Fun and Games This Easter With an Easter Egg Hunt!

Step number one is to theme the surroundings where you plan to hold the activity. So get in some Easter decorations such as bunting, helium balloons, streamers and baskets which should feature rabbits and eggs. Then decorate your house, garden or any other area the egg hunt will feature to create a delightful atmosphere.

Once you’ve decorated we can move on to the next step which involves the eggs! You need to have a variety of multi coloured plastic eggs which can be filled with treats such as sweets, toys, stickers and small amounts money. Make sure that in one of the eggs (which you will later hide very well) write a note with the words “Egg Hunt Winner – Congratulations”. Once your eggs are ready you need to hide them. It’s best to hide them in a range of ways – some made easier to find for the younger children and some made harder to find for the older children. Don’t forget that the egg with the winners not in it should be made the hardest to find! At this point you may choose to do an egg hunt map – perhaps if your area is large or for smaller areas simply produce a list of clues.

Now the next step is totally optional, so you can choose if you want this or not. To collect the eggs you’re going to need some bags to give out. You can buy them in already made and themed or alternatively add an extra activity in for the kids and get them to decorate their own. On a large table place some plain paper bags, coloured pens or pencils and some Easter themed stickers. When the party goers arrive get them do decorate their own bags for the hunt. Once everyone has decorated and personalised their bag, the hunt can begin! Set the children off!

When you know all the eggs have been found – gather the children into one area. Ask everyone to look inside their eggs for the winner’s ticket and once identified, award them with the main Easter prize (this could be a huge Easter egg, large chocolate bunny or something with a symbolic religious Easter meaning).

Now that the hunt is over, why not serve refreshments afterwards? You could create an Easter soft drink cocktail, some finger food such as sandwiches and even some Easter cakes or cookies. We hope that’s given you some great ideas for Easter games and activities to make your party full of fun and excitement!

The 5 Most Popular Chinese Toys and Games in America

Different ancient Chinese toys and games have made it to America, and have become deeply entrenched in our culture. Kids of all ages and even adults enjoy these games, some of them turning into a sport, while others had uses in realms outside of fun and games.

Here they are, the 5 most popular Chinese toys and games in the U.S.:

1. The Jump rope. Yes, that’s right! Originally made in China. Jump rope has been around for centuries and its origins can be attributed to hemp rope makers. The rope makers tie one end of the bunch of hemp to a wheel and walk with the hemp backwards away from the wheel to twist the fibers into rope for a clearance of 900 feet or so. People who did other work had to jump across the length of rope that cut their path. This occupational practice turned into a game that up to now children all over the world still enjoy.

2. The Kite. Kites are said to have originated 2800 years ago, made of silk, silk twine and bamboo. What was then an apparatus to convey military signals and measure distances have now become a popular pastime. Not only that, kites are still being used in the fields of science for harnessing wind energy, meteorology for predicting weather conditions, and for other practical purposes.

3. The Chinese Yoyo. This Chinese toy has only started to get big in the U.S., but it has caught wildfire and should be in the mainstream during this generation. The Chinese yoyo is a toy made up of two discs or cups of equal size joined by a long axle, rotated on a string that connects 2 sticks. Different tricks and juggling acts can be performed using these yoyos, which are still being used by professional jugglers and enthusiasts.

4. Mah Jong. Mah Jong is known as a gambling game even up to this time but it could be played just for fun. It is believed to be an ancient Chinese card game, and has evolved into several variations from country to country.

5. Dominos. Despite the Latin derived name, the modern dominoes are believed to be a Chinese invention, dating back to 1120 AD. They used to be played on wooden sticks resembling popsicle sticks, but later was manufactured with tiles used for Mah Jong. Today dominoes are being played at professional level.

These Chinese toys and games are still widespread all throughout the world, inspiring the invention of other new toys based on their concepts. Some games and toys may have surfaced, but these mainstays have been around for how many centuries. It definitely looks like they’re here to stay for many centuries more.

Home Improvement Tips: Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home

Reasons for A RedoHome improvement projects often begin with someone saying, “Wouldn’t it be nice if… ?” usually followed by a wish for a remodelled kitchen or a room addition for space to accommodate every family member’s needs. More often than not, reality and dreams don’t coincide, due to limited funds for realizing the dream, or limits on the available space. The trick: turning your dreams into reality. Begin with a realistic evaluation of your needs. Homeowners usually consider home improvements for one of the following reasons.You may feel the need to update something that is out-of-date. If your kitchen colour scheme was perfect a few decades ago but no longer works, now may a good time to update it.Some home improvement projects grow out of an immediate need to replace broken or inefficient fixtures. If a sink, tub, or toilet needs to be replaced, consider taking advantage of the opportunity to do a makeover on the entire bathroom.If you’re preparing to sell your home, you’ll want to be sure to get top dollar from the sale. That’s great motivation for some home improvement projects.You have decided that staying put and improving your home is a better option than moving.Your family has grown and you need more space.Improving to Move? or Improving to Stay?Evaluate your plans carefully if you’re improving your home to list it for sale. Cutting corners may hurt your prospects rather than helping them. But don’t go overboard either. Potential buyers may prefer not to pay for some of the extras, such as a hot tub or pool. You’re better off keeping the changes simple.And remember that buyers who view your home may not share your tastes and may not appreciate the care you took to find just the right shade of green paint for the walls.You’ll find that improving to sell is easier if you can think about it from the prospective buyer’s point of view: What is important to the home buyer? Here are a few remodelling projects buyers are likely to find valuable:Adding or remodelling a bathImproving the kitchenAdding a new roomLandscapingAdding a bedroomAdding or enclosing a garage.If you’re remodelling because you want to stay in your home, you should still avoid over-improving it. You’ll probably want to sell it someday, and even if your house is the best on the block, it may be difficult to convince potential buyers to pay for the things you considered important. And when you consider making improvements, keep in mind the value of other homes in the area. Your home’s value should not be more than 20% above the average, which means that a $10,000 kitchen improvement project well could be a better investment than a $10,000 hot tub, especially if yours will be the only home in the area with a hot tub.Home Maintenance versus Home ImprovementsIt’s unfortunate that some home improvement projects are undertaken because something has broken. Replacing a leaky bathtub may be the first step to a major bath remodeling: since the tub has to be replaced anyway, why not do the whole room?While that might be a legitimate reason to remodel, avoid basing your home improvement projects on immediate needs. You’ll be better off if you minimize problems with proper maintenance. Examine every part of your home at least once a year. Check the roof, the plumbing, electrical wiring, etc. As soon as become aware of a problem, fix it. Making repairs when you’re first aware of them will help you avoid larger expenses later on. Keep in mind that maintenance does not add to the value of your home. Usually repairs are not improvements; they are necessities.Hiring Professionals May Save You Time and MoneyIt should go without saying that home projects can be expensive, so you may be tempted to tackle them yourself as a way to save money. That may be a smart move for small projects. You won’t have to wait for someone to fit your house into their busy schedule, and you can boast about having done the work yourself.But unless you’re very versatile, major home improvements are better left to professionals. If you decide to remodel the kitchen and plan to do the work yourself, will you be able to handle the plumbing, electrical, and carpentry work on your own?. And don’t forget that you’ll need to finish it quickly, because you won’t have a kitchen as long as it’s a “work in process” and eating three meals a day in restaurants could get expensive. Keep in mind, do-it-yourself jobs generally take more time. And you’ll be responsible for getting all the necessary permits and inspections.Hiring people who have the required experience can save you money and time, too. For example, these professionals can help you get a custom look using stock products, and that can be a significant savings. Getting something done right the first time will give you value that lasts for years.To find qualified and dependable home improvement specialists, check with friends, business associates, and neighbours for recommendations. Always get at least three references, and check them out thoroughly. Also check with the local chapter of the Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce. Their numbers can be found in the community services section of your telephone book.Once you’ve located the necessary home improvement specialists, make sure everyone is in agreement about the design, the schedule, and the budget, and get the details down in writing in a signed contract.It’s also wise to check on professional certifications and licenses, where required, and be certain that the contractors you hire are fully insured and bonded. Your town or city Building Department can provide that information. And it’s very important that you make sure contractors carry workers’ compensation insurance: if workers are injured on the job, you won’t be liable if the contractor is covered. Request copies of their insurance certificates. And make sure that either you or your contractor have gotten any necessary permits before the work begins. Contact your local Planning and Zoning Commission for information.Here’s a quick overview of some of the professionals you may need to work with when you remodel your home:Architect: Architects design homes or additions from the foundation to the roof. If your project will require structural changes such as adding or removing walls, or if the design is complex, you will probably need an architect. Since architects may charge an hourly or a flat fee, make sure you get an estimate of the total cost: drawing up the plans for a major remodeling project can take 80 hours or more.Contractor: The contractor oversees the home improvement project, including hiring and supervising workers, getting the necessary permits, making sure inspections are done as needed, and providing insurance for work crews. It’s always a good idea to get proposals from one or more reputable contractors, based on the specific details of your project.Be sure each contractor bids on exactly the same plan so that you can compare their bids more easily. When you’ve chosen a contractor, make sure the contract specifies that you will pay in stages. You’ll usually pay one third when the contract is signed so that the contractor can buy supplies. The number and timing for making the remaining payments will depend on the size of the project. Do not make the final payment until all the work is successfully completed, inspected, and approved.Interior Designers: Interior designers are specialists who will provide advice on furnishings, wall coverings, colors, styles, and more. They help save you time by narrowing your selection, and save money because they usually receive professional discounts from their suppliers. When meeting with an interior designer, be sure to tell them about your personal style and preferences. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150 per hour, or you may be able to negotiate a flat fee of approximately 25% of the total project cost.