open wine with 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 damper on an evening.

Or, as the video below demonstrates, it could be a really awesome opportunity to impress the hell out of your friends. Continue reading

Sandboard the Dunes: Peru, New Zealand, Namibia and more

Growing up in Canada, tobogganing factored big in my childhood. Each winter the hills around Port Albert, Ontario became the grounds for epic battles with my siblings and cousins. I often felt bad that people living in warmer climates were missing out on this awesome activity. But then Ashraf Dean submitted this photo of him in New Zealand and I got introduced to something called sandboarding. Continue reading

align your gearbox 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 essential cultural tradition: drinking games. Continue reading

ESL teaching Taiwan

Work abroad

Working overseas has many advantages. It looks great on a résumé. It lets you really immerse yourself in the day-to-day life of another country and culture. It’s a great way to make overseas travel affordable. It gets you out of your comfort zone and helps you grow as a person. It broadens your perspective and lets you see the world through a broader lens. It helps you pick up girls at bars as you regale them with your exotic adventures. Continue reading

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. Last week I got my chance and had a great day with my friends Shane, Shaun and Tina. Continue reading

Oktoberfest

Have a beer at Oktoberfest, Germany

Prost. Schnitzel. Lederhosen. Oompah. Ziggy zaggy ziggy zaggy, oy oy oy. If these words confuse you, odds are you’ve never been to Oktoberfest. As a resident of the Kitchener-Waterloo area in Ontario for many years, I’ve attended my fair share of Oktoberfest events. If you do go, prepare to have your fill of sausage, sauerkraut, polka music… I feel like I’m forgetting something here…

Oh, that’s right: beer. Lots and lots and lots of beer. Continue reading

How to build a trebuchet

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 what they learned on a larger scale? Well my friends, you get the very bad-ass, very awesome Trebosterone Trebuchet: Continue reading

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 other players flying was as much a goal as winning. Continue reading

simple activities

[Blog] 20 awesome activities involving 1 item or less

simple activities

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on my Josh Martin Ink blog.

In an age of iPads, Xboxes and $200 shoes, our sources of entertainment and activity require increasingly sophisticated technology, equipment and infrastructure.

But there’s something to be said for the simpler activities. Activities that nurture creativity, ingenuity and imagination.

In 2005 the cardboard box was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York. The stick made the cut in 2008. “[T]here aren’t any rules or instructions for its use,” said Christopher Bensch, the museum’s curator of collections. “It can be a Wild West horse, a medieval knight’s sword, a boat on a stream or a slingshot with a rubber band.”

In a time when it seems that every toy requires 17 triple-A batteries and every activity requires mountains of gear, it’s nice to see the simple stick and cardboard box be recognized for the limitless entertainment potential that can be unlocked through imagination.

Here are twenty activity ideas for children and adults alike that require one item or less. Feel free to whip out this list if you ever hear a kid whining that they’re bored.

  1. Tag. I don’t mean tagging your friend puking on a cop on Facebook. I can’t count how many hours I’ve spent chasing friends around the schoolyard yelling “You’re it!”
  2. Soccer. It’s no surprise soccer is the most popular sport in the world. Whether you’re from Richmond Hill or Rwanda, all you need is a soccer ball and some open space.
  3. Ultimate Frisbee. Like soccer, but for hippies, the only thing you need for Ultimate is a disc (and perhaps granola).
  4. Cards. There are hundreds of games you can squeeze out of a single deck of playing cards. Perfect for games night or a rainy day. I come from a huge card-playing family. Euchre, Bugger your Neighbour, Hearts, Pork Chop—we grew up playing them all.
  5. Hopscotch. Any sidewalk or blacktop can be transformed into a playground with a bit of chalk and imagination.
  6. Yoga. Although many people go to yoga studios and gyms for this activity, all you really need is a yoga mat and a familiarity with the bizarrely-named poses.
  7. Red Rover. Oh man. No other game has been responsible for more clotheslines, bruised wrists and sprained fingers than Red Rover. “Red Rover, Red Rover, we call the paramedic over!” A personal favourite.
  8. Hide and Seek. Another favourite. All you need is a group of people and a good place to hide. Just don’t hide next to a bee hive like I did as a kid. That hurts.
  9. Charades. Great party game that doesn’t require anything fancy. Giving an easily embarrassed guest something x-rated to act out is always hilarious.
  10. Arm wrestling/thumb wrestling. Requires nothing but your own bodies. Think this is a lame activity? Watch Sylvester Stallone’s “Over the Top” and think again, buddy.
  11. Duck Duck Goose. Thrilling suspense. High speed chases. Patting people on the head. This classic has got it all.
  12. Bloody Knuckles. Taking turns rapping each other’s knuckles until they bleed is admittedly a bit violent and juvenile. But I wanted to mention this because it was a pretty common activity with my schoolmates.
  13. Touch football. If you remove the contact element from football you remove the need for all the pads, helmets and mouth guards. And the need for medical attention (in most cases).
  14. What time is it Mr. Wolf? I’m not sure how familiar people are with this game. It involves players calling out “what time is it Mr. Wolf?” to the “wolf” who has her back turned to them. The wolf calls out a time, like “7 o’clock!” and the players take seven steps toward her. This continues until the wolf thinks the players are close enough to catch and the next time they ask “what time is it Mr. Wolf?” she replies “LUNCH TIME!” and chases the squealing players around the playground.
  15. P.I.G. All you need is any sort of projectile – a ball, Frisbee, hard-boiled egg – that gets tossed back and forth between players. Drop the item and get a letter. When you spell P-I-G, you’re out.
  16. Rock Paper Scissors. I’m pretty sure more decisions have been made amongst my friends using Rock, Paper, Scissors than by thoughtful discussion.
  17. Tai Chi. A great activity I’ve wanted to try since my days in Taiwan. All you need is some instruction (and a cool paper fan if you want to look extra awesome).
  18. Tabletop football. Two players on opposite ends of a table. Object is to move a coin across the table in 4 or less pushes/flicks (downs) and have the coin partially hanging over the edge of the opponent’s end of the table (end zone) without it falling over. Harder than it sounds.
  19. I went on a camping trip/other car games. Before the days of DVD players in cars, iPods and PSPs, families going on a road trip had to occupy the long hours with driving games like “I went on a camping trip”, “eye spy” and “would you rather”.
  20. Debating. Probably the easiest way to pass the time of all these ideas is to open a controversial topic up for discussion.

These are just some of the ideas that came to my mind. What are your favourite simple activities?

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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 database management? If you answered yes to any of these questions, odds are you’re going to be pretty useless in the event of a nuclear, zombie or Mad Maxian-style apocalypse. Continue reading