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Creative Play Toys – Why They’re Fun and Educational

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Most parents are buying creative play toys for their children. Unfortunately, some parents are under the misconception that they have to buy entertaining and educational toys separately. You can’t really blame them. At least they realize the importance of having toys that are fun and educational. With fun toys, the kids will have something that can entertain them for hours so that they won’t be bored and cranky. With educational toys, they’ll have something that can help them with their mental development.

What these parents don’t realize is they can save a lot of money and still achieve their goals in the process by buying creative play toys. Yes, they’re not just toys that encourage creativity. They are also a lot of fun. This is the reason why a lot of parents put their trusts in these toys. They know that they can provide their kids with hours of entertainment each day for the years to come.

You should take a look at the available toys so that you’ll be able to visualize how they can entertain your kids. For example, a popular creative play toy is an art activity desk. It may look boring at first because it’s just a table with some art materials on it. But can you imagine the fun that your kid will have when he’s making his own “masterpieces”? He’ll have fun just by drawing and painting things. With creative play toys like this, your kid will have hours of fun each day. It’s just a matter of unleashing his creativity and imagination and that’s how he can have fun.

But should you buy separate educational toys? Well, you can if you have the budget. But you have to know that toys that encourage creativity are very educational as well. This is especially true if you’ll be guiding your kid. Going back to the art activity table example, you can teach your kid about different things by helping him draw it. But he’ll also learn on his own. Check out the other available creative play toys like softwood blocks. With his imagination and creativity unleashed, he can use them to create a lot of things and that can help speed up his mental growth.

This is why they are very popular with kids. Every kid has hidden creativity and you just have to unleash it. Once the creative juices start to flow in, he’ll be coming up with a lot of fun and entertaining situations. You just have to give him the toys that he needs in order to fully maximize his new-found creativity.

What they don’t know is they’re also learning in the process. This is the reason why they’re very popular with parents. You’re giving him a chance to channel that imagination and creativity into something productive with the help of creative play toys. So check them out for yourself to see how they can help with your kid’s development.

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Escaping a ‘Maze': Culture and Entertainment in The Hague

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The culture and entertainment landscape of The Hague got recently richer with a hip new element. A-Maze Escape Events, a local start-up, presents the idea of live room escape games to the audience of The Hague and surroundings.

The concept may sound a bit strange at first, but this is perhaps just natural when introducing an idea into a new environment. However, the game caught on fast and became widely popular in London, Barcelona and Budapest, where it has been set up in the past two years. Their Facebook pages are bustling with images of the happy teams who escaped, and the twitter feeds are full with positive remarks as well. Indeed, the live room escape game offers a fresh experience for the social agenda. It presents a great substitute for, or addition to a group’s usual evening routine.

The game premise is simple, yet challenging. The daring team has exactly 60 minutes to escape from a locked room. The road to freedom leads through a series of puzzles, codes and riddles, which the team has to solve before the time is up. A display shows the countdown ticking through the entire game. With every passing second the pressure and adrenaline rise. When the team cracks the final code and pushes the door open with just seconds to spare, five smiling and excited press through the door.

A-Maze has currently two escape opportunities on offer with plans to expand the selection. The teams can turn into a group of spies and infiltrate a secret KGB hideout, or try to unravel a modern urban mystery.

All in all, the live room escape game is a creative, interactive and exciting activity full of problem-solving challenges. It is a fun event for groups of friends, but also great for team-buildings, as excellent teamwork, good communication, coordination and creative thinking are necessary to master the game and complete the mission in time. There is no outside involvement, nor tricky instructors to influence the game. Deciding on how best to approach the project as well as assigning the roles and responsibilities of the individual members is entirely up to the team.

The games are designed for groups of 2-6 people. Based on past experience the most ideal team size is 5. There is no need to worry for the anxious types either as no scare-tactics are used during the game.

A-Maze enriches the entertainment scene of The Hague by adding a unique, creative and affordable experience.

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How to Use PC Subwoofers As a Home Entertainment Set

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Are you thinking of buying an expensive home entertainment system but you are worried that you may not be able to secure it, especially with kids around the house or roommates who would always want to tinker on your things? You do not have to buy an expensive home entertainment system because there is a solution to having the same effect and level of enjoyment just by utilizing your PC subwoofer. Maximizing your PC subwoofer can be a wise use of your resource. It is not as expensive as a complete entertainment system and the quality of audio can be the same.

The first thing to do is to purchase the necessary cables. Go to your nearest electronic shop and buy a 3.5 mm stereo to 2 RCA Y-adapter connector. If the store assistant cannot find this item, note that it is also called a 3.5 mm stereo to phono adapter cable or jack. This cable will not cost more than $10.

The next step is to have your DVD player ready. You will connect the cable into the red and white audio outputs at the back of the player. This will be easy to locate since DVD players have these colored for easy connection.

Then, you should place your PC subwoofer near your DVD player. You will have to connect the stereo cable adapter both in the DVD player and the PC subwoofer. This will be easy to do since both the connector and plug are color coded. You only have to attach the cable to the same color. If you have an HDTV cable box, you can also connect the red and white audio output to the cable box.

With just a few dollars, you are ready to enjoy the music as you switch on your PC speaker set. Your creativity and resourcefulness will make you enjoy great bass music with the available resources. You can even connect the cable adapter to an FM transmitter and you have good quality satellite speakers and you can enjoy FM music with your PC subwoofer.

The process is very simple. In just a few steps you have turned your simple PC speaker set into a home entertainment system. When your kids accidentally break the wiring or the speakers, you will not feel so bad knowing that you only spent a few dollars and you can always replace the cables when needed. Instead of spending thousands of dollars for a home entertainment system, you were able to save a lot of money to achieve the same purpose of enjoying good music quality. If you have better quality speakers, you will even enjoy your source of entertainment.

Today’s generation calls for creativity and resourcefulness. You only have to do due diligence in researching how you should do things the right way. When you start this habit, you will end up saving your resources and you will be free from unnecessary expenses.

When you play your music coming from your PC subwoofer, you will feel good knowing that you are able to maximize your resource and at the same time enjoy good quality music.

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5 Party Favours to Keep Kids Entertained

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A party – whether a birthday, Christmas, or any other reason for celebration, is a great opportunity for your kids to get social, have fun with other kids…and get away from the game consoles for an afternoon! While the idea of having a large group of kids running around the backyard can be daunting for some, take refuge in the fact that kids’ parties have been a staple for decades – as have many of the activities used to keep the little ones busy!

Fashion design with fabric – a twist on dress ups!

As is tradition, most little girls are raised on dressing dolls and trialling makeup (sometimes unsuccessfully) and finally grow into young women who want to dress to impress. So why not take the seriousness out of big brands, and celebrity look alikes, and put a creative (and more grown up) twist on an old favourite – dress ups. This is the perfect party game for your seven or eight years plus girls, not only keeping them busy for hours, but encouraging creativity and embracing uniqueness!

It’s simple, just head down to your local fabric shop, collect a range of coloured remnants in different fabrics and hand them out to teams of two girls. The challenge? In your team, create a beautiful outfit from the remnants – be as innovative as possible – and win a prize for your effort!

Glow soccer – a new approach to an old sport

While dress ups may not be ideal for boys, sports are definitely something that will keep them entertained. Again, putting a twist on an old favourite – and tiring the little ones out before bed at a sleep over – set up a safe area in the backyard as the light is dimming, and throw fun glow products like a soccer ball into the mix. The boys will have fun for hours, excited by the chase of the glowing ball!

Games

Though new approaches are a great way to make your child’s party unique, traditional games can also be a fantastic – trialled and tested – source of entertainment. Marco polo, pin the tail on the donkey, pass the parcel and musical chairs are easy to understand games that kids can get a giggle out of.

A hunt for pirate gold

Another traditional option – the treasure hunt – is a fun way to get the kids out of the house, and running around the backyard. This game is particularly great for themed parties, such as pirate parties, where clues can be written in rhyme, the kids can dress up, and the prize – for example, a treasure chest of golden chocolate coins – can complete the theme, and the fun!

Dance party – why should adults have all the fun?

Music is a universal entertainer, from the likes of the Wiggles and Hi 5 for the little ones, to rock and pop bands for teenagers and beyond. Embracing this, and throwing a mini disco for the kids at your party can provide great entertainment, a break for the adults, and a much needed splash of colour. If hiring a dj is a little too extravagant for you, it’s now as easy as compiling your mix, turning up the volume and adding some props. Balloons, or beach balls which can be tossed around while dancing, or coloured glow sticks for kids’ arms or legs can mean big smiles for little dollars!

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Starting a Family Entertainment Center

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If you’re thinking about developing a family entertainment center (FEC), the following advice is for you. It’s from my 20+ years of consulting experience with new leisure attractions, and watching many who have gone down the path you’re looking at right now. One of the real benefits of our industry is shared experience. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to FECs. Sure, there are always improvements that can be made to the concept, but it’s a proven one with an established track record that now spans decades. With that in mind…

First, look within yourself and think about why you want to develop a FEC. If the main reason is to get rich, think again. Although there’s always the feeling that a clever new idea can lead to great fortune, few in our business actually do get rich developing leisure attractions and those that do probably didn’t think they would when they started. If your main reason is to take on the challenge of developing a thriving fun business that could entertain thousands every year, then welcome, we need more like you. Many FEC developers are actually buying themselves a job, and an enjoyable one at that. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s the motivation driving most of the small businesses today in our country. The goal of being your boss, doing something you enjoy, and hopefully building something of value that you can pass on someday to others.

Second, you’re going to need money. Not all of it, that’s what lending institutions like banks, help with. But you’re going to need what we call “seed money”. If you’re the creative type that simply wants to conceptualize and not deal with money, this is the time to begin finding a business partner. The leisure attractions industry has benefited time and time again from pairing creative and business types. I’m sure you’ve heard of Walt and Roy Disney.

How much seed money you’re going to need is hard to say. I’ve been asked if there is some way that a consultant can provide a “preliminary” feasibility analysis that would help get this seed money. Sadly, the answer is no. Any worthwhile feasibility report is going to take considerable time and effort.

Think carefully about the general risk involved in developing a new business. There are no guarantees and you will need to be comfortable with these risks before you can seriously move forward.

Third, you should have a good idea of what type of family entertainment center you want to develop. One type is not inherently better than another; such as indoor versus outdoor or teen-oriented versus children-oriented. This is the time to educate yourself as much as you can about FECs. In particular, you should visit as many family entertainment centers as you can, and see first-hand what you like and don’t like. Soon, you should have a good idea of what you want to develop.

Fourth, you should also have a good idea where you want to develop your family entertainment center. Ideally, you should have a specific site in mind.

Fifth, you’re very likely going to need a feasibility study unless you have the financial resources to develop the project on your own. That’s because our industry, like most, has its own version of the golden rule and it says “the one with the gold makes the rules”. Lenders and other investors want to see an objective, analytical report prepared by an expert that evaluates the potential of your proposed type of FEC at your prospective location. This effort might be divided into separate market and financial feasibility studies, but typically it is done in a single report.

Although you’ve paid for it, the feasibility study is not written directly for you. It’s written for prospective lenders and investors, and assumes they have little if any knowledge of family entertainment center. That’s why it will often begin by describing the FEC concept, a topic you probably already know much about.

The study will then likely identify the potential markets for your proposed FEC, through distance rings, travel corridors, or other means. It may or may not include tourists, depending on the location. It should present the size of each market segment and its demographic characteristics. It should project potential attendance by applying market penetration rates to these market segments, influenced by the quality of these markets, competition, and the experience of comparable FECs elsewhere.

The feasibility study should provide general physical recommendations to ensure that the proposed FEC will physically be able to effectively service its expected attendance. This study, however, does not design the FEC and should give the designers flexibility.

The study should also project potential financial performance and provide guidance on the total development costs needed to achieve a worthwhile return-on-investment to investors. This amount needs to be high enough to provide the “critical mass” of experiences needed to achieve its market potential, yet avoid overbuilding. An FEC can often be expanded later if needed, but downsizing is generally very difficult. With the feasibility study in hand, you’re ready to continue moving forward.

Sixth, you should prepare a detailed business plan for your proposed family entertainment center. Its purpose differs from the feasibility study. The feasibility study is prepared by an outside expert and hopefully demonstrates the potential of your proposed FEC. If not, you will need to make changes to the concept and/or location. Even a positive feasibility study does not predict or guarantee success. Instead, it shows the potential performance if the FEC is developed and managed effectively.

The business plan shows how you plan to effectively develop and manage the FEC so that it will achieve the potential identified in the feasibility study. Although the business plan may partially or completely be prepared by outsiders, it is ultimately your document. It will need to persuade skeptical readers that you can actually make this happen. They will look hard at the top people involved in the project that are described in the business plan, and will want comfort that these individuals are qualified.

Seventh, you may need initial design and concept development work as part of the complete package to present to prospective investors and lenders. I’m not a designer, so I won’t speak for that profession concerning this particular step. There are many fine design firms in our industry that will be happy to discuss this with you and you should begin talking with them early in the planning process. There may also be other consultants needed to effectively move the planning process forward.

Eighth, you may need to bring in other equity investors. Banks and other lending institutions will rarely provide all of the funds needed to develop the FEC, so the remaining amount has to be provided by equity investors. Since the lenders will likely have liens on the assets of the FEC, the equity investors have higher risks, but also have the potential to reap the higher rewards from a successful operation.

Ninth, you have funding in place and are ready to begin construction. If you’ve made it this far, you’ve accomplished quite a bit and should take a moment to celebrate. More challenges lie ahead, but you’re well on your way.

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Entertainment Company Logos

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Organizations in the Entertainment market are in a field that is heavy on creativity, innovation, style, and trends. What people found entertaining last year may be boring this year. Trends in music and video game tastes change over time. Stability is not a hallmark of this industry. So a logo that works great for a bank may be too sedate for an Entertainment company. The relevant point here is that a logo must fit the company’s image and the nature of its business. Some entertainment business owners actually ask professional designers to “piggyback” on some identity from an unrelated company simply because they like it. All images — regardless of industry — must fit the company they are intended to represent.

Considerations in Designing an Entertainment Logo

Entertainment companies are particularly difficult to design for. Because of the nature of that industry it’s easy to overdo the “sizzle” in designing the logo. Yes you want strong and bold colors but be careful of how many you use. Yes you want creative imagery, but be careful about incorporating graphics that can’t be enlarged or reduced. Will that 3d enhancement that looks great on a poster transfer to a letterhead or to the Internet? Just like any other business, entertainment company logos are the starting point for all communication efforts. Letterhead, business cards, marketing material, promotional items, advertising material, and even corporate offices all incorporate the business identity.

Take color as an example. Yes you want to use bold colors like red, orange, and maybe even indigo. Blues and blacks are desirable as well and gradients of these colors add impact. But make sure you check what happens in Black and White. If the logo won’t produce well either adjust the colors or make sure the entertainment company for whom the image is being designed has a budget that will allow for a hundred percent color reproduction.

Font size is another issue that follows the same principle. 3d Effects with certain fonts look great but will they look great everywhere the identity is applied. The “Keep it Simple” rule of design is especially important because it is easy to confuse simplicity with being dull and boring. But simplicity works with these companies. Consider one of the most famous entertainment logos of all time: Paramount Pictures.

The Paramount Logo – Great Example

Simple, elegant, and originally appearing in three colors with minimal shading, this logo has been around with some minor variations for almost a hundred years. The mountain, the stars, and the sky are all attention grabbers. What’s more this image evokes curiosity in the viewer. What does a mountain have to do with movies? Is that Mount Fujiyama? What do the stars represent? Some think the movie was just a doodle on the designer’s pad but the stars we know were meant to represent the twenty four movie stars who were signed with Paramount at the time. Paramount’s original owner, Adolph Zukor, was one of the first to establish Hollywood’s star system where famous actors and actresses would make movies for a single studio. While the stars are white note the color gradations in the sky in some uses of the logo. Note that these gradations do not harm the impact of the design when reproduced in black and white. Current entertainment companies would do well to study those images that have withstood the test of time.

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Resourcefulness and Good Fun Family Entertainment

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Everyone wants and needs to have some fun, relax and just get away from it all for awhile. In tight times, resourcefulness is important in every area of our lives, including entertainment and recreation. Just as in all other areas of the household budget, you have to change your thinking a bit to figure out some resourceful ways to beat the high cost of traditional modern family entertainment.

So when you want to take the family out for a fun time and keep within your budget, here are some ideas for fun family entertainment that you may want to consider.

Even though movies are available to rent or buy so that they can be enjoyed at home, many people find that the excitement of a movie is just not the same unless they are sitting in front of the big screen at the movie theater. If this resonates with you, how about attending a matinee or a second run theater film where the prices are cheaper. You will also usually find that the snack bar prices are much more reasonably priced in the second run theaters than they are in the first run movie theaters.

If you and your family enjoy sporting events, instead of buying tickets for the major leagues, change your thinking, and start taking in the local sports games? High school games can be really exciting for everyone in the family. In addition to being resourceful and saving a ton of money, you will also benefit from the social aspects of getting to know other people in your community, and you’ll just feel good as you support the local kids. If you have any minor leagues or colleges in your area, you’re sure to find a lot of excitement and fun family entertainment at those events as well.

Everyone enjoys pizza, so take the gang out for a big piping hot pizza. Enjoy the delicious pizza, great conversation, the laughter, and the music, and if your budget allows it, take in some arcade games afterward.

If you are lucky enough to still have a bowling alley in your town, be sure to consider a night of bowling occasionally. It is truly unfortunate that many communities have torn down their bowling alleys, often being replaced by workout gyms. If only the bowling alleys remained one could work out as well as enjoy good fun family entertainment. Besides the exercise that you get from bowling, you get a chance to socialize with the people in the lane next to you.

Swimming together is an old family fun tradition that does not cost very much. In days past, people used to go down to the old swimming hole. That’s a little different in most communities today, but there are often pools running all year long. Be sure to practice safety and teach everyone in your family how to swim. That is really important to do anyway, so a family swim time is a great time to practice those skills. Take care to follow all the safety rules posted wherever you swim, and do not swim unless there is a lifeguard present and on duty. Again, the exercise is a tremendous side benefit as well as being resourceful.

How about good old walking? There are walking clubs you can join if you want to be with a group, which is not a bad idea these days for safety sake. These clubs have regularly scheduled walks, and you and your kids can even earn rewards for participating in this activity. The cost savings plus the social benefits, the exercise, and spending time outdoors enjoying nature and the scenery is the height of resourcefulness.

If your family is more adventurous find out about hiking trails in your area. Go on a day biking trip. Discover local places to go camping.

There are still many communities and malls who put on free concerts, so pack up the kids and enjoy some great robust music with the local talent. Sometimes these local concert venues are able to attract more well known entertainers as well. There may be an admission price for the entertainers of renown, but it is certain to cost a lot less than a major concert at a coliseum or an arena would. You may be able to bring your own snack foods as well. Be sure to inquire beforehand if you need to bring your own seating because if you found you had to remain standing, it may dampen your enjoyment of the event.

Almost every community and school has local fairs, festivals, and plays so get to know what is going on in your community, and go out and have some fun as you are being resourceful and support your local community as well.

Also, many libraries have special events and presentations that you can participate in so check out what’s going on at your local library.

Let your imagination be your inspiration and your guide for fun family entertainment. Resourcefulness does not have to mean that you must deprive you and your family of entertainment and fun. It just means that you must become more creative and change your thinking so that you and your family explore new alternatives for fun family activities.

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