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Free Printable Board Game

I’ve had the privilege of meeting some very extraordinary young men since we’ve moved here. Not only are they engineers, but together they’re the brains behind a new company, Boulder Board Games. While many other young people are spending their free time on facebook whapping each other with pretend pillows or buying imaginary cows on Farmville, these fellas have been using their spare time cooking up come fun of their own.

It’s my understanding that their first game, Thrive, was invented during a school break while they attended the University of Colorado. This game is available in .pdf form for print, and includes a manual. Thrive is a game involving Geopolitics and energy independence. Find it here.

Their most recent game, Raid, is full of pirate fun. The game is not only expandable, but can be tailored to your needs– you determine the length of play. You can see a sample of the game in the video below. This one will be up on Kickstarter in April to raise some funding to have the game produced.

It’s nice to see younger folks doing something with those great minds they’ve got. In addition, as avid game players my family is always looking for something new. Check out Boulder Board Games and show some support.

Free Entrance Days in the National Parks

National Parks @ Three Cornered Hug

February 15th-17th happens to be a free weekend at many of our national parks (including the nearest and dearest to me- Rocky Mountain National Park!). Many are already free, but this will include those that typically charge an entrance fee.

Check out their website to see other free dates throughout the year:
http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm
So get out there and enjoy yourself!

Letterboxing: A Real Life Treasure Hunt

Letterboxing @ Three Cornered Hug

Image by Krzysztof Szkurlatowski; 12frames.eu

Part mystery, part scavenger hunt, part pirate pastime- letterboxing is a great way to get some fresh air and add a little adventure to your hikes.

What is letterboxing? Well, it’s a hobby similar to Geocashing, except that it utilizes a set of mysterious directions in place of the GPS. It’s been extremely popular in England for quite some time, but didn’t catch on in the US until the 1990’s. In short, you hop on to a letterboxing site to find some boxes that have been planted in your area. You will need to make up a neat nickname for yourself (or your group/family), get a “logbook”, and buy or make a stamp that represents you well. Following the clues and instructions found online, you locate a box, which will contain it’s own stamp, a log, and possibly some other cool things. You use your stamp on the log in the box, and use the stamp from the box to record your visit in your logbook. It’s best to put a date next to both stamps.

Later, you’ll have a record of all of the places you’ve visited, and the person who planted the box can see who has been there. This is a great activity (especially for boys) which may help you to see your area in a new way, and maybe find some spots you’ve never seen before. It’s also fun to take your stamp and book on vacation with you to get stamps from different states (or countries!).

*BONUS!* Besides the initial cost of the few supplies, and some gas–letterboxing is FREE!

Here are a couple of sites to help you get started:

http://www.letterboxing.org/ (on the top you can see the tab “Getting Started” which is a good place to….get started)

http://www.atlasquest.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letterboxing_%28hobby%29 (This wiki has a little more detailed info on the different kinds of boxes, etc. You may want to wait to read this one!)

Once you’ve found all of the letterboxes in your area (or if there aren’t many), maybe you’ll want to go out and plant some for others to find. Now go out there and have fun!

If you have a boy, you NEED this! DYI PVC Building Set

PVC Building Set @ Three Cornered Hug

A seemingly simple idea has provided us with a lot of fun–especially during the winter months when we need active indoor ideas.

We first saw a set like this at a kid’s museum (Cincinnati maybe?), and my son and husband spent forever lingering at station. When I got home, I thought–how expensive could that be? Well as it turns out, some of the little connectors add up, but overall, this is a good deal when you consider the cost of Legos and other building sets for kids. In addition we’ve been able to use this in so many more ways!

So, the set up is basic. We bought several long lengths of PVC pipe from Lowe’s and cut them down to 1′ lengths. We did this the hard way (with a hand saw), but a friend who borrowed the idea had her handyman husband cut them with an electric saw, which was much more accurate and faster. If you do this, I suggest you find a friend with a good saw.

Then, we basically bought every kind of connector we could find. AND THAT’S IT! See? I told you it was simple!

The amazing thing is all the different ways your kids will find to use these. You can make a structure which you can throw a blanket over for a fort, you can get a hose attachment and use them outside for a wacky sprinkler, I have seen kids make letters with them–the possibilities are endless! (If you blow into them just right they make a weird sound, too- like a sheep’s horn!)

So, what are you waiting for? Run out and get some! You won’t be sorry! (Unless you don’t warn your kids ahead of time about using these as swords)

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Field Trip: Hammond’s Candies- YUM!

One expected thing we stumbled upon since moving to the Denver area is the Hammond’s Candies factory. Only about 20 minutes from my house, they are busy making yummy goodness all day long- and giving free tours every half hour. Tours that start with a free candy-maker’s hat, and end with a free candy cane right at the door to their store so you can take home a sugar rush in a bag (not free)!

I have to admit, even though I expected it to be fun, it was really so much more than I thought it would be. It’s amazing watching the candy get shiny as it’s pulled and later extruded from the machine, clipped, and bent into canes or twisted into lollipops! It’s thrilling to watch the little candies go through a chocolate waterfall…oh that waterfall…

Hammond’s has been featured on Food Network, Travel Channel, Fox and more!

I know this post may be useless to many of you, but if you’re anywhere in the vicinity, you have to visit Hammond’s. If you’re not, you can check out their website or get a little taste of the fun by starting the video playlist below. One of the vids even features Al Roker and the biggest lollipop ever!

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Beat Summer Boredom: DIY Sidewalk Paint

DIY Sidewalkpaint @ threecorneredhug.wordpress.comThis is something we’ve done every summer for the last several years. Kids of all ages love it, and children come from all over to join in–even those that one might think would be “too old”.

Sidewalk Paint @ threecorneredhug.wordpress.comIt’s a pretty simple recipe. You can just put a little bit of flour, or even cornstarch into a disposable cup or storage container and add a little bit of water at a time until you get a thick consistency, almost like gloopy pancake batter.

Next, you add, some food coloring until it looks nice and vivid. Red tends to require more, and I used a really concentrated dye this time. DIY sidewalk paint @ threecorneredhug.wordpress.com

I know the biggest question here is, “Will it wash off“? The answer is yes, it will wash off of your sidewalk, but it may not wash off of your kids’ clothing. Make sure they dress accordingly 🙂

Sidewalk paint @ threecorneredhug.wordpress.com

Beat Summer Boredom: Printable Paper Planes

Printable Airplane & Helicopter PatternsSome years ago, I found this great site for printing out plane and “helicopter” templates. I’ve found that they never, never cease to amaze kids. The planes have varying degrees of difficulty, but the helicopters are so simple, it’s ridiculous, and they’ll keep kids busy for EVER- especially boys. And just a warning: if you make a boy one of these copters, he’ll want you to make more. Many more. You can make them fly just by throwing them up, but if you’re a cool mom you’ll let the kids stand on a chair.

*note: you’ll need a paper clip for each little helicopter.

Find the templates here.