5 Fun Family Board Games

Written By Savvy Auntie Staff Writers – By Stephanie Chan – http://savvyauntie.com/


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Cool cornstarch crafts for kids

Source: http://www.sheknows.com/ – by by Amy Vowles

Fun Crafts, Straight Out Of The Pantry!

Part fun and part science, you can make some of the coolest crafts around with this simple pantry ingredient!

Cornstarch finger paint

Corn starch finger paints


  • Disposable muffin tin
  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • Measuring spoons
  • Food coloring
  • Paper


  1. Measure out 2 tablespoons of cornstarch for each well of the muffin tin.
  2. Add 4 tablespoons of water to each muffin tin and stir until the cornstarch and water are mixed.
  3. Add a few drops of food coloring to each well, then stir to mix the color in.
  4. Dip fingers straight into the paint and have fun finger painting!

Moldable indoor beach sand

Corn starch moldable beach sand


  • Play sand
  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • Large spoon
  • Measuring cups
  • Plastic bin with lid
  • Sand toys


  1. Scoop 8 cups of play sand into the plastic tub.
  2. Measure out 4 cups of cornstarch and add it to the sand. Use a large spoon to mix the sand and cornstarch together.
  3. Pour 2 cups of water into the bin and stir until the mixture is evenly moist.
  4. Now you are ready to mold and sculpt your play sand! The cornstarch and water help it to hold its shape as you play with it.
  5. Keep the lid on the plastic bin to prevent the sand from drying out.

Cornstarch snowballs

Corn starch snow balls


  • One 16-ounce box of cornstarch
  • Shaving cream
  • Large bowl


  1. Pour the box of cornstarch into the large bowl.
  2. Add shaving cream to the cornstarch, then mix it in with your hands.
  3. Keep adding shaving cream until the cornstarch is moist and sticks together when you mold it with your hands.
  4. Mold the cornstarch mixture into “snowballs” for a snow-free snowball fight.


Cornstarch bouncy ball

Corn starch bouncy ball


  • Disposable cups
  • Cornstarch
  • Borax
  • Glue
  • Food coloring
  • Measuring spoons
  • Craft stick


  1. Mix together 2 tablespoons warm water and 1 teaspoon borax in one of the disposable cups.
  2. In a separate cup, combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 tablespoon glue and a few drops of food coloring.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of the water/borax mixture to the cornstarch mixture.
  4. Stir the cornstarch mixture together with the craft stick until it thickens and begins to form a ball.
  5. Remove the ball from the cup and roll it between the palms of your hands to make it round.
  6. Now the bouncy ball is ready to play with! It will flatten if you leave it to sit on a hard surface, so just roll it between your palms when you are ready to play with it again.
Image credit: Amy Vowles

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Frozen Ocean Animal Rescue {salt, water, & ice play}

Source: http://mamapapabubba.com

Frozen Ocean Animal Rescue | Mama Papa Bubba

Gracen and I are lucky enough to have one of her little friends join us for an afternoon of play each Wednesday.  They play quite well together, so I put a few things out for them to explore  in advance, then step back to let them play, helping communication and sharing happen when needed.  We always have a good time together, but the last couple of times I’ve noticed that together they plow through the activities I’ve set out (2 minutes of play dough! 1 stroke of paint!  3 minutes of water play!) and then look at me with eager eyes for something more.

I knew I wanted to try something different for today’s play date and my thought was that if I set out only one activity – something engaging and encouraging of teamwork – the afternoon may have a calmer vibe to it.  I wasn’t sure what that activity would look like exactly, but when Jackie of Happy Hooligans shared her dino dig on our Facebook page, I new that I wanted to try something similar.  This sort of ‘buried treasure’ ice play has been on my mental to do list forever, and I knew it would be the perfect way to slow things down a little and allow the munchkins to really become invested in their play.

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Though it took a little bit of advanced planning, the activity was a breeze to set up.  Using Miss G’s collection of miniature ocean creatures, a few plastic aquarium plants, a plastic mixing bowl, tap water, and a few drops of food colouring, I created a ‘frozen ocean’ by freezing it in layers,  adding a few more plants / animals and more water each time.

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I also prepped a couple of fun things to help the melting process along – these old glue bottles filled with water and a drop or two of food colouring…

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And some coloured salt which is simply made by shaking table salt and a one or two drops of liquid food colouring in a jar or bag.

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Then I set everything out, along with some cutlery and tongs, in a great big shallow basin placed on an old shower curtain.

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Before getting started, we investigated the frozen ocean a bit and the munchkins pointed out all kinds of cool creatures that needed help ‘getting unstuck’.

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Armed with their tools, the pair got started on their mission.

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The water squirt bottles came out first…

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And then came out the salt.

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One thing that they quickly learned together was that if you sprinkled some salt on the ice and then quickly washed it away with a stream of water, the salt didn’t have enough time to do its job.

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With some serious team work, scraping, sprinkling, and spraying, some of the trapped sea creatures began to come loose.

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For much of the time, they focused on one very-close-to-being-free creature at a time, moving on to another only when the rescue was complete and proper cheers and celebrations had taken place.  Yay for working together!

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Every now and then, they’d flip the ice block over to see what was going on on the other side of the ocean, and we were ofter surprised to see some nearly free creatures just needing a little tug to come loose.

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Throughout the activity I did fill their water squirters and salt containers up a few times, but I also encouraged them to reuse the water and salt that was at the bottom of the basin and to try using different scraping and chipping techniques too, which they were happy to do.

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Besides being super engaging and encouraging of cooperation, the entire process was just so beautiful!  The sparkly salt paired with the textured melting ice in a pool of greens and blues… It was gorgeous!

45 minutes after starting the mission, my little rescuers had saved all of the ocean creatures and our ice block was nearly gone.  Now I can’t wait to do a larger scale version outdoors in the summer…

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5 Classic Board Games you should NEVER PLAY

board games, Candy Land, Children, development, Family, gaming, Kids, monopoly, Parenting, Snakes & Ladders, sorry, stay at home dads, uno

mommy is at work

We all know games like Candy Land, Chutes (or Snakes) & Ladders, Sorry, Uno, or Monopoly. We probably played some or all of them in our childhood. Please don’t submit your children to the same fate! These are all outdated games with deep flaws that unfortunately continue to be passed down through generations simply because they’re the only board games people know, so I’m going to do my best to share a few better games that will hopefully fill the same hole these games do, but in a better way.

1. Candy Land/Chutes (Snakes) & Ladders

Candy Land is effectively a variation of Snakes & Ladders, and in many respects, is not a game at all! Snakes & Ladders comes from ancient India where it was a teaching tool–an extremely crude simulation of moral life and the few virtues that give someone an advantage in becoming a good person (the…

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Settlers of Catan: Explorers & Pirates Review

Neko's Shiritori

New Setup

Now that May has come and gone, Settlers of Catan: Explorers & Pirates has come out! Explorers and Pirates introduces several new pieces, alternative routes to victory, as well as apply a new rule mechanic that many people enjoy. The pieces are as follows:

  • Crew: Sheep + Ore. 9 pieces.
  • Ship: Wood + Sheep. 3 pieces.
  • Settler: Wood + Brick + Sheep + Wheat
  • Settlement: Wood + Brick + Sheep + Wheat
  • Harbor Settlement: Wheat + Wheat + Ore + Ore

The VP, or Victory Points, functionality works as usual as in traditional Settlers of Catan. The fundamentals of the game feel more like a mix of Seafarers with a tiny portion of Traders & Barbarians. This Expansion bodes little to no similarity to Cities & Knights, Oil Springs, nor Frenemies of Catan.

One will quickly notice this set has no Harbors. That is because by default, everyone gets a…

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Swivel Featured in Family Games Segment

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Gaming night 10.6 – Tichu Fever

Israeli Meeples

So what did we play?
Crows, Kingdom Builder, Tichu (twice), Strasbourg and Qwixx

I didn’t take part in all games, but I’ll still put up a short review for those I skipped out on.


So what do we have new for today? I’ve changed the theme of the blog for something that will allow me to put up the new logo for israeli meeples which is, so surprising… An Israeli meeple, designed by the Talented Efrat Sionov for my request. So thanks Efrat!
The new theme also changes the way I write things, as the “See more” button loses some of its powers, as there is no need for it, as new posts are already shortened to something really short, which made me change the way I write posts a bit. I’ll start with what we’ll have in the post (“So what did we play?” section for…

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