When it comes to family entertainment in Washington, DC, any parent will attest to the fact that it has to entail something that excites kids as well as adults. Certainly the nation’s capital has no shortage of war museums and memorials, art museums and galleries, as well as many historical sites. However, if the children are going to be entertained, which makes it much more plausible that the parents will enjoy their time, then most of those choices are probably not going to be an option. Instead, the focus should be on castles, space travel, a zoo and even a monument or two. Now we’re talking fun for the whole family.

Wait! There are castles in Washington, DC? Well, there is one castle and it serves as the information center for the Smithsonian museums and the admission to “The Castle,” as it’s called, is free. There are two orientation theaters, interactive touch screens in six languages, electronic maps, and scale models. Constructed in 1855, the Castle was the original Smithsonian museum building, housing all Smithsonian operations, research and administration, lecture and exhibit halls, the library and reading room, laboratories, storage areas for specimens, and living quarters for the museum’s Secretary and family, as well as visiting scientists. Later, in 1881, the current Arts and Industries Building opened next to the Castle and would come to house most of the museum’s collections at that time.

The Smithsonian Institution was actually established some years earlier with a donation from James Smithson, a British scientist who lived from 1765 1829 and who left his estate to the United States to found “at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” President James K. Polk signed an Act of Congress on August 10, 1846, establishing the Smithsonian Institution. Since then, the Smithsonian has grown to become the world’s largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums, the National Zoo, and 9 research facilities. So, why stop at visiting the Castle? Why not continue on to all that the Smithsonian has to offer, which certainly will keep the family entertained for days, if not weeks.

For starters, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has the world’s largest collection of aviation and space artifacts available in one place and it encompasses every aspect of human flight, from Kitty Hawk to the moon. Having opened in 1976, there are exhibitions on aviation, space exploration, and planetary science, with programs featuring educational activities and performances that reflect the American spirit, innovation, and courage in the history, science, and technology of flight. The museum is also home to the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, the scientific research unit within the museum.

After spending a day or two at the National Air and Space Museum, the family can head over to The National Museum of Natural History that was made famous in the movie Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, which also featured the National Air and Space Museum. Parents might want to watch the movie in the hotel room as a motivator to visit the actual location. Opened in 1910, the museum houses our national collections and is by far the world’s most notable museum and research complex in the world. The main building is located on the National Mall and contains 325,000 square feet of exhibition and public space featuring more than 126 million natural science specimens and cultural artifacts, including 30 million insects, 4½ million plants, 7 million fish, and 2 million cultural artifacts, just to name a few.

Only 17 more museums and a zoo to visit! As you can see, just the Smithsonian alone offers enough activities and family entertainment in Washington, DC, without ever stepping foot in the White House or the Capitol Building.

School holidays are an exciting time of year for your kids, but they can also be an equally stressful few weeks for you. The reason being is that it doesn’t usually take your kids more than a few days to start complaining that they’re bored. Once they’ve watched every cartoon twice, played all of their video games and had all of their friends stay over, there isn’t much left for them to do, and you’ll be the first person to hear about it.

Your kids’ two to three weeks of freedom need not feel like a prison term for you, however, so the best solution would be to have a bunch of fun activities stashed up your sleeve in case of a boredom emergency. Here are some cool and unusual kids’ games and activities for you to try out when the next school holiday comes around.

Back garden camp out

One of the main gripes amongst the older generations is the amount of time kids spend indoors with their digital companions, especially during their holidays. An impromptu camp out in your back garden can easily solve this issue. So whenever your kids start to complain about boredom, (even with all of their gadgets and gizmos) just whip out the tents and marshmallows, put the smartphones away and set up camp outside.

Camping is a really good way in which to spend some quality time with your kids. So build your tents together, light a fire and roast some marshmallows, regardless of the time of day. And if you’re really brave and the weather permits, why not spend the night outside as well?

If you’re not a very outdoorsy family and don’t have tents (or a garden for that matter), don’t let that deter you. Just grab some blankets, brooms and couch cushions and use your imagination to create your own. Who doesn’t like building a fort?

Rainbow foam

This is a really fun activity for younger kids to get their hands into that basically entails filling a large tub with brightly coloured foam and letting the kids go wild.

All that you’ll need for this is some dishwashing liquid, water, liquid watercolours, a bowl and a mixer. In the bowl, add 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid and a 1/4 cup of water. Add the first of your liquid watercolours, then mix on the highest possible setting for 1 2 minutes. The foam should be able to hold its shape when moulded.

Once you have the correct consistency, scoop it out into your tub and repeat until you have the desired amount of foam and colours. Once you’re happy with your rainbow, let your kids have at it.

The not so bored games

If you’re pressed for time but still need something to amuse the kids, then go for a board game. There are many fun options available for any age at most toy stores, so take the kids along to pick what looks most amusing. Try a mixture of creative and logical games for maximum enjoyment.

It’s not too difficult keeping your kids entertained during the school holidays, so try out these different options and beat those boredom blues!

Is there anything quite like a weekend in the sunshine? A braai, a few ice cold beers and ciders, a couple of friends and their kids that’s the good life. If you are playing host or hostess for your friends and their kids for the day, or if you simply have a busybody or two of your own who you would like to get out into the sunshine, these outdoor summer kids games are sure to tickle the fancy of any kid.

Water Activities

A day at the beach or by the pool is, of course, the South African dream, but if you have access to neither, or would like to make the day a little bit more interesting, a fun water activity or two will break the heat and put a grin on the face of every child (and possibly every adult) in the vicinity.

Water Balloon Pinata: As easy as it sounds, you simply fill a couple of balloons with water, string them up, hand the kids a cricket or softball bat, and let them have at it (with supervision, of course).

How Low Can You Go: A fun variation on the old favourite, all that you need is a hose with a ‘spray gun’ attachment. The stream of water serves as the ‘pole’, with the object of the game being for kids to cross under the stream without getting wet the more the stream is lowered, the harder it will get, until a winner emerges.

Sponge Dodgeball: Pretty self explanatory, the sponges serve as an amusing, and significantly less painful, version of the traditional dodgeball.

Running through the Sprinkler: Of course, on a sweltering South African summer’s day, there is sometimes nothing as cool (pun intended) as running through a sprinkler. Great for the little ones, but bigger kids will probably still give it a go too.

Creative Activities

Flower Crowns: All the rage with tweens and teens at the moment, making flower crowns is a creative, uber popular way in which to entertain slightly older kids. Just be prepared for the selfie photoshoot that will inevitably take place once the crowns are completed.

Making a Nature Collage: Younger kids love dirt, and they can get quite creative, so why not combine the two and allow them to scavenge the garden to create their own masterpieces? A3 sheets of paper and craft glue are all that’s required for this activity   the kids need to find the rest of the materials on their own.

Paint like Jackson Pollock: Spread out an old white sheet on the lawn, hand the kids a couple of tubs of water soluble paint (so that the paint can be washed from their clothing, otherwise put them in their bathing suits) and paint brushes and let them go mad. You may even want to get in on the action yourself.

Insofar as keeping the kids fed is concerned, hot dogs and ice cream treats are probably your best bet for a hot summer’s day. On a final note, be sure to record the day’s festivities. Who knows, you may end up with a viral video on your hands, and even if you do not, kids videos are great to watch back when your children are somewhat older.

Although it’s pretty much a guessing game on how the weather will be this weekend, a lot of people will most likely choose to stay home. Wouldn’t that be boring? Well, it does not have to be. Family, friends and neighbors can still bond, have fun and sneak in some fitness activities despite staying in close proximity to their homes.

Go Have a Pool Party!
Hot and humid weather + pool + people = fun. Easy equation to understand. A dip in the pool can certainly be a refreshing. A smart way to add some fitness is to play pool games. A swimming race can promote a whole body workout. A treasure hunt asking participants to search for a specific item on the pool bottom exercises the participants’ lungs since they will need to dive and search the pool. And yes, put a net across the pool and you can play water volleyball. If you want to have a more intimate bonding time, keep the pool activities within the family. Either way, it will be a fun.

Okay, so not everybody has a pool in their home or villa. So what now? Well you can always improvise. Inflatable pools are available in sports and online shops. Just purchase a big one or two if you really have space and problem solved. You don’t even need to get out of the house since online shops can deliver it right in front of your doorstep.

Cook Together
Cooking together is a great family activity, especially for kids. Besides bonding, it’s a great way to teach kids responsibility. Also, it’s a subtle way to teach them healthy eating. And who knows? You might discover that you have a little chef in the family.

If family and friends already know how to cook, then have a ‘cook off’. Decide on a theme or a signature dish and cook away. You can do it individually or by teams. Choose a judge or judges, so someone will make an official decision on whose dish is the best. In truth though, everyone wins because not only will everyone bond, they will be full and burping when it’s all over.

Get Fit With the Kids
Obviously, kids love playing. Exercising? Not much. Unless you introduce it in a playful way. Teach your kids light exercises like running in place and jumping jacks. Make it fun. Be creative (ever teach kids basic Yoga?). Besides the bonding, you and kids will get fit.

Have a Barbeque
Speaking of cooking, here’s a summer activity which will never get old barbecue! Just the sweet smell of cooking meat especially if done in coals (forget about the electric griller) can liven up the summer. Add some wood chips to the coal to give it a distinct flavor and aroma. But meats are not the only ones you can grill. Brush olive oil on vegetable slices like carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, and sprinkle some spices and they are good to go. Put some corn on the griller too. Grilling is a healthy way to cook food, mind you.

Go Old School
Fight the urge to just grab your smartphone and tablet and play all day. Instead, play the old school way. Play board games like Scrabble or Monopoly with family and friends. This way, you get actual interaction from your family and friends. You also might learn a thing or two. You can even play charades the game where a person acts out a specific word and everyone guesses.

See? You may have limited options, but it doesn’t mean your weekend won’t be awesome.

Longing for a holiday, it’s in human nature. Because a holiday is a day of supreme relaxation and enjoyment, it can be different for the different individual depending upon their age and lifestyle. For corporate workers, it means time off from the daily chorus. For students, it’s a day away from studies. For housewives, there is usually no holiday from their daily routine work, but if they do manage to get one, then they do some shopping on the day of the holiday.

Sunday, a public holiday worldwide enables the people to spend some time with their family and the society. Every country has its own holiday calendar for a year, considering the religious sentiment, cultural and regional aspect of the society. In addition to this, the government also declares holidays for its citizen to show and celebrate their patriotism. The country with most holidays in a calendar year is Austria and Malta with 38 holidays in a year, followed by Poland and Britain.

There are a number of benefits of a holiday in a human’s life and some of them listed below :

– On holiday, we get some more time to be social with our friends and relatives.
– We get enough time to clean our house or room.
– Holiday enables a person to have a fair discussion with his family, over their future plans.
– Holiday enables a society to spend their festivals with joy and happiness.
– Holiday, gives some time to a person perhaps to engage in social services like cleaning the locality, social gatherings etc.
– Holiday is essential for the salaried workers to relieve themselves from continuous work and load.
– Holidays are also beneficial for the environment. As the energy conservation on this very day is high because businesses do not operate on this day.

However, continuous and long holidays are found to have some cons for the society and some of them are listed below :
– The Productivity of a company suffers due to holidays.
– Essential services like hospitals, public transport, fire fighting etc. become paralyzed on the day of the holiday, due to lack of staff.
– The government machinery comes to halt on holidays and ultimately the economy of the country suffers due to it.

As banks are closed on this day, there are chances of monetary crisis. However, Atm’s are there for the people, but many individuals, who still believe in the traditional way of banking.

Everybody is a bit of a dreamer! While thinking about the future, it becomes quite difficult to see it without you and your loved ones. However, death is something which is inevitable. In the event that you prepare in advance, then you can spare your close family a considerable measure of inconvenience and cost, although it won’t make your passing simpler, it won’t add any pointless burden and stress to the circumstance. A funeral arrangement is an extremely straightforward method for doing this.

Let’s discuss the things you need to ask the service provider before getting a funeral plan.

Ask Relevant Questions
There are a few queries which you ought to ask before you take out a funeral service arrangement. Many people are worried that whether their money will be safe in one of the plans, and what are the questions they should ask from the service providers. Have a look at some of the questions you need to ask:

– What will happen if the funeral director is not available?
– What will happen if a certain amount remains to be aid and the person who has taken the plan dies?
– What will happen if the individual, who has taken the funeral plan, dies abroad?

These enquiries are quite common and simple, and the service provider will assure you that your money is safe and secured.

Payment Should Be Simple
A major benefit of choosing an over 50s funeral plans or any other funeral plan is the process of easy payment. You can choose to pay the whole amount in a single go, or you can divide the amount and ay in monthly installments. You need to compare funeral plans offered by different service providers and find the one that suits your requirements. By comparing, you’ll be able to get the best funeral package easily.

Manage The Cost
While going through funeral plans, you’ll come to know that a funeral plan is a far better option compared to organizing a funeral. As the costs change all the time on account of inflation, the cost of funerals has been increasing significantly every year. There’s hardly any chance that they’ll get any less expensive in the future, and even the costs leveling out doesn’t appear to happen right now. Rather, a funeral plan implies that you can pay what burial/cremation cost at the time you get your plan. You’ll spare your family from inflated expenses, and you can sit back and relax knowing that all the arrangements have already been made.

Why You Should Get A Plan?
A cheap funeral plan is only a secure pre payment. It isn’t a dodgy scheme. A cheap funeral plan is all about investing your money in something which will remove the burden from your companion and family members in the future.

As a parent of young kids, you’ll know how difficult it can be to keep their busy minds amused, especially at birthday parties and especially when the cake and ice cream induced sugar highs kick in.

If you just so happen to be the host of one such party, remember: panic slowly, plan appropriately and impress the other parents by pulling out all the stops with these cool kids games!

Mind the monsters
This game is fun for everyone and pits the kids versus the adults. The only thing you’ll really need to play this game is a wide open space and your best monster impersonations. What you need to do is get all the kids to line up on one side and have two or more adults morph into monsters in the middle.

The objective of this game is for the kids to get to the other side of the area without being caught. If they’re caught, then they too become a monster and should behave accordingly. The remaining kids keep running back and forth until only one survivor remains.

The lava leap
Some of the best party games involve getting kids to use their imaginations and this one will definitely prove amusing.

In this game, you’ll want to litter a wide open area with pillows, duvets, blankets and other squishy things. Then, add a little drama and tell the kids that the floor is molten lava: the more convincing you are, the better they’ll respond.

Then, equip each kid with their own pillow to use as a bridge between the bigger islands. To win, the kids have to work together to get from one side of the room to the other without any casualties. If someone falls into the lava, they have to start over.

Move to the music
Similar to musical chairs, the objective of this game is to move to the music until the music stops. Then, depending on the age of the kids, they can either sit down as quickly as possible or freeze in position. The last dancer to freeze or sit down is eliminated until one little lad or lady is left.

Additional provisos can be included to maximize the amusement, such as freezing into the form of an animal, object or letter.

Water balloon pinatas
This game is great for those summer birthday parties where the kids and parents don’t mind getting a little drenched.

All you need to do is fill a bunch of balloons with water, string them up in the garden, give the kids a long, blunt object and let them swing for the fences. Continued adult supervision is recommended, however, as kids do tend to get carried away with the good ol’ pinata. And make sure you’ve got plenty of pinata replacements because the kids will surely enjoy this one.

No matter the age, season, or occasion, there are numerous ways to keep the kids amused. All it takes is a little bit of imagination and some elbow grease.