Keeping kids exercising is often as simple as finding a fun, energetic sport or activity that they enjoy. One sport you don't see enough of anymore (besides on school playgrounds) is tetherball. Remember that game from the schoolyard where you would take turns trying to punch a ball on a string around a pole? That's tetherball.
To enjoy tetherball, you don't have to hunt down the nearest gym or school who happens to have access to it. All you need to do is either buy your own or make your own. It's not as hard as it may sound. The local sporting goods store will generally have an easy-to-set-up, low-cost, low-grade tetherball game, even including the pole. The instructions will come with the set.
If you want a more sturdy tetherball game, try making your own. It's very simple and depending on the ages and abilities of the kids, they may even be able to help. All you need is a small bag of concrete mix, an old tire with the rim still inside, a cheap tarp, a metal pole, a bolt with a hook, a drill with a metal bit, and a pre-strung tetherball.
First, drill a hole the correct size for the bolt into the top of the pole. Next, screw in the bolt. Mix the concrete thickly. Set the tire on top of the tarp.Now place the mixed concrete inside of the tire. Fill the entire hole. Place the pole in the center of the mixed concrete inside the tire. Smooth out the concrete. The pole should stand straight up and if the concrete is thick enough, it will not move. Allow it to dry completely. There's your tetherball pole. Now, just hang your tetherball and you and the kids can start to play.
Tetherball rules are very simple. Player one is the server. To serve the ball, much like volleyball, set it atop the non-dominant hand and punch it with the other. The goal is to get the tetherball to wrap completely around the pole without interruption from the other player. Each player must take turns hitting the ball in opposite directions until one player wraps it around the pole.
Whomever wraps it around the pole first is the winner. Players may not grab the string or hold onto the ball. Either is an automatic "out". If this occurs, the next player will come in and a new game will begin. Players may only punch or hit the ball.
As you can see, a simple project can provide the kids with a lasting way to be active. Sports like this are great because a child can play solo or with a friend or family member. This helps them reach sports and fitness goals more often.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
If you're like me, then you prefer homemade pizza to any other. But making pizza can get pretty costly if you aren't careful. There are many ways I like to make homemade pizza. Here is my favorite quick and easy homemade pizza recipe for those on a budget.
For this quick and easy budget homemade pizza, you'll need a low-cost way to make the crust. Homemade is the lowest-costing, but unless you have prepared some the night before, it isn't very quick. The next best thing is to purchase pizza crust in a bag or box. I prefer Martha White brand pizza crust. It comes in a small bag and is usually about 75 cents per bag. Usually the ones that come in boxes are twice as much but make the same amount of dough.
Anyhow, you'll also need some low-cost pizza sauce that also tastes good. I find that the Hunt's brand tomato sauce gives me the flavor I'm looking for at a low price - usually just a little over a dollar. Plus, if you buy the plain one that is just pure tomato sauce, it can be flavored how you want. I like to add garlic, pepper, and oregano. What, no salt? Well you can add what you want, but I'm not too big on salt and leave it out of many of my recipes if at all possible. Besides, my pizza usually contains pepperoni, which already contains salt.
That leads us to the next ingredient - pepperoni. I find that the cheapest pepperoni slices that still have flavor are the Kroger brand pepperoni slices. I have a big family, so of course I am going to be buying a large package. Today I bought a large package of Kroger brand pepperoni slices for just under three dollars.
What's a pizza without cheese? My favorite cheese is actually mozzarella, so it makes sense that I make homemade pizza often. I most often use mozzarella cheese for my homemade pizza. It's low-cost and stretchy, as pizza cheese should be. Mixing Pepper-jack cheese with the mozzarella works well also and gives some variety. Parmesan is also a common pizza cheese. I find mozzarella and pepper-jack to be two of the most budget-friendly options for homemade pizza.
If you'd like toppings other than pepperoni and cheese, but would still like to keep the cost low, try mushrooms in a can, sliced black olives in a can, sliced jalapenos in a jar, and marinated artichokes in a small jar. The artichokes are usually a little over a dollar and the mushrooms, jalapenos, and olives are usually less than a dollar.
To actually prepare the pizza, follow the directions for preparing the dough. Once you have the dough flattened and shaped to your pizza pan, pour some sauce in the middle of the dough in a circle. Take a spoon and circle around the sauce until it spreads in an even circle around the crust dough at the point you want it to be.
Then, sprinkle the shredded cheese on top of the sauce at an amount to your liking. Now, because I have kids, I put the mushrooms and artichokes on first and then cover those with the pepperoni. They may know they are there already, but I think it helps them forget there are vegetables on the pizza. Other parents will understand the purpose behind that.
Now, stick the pizza in the oven at the recommended temperature on the pizza crust package. It generally takes about 10-15 minutes to cook. Watch for browning crust and bubbling cheese. That will tell you that the pizza is done. The only thing left to do after that is eat. Enjoy!
-- Note that any reference to any particular product/s in the above document is based solely on the opinion of the author. The author has not been compensated by the product company/companies in monies, gifts, or monetary awards for the mention of said product/products.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons; Public Domain
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