• Take a cooking class

    Take a cooking class

    The best thing I can say about my egg salad is that it rarely gives me diarrhoea. I’m not much of a cook. That said, I’m trying to get better and think learning how to cook is a great path to eating healthier and showing off to your friends.

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  • Open a bottle of wine… with a shoe.

    Open a bottle of wine… with a shoe.

    What happens when you’ve got some wine but no corkscrew to open it? That’s usually not an issue with my family, considering how much of our vino comes out of a box, but for those of you fancy pants people out there, having a bottle with no corkscrew to open it can put a serious…

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  • Go snow tubing: Chicopee Tube Park, Kitchener, Ontario

    Go snow tubing: Chicopee Tube Park, Kitchener, Ontario

    Sure winter means scraping off windshields, expensive heating bills and flu pandemics. But that snow and ice also means something awesome: tobogganing.

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  • Play Dodgeball World Domination

    Play Dodgeball World Domination

    My brother Dan added a comment on the Tri-Pong post, introducing me to a great variation of classic Dodgeball. Here’s Dan to explain:

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  • Do a Photo Scavenger Hunt

    Do a Photo Scavenger Hunt

    Photo scavenger hunts are a great, low-impact, low-cost alternative to the classic “find and collect” game. Whether you’re looking for a fun activity for your corporate event or just want something to do with your buddies on a Saturday afternoon, a photo scavenger hunt is a quick and easy thing to whip together.

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  • Be a tourist in your own backyard: The Camborne House B&B, Bayfield, Ontario

    Be a tourist in your own backyard: The Camborne House B&B, Bayfield, Ontario

    I’ve never spent much time in Bayfield, Ontario. I grew up just down the road from the pretty little town on Lake Huron, but besides the occasional pit stop for gas, never saw much of it. A recent opportunity to stay at a bed and breakfast there changed that though, reminding me of how awesome…

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  • Do a polar bear dip… for no good reason.

    Do a polar bear dip… for no good reason.

    A lot of people do Polar Bear Dips as part of a charity event or some other noble cause. Then there are the Van Osches. These cousins of mine are a special breed of people. You may remember them from a few of my earlier posts, including the awesome Blindfold Game.

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  • Host a recipe swap night

    Host a recipe swap night

    Here’s a simple idea that’s both a fun social activity as well as a way of beefing up your personal cookbook (or vegging up as the case may be). Throw a Recipe Swap party. The rules are simple.

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  • Align your gearbox: the drinking game

    Align your gearbox: the drinking game

    Backpacking can introduce you to all sorts of fascinating customs and traditions. Hostels and guest houses serve as the hippie equivalent of the United Nations – a convergence of cultures, nationalities and ideas. This exchange of ideas can revolve around politics, music, religion, philosophies, worldviews and other big discussions. It also facilitates the spread another…

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  • Play Tri-Pong

    Play Tri-Pong

    Rainy days at cottages are the mothers of invention. This week’s Backyard Badge goes to Rob Shirkey for introducing me to the awesome game of Tri-Pong. A couple years ago, while visiting his cottage near Minden, Ontario, Rob taught us how to play this simple, yet exhausting version of ping pong.

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  • Go Geocaching

    Go Geocaching

    Ever wanted to be a pirate and search for buried treasure? Is your favourite part about Easter the egg hunt? Do you pride yourself in your ability to find lost car keys? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then geocaching just may be for you. I’ve wanted to go geocaching for years.…

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  • Play Spoons (with vigour)

    Play Spoons (with vigour)

    Spoons is a card game that was very popular in the Martin household growing up. I’ve played a few variations of it over the years but the general idea remains the same.

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  • Build a trebuchet (and launch flaming pumpkins)

    Build a trebuchet (and launch flaming pumpkins)

    I never took physics in high school. But friends of mine did and I remember them having to build miniature catapults (and other medieval instruments of destruction) as part of their coursework. I’m all for kids getting excited about education. But what happens when your students get too excited about physics, and decide to apply…

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  • Attend a local festival

    Attend a local festival

    A recent visit to Cowapolooza (Woodstock, Ontario’s annual cow festival) got me thinking about all the cool events happening in our own backyard. You could spend an entire year hopping from one local festival to the next. It seems every community has one, even if some of them make you scratch your head.

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  • Get Lost (I mean that in the nicest way, I swear): Random road trips

    Get Lost (I mean that in the nicest way, I swear): Random road trips

    This week’s Backyard Badge of Awesome comes to us via Kendra Barrick of Ottawa, Ontario. Sometimes having no destination in mind at all leads to the best journeys. Random road trips where the only goal is to have a fun time are awesome. Here’s Kendra with her version of “Get Lost”:

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  • Play Crazy 8 Countdown… for spices

    Play Crazy 8 Countdown… for spices

    A sure way to add excitement to a game of cards is to add the element of consequence. And nothing screams consequence like the prospect of having to shovel a heaping spoonful of garlic, turmeric or curry powder into your mouth. This is Crazy 8 Countdown… for spices.

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  • Play Extreme Croquet

    Play Extreme Croquet

    Croquet: The Gentleman’s Game? Not where I come from. Growing up, my brothers and sisters used to play this backyard game in very un-gentlemanly ways. We’d send our opponents’ balls flying into the bush, down our long driveway and into the little creek that ran next to our house. Out-of-bounds was for sissies and sending…

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  • Play the Tribe Game: Who would you want on your post-apocalyptic team?

    Play the Tribe Game: Who would you want on your post-apocalyptic team?

    How useless would you or your friends be in a post-apocalyptic world? The Tribe Game is a great road trip/time-killer game that answers this question. Are you an SEO expert? Does your résumé brag about things like “results-based management”? Do you excel at Excel? Do you have an in-depth knowledge of branding, social media or…

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  • Do an obstacle race: Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash

    Do an obstacle race: Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash

    Call me Spartan Martin. These past couple years I’ve participated in the Spartan Race near Toronto, Ontario. A 5 km+ race, the course involves 15+ obstacles of mud, blood and barbed wire. With 50 Spartan Races held around the world, odds are you’ll find one in your own backyard.

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  • Have a Glow-in-the-dark Fight

    Have a Glow-in-the-dark Fight

    Picture this. You’re in a pitch black room. You strain your eyes in an attempt to see something–anything!–but it’s no use. Fear and adrenaline course through your veins and you just hope the enemy can’t hear the heart pounding in your chest.

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  • Play the Fan Game: A bedtime activity for kids

    Play the Fan Game: A bedtime activity for kids

    What’s funnier than a pair of underwear landing on someone’s head? Nothing. If you’re looking for a unique way to entertain your little kids, consider the Fan Game: an underwear flingin’ good time.

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  • Take a Delicious Road Trip

    Take a Delicious Road Trip

    Road trips rock. Road trips that end in deliciousness rock even harder. For a lot of people, summertime means great local food is in season. Whether it’s an established farmer’s market or a roadside stall selling homemade pies and sweet corn, local food tastes better, supports our farmers and helps connect us with the food…

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  • Play the Blindfold Game

    Play the Blindfold Game

    This week’s Backyard Badge goes to the Blindfold Game – one of the most disorienting and entertaining activities you’ll ever play. Thanks to the Van Osch family for submitting this week’s winner – your Backyard Badge of Awesome and free ebook are on their way! I recently had the pleasure of joining the Van Osches…

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  • Build a Human Foosball game

    Build a Human Foosball game

    In recent years the “dude-that’s-awesome” factor at my extended family’s Thanksgiving get-togethers has increased 10-fold. Why? Two words: human foosball. You may have seen this Backyard Badge recipient at a corporate event or summer festival. But as my Aunt Jackie and Uncle Art demonstrated, there’s nothing stopping you from bringing it to your own backyard.

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  • Grow ideas in the garden of your mind

    Grow ideas in the garden of your mind

    Mr. Rogers wasn’t exactly “cool”. He was soft-spoken, wore cardigans and had a trolley running through his living room. Odds are you’d never see him on the cover of GQ. No, he wasn’t cool. But MAN was he awesome.

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