My family recently came across a walking labyrinth for the first time and now we’re hooked. We literally stumbled onto it during a college campus visit. Thinking that I would be the only one excited about this, I was surprised when both of my young kids jumped in and walked the entire length with complete focus.
Of course, I was quite impressed by this. It was a ten minute, non-digital oasis when I didn’t have to field questions about snacks or break up arguments. They were totally in the zone.
It is a simple, yet powerful, principal; you are set into forward motion, you have momentum, and knowing the end is not too far away, you’re committed to twisting, turning, and spiraling until you reach it. What a great exercise for focus in an age when people (of all ages) can use it the most! I left wanting more, so I’ve since tracked down several other nearby labryinths and we’re excited to visit them.
To find labyrinths near you, visit labyrinthlocator.com, where you can search a large database of labyrinths that includes useful information such as: directions, accessibility, hours, pictures, etc. You can search by city, zip code, or state. Both private and public labyrinths are listed, and while some aren’t open to the public, it’s still fascinating to view the pictures and marvel at these labors of love.
Sorting through data by state produced too many results over too wide of an area to sift through. Yet, I didn’t want to exclude any nearby small towns located in other zip codes that were still within reasonable driving range to me. A map of nearby labyrinths would be ideal, but since that wasn’t an available feature, my solution was utilizing zipmap.net to make a short list of a few zip codes within an acceptable driving range, then searching each of them on the labyrinth locator. I quickly found several labyrinths very close to me, and was especially surprised to find that I drive right past a few of them daily. Now that I know they are there and available to the public, it’s on my spring to-do list to hit as many as possible.
A day or so after our first labyrinth find, I noticed something interesting about a carpet at preschool. I think this may be an example of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon at work. It’s amazing what you can notice, or miss, depending on how you look at things and whether or not your mind is primed.
If you visit any labyrinths near you, send a picture and I’ll post them here! Stay curious and keep exploring!
Through some random play in the kitchen, we stumbled upon the fun that is launching toy tops from a pot lid. It still hasn’t gotten old.
I love exploring new hobbies and interests, and while there’s not nearly enough time in the day to keep up with all of them, one of the few that has stuck over the last few years is juggling. Not only is juggling extremely fun and a classic neat trick to have up your sleeve, it also comes with other powerful benefits. For one, it’s really good exercise, especially when I’m learning new tricks and dropping balls everywhere. It’s also really good for your mind in a variety of ways, and has been linked to increased grey matter in adult brains. I’m looking forward to teaching my kids what I’ve learned so they can gain the same benefits, and so we can eventually learn to do awesome passing tricks!
Learning to juggle three balls takes a quite a bit of patience and focus at the beginning, but that’s also what makes it so fun and rewarding as you start seeing results. It’s honestly not very difficult if you understand the basics and practice smart. This just means breaking it down to the smallest and simplest parts and mastering them before moving on and adding complexity. So, are you ready to give it a try?
Some great beginner tutorials can be found on YouTube. I like this channel from Expert Village, which teaches beginning techniques for three balls, but quickly advances into many other tricks. Be prepared to spend a lot of time on just the first few videos, and do not be in a rush to move on too fast.
Your initial goal should be mastering the very first exercise, then each succeeding step, in order to lay the foundation for which you will build all of your technique and skill. I can’t stress this point enough. I tried and failed at juggling several times when I was younger because I didn’t follow the basic rule of breaking it down to the simplest movement and mastering it before moving on. This idea is actually quite universal and can be applied to learning many other skills.
By doing the above, you’ll have mastered the three-ball cascade before you know it! Now, you can take this experience plus the added confidence boost and apply it towards your next project. On the other hand, if you’re enjoying your new hobby as much as I am, you can continue to delve deeper. Just like when you are learning to play a musical instrument, there is an infinite amount of new skills as well as “tricks” you can learn to take your ability to the next level.
If you’re like me and you just can’t wait to jump in to something, go ahead and watch a tutorial, grab a few makeshift juggling balls (small scarves, oranges, baseballs, etc.), park yourself in front of a couch or a bed (a great beginner tip), and have at it!
In addition to juggling balls, I’ve grown curious about learning how to juggle clubs as well. I’m in the process of making DIY juggling clubs from household items. Be sure to check back soon to hear more about this project!
My daughter has moved from writing her alphabet to full words and phrases, and evidence of her recent practice explosion has been popping up everywhere. It all started as a desperate attempt to communicate her Christmas wish list to Santa.
After finally exhausting all Christmas wants and desires, she continued her momentum with a barrage of notes addressed to our pets. We found notes left for the animals on their food bowls.
It’s been fun finding notes all over our house, but by far my favorite note is the very last one I found while tucking myself into bed after a looong day.
I always thought it’d be fun to take the kids on a hunting expedition for fossils, trilobites, geodes, or other cool rocks, but never had a clue where to look or how to get started. It was just happenstance that I spotted a FalconGuides Rockhounding book at the library. I started flipping through it immediately upon returning home, and was excited to find a site of interest in my hometown. I grabbed some gear and loaded the family into the car to join me in some impromptu rock hunting before dinner. We were looking for cabbage head quartz, which turned out to be ripe for the picking, because everyone had found at least one specimen in under twenty minutes! The rocks have a really unique circular pattern that look like flowers, or cabbage heads. Now that our first hunt was a success, we’re excited to plan another expedition soon to add some other neat rocks to our collection. It’s amazing what sort of new wonders are lurking just around the corner, waiting to be discovered. The trick is to be curious about the world around you. There’s always more to learn and discover, no matter where you live!
I admit, I’ve been acting very childishly these last few years. I’ve spent a lot of time engaging in really silly, pointless stuff, like stacking Dixie Cups as high as the laws of physics will allow. I hide in the shadows with my Nerf Arsenal, sweating through the inevitable charley horses, yet remaining silent and motionless until my next victim strolls by.
My television diet consists almost entirely of cartoons, while my actual diet has recently featured ice cream after every dinner. Don’t worry though, I’ve been spending a lot of time on breakfast, the healthiest meal of the day, because it does take a really long time to make pancakes into the shapes of animals, comic book characters, and my kid’s names. Speaking of comic books, I’ve started collecting them again for the first time since I was a teen. The kids and I never miss our weekly Wednesday pilgrimage to the local comic book store. Some comics we read together, others are just for daddy. I haven’t just been wasting time though. I’ve become a master at many of life’s most useful skills, like papier-mâché, kite-flying, and all things bubble.
Yeah, so that’s what I’ve been busy doing. Playing. I’ve been playing harder than ever. Having been an only child who was trying way too hard to act like a grown-up, it’s nice to have a second chance to play like a kid again. I have a great excuse, too, because these priceless, everyday opportunities to bond with my children belong just as much to them as they do me. I’m teaching my kids that it’s important for everyone, not just kids, to make time for play. I want them to smile wide and often. This is my #powerofdad.
The folks at P&G Oral Care get that it’s the day-to-day little moments in fatherhood that bring the biggest smiles. That’s why they are teaming up with both the March of Dimes as well as “Football’s First Family,” New York Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning, his father Archie, and his daughter Ava, to encourage healthy and happy families and to celebrate wonderful fatherhood moments with their #powerofdad campaign. Check out their video that celebrates just that, and join in by sharing your own favorite fatherhood moments using the hashtag #powerofdad.
As Father’s Day approaches, I can’t think of a better way to keep the special father in your life smiling brightly than with the Oral-B 7000 BLACK toothbrush. This toothbrush is packed with industry leading technology that features 8,800 oscillations per minute, signaling for switching quadrants, a SmartGuide wireless display that lets you know you when have brushed thoroughly for the suggested amount of time, and Indicator® bristles that lets you know when to replace the brush heads. Did I mention that this baby accelerates to its top speed faster than an actual race car?
I’ve been supremely happy with my own Oral-B toothbrush (an older model), and was proudly surprised when my last two dentists asked what my secret was to super clean teeth. I’ve put it through the ringer for the last several years, but now it’s time for an upgrade and I’m stoked about the Oral-B 7000 BLACK. Fortunately, I can scoop up the #powerofdad coupon (and you can too!) for a fast $7 off the Oral-B 7000 BLACK toothbrush! Pick one up for the special father in your life, and don’t forget to keep playing, smiling, and making those precious fatherhood memories!
Disclosure: I partnered with Oral-B and Life of Dad, LLC for the #PowerofDad Father’s Day promotion and was compensated for my involvement.
I came across this gem of cell phone video taken one year ago, when the kids were still good little shoppers and before we were banned from our local market.
This past weekend we stopped by Bass Pro Shops (the kids call it the “fishy store”) on a whim and were pleasantly surprised to find Santa’s Wonderland open for business. This seasonal event wasn’t on our radar when we decided to stop in, so it was a bonus for the kids. Santa’s Wonderland is an activity-packed event located inside Bass Pro Shops. It’s open now through December 24th, AND, it’s free!
Some of the activities featured at our location included:
- Carousel rides
- Daisy air rifle shooting gallery (don’t worry parents, it’s electronic, so your kids can’t shoot their eyes out).
- Model trains
- R/C truck obstacle course
- Crafts and carnival games
- Letter to Santa station (One of the nice things about the letter to Santa station is that we finally learned what my daughter wants for Christmas)
- Free studio-quality photo with Santa!
The only thing we didn’t have time for was the photo with Santa. The line was long, and we felt it a bit early in the season for a Santa photo, and most importantly, it gives us a reason to come back again soon.
For more information and participating locations, visit the Bass Pro Santa’s Wonderland online.