Ideas, Inspiration, LoveNotes

Ideas: 20 Fun Outdoor Nighttime Activities to try with your kids

It’s really fun finding things to do outside with the kids and grandkids during the day, especially as the weather warms up in the Spring or the weather cools down in the fall. And while daytime activities are plentiful, sometimes it’s not as easy to come up with things to do during twilight or evening hours so I created a list of possibilities.

Here’s a quick run down of the activities.  If you need more instructions…keep reading! Plus don’t miss two fun bonus ideas at the end!

Nighttime fun with kids!

 

1. Flashlight tag: this one is simple enough. One child gets to be “it”… the others run around like crazy trying to avoid getting “hit” by the light. Whoever is “hit” by the light is out, (unless, of course, they make it to “base”.) This continues until every kid is out. Last one out is “it” and game play starts all over.

2. Flashlight Limbo: This one works best with a smaller flashlight with a more streamlined beam. Just like regular limbo, the goal is to go under the Limbo light without touching it. Touch the light and you’re out! Play the song “Limbo Rock” in the background for even more fun!

3. Catch & Chase the Light: This is the reverse of Flashlight tag. In this version of the game the person who is “it” tried to avoid the other players who are trying to “catch the light”. No rules here they can jump in front of it or catch it with their head, hands feet etc. you may want to have a referee handy to make sure they kids are playing safely and there’s no cheating.

4. Chase & Catch each other’s Shadows: Every player will need a flashlight for this one. Players create shadows of other players and do their best to “catch” them. Again, just like Catch the Light it doesn’t matter how they “catch” them so long as some part of their body is touching a shadow. This would also make a great game for teams. Teams can strategize the best way to capture their opponent’s shadows.

5. Shadow Puppets: I remember being a kid and my mom or dad would make shadow animals on the wall. I found it so fascinating. Fast forward many years later and children everywhere are still fascinated by these fun and simple to do hand puppets. A simple search online for “shadow puppets” will reveal websites and videos to help you.

6. “Spooky Faces”: Using a flashlight, make spooky faces around a campfire while telling scary stories. Just hold the flashlight under your chin and let the shadows dance on your face.

7. “Shadow Theater”: Use a white sheet strung from two opposite sides and place a lamp or large flashlight behind it. Anyone standing behind the sheet and in front of the lamp will create a shadow against the sheet. Let the kids experiment getting closer the lamp (which makes them appear bigger) and getting closer to the sheet(which makes them appear smaller). They can also create flat paper puppets and other shapes that will also appear

8. Glow Stick Hide and Seek: This one is a favorite of my grandkids and can keep them occupied for a very long time! Get a glow stick, the larger ones are best, and hide it somewhere in the yard and let them find it.

9. Glow Stick Dance Party: Have your own clean version of a “rave party”.  This will be so much fun with different colored glow sticks as bracelets and necklaces worn stacked high. As a pre-party activity let the kids make their own t-shirts using glow in the dark fabric paint.  add even more fun to the party with non-toxic glow-in-the-dark powders they can toss at each other while dancing around. Hook up the music and watch the magic happen!

10. “Hot Peas and Butter”: Before the game begins, ask the children to pick an area that will act as Homebase. Then, just like Glow Stick Hide and Seek, this game requires that the stick is hidden by the person who is “it” while the other children look away.  Once the stick is well hidden the person who is “it” yells- “Hot peas and butter come and get your supper!”  The other kids come running and try to find the hidden glow stick.  The person who is “it” lets them know how close they are by saying: “You’re cold” if they’re not even close or “You’re warm” if they’re getting closer.  If a player is really close they say “You’re hot!”. This continues until a player finds the glow stick, now they’re “it”. The player then tries to tag another person to be “it” before everyone else gets to back to HomeBase.

11.  Catch fireflies (then let them go): This one is relatively easy.  I recommend clear plastic jars for the children’s safety and an adult can put some holes in the cap for air flow.  Just make sure to let them go afterward since fireflies will not last in captivity.

12. Outdoor Movie Night: If you have a projector and a sheet, this one can be great fun for the whole neighborhood!  If not, an inexpensive portable DVD player, a tablet, laptop or even a smartphone will do- as long as the family is together and cuddled up!

13. Make smores and share stories or songs around a campfire in the backyard:  Making a backyard fire is relatively easy.  If you’re not sure how to do it, a quick search will yield pages of how-to’s and you can even find some on Youtube.  Be sure to check with your city’s ordinances on open fires before you begin.  If you are able to make a fire, be sure to follow safety precautions – especially when dealing with children.  I also suggest that before you begin to make your smores that you prepare by creating individual baggies filled with the smores ingredients (Marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers) ahead of time or if you’d prefer, just fill the baggies with marshmallows to roast.  The individual baggies keep arguing to a minimum (because everything is distributed equally.) Although part of the fun is finding your own stick, you may want to have roasting sticks ready to go.  Remember, little ones will need adult supervision with this one. Enjoy!

14. Glow in the dark bowling, basketball, soccer, or volleyball ( be creative): These days it’s not too hard to find glow-in-the-dark sports balls, but if you can’t there’s always glow in the dark paint! you can even get packs to colored glow sticks and each team can be their own color. Go ahead, get your favorite ball and have some fun!

15. *Stargazing* or a Constellation/Planet Hunt: Laying in the grass, or on a rooftop, looking up at the stars is fun all by itself – I know – I do it often.  You can add to the fun by learning about the constellations and the planets (Venus, being the brightest) then together go on a “hunt” for them!  Make it fun…first one to find 5 wins a snacky prize!

16. “Capture The Flag” Game: One of my kids favorite game to play is Black Ops on the computer.  One year we decided to make the game come to life “Capture the Flag” style.  You’ll need two teams and a base area for each of them.  Make flags for your teams ( or let them do it themselves with some glow in the dark paint). Place flags in the center of “base” for each team.  The flags should be visible.  The goal is each team captures the other team’s flag.  Whichever team accomplishes the goal first – Wins! The way to add a Black Ops twist is to add in some key elements: Water guns, water balloons(grenades). silly string (or a net) to capture opponents and  flashlights or glow sticks to act as light bombs ( to temporarily freeze opponents.)  Discuss the rules before game play then Capture that Flag!

17. Do a Nature Walk: Ever notice how the neighborhood looks completely different at night? Night time is a neat way to show the kids the difference. Nighttime is also a unique time to listen for animal sounds or look for nocturnal animals because there are animals that are rarely seen or heard during the day.

18. Nighttime Hide & Seek: Just like regular Hide and Seek, except this game is best played in a closed in area where it is safe for children to wander around and hide.  If your backyard or your neighbor’s backyard has a bunch of trees or places to hide – go for it!

19. Nighttime “Marco Polo” (not in the pool): This is a fun variation on the summertime pool game “Marco Polo”.  Blindfold whoever is “it”.  The other players all hide.  The person who is “it” calls out, “Marco” and the other players call out “Polo” in an attempt to help the blindfolded person find them. The first person found and captured is now ‘it’ and gameplay restarts.  Be sure to remove any debris or large items in the area to keep the child tagged as ‘it’ safe from injury.

20 Nighttime Treasure Hunt: Using glow in the dark items, (simple toys painted with glow in the dark paint or wrapped in glow sticks will work fine) hide them throughout your yard and invite the kids to come find them.  You can take it a step further by creating a treasure map they can to follow to one big treasure- or- tie each item with string and wrap the string throughout the yard.  Let the kids follow their string with a flashlight. This idea is great for birthday parties since at the end of the string they will find their treasure -a party favor bag, perhaps?

BONUS IDEAS

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Bonus Idea #1: Sparklers!! Who doesn’t just love sparklers?! Whether you just let the kids hold them and dance around with them or get extra fancy with your camera and take pictures of them creating designs and words, sparklers definitely make for nighttime fun with kids!

Bonus Idea #2: Outdoor Painting!  Our team learned first hand how much fun it can be to paint out side at night!  Check it out here: “Moonlight Painting in the Park”©

We hope you enjoyed this! Let us know in the comments if you’ve tried any of these ideas!

LoveNotes

Where Is Your Joy?

The news these days is filled with so many bad messages and bad reports that I don’t watch it at all. Even on my Facebook page, I have to scroll through, or sometimes block, the many negative images that try to inundate my feed. Plus, if you’re a believer and you know what the Word says, it’s hard to bypass the fact that we are truly entering into the end times.  With all of this coming at us it’s easy to despair and allow ourselves to become overwhelmed by it all.  I know I have.

Recently, however, while I was praying, I heard the Lord say -‘Where is your Joy?’

The Word says… “The Joy of the Lord is our strength”  (Neh 8:10).  It also says “Rejoice in the Lord…Always” (Phil 4:4) and by always He means ALWAYS, but I know first hand how hard that can be.  Yet, the Lord in His Love and His Mercy is showing me that it’s okay to be joy-full because it’s all a part of His plan and His plan is always for our ultimate good.

So, I had to do some soul-searching and some research.  I prayed and asked for guidance and understanding, but most of all I asked for assistance in finding His Peace and His Joy in the midst of what appears to be pure chaos.  I found a book that seems to be helping me understand Revelations/prophecy better it’s called “The Merciful God of Prophecy” by Tim LaHaye, the writer of the Left Behind series.  While I haven’t finished it yet, I can say it’s very encouraging.

That’s why I’m writing today and going back to writing in general.  The first step in finding Joy (after receiving Christ) is serving others and I hope that through my obedience in writing, I am serving anyone that stops by this blog and is in need of an encouraging word or just food for thought.

See just like all of you, I go through hard times and I have moments when things aren’t the way I want them to be or the way I think they should be, but that’s when I have to turn to the source of all and remember: HE HAS A PLAN. It’s not easy, I know, to trust the plan, especially when you don’t know all the details and that’s okay.  Just know that all will unfold just as it’s supposed to.  Your job is to keep your eyes focused on the “prize” and find Joy in the midst of it all.  Encourage a friend or stranger, have dinner with your family, listen to a baby laugh or scroll through pictures of animals with funny faces; whatever you need to do, just find a way to smile and know that our Father in heaven loves us (yes, even you) and He loves to see us smile.

If you’re going through something today, know that you didn’t stumble on this post by accident.  I pray that our all knowing, all merciful God will help you find your way back to letting Joy into your life, again.  Children don’t need a reason to smile, they just do. I pray you find that child-like part of yourself and see the bright side of life, again. In Jesus, name, I pray. Amen.

If you’re one of those people that have the Joy of the Lord always or you always see the bright side of things – Great! Now, share some that with the rest of us!

Either way, Be Blessed!woman-570883_1280

LoveNotes

Better Than You Found Them

freedom-2237657_1280For me, this subject isn’t about what other people can do for the world, but what I can do for it. Growing up my mother used to tell my siblings and me, “Always leave things better than you found them.” The older I get, her words translate more and more every day into, “Always leave people better than you found them.”

The most important legacy that one can leave behind for their generations and for the world isn’t something always physically tangible. I feel that being more self-aware of the impact that we each have in the lives of one another and our surroundings can change society.

It is our everyday speech, actions, thoughts, and the inner workings of one’s own heart that gives us each the power to build our legacies for the positive. It is the reality that we have each created and possess within ourselves that is brought out into the world creating a “footprint.”

This “footprint” can be something spiritual, emotional, or physical and can either leave something negative or positive for society to work with. The choice, however, is up to us on which one to leave and what realities about ourselves we choose to accept and live out on a day to day basis.

By walking (and sometimes sprinting and running) through life, it is important that we as individuals make a decision to be sensitive to the things that matter, and let go of the things that don’t. I believe that by living life on an “on-purpose” basis and stopping to see the bigger picture, we have a chance to leave things and people better than we found them.

Thanks for reading.

Shiloe

 

LoveNotes

Living on Purpose

The most important decision that I feel I have made was to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior over my life.(Yes, this is about Him!) Although some might not see it as a big deal, I do because it has solidified everything that I felt was true about the world. When the truth is spoken to you, it resonates what you already know in your heart. That is what I felt when someone first introduced the Gospel to me.

Since I grew up never going to church or reading the Bible, my knowledge of what constituted a “Christian” was limited and skewed. I really didn’t even know why people went to church or the purpose of prayer; however, when the opportunity arrived for someone to share these things with me, my curiosity got the best of me and I found myself asking many questions.

I’m reminded of a quote spoken by Mark Twain: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” This is significant because within my walk with Christ not only have I grown as a person and learned about God, the Bible, and how the world works, but most importantly, I’ve learned about His love and how He wants us to live. For me, this decision wasn’t about giving up my life to be controlled, but rather, give it structure and a purpose to be free in who I am and extend my gifts to others.

In living on purpose, I don’t mean just consuming and being spontaneous, but being concise and on-purpose with every opportunity and person. Living to grow and leave not just a physical legacy, but one of good character and “pay it forward.” A legacy that people can look back on and see that it wasn’t me doing these things, but God Himself working through an ordinary person in an extraordinary way. I may not know the real reason that I’m here until the very end, but it is safe to say that a part of my purpose is to love and just “be.”

If you haven’t thought about giving your life to Christ, I ask you to take a moment and reconsider.  I know you’ll be glad you did.

Shiloe

Check out: The Invitation 101

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LoveNotes

Let Your Voice Be Heard

This is just my thought, especially since this is an election year, but I think that it is important for Americans to vote. Yes, I said it and I believe it because it allows for your voice to be heard. Although there are those that might feel disfranchised by their government because there is no such thing as an “honest” politician, voting does show generally what the nation as a whole wants. Politicians cannot address certain issues, such as education, for example, if students and parents do not vote.

Voting honors past sacrifices and our history, at least that’s  my opinion. America has fought many wars in the name of freedom, and I feel that for citizens to not put in their two cents for the sake of continuing that freedom is a real shame for not only our future but for our future generations. After all, voting and democracy is a luxury not found in many countries throughout the world. As a citizen of the free world,

I feel that one should exercise every right they possess while they are still considered free. If it is change that our society seeks, then we must take advantage of our power to vote and place the people in office that have the capability and the desire to make that change.

If you haven’t registered to vote or if you have registered and haven’t voted for some of the reasons I mentioned above, maybe you might want to reconsider.

As for me and all the other fellow voters, we hope to see you at the polls!

Shiloe

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LoveNotes

#lightbeautifulfree

Many years ago,  a family member of a then close friend came into my life.  His name was Frankie (RIP).  I didn’t know him well or for very long for that matter. Yet… he left me not only with the gift of having known him, even if for such a short period but with another gift – freedom and the permission to pursue it.  Frankie was the type of spirit you want to know – joyful, positive and peaceful.  He was the type of spirit you just want to be around and spend more time with.

Trust me when I say losing him was sad for the world, not just his family.
At the time, I was very much into divination (sorry, it’s true) and Frankie, I was told was very gifted, so I asked for one of his famous “readings”. What he gave me instead surprised me. We were all sitting on the living room floor with the two of us facing each other – when he placed his hand behind his back and asked, “What am I holding?”  Taken aback, I answered the first thing that came into my head, “A bird”.

“Give me three words that would describe it”

“Light”, I said since in my mind it was a little bird.new-1045954_640

“And?”

“Beautiful”, since in my mind all birds are beautiful.

“And?”

“Free”, and as the last word came out of my mouth, I surprised myself thinking that wasn’t really a description, although I thought it would be really nice to feel “truly free”.

So, I waited in anticipation for him to give me this grand vision of what that all meant. Was it some great metaphor for the amazing future I was going to have?

Instead, he said: “That’s you, Aida – don’t forget it”

At first, I was confused – and disappointed -what kind of reading was this? Where were all the great promises from the spirit realm?!! But I accepted the reading and promised not to forget.

Unfortunately, this gentle soul passed away a few months later, but he left me this gift. Over and over I have repeated these words to myself as I have moved forward in my purpose – remembering that nothing can stop me, but me. After so many years, I still carry that memory and advice with me. I also realized that the day I accepted Christ in my life, that that was the moment those words became truly real to me.

#lightbeautifulfree: I am light, I am beautiful and I am free…in Christ…

Be Blessed

Aida

LoveNotes

Lifelong Learner

So, right now, I’m back in school. It was an important decision for me, despite the challenges. I feel that getting an education either in an institution or on one’s own is important because it can help us grow both professionally and personally. Education exposes us new ideas, skills, and concepts that can enable us to thrive in all areas of our life.

One thing that I have learned is that if you do not know how to do something, either read it in a book, take a class, or learn from someone who is doing it. I call this being a lifelong student.

A lifelong student is someone who is naturally curious and young at heart. They embrace change and welcome new and upgraded ways of doing things. To me, a lifelong student is passionate about living life to the fullest and looks for new adventures, even if it comes from reading a book or trying a new recipe. Evidently, this is one way that people stay young and sharp in their older years.

It is imperative for people to grow in life, whether it be through experience or formal training. It also opens doors for more opportunities and allows for one to have an open mind. For me, education isn’t a temporary season or a stage that one goes through in life. It is an essential tool that I can use to fulfill my dream and purpose in life.

Maybe it’s the same for you? Let me know…

Shiloe

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LoveNotes

Uncommon Friendship

circus-366142_640Once, I (Aida), gave away our tent. No, no, nothing like the one pictured above. You know the kind of tent we would use for an outdoor show – yeah, that tent.  It was for a good reason and all that, but… I gave it away and then told Shi.

Yeah…I know.

Truth be told that sort of stuff happens fairly often.  Not in a bad way or a defiant way, just in a – “I think it’s a good idea” – way and I (or sometimes she) will just – go for it!

I’m writing this mainly because I really thank God for the friendship and business partnership that He has put together. I trust her and she trusts me, which is pretty darn great for two friends sharing a business.

But, besides trust, there is mutual respect, too. I wouldn’t cross a boundary or knowingly put what we are working on in jeopardy and I know she wouldn’t either.  That’s a great feeling!

So I just thought I’d share and Praise God for it in the process…also, I’d like to share a blessing-  May all of you that read this be blessed with an awesome Divine connection…

Be Blessed

Aida

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By the way –our tent looked more like this…

Events, LoveNotes

One Spark or Bust!

We’re trying to launch The Studio and getting ready for….. ONE SPARK 2015!

We’re so excited to be one of the 555 Creators that will be showcasing their projects/ideas at this great Crowdfunding Festival!  We will be showcasing a project near and dear to us: “The Bridge of Hope Project” and we’re doubly honored to have The Wounded Warrior Project as our hosting venue.  Yay!

Our project is aimed at bringing attention to Suicide and Mental /Health issues in a unique and creative way.  As artists, involved with other artists, we hope to use art as a vehicle to bring attention these important issues.  How you ask?  Well, let us tell you:

According to the US Centers for Disease Control, suicide ranks 9th overall in the top causes of death in the US for individuals over the age of 10 (http://www.cdc.gov/)making it a leading cause of death in the US. It jumps to the second leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 15 -34. It ranks higher than homicide, HIV and many other diseases.  These days it’s hard to meet anyone that has not been affected in some way either by knowing someone that has some type of mental illness, like depression, or knowing someone that has committed suicide – even if it’s a famous celebrity.  We personally know the impact of both, all too well.

Our goal is to create a unique and positive way to help people that may be feeling depressed or suicidal.  We will begin by creating and printing decorative mugs that will have encouraging impactful sayings on them to help brighten someone’s day.  You will be able to purchase one yourself or, better yet, purchase one to give a friend.

We then want to take it one step further… Our secondary goal is to get other artists to join our efforts in asking the City of Jacksonville to allow us to create murals throughout areas of the city where there have been large numbers of suicide or attempted suicide.  It is our hope that if someone were to see the murals with positive, inspiring sayings and images, that they would be inclined to think twice and look forward to a new and better tomorrow.

 

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We hope to follow in the footsteps of people like Don Ritchie (RIP) , a man in Australia who, over the course of 45 years officially prevented 160 suicides near his home. Or, maybe in a small way, we’d like to be like our amazing host venue The Wounded Warrior Project that does so much for our country’s veterans.  However, even if we only just reach one person- it would all be worth it!

Hope to see you at One Spark!

Be Blessed

**THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED TO INCLUDE PICTURES FROM OUR ONESPARK ADVENTURE**