Equipment for your Private Playground

Traditional playgrounds for children include swings, slides and climbing walls. Playgrounds for adults are usually filled with electronics or hunting items that aren’t necessarily safe for children to use. The chasm that exists between the kid’s swing set outside and the man cave in the house can make it hard to bond with your child. However, there is equipment you can bring into your home that can be enjoyed by all members of the family.

Air Hockey and Pool
Commonly referred to as Pockey tables, these clever toys feature a reversible air hockey game and pool table. The pool table isn’t quite full-size, but it’s still large enough to teach your kids how to play a mean game of pool. The versatility of the table makes it a smart choice financially. You can easily spend time with your kids playing pool or hockey, teaching them good sportsmanship and providing them with memories that will last a lifetime.

Mesh Swing
Mesh hammock swings can be mounted on a swing set. If the set is sturdy enough, the swing can be used by adults and children alike. Imagine the simple pleasure of relaxing in the swing on a late summer afternoon, joining your children in the pleasure provided by their playground. When the kids ask to be pushed on the swing, you will be able to happily oblige. Be prepared to be pushed in your swing, because your kids will get a kick out of helping you swing, also.

Basketball Hoop
You don’t have to be Michael Jordan to teach your son how to play some ball. The only requirement for this piece of playground equipment is that you are willing to spend time with your kids, shooting the ball and playing a few games of one-on-one. If you’re not willing to put holes in the house by mounting it on the roof or wall, consider picking up a portable hoop that will sit next to the driveway.

Toolbox
It has been said that the biggest difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. If you love working on cars or transforming planks of wood into functional pieces of furniture, then it might be time to get a toolbox for your son or daughter. Invite them to join you when you change the oil or start a new project. You will be teaching your child valuable skills while also providing a fantastic boost in self-confidence.

Bikes
Your kids may be too young for motorcycles, but regular bikes are appropriate for all ages. Get all the bikes in good working order, and then take your child out riding on some local trails. Pack a lunch and take time on the trail to look at the local wildlife. You will get in a good workout, your kids will love spending time with you and everyone will look forward to the next trip out on the trail, or around the block.

Time
When it’s all said and done, what your children really want is your time. They want to know that they are important to you. Whether you head out on regular camping trips or spend the weekends shooting pool with your kids, the activity isn’t nearly as important as spending time together. You will build memories that your child will cherish forever while you strengthen your bond.

What Makes Bowling Balls the Best and How to Care for Them

Bowling has been a favorite pastime for dads for decades. Spending a few hours down at the lanes with some buddies, snacks and beers is a great way to unwind. It feeds the competitive spirit and lets you practice your technical skills as well.

Developing a passion for bowling after a few months of casual play is not uncommon. It’s at this point that the occasional bowler decides it’s time to step up their game. The best way to do this is by acquiring a superior bowling ball.

The bowling balls available at the lanes are all right for beginners and those who don’t take the game too seriously. But when a casual bowler decides they’d like to play competitively in a league the best thing they can do is get a custom bowling ball that will provide enhanced hook capabilities and give them better control.

A bowling ball consists of two main components: the weight block and the cover stock. The weight block is the part of the bowling ball you can’t see, yet it can significantly affect the quality of your game. When a bowling ball has a high mass weight block it is virtually impossible to induce a heavy roll. This usually gives better distance. A ball with a low mass weight block allows for a heavier roll and more pronounced hooking capacity.

The coverstock, or shell, is the visible part of the ball and perhaps the most important component that will help you bowl the game you want. Bowlers will find balls with shells made from plastic, urethane or reactive resin. Plastic is likely the least expensive and produces the least amount of friction. It’s the kind of shell found for rent at the lanes. Urethane provides more friction and therefore more potential for producing a solid hook. These balls offer great control and usually represent an excellent choice for bowlers buying their first ball. Reactive resin is often the shell of choice for professional bowlers. It may work well for amateurs too, but these balls are easily affected by the condition of the lane and errors in technique. Having one of these balls is a great way to discover the weak points in your game and to start correcting them.

After choosing a ball with just the right weight block and shell it’s time to consider weight. Common weights are between six and sixteen pounds – the largest weight that is legal to use in league play. Finger holes on a custom ball will be drilled to exact specifications especially for your fingers. You get to specify how many holes will be drilled – up to five – and whether the holes will allow for full insertion of the fingers or merely fingertips. This is one of the most important factors to being able to properly release the ball and you will probably be amazed by how much having custom finger holes can improve your game.

Once you’ve acquired the best bowling ball it’s time to start practicing. Just don’t forget that the ball will need regular cleaning and maintenance to keep performing at its best. Each time it rolls down the lane it picks up oil and dirt – substances that need to be removed to maintain the best friction and hook potential. Use a ball cleaner that is sold at the pro shop at the lanes after every few games. Occasionally washing down the ball with some warm water is also advisable. By providing proper care that new bowling ball can last through several years of competitive play.

Bowling- A Popular Family Sport for Good Reason

Bowling is popular sport around the world for good reason. It offers both a relaxing and enjoyable experience, while also being a competitive sport. It has some tremendous advantages that make is a great sport for families.

Is Appropriate for a Wide Range of Ages
Bowling is a great sport for individuals of all ages and can even be participated in by disabled persons. Nearly all bowling alleys have lanes with rails for young children and for disabled players, and also have other aides like bowling ball rollers and balls that are lighter than the standard types. This makes it a great family sport as your little ones, you, your grandparents and members of all generations can have fun together without it being difficult or inappropriate.

Facilitates Bonding
The nature of bowling makes it a great bonding sport for families. It is a fun activity that is at a good pace that facilitates conversation and is, during different times of the day and the week, not too loud or crowded to hinder talking or connecting. It also has the significant advantage of breaking up the intensity of a conversation. For example, a father who wants to talk to his son about a difficult or awkward topic can chose to do so during a leisurely game at a quieter time at a local alley. This method is extremely effective as it breaks up intense moments, lets the son channel his energy positively rather than sitting inactively and listening, fosters a sense of bonding through the discussion as the father and son and can be labeled casually as a father and son chat during a game rather than an ominous father and son talk.

Can Be an Individual or Team Sport
Bowling is one of the special sports that can be played individually or as part of a team. This has tremendous values in allowing both young and old to learn how to compete as an individual or to be a team player. This is an important life skill to develop, working alone or working with a team to achieve a common goal. It can also add to family bonding when parents play against their kids, fathers and sons play against their mothers and daughters, families compete against other families and so on.

Develops Hand Eye Coordination
Bowling is a tremendous way to develop hand eye coordination by accurately aiming the bowling ball to hit the bowling pins. It can help children from a very young age to older children and adults hone this important skill and extend to other areas in life.

Is Readily Available Nearly Everywhere
Bowling is a popular sport that is available in nearly every city nationwide. You don’t need to fly to another city or drive for hours to enjoy this fun sport with your family. You can also buy seasonal passes to some bowling alleys or get discounts for going frequently. Bowling will be available no matter where you live or move to.

Different Types of Bowling Alleys
Whether your child is a rebellious rock playing teen or a quiet book wormish type, there is a bowling environment out there to pique their interest. In the past years, bowling alleys have chosen to remain conventional to cater to an older or very young population, or have painted their walls in florescent colors, cranked up the rock music and stuck a bowling ball right in the center of their ceiling for a loud and vibrant teen population. If you want to interest your child in going bowling, consider their personality and the environment they would feel comfortable in before you head out to the nearest alley. It will make a significant difference in whether they enjoy the experience or are bored or intimidated by it.

Personal Favorite
Once your child gets into the sport, there are some fun ways to encourage their enthusiasm and keep him or her excited. From personal balls engraved with their name, to bowling shoes in their favorite colors, to family traditions of ice cream after bowling games and so on, these are all great ways to make bowling a personal and family favorite for all.

Practice Makes Perfect
Another advantage of bowling is that you can get better at it by repeatedly practicing the sport. This builds in both young and old the principle of perseverance and is very self gratifying for all when there is improvement that is seen by others and applauded. It can build self esteem, help parents encourage their kids to try harder and praise them for trying whether they do well or need improvement. Parents can also be a positive example to their children by persisting through a bad stretch, working repeatedly on getting better, being a good team player or winning and losing with good sportsmanship.

Factors To Consider Before Buying Pool Tables

You know what pool tables are. In fact, you have probably seen them so many times you have lost count. Maybe your grandpa had one and frequently played while you watched. Or perhaps the local bar makes an event out of their pool tables. Now you want to have one of your own.

1. Are You Really Going To Use It?

The idea of having a pool table in your basement or den may be appealing, but you have to stop and think first. Are you really going to use it, or are you simply excited to have one? Are your children and their friends going to play with it, or would you reserve it for special occasions? If you do not think that you are going to play with it, or only rarely, a pool table may not be right for your household.

2. How Big Should It Be? Where Can You Put It?

Pool tables are not exactly small, especially if you want to have one that several people can use at one time. If you want to add one to a certain area in your house, you will need to make sure that there is room before purchasing anything. A pool table usually requires a six foot perimeter around the table to allow players to move around comfortably. You will need to have exact measurements available when you purchase your table, or you could be in for a surprise.

3. You Will Need Accessories

Once the pool table is in your house, you cannot expect the money to stop flowing. After all, if you want to actually play the game, you are going to need accessories. How can you hit any of the balls if you do not have cues? How can you use your cues if you do not have balls to hit? You will be expected to spend a lot more money in order to keep a pool table area that your neighbors can be jealous of. Cheapskates should stay away from this recreation if they can.

4. Are You Willing To Take Care Of It?

If you love your pool table and use every excuse to break out the cue chalk, sooner or later something is going to give. The cloth on your pool table may start to wear down or rip considerably. You may run out of chalk or somebody will break something important. Well, this means you are going to have to have the problems fixed, and fixed soon. This implies taking responsibility; are you willing to do that? Are you willing to spend more money in the future? Ask your kids if they are willing to help you make the pool table last a long time.

Pool tables are very much in the public mind, and you may find yourself fascinated to such an extent that you want to have one of your own. Before you bring out the credit card, however, you need to think it over. Can you afford to have one? Do you have the space, and can you even convince your landlord, if applicable, how much you need one? With some planning and thought, you and your family can have their very own pool party, minus any water.

Avoid Overspending: How to Cut Back Without Cutting Out

Whether one is living on a shoestring budget or has the flexibility of some extra cash flow, effectively managing finances can seem rather intimidating. The key to avoid overspending is figuring out how much comes in, how much has to go out, and what’s left over. Once that has been established, a few simple tricks can be used to keep hold of any financial situation.

The first thing to do is make a baseline budget. This should include all living expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, auto and health insurance, credit card or loan repayments, and any other regular monthly expenses. It is important to also take into account how much is spent every month on necessities that do not come with a monthly bill, such as food and auto maintenance. Once a monthly expense total has been established, it is easy to determine the amount of disposable income, which is how much money is left over each month.

The next step is to determine where the disposable income goes and whether there are more advantageous ways to put that money to use. Many people have a tendency to overspend on things that are incorporated into their lifestyle. Examples of this can include dining out, entertainment, and hobbies. If it’s found that too much is being spent on unnecessary things like these, there are simple strategies that can be used to control excess spending.

It is entirely possible to get a handle on overspending without cutting out all of the extras. One of the easiest ways to control this is to use cash. Giving oneself a reasonable allowance to dine out, for instance, can be achieved by simply putting the allotted amount of cash in an envelope each month and using only that money for that expense. Once the monthly allowance is gone, it’s gone. This cash allowance method works well for most budget-straining sources, such as weekend getaways, nights out on the town, and that expensive model train habit.

A good thing to keep in mind when trying to control excess spending is that credit cards should be used for emergencies and major purchases only. While it may be tempting to charge that new fishing pole before the start of the season, remember that paying interest on an unnecessary item like that is uneconomical. It is a much better idea to start a ‘fishing pole envelope’ and deposit cash as it’s reasonably available until there’s enough for the purchase.

It’s often difficult to decide where the money should go, when there isn’t enough of it for everything one desires. The best—and simplest—way to handle this situation is to make a list. Number the list in order of importance. It’s not necessary to cut out a weekly poker game, but that may mean having to replace grabbing lunch at the deli everyday with bringing something to eat from home a few days a week.

Lastly, but arguably most importantly, it’s always a good idea to have at least some savings for emergencies. Get into the practice of depositing a specific amount of money into a savings-only account on a weekly or monthly basis. Even if there is only twenty dollars each week available for savings, it will create a good habit, and the dollar amount can always be increased as finances allow. It may seem hard to go without some of the things that have been a regular part of one’s lifestyle, but financial responsibility is certain to pay off in the long run.