Monster High: How the Beastly Beauties Are Beating Barbie

(image credits: http://fontmeme.com/)
(image credits: http://fontmeme.com/

Fashion dolls have been around for a very long time now. Its earliest incarnations were Bisque dolls made in France and Germany during the mid-19th century. These were created using unglazed porcelain. Fast forward to the present time, contemporary figurines are produced out of different types of plastic. Manufactured either as a toy for children or a collectible for adults, its reason for existence never changes: to be dressed in order to reflect fashion trends. One name that has long been the figurehead of the fashion doll market is Barbie. Designed by the American toy company Mattel, Inc., shehas been the brand that others try to catch up to, if not equal with for over five decades now. Unfortunately, recent numbers show a significant decline in Barbie sales with a loss of $11.2 million in 2014. And this turnaround all points to the monster dolls of Monster High. So, how exactly is this happening?   Kids These Days The 21st century is a major reason for this. With its various technological advances come a change in relatibility, especially for the children who were born in the new millennium. Their tastes and interests slowly shift from the classic and analog to the hip and digital. Just how many 3-6 year olds today can we see tinkering and playing with their parents’ phones and tablets with know-how comparable to adults? In this media-saturated age, child values inevitably shift just like the trends that influence it, which can explain the recent triumph of Monster High over Barbie.   Story Time! Launched by Mattel in 2010, Monster High’s franchise offers an expansive line of products. Aside from its flagship toy dolls, it also includes bags, stationery, accessories, TV specials, movies, webisodes, and video games. With these bevy of merchandise goes a whole linear narrative that the children can follow, and this could be an edge Monster High has over Barbie.   Pop culture also has a hand in this. The physical appearances and backgrounds of each character were inspired by various monster and sci-fi movies, as well as horror and thriller stories. These details set them apart from other fashion dolls available on the market. And with the numerous media franchises proliferating today telling stories about love struck vampires and zombies, it’s no wonder why children seem to gravitate from the classic to the complex sense of beauty.   Flaunt Your Flaws It can be said that the brand’s message of celebrating one’s flaws, whether related to looks or personality, is Monster High’s prime highlight and selling point over its long-tenured rival.  Barbie has long been an aspirational figure of uber-beauty for the young little girls, and with this she also has been criticized time and again by that seemingly unattainable standard.

(image credits: http://www.barbiecollector.com/)
(image credits: http://www.barbiecollector.com/)

The main characters of Monster High have their own individual imperfections. Frankie Stein has stitches that loosen at the worst possible times; Clawdeen Wolf’s fur grows back swiftly; Draculaura can’t see her reflection in the mirror; Cleo de Nile is a monster who’s afraid of the dark; Ghoulia Yelps can only speak zombie; and Lagoona Blue’s skin tends to dry out fast is she’s out of the water for a long time. The Ghoulfriends stay as BFFs amidst these blemishes and they find ways to excel in Monster High, which could also be a timely reminder now that bullying is such a contested and prevalent issue within the youth and their educational systems.

(image credits: http://www.fanpop.com/)
(image credits: http://www.fanpop.com/)

With that, it seems that Barbara Millicent Roberts has a lot of thinking and reflecting to do. Will she make a comeback?   Check out our Monster High Collection:  Monster High Ghouls Rule Locker Vanity Monster High Dawn of the Dance Frankie Stein   Thoughts? Comments? Come share them below.

Top 5 Most Amazing Powerpuff Girls Episodes That You Should Totally Watch

PPG is the Emmy-award winning American cartoon series released by the premiere kid’s channel, Cartoon Network. The charming characters and interesting storyline made by Craig McCracken were the perfect ingredients that made it the most highly-rated cartoon series in its network’s history. From 1998 to 2005, this trio hooked a lot of young audiences, mainly the 90’s kids who grew up watching the trio kick some ass.

(image credits: http://animevice.com/)
(image credits: http://animevice.com/)

The famous Powerpuff Girls (PPG) aka “sugar, spice, and everything nice, spilled with Chemical X trio” is now set to return in our TV screens next year(Reference). Pretty soon, you’ll be seeing Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup defend Townsville against memorable foes like Mojo Jojo, Him, and maybe some other new villains. But before the much awaited TPPG reboot hits the small screen, let us see if you still remember its history and the show’s top five best episodes.

 

5. Knock It Off

This episode is about Dick Hardly, a friend of Professor Utonium, who discovered the girls’ power and wanted to market them. Obviously, the Professor kicked him out but Dick never stopped and fooled the girls. He became a monster after swallowing the Chemical X and trapped the little girls in a Chemical X sucking machine. Professor Utonium showed up offering his life in exchange of his three girls but Dick refused. The Professor and the little girls declared their love for each other. Eventually, the power of love saved them.

 

4. See me, Feel me, Gnomey

All the main villains unite and tried to abolish the Powerpuff Girls. There’s even a black gnome who promised the girls a better world without evil if they’re going to give up their powers. The girls almost fell on this trap, but the Professor explained that the world will never be free of evil. With the heart of a hero, the girls destroyed the gnome.

3. Telephonies

This is the episode where the villains became heroes. The confused little girls were being tricked by the Gangreen Gang using the character of the mayor. They told the girls that Mojo, HIM, and Fuzy was up to something wicked, but the villains said they are not doing anything bad. Eventually, Big Billy revealed that Gangreen Gang was tricking them. In the end, the villains, Mojo, HIM, and Fuzzy, teamed up to beat the Gang.

2. Mime for a Change

Rainbow the Clown showed up and turned into Mr. Mime after a truck full of bleach tipped over him. Mr. Mime seeks for revenge on the world by taking the vibrant vibe away from everyone. He made the whole town black and white. And it’s not just the scenery that he changed. Without color, life in Townsville became lifeless and dull too! The girls solved the problem by singing a song about how love makes the world go ‘round.

1. The Rowdyruff Boys

In this episode, Mojo Jojo tried to make his own Powerpuff Girls. But instead of creating cute, little girls, his experiment produced The Rowdyruff Boys instead. The new super villain trio consisted of Brick, Boomer, and Butch. Mojo Jojo told the boys that the girls are a threat to them. The Rowdyruff Boys confronted and fought the Powerpuff Girls. Try as they might, the super girls were no match against the boys because they’re more powerful. Instead of trying to fight back, the charming girls kissed the boys, causing them to explode.

With these all-time favorite episodes, fans demand for more. Finally, Rob Sorcher, Cartoon Network’s chief content officer, announced that these pint-sized girls are about to use their forces again to fight the evil in 2016. The rebooted version of these little charming heroes is expected to amaze the new generation and satisfy its old viewers.

How about you, what do you expect in the Powerpuff Girl’s comeback? Let us know in the comments!

You may even play with the Powerpuff Girls Board Game, by visiting our Amazon store.

Barbie by Stefano Canturi: The Most ‘Valuable’ Barbie in History

 

(Photos taken from: www.canturi.com and www.google.com.ph)
(Photos taken from: www.canturi.com and www.google.com.ph)

 

Who is Barbie?

Barbara Millicent Roberts, internationally known as Barbie, has over 50 years of popularity. She has been every little girl’s favorite doll. She takes on different roles, providing girls with lots of fun opportunities to dress her up. At the same time, she also serves as a role model they can look up to. She reminds little girls that they can be whoever and whatever they want to be.

She has become a renowned fashion icon and having been dubbed with such a title, Mattel made sure that she lives up to the expectations of her fans. And that’s why, to this date, Barbie has already worked and modeled for world-famous clothing and jewelry designers, throughout her years of popularity.

Barbie-2

Each specially designed Barbie is treated as collector’s edition which not only commemorated Barbie’s milestones, but also answered the yearning of Barbie collectors which have already grown in number. These exclusively designed Barbie doll versions were auctioned, setting the record as the most expensive Barbie sold, one after the other.

In 2009, in time for the launch of the Barbie® Basics Collection in Australia, Mattel invited Stefano Canturi to work with Barbie in creating her most precious and valuable look. Now, if you’re not a jewelry enthusiast, the name Canturi may not be enough to wow you but let us give you an idea about who Stefano Canturi exactly is.

Who is Stefano Canturi? 

Have you seen this sophisticated and intricately designed jewelry anywhere? (Refer to the first photo on the left) If you’re a fan of romantic or musical films, then you probably guessed right. It’s Satine’s necklace from the film Moulin Rouge. Stefano Canturi is the jewelry designer behind this perfectly crafted piece, he created the necklace for Nicole Kidman’s role in the Academy award winning motion picture.

Stefano Canturi is an internationally celebrated fine jewelry designer known for his designs crafted with soulful cubist inspiration – a look that’s modern, timeless, and iconic. His designs also shone in other movies including The Matrix and Superman Returns. Necklaces and bracelets made by Canturi Jewels have also been scouted on the arms and necks of celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Christina Hendricks, Kylie Minogue, among others.

Barbie® by Stefano Canturi ­

Barbie-1When Mattel asked Canturi to ‘create a world first – the rarest and one-of-a-kind Barbie’ – that was exactly what he did.

Canturi was given complete freedom to stylize Barbie from head to toe. From the hair, the make-up, the wardrobe, and even her pose. But of course, the highlight of his Barbie masterpiece is a diamond collar necklace that he designed especially for the timeless fashion icon.

It took Canturi 6 months to create and stylize a very original Barbie and according to him, “… he loved every minute of it.” He thought of every detail and his designs were centered on Barbie’s very own persona. “Barbie is iconic and so I didn’t just want to cover her with diamonds, I wanted the jewelry design to pay homage to her modern yet timeless style, this is why I applied my Cubism design concept to her look; it is perfect for her.” He stated in an interview.

The diamond Cubism necklace, which features a bunch of white diamonds surrounding a precious 1 carat Australian Argyle pink diamond collectible, makes Barbie® by Stefano Canturi the World’s Most Expensive Barbie. She also wears a Canturi diamond ring on her right hand, matching the intricate neck piece. The doll went up for auction at Christie’s in New York and has been sold in October 2010 for $302,500.

Most Valuable Barbie in History

The Barbie made by Stefano Canturi is considered the most valuable not solely because of the West Aussie pink diamond that she wears, nor of the auction price with which she was sold. Her value is considered most significant for the cause she stands for.

After Canturi received the commission from Mattel, he thought the undertaking much too decadent during that time, and decided to take on the job if Mattel agrees that all proceeds from Barbie’s auction, be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. As much as Canturi wanted to pay homage to Barbie’s “modern yet timeless style”, he also wanted to dedicate his masterpiece to the women who inspires his art and for which he designs all of his fine jewelries.

And so, as soon as Barbie® by Stefano Canturi arrived back at Christie’s New York from her World Tour, she was sold for $302,500 and as promised, benefited The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®.

Barbie is definitely one extraordinary woman, with 150+ career experiences and a beauty that’s immortalized all around the world. Though she’s made of plastic, she lets little girls know how fantastic it is to dream big and keep going. As long as her true calling remains the same – to encourage generations of girls to place no limitations on their ambitions – she is sure to be celebrated for more and more years to come.

References: 

http://www.canturi.com/
http://www.wnyc.org/story/98765-barbie-fashion-creating-worlds-most-expensive-doll/
http://www.barbiecollector.com/news/barbie-stefano-canturi

Play On: 4 Unexpected Things You Can Make with LEGOs

Who hasn’t heard of Lego bricks? Lego is a construction and assembly type of toy made of interlocking plastic blocks, gears, and mini-figures. They can be used to construct robots, vehicles, buildings, and other toys. These bricks are good for anyone with a creative mind and a wild imagination. But who says that Lego is just a children’s toy? Lego is also widely used in robotic experiments and demonstrations. Physicists and engineers use Lego blocks and gears to help build prototype robots and cars. But it doesn’t end there. Did you know that you can also use Lego bricks to make nifty projects you can ac use in your daily life? You just have to play on!

Take out those bricks and blocks out of because it’s time to start playing. Squeeze out those creative juices with these 4 simple and fun to build activities will surely bring out your inner child!

 

Lego Key Holders

lego keyholders

 

(photo from: http://www.architectureartdesigns.com/26-unbelievable-fun-diy-lego-crafts/)

Create a quirky home for your keys so they never get lost! Turn your Legos into a Lego Key Holder. Aside from legos, you will need:

  • Key rings or key chains
  • Drill (depending on which type of Lego you’ll be using)
  • Adhesive tape

First, choose your base. It can be a thin Lego platform or a large Lego block. It really depends on your preference. This will be the base of your key holder. Using your adhesive tape, stick the platform onto your wall. You can also opt to drill a hole and screw it against the wall to ensure that it doesn’t fall.

Of course, key holders won’t be complete without the keys! Attach the key into a key ring or a key chain. Choose your preferred Lego block to accessorize the key chain. If your Lego piece already has a hole in it, then simply attach the key ring. However, if you intend to use Lego blocks or pieces without a hole, you may need to drill a hole in it. Voila! You now have a nifty key holder that’s appealing and fun to make.

 

Lego USB Stick

Pump up the style of your USB Stick by making it look like a Lego brick! Find the perfect Lego block where your USB stick could fit in. Using a pen knife and pliers, take out the inner part of the brick and cut out a part of the side where your connector will be placed. Secure your stick inside the block by filling it with clear silicone. This will reduce movement of the stick and will let the light shine through. Then you can enclose your masterpiece by gluing a flat Lego piece which has the same size as your brick. You can also opt to make an end cap. Amazing isn’t it? You can also attach it to the key holder we made. You can go from one block to an amazing masterpiece!

lego usb

(photo from: http://www.instructables.com/id/E06127GI9YEP287UU0/?ALLSTEPS)

 

Lego Jewelries

Add a touch of childhood into your usual grown-up apparel! Attach Lego pieces into your necklaces and turn them into cute charms and trinkets. These can also be made to bracelets, earrings and even rings! You just need small Lego pieces and a glue gun to start making these adorable jewelries. These are perfect gifts for children and even for the children at heart.

 

Lego Salt and Pepper Shaker

Bring those Lego blocks into your kitchen. These salt and pepper shakers can be made using your black and white Lego blocks! You will need 2×4, 2×2, and 2×1 Lego pieces for this. Build a bottle, with one side colored white for salt and the black side for the pepper. Use a flat lego piece or any material that you can cut and put inside to act as a divider for the salt and pepper. Carefully drill tiny holes onto the middle of the top portion. Be sure not to destroy the protruded Lego locks. The 2×2 block will act as the lid of the shaker. It’s a cutesy present for your friends who love to cook!

These Do It Yourself projects are not only useful and nifty, but they are also a form of bonding to families and friends. Of course, it doesn’t end here. Use your imagination to continue developing projects using Lego. Be a master builder of your own. Play on!

 

Have you ever done DIY lego projects before? Sound off in the comments!

The Bombshell: Top 5 Barbie Controversies You Probably Don’t Know

The Barbie doll was invented by Ruth Handler, founder of the toy company Mattel, naming it after her daughter Barbara. Through the years, Barbie became a cultural icon. The fashion doll is sought after not only by young girls but also by collectors all around the world. However, popularity sometimes comes with a price – criticisms and controversies, criticism and controversies that Barbie faced head on and survived since its invention on 1959. These are the Top 5 Barbie doll controversies which caused uproar to young girls’ parents and to concerned citizens.

 Barbie

5. Barbie Video Girl and Child Pornography

In 2010, Mattel released its new version of the Barbie doll: The Barbie Video Girl. This Barbie doll features a pinhole video camera on its chest, disguised as a necklace. The camera can record clips of up to 30 minutes and can be uploaded to a computer using a USB cable. However, on November 2010, the FBI issued a warning in a private memorandum saying that the said doll can be used in making child pornography but it was said that there were “no reported evidence that the doll had been used in any way other than intended.”

(Photo from: http://resources1.news.com.au/images/2010/12/08/1225967/456625-barbie-video-girl.jpg)

 

4. Barbie and Tattoos

Barbie and Tattoos

Toys play a large role in influencing a child’s lifestyle. That’s why a lot of concerned parents reacted when Mattel launched the Totally Tattoos Barbie. The said version features a myriad of tattoos, including a lower back tattoo, which really stirred up a controversy. This also happened when the toy company released its Tokidoki Barbie doll which has pink-dyed hair and a lot of tattoos. These dolls stirred up a lot of issues and made parents angry because of the thought that it can influence their daughters to be “rebellious” at a very young age.

(Photos from: http://www.nykola.com/images/tattoobarbie.jpg and http://wac.450f.edgecastcdn.net/80450F/hot1073jamz.com/files/2011/10/tattoo-barbie-doll.jpg)

 

3. The Sweet-Turned-Sour Idea of Oreo Barbie

Oreo Barbie Back in 1997, a cross-promotion of Barbie dolls and Oreo cookies was done. The result was the Oreo Fun Barbie, a doll in an Oreo cookie-themed outfit produced in both white and black. However, this caused an outrage among the African-American community. Critics said that the word Oreo is a slanderous term used to describe a person that is “black on the outside but white on the inside”, just like the cookie. This caused a backlash and resulted to a product pull-out.

(Photo from: http://www.thestrong.org/online-collections/images/Z001/Z00151/Z0015175.jpg)

 

2. Happy Family

HappyFamily-Barbie

In 2002, Mattel launched a doll set with Midge and her baby. Midge is Barbie’s girl best friend. Midge was shown to be pregnant lady with her attachable baby in the womb in the Happy Family Doll Set. The doll set was complete with the baby’s needs, crib, table, and even a cradle. However, there is one which is lacking in the set – the father. The set was supposed to teach values of family life to children but since it lacked the father figure, parents were outrageous saying that it was promoting teenage pregnancy. Due to this unfortunate and unforeseen event, the dolls were immediately pulled out from the market.

(Photo from: http://g.foolcdn.com/editorial/images/105589/pregnant-barbie_large.jpg)

 

1. Don’t Eat!

 Dont-Eat

One of the most common criticisms of Barbie is the issue of anorexia since Barbie depicts an image of a lady who has an unrealistic body for a young girl. This leads to danger when girls attempt to imitate her and tend to become anorexic. Not only that, the Slumber Party Barbie and Barbie Baby-Sits versions of the doll came with a book entitled How to Lose Weightand guess what it advised. You’re right! It advised, “Don’t eat!” The Slumber Party Barbie set also came with a bathroom scale which was permanently set to 35 lbs., which is underweight for a woman whose height is 5 feet and 9 inches. These really caused issues and worried parents. In Mattel’s defense, they said that Barbie’s waist was made smaller because the waistbands and seams of her clothes added some weight to her unrealistic figure.

(Photo from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbie#mediaviewer/File:How_to_lose_weight_II.JPG)

What do you think about these controversial dolls? Did we forget something? Tell us about it! We’d Love to hear from you!

 

You may want to check out our Barbie Collections at http://theescapeplace.com/. Click on each doll to purchase and go directly to our Ebay Store.

Mattel-Silkstone-Lingerie-Barbie Mattel-Silkstone-Barbie-Model-Redhead Mattel-Midnight-Tuxedo-Barbie-Doll-2000 Mattel-Fashion-Insider-Ken-doll-Giftset Mattel-Dusk-Dawn-Barbie-Doll-Limited-Edition-GiftSet

Learn to trade by playing the Littlest Pet Shop

People of the earlier generation would be familiar with ‘The Monopoly’ game. This used to be a dice game where one could learn the basics of commerce, accounting, trading, and the business aspects of life. With the advent of the computer games etc, the children of today lost touch with these dice games. However, the same game has now returned with a new set of rules. Named as “The Littlest Pet Shop,” the rules appeal to the children of this generation. Let us now see as to how this game in its new setting would be different from the original ‘Monopoly’.

Monopoly Littlest Pet Shop - The Escape Place

The best part of the new game is that it comes with the same rules. There are some minor differences. We shall see the same. The Community Chests Cards have given way to the Toys Cards. Similarly, the Treats Cards replace the Chance cards. The Title deeds represent the properties in the Littlest Pet Shop World. The original game had the traditional railway stations. This new version features four different modes of transport, namely Play Wagon, Skateboard, Wheelbarrow, and the Snowmobile. The Hamster Wheel Electric and the Duckie’s Bathtub Water are the two utilities in this version. Instead of the Luxury Tax, you have the Vet’s Bill. You would not find the houses and the hotels. Instead, you have the pet carriers and the doghouses.

The playing rules are the same. There would be a banker to handle the cash, the title deed cards, and auctions. The dice rolls in the same way. The pawns move in the same manner as well. When you reach a property, you have the option to buy it or ask the banker to auction it if nobody owns the same. Otherwise, you pay rent on the same. One you own a property, you can build your doghouses and pet carriers on it. If in case you are short of funds, you can either sell any property or enter into a mortgage deal. You cannot borrow money from any player in this game. In case you roll a double three times in a row, you have to go to ‘Jail’.

You can buy properties as you used to do the same in the original version. You can sell your property as well if you are short of funds. You can mortgage your property and take loans as well. If at any stage, you owe more money than the value of assets you have, you become bankrupt and move out of the game. The player who remains until the end wins the game. There are different versions of the games such as the ‘Speedy Monopoly’ etc.

Household Games for Bored Children

Is your child bored? Maybe the forecast calls for thunderstorms and they can’t get out to play. The hot temperatures of summer may also leave your children with a hum-drum type of day. But let’s spice things up. Get your child off the couch and away from the television. Put away their video game and look no further than simple items in your house to have some fun.

The first way to have fun is to play laundry basket skee ball. For this game you’ll need at least three laundry baskets and a make-shift ramp to roll the balls back to you. One laundry basket holds all the balls you’ll be tossing. The other two laundry baskets are assigned point values. For instance, laundry basket one may be 50 points and laundry basket two may be a hundred points. If you have older children, include a third laundry basket for 150 points. Decide how many points it takes to win and what the prize is for the winner. Maybe the winner gets out of mowing the lawn for a week or they get to pass off a chore to a sibling. Make it fun so they will want to play.

Balloon tennis is another fun game to play indoors. You only need three items for this game: balloons, paper plates and popsicle sticks. Attach the popsicle sticks to the paper plates either by glue or tape. After you have blown up the balloons, it’s time for the game to begin. If you have enough people, play this game in teams. Try to get have at least two people per teams, such as parents against kids. Assign points and penalty points to make the game fairer. It may be 1 penalty point if the balloon hits the floor, for instance, and 2 penalty points if it hits a piece of furniture. Don’t forget to decide on a total number of points you want to play to before the game ends. This is a great way to get your children up and moving around if they have had a day without much exercise.

If your child is around the pre-k age, you may consider creating a sensory bin. Children this age are starting to explore the world around them. Use sand, rice or even corn kernels to fill a small container. Then fill it with items that fit into a specific theme. The theme may be animals or items that a child would find on a farm. As the child pulls each item out, name that item. For instance, if your child pulls out a toy dog from the sensory bin, say “Dog. Can you say dog, too?” This reinforces the fact that learning is positive and they will want to do it when they see your approval.

Paper plate tic tac toe is also a fun way to keep little ones occupied. This game is simple and requires few supplies. All you have to do is make a tic tac toe board on the floor, either with masking tape or whatever you have on hand. Then take ten paper plates from the cupboard. On five of them, write O’s. On the remaining five, write X’s. It might be beneficial to write each set in a different color. That way they stand out while your children are playing the game. This is all that your children need to have hours of fun. You’ll be able to get your stuff done without them being under your feet, which is always a nice opportunity.

Finally, create an indoor hopscotch. This is easily created by putting painter’s tape on the floor. Use colorful cardboard stock or construction paper to make each number pop out for your child. Then, let your child get on with their playful spirit. Make it appear as a normal hopscotch would. This means box one is by itself, while box two and three are side-by-side. It continues this pattern until you get to ten or however large you want the hopscotch. Your child will be getting exercise and that’ll be the positive of the day.

So don’t let rain and miserable weather bum you out. You can have fun inside without putting too much money into it. Your children will be happy and so will you because they are not tracking in muddy shoes!

Summer Outdoor Games Kids Used to Play

In a world where kids spend more time indoors playing video games and watching television than ever before, it is hard to believe that kids used to play games outdoors. While there are some kids who are still active outdoors, the majority of them are not. So by looking at what games kids used to play outdoors during the summer, perhaps we can all encourage kids of the modern generation to try out these games for themselves. That way they can get in better physical shape and find enjoyment from doing something that will benefit their lives.

If you were born in the 1980s or before then, you are probably familiar with hide and seek or tag. These are games that groups of kids can play together without any teams. One kid in the group is chosen to chase after the others. When the chosen kid approaches another kid, they touch them with their hand. This means they’re out of the game. The difference between tag and hide and seek has to do with hiding. Tag doesn’t require the players to hide before they get chased whereas hide and seek gives players a 30-second head start to run away and hide before they are chased after. Of course, there are so many different ways to play these games and kids often invent their own rules for them as they go.

Hide and seek

Capture the flag is another favorite amongst kids. This game involves two teams where each team has a home base with a flag in it. This flag could be in the form of a stick, ball, or any object that can easily be carried away. The objective of the game is for one team to capture the flag from the other team’s base and then bring it back to their own base. However, the players can be stopped if they get tagged by someone from the opposite team. Once you get tagged, you have to go to a designated jail until someone from your own team bails you out by tagging your hand.

One classic summer outdoor game that is still played by most kids is hopscotch. This is where you take a piece of chalk and draw a series of numbered squares on the sidewalk or some other paved area. There are generally nine squares in total that are drawn. Some of them are single squares while others have two squares side by side. The objective is for the person to hop on each square all the way until the end. If there are two squares side by side then you spread your legs so that each foot touches the squares at the same time. It is a rather simple game but it is still fun and can be played virtually anywhere.

LEGO fun!

As a child, I was always considered a bit of a ‘tomboy.’ My closest friends were boys, I refused to wear dresses, I liked to go outside and play in the dirt, and my favorite toys from a very young age were LEGOs. Unfortunately, at the time, LEGOs were branded as a toy for boys. This didn’t stop me from wanting the latest and greatest sets all the time, and holidays and birthdays were filled with the magic that came with each new set I would get to put together.

lego

From pirates to cowboys, deep sea divers to space men, and from knights and nobles to space invaders, I was hooked on every theme I could get my hands on.

It always started out the same: I would get a new set of LEGOs with a specific theme – for example, a pirate set that included several small LEGO figurines along with the building blocks. I would carefully read through the instructions the first time I built everything, and craft the blocks together in a way that mimicked the look on the front of the box perfectly. After it was built, however, was when the real fun always began. The best part about LEGOs, for me, was always the imaginative aspect that came along with it. Granted, I know many people love LEGOs strictly to be able to build and create. I, however, loved playing with them after everything was built.

I was an imaginative child to begin with, always making my stuffed animals and figurines ‘talk,’ and put them in different pretend scenarios. LEGOs were no different, with the exception that the scenarios tended to be a part of whatever the set included. For a pirate set, I would grab the ‘Captain’ figurine and perhaps a ‘First Mate’ figurine, and set them off on an adventure, where they would have to fight off soldiers from the nearby kingdom, and steal gold from the rich, etc.

It’s wonderful to see that the overall branding of LEGOs has taken a turn in today’s world, and can be welcoming for both boys and girls to enjoy. I like to think that building aside, there are still kids today, in the midst of iPads and computer screens and smartphones, who still understand and appreciate the simple pleasures that come with creating something of your own, and using your imagination to truly bring it to life.

My Favorite Childhood Games – The Caribbean Lifestyle

Growing up in Jamaica, in the 80s and 90s, my childhood was completely different from most of the youths today. It was also probably nothing like many of my friends either. The memories are all great though and when I recall a few of my favorite games, there really is not much else for me to do than sit back and laugh.
Like most kids, I spent all morning waiting for recess. From about the ages of 4-7, every day my friends and I played the exact same game: ‘Bend Down Stucki.’ This was a game of tag that required you to stoop down in order to avoid being caught. As one of the slowest people in my grade, I seemed to always be it, and spent the majority of my recess chasing my friends. Fortunately, I really had no intentions of ever winning and my only concern was actually just having fun.
Then I got my first introduction to video games. Nintendo released the first Gameboy in 1989, and my brother and I got one as a gift. We would sit and play for hours, especially when we had homework that needed to be done. Mario and Luigi became our best friends and whenever we weren’t playing Super Mario Brothers, we were talking about playing Super Mario Brothers. My school had a strict policy stating that no toys were to be brought in, so naturally, my brother and I took every opportunity we could find to sneak our Gameboy to school. We enjoyed two glorious weeks of being the most popular kids on the playground, until everybody else caught up with the trend and got one.
My grade seven obsession was officially the most time consuming game that I have ever played. The ‘Tamagotchi’ was an electronic pet that required attention almost 24/7. It needed to be constantly fed or petted or walked, and would beep incessantly if you forgot to do any of these things. I specifically remember waking up at 2a.m. to feed my plastic pink pet that was about the shape and size of a small egg. I spent the next day at school walking around like a zombie, only to ensure that I did it again that night. I think I was more relieved than anything else when I forgot to feed it long enough and my Tamagotchi finally died.
Our high school campus had several pagodas which as far as I know were completely unique, and had been installed for students to study in between classes. They were made with thatch roofs and a slab seating area within. Needless to say we took full advantage of this luxury to create a game that we ingeniously called ‘Pagoda Football.’ Several children would sit on the available slabs and the ball would be bounced high, controlled and then kicked to each other. The first person to miss defending his section of the slab would be ‘out,’ and one of the endless supply of children who were always waiting to play would immediately take their place. Our principal took a sadistic pleasure in assigning those who had been given detention to clean the pagodas, which were always filthy due to everybody’s muddy shoes. I can vividly recall being on my hands and knees, with a bucket of warm soapy water beside me and a toothbrush diligently trying to scrub away some of the endless supply of pagoda dirt.
If becoming an adult has taught me anything at all, it is to treasure these childhood memories. I look forward to sharing these experiences with my children and seeing them make a comparison between my early years and theirs.