a toy car on. Cut the yellow felt into thin strips and then cut those into strips about an inch long. Glue the small yellow strips onto the black felt roads and Viola! You're done. Use the cardboard as backing to make them extra durable. 

Tips: Because you're making them you can cut out whatever kind of roads you want: soft curves, corners, Y-shaped merges, 4 laned highway,  S-shaped zigzags. 

Store your roads in an hard pencil case or an old wipe container. 

Use them with train tracks, lincoln logs, plastic trees etc.