2014 Chicago Toy & Game Fair {Family Pass Giveaway}

You know how much we love games and great toys. We’re always on the hunt for something new and happy when we rediscover old favorites.  Last winter, while falling down the rabbit hole that is the internet, I came across the website for the Chicago Toy & Game Fair. An entire weekend dedicated to showcasing the best toys and games from around the globe? A chance to play and meet the inventors and makers of some of our favorite games and toys? Where do I sign up?!

2014 Chicago Toy & Game Fair Family Pass Giveaway

Well …. that was the only glitch. I had just missed the 2013 Chicago Toy & Game Fair by a few weeks. You better believe I marked the date in my calendar for this year! The 2014 Chicago Toy & Game Fair takes place next weekend, November 22-23 at the Navy Pier. We’re making a fun family weekend out of it, and we hope you can meet us there, too. What are we looking forward to the most? It’s hard to narrow it down, but here are a few things were super-pumped to do:

  • Visit the Mayfair Games booth, maker of one of our favorite games of all-time: Settlers of Catan. Mike’s currently on the wait list, but he’s crossing both fingers and all his toes that he can get a seat in the Catan tournament. He’d love a chance to win a spot in the Catan World Championship (I’m not even kidding).
  • Check out the Air Hogs and Spy Gear stuff at the Spin Master booth.
  • See what’s new with the company that makes our favorite scooters, Razor.
  • Tell the folks at Educational Insights how much we love Kanoodle and how we named it one of our favorite games for travel.
  • Play around with a Perplexus. I recently saw it on a holiday gift guide for kids and I think Eli would love it.

There are lots of other events besides browsing the booths, including workshops for Girl and Boy Scouts (FYI, Scouts are admitted for free if they show their credentials), the Young Inventor Challenge, and a Star Wars Luncheon.

In case you can’t tell, we’re pretty excited! We’d love to see you there, so we’re giving away a Family Weekend Pass. It’s good for free entry into the Toy & Game Fair for your entire family. To enter, just use the Rafflecopter widget below! Giveaway ends Tuesday, November 18 at 11:59 PM EST. Winner will have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. Winner will receive the family pass via email. If you don’t win, we’d still love for you to come! Visit this link for ticket info and a $2 off coupon to the Chicago Toy & Game Fair.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Be Prepared: A Year With the Cub Scouts

Cub Scout Fun Day Archery

The marketing team for the Crossroads of America Council/Boy Scouts of America deserves some kind of medal (Perhaps a badge would be more appropriate?). I’m not sure exactly how they go about selling the concept of scouting to first grade boys, or what they’re telling them. I can tell you that Eli came home from school one day convinced that becoming a Cub Scout was the key to happiness in life.

Now, Eli brings home a lot of information from school, and 95% of he could care less about. He’s a lot like me in his tendency to be a homebody. He has to really, REALLY want to participate in something for it to lure him from home and playing with his friends. We’re fiercely protective of our after-school schedules, so we’re good with that. I’ve always believed that there were plenty of years ahead of us to get involved in sports and clubs. I feel strongly that kids should be excited and motivated on their own to get involved, rather than having adults push activities on them. As parents of a tween, we can attest to the fact that the day will come when they have a strong opinion about what types of extracurricular activities they want to take part in. I might ask the kids if they’re interested in a particular activity when a flier comes home or I see something in the school newsletter, but if they’re not overly enthusiastic, I have no problem keeping our afternoons and weekends activity-free.

The Cub Scout flier fell under the 5% of papers Eli brings home that requires my immediate attention. He wanted to be a Cub Scout, end of discussion! There was an informational meeting for parents coming up, and he immediately wrote it in my calendar. He then proceeded to remind us about it every single day until the meeting time arrived.

That’s how we found ourselves initiated into the world of Scouting. This is all new to us, and I’m very curious to see how Cub Scouts fits into The Risky Kid way as well our parenting philosophy. Here’s what appeals to us so far:

Appropriate Time Commitment: I’ve always heard that Scouting is a big commitment for families. I’m sure that is probably true as the boys progress through the program, but as a Tiger Scout (first grade), we’re finding the commitment to be manageable. We have 2-3 meetings a month, with a few optional activities available as well.

Cub Scout Fun Day BB Guns

Activities That Appeal to Boys: I’m pretty sure Eli was sold when he heard there would be BB guns. He’ll also have the opportunity to participate in camping, archery, rafting, and the Pinewood Derby.

Activities That Complement Our Parenting Philosophy: We’re big on doing things that get our kids moving, playing, and developing life skills that will lead them to becoming competent, independent adults. Even in Tiger Scouts, there are Achievements and Electives that go hand-in-hand with our philosophy, such as spending time outdoors, being of service to others, and learning life skills (how to sew a button, phone manners, using public transportation).

Quality Time With Other Boys & Adults: We’re looking forward to meeting other parents and having Eli get to know other boys in our community that we might not spend time with otherwise. I also like that it gives us the opportunity to participate in something together. So far Mike has been to the meetings with Eli, but this week I’ll go with him so I can get a taste of it for myself. For families that are as protective of their family time as we are, I envision Scouting as an activity that can enhance family time, as opposed to just making demands on it.

Throughout the year, I’ll keep you up informed on what we’re up to with the Scouts and how we feel it’s impacting our family life. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your experience with Scouting (Girl Scout Experiences welcome, too!). Was it a positive experience for your family? Or did it not live up to your expectations?

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Risky Reads: The Acorns and Leaves Galore Edition

Well, it’s that time of year again … the two months out of the year where we simultaneously gaze in wonder at the fall beauty of our wooded backyard, while at the same time shaking our fists at the flurry of leaves falling to the ground. We filled 12 giant bags with leaves on Sunday, […]

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50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do): Play with Dry Ice

play with dry ice

Task: Play around with some super-cool, super-spooky dry ice. Requires: Dry Ice Towel Pie plate Cup Fork or tongs Possible Hazards: Burns How It All Went Down: The kids have been begging to play with dry ice since the day we first got the 50 Dangerous Things book. The only thing that’s kept me from […]

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Meet Rain or Shine Mamma {A Risky Kids Interview}

rainorshinemamma01

I first became acquainted with Linda McGurk of Rain or Shine Mamma through my post on the Cincinnati Nature Center. Turns out she’s another Midwest girl (by way of Sweden!) with a passion for outdoor play. While we haven’t been able to meet up in person (yet), I feel like I’ve tagged along on many […]

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International Archaeology Day

Did you know tomorrow, October 18th, is International Archaeology Day? Neither did I, until I was doing some research for a Bedtime Math post last month. What does this have to do with The Risky Kids? Well, for one, archaeology is kind of a risky job, right? I mean, it is the profession of the […]

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Our First (and Hopefully Not Last!) KaBOOM! Playground Build

Last weekend the kids and I had a chance to participate in our very first playground build with KaBOOM! I’ve always wanted to take part in a build, having partnered with KaBOOM! on a few other projects. I just love the work they do, and their passion for making play possible for all families, no […]

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Book Review: Unbored Games: Serious Fun for Everyone

Disclosure: I received this book for review consideration, however I have not be compensated in any other way for this post. I love this book so much I’d share it with you no matter what! This post does include some affiliate links. Can I gush for a bit? I hope you don’t mind. But the […]

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Life Skills Every Kid Should Know: Build a Fire

how to build a fire with kids

In March I announced that we’d be starting a new series on The Risky Kids: Life Skills Every Kid Should Know. The response was wonderful – it turns out you agree that there are many things kids need to know beyond what they’re taught in school. You agreed with our suggestions for the series, and […]

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Kids and Pets: How Owning a Pet Builds Character

It’s been nearly 2 months now since we made the leap to dog ownership, and what a fun 2 months it’s been! We waited a long time before taking the plunge, and now that we’re here, I have two things to say: I’m so glad we got a dog … and I’m so glad we […]

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