An excellent list of games

As an advocate for leisure you may find yourself in charge of leading games for kids or youth.

It is always good to have a hand full of “back pocket” games ready for whenever, but after you run games with the same kids for any length of time you are going to need to get new materials.

This link is an excellent list of games that take little to no materials or set up.

Here are some hints to keep your games fresh and your participants engaged.

1. Always end the game too soon. This may seem a bit like bad advice, but you should always leave them waiting more. If you end the game while they still want to play, they will look forward to playing again.

2. Since you are running your games short make sure you have more than you think you will need. It’s really hard to make up games on the spot once your list has run out.

3. If a game is not working, or the participants obviously don’t get it, stop the game immediately and go to a new one. There is nothing worse than forcing people to play a game. They may get it eventually but it’s not worth the time.

23. May 2016 by AJ McBlain
Categories: News | Leave a comment

Taboo leisure defined

A group of people in my town thought it would be a good idea to spray paint the local beach. Some people’s leisure is collecting tattoos on their face, binge drinking or vandalism. Throwing eggs at peoples houses, toilet papering trees and generally making a mess of the place I suppose could be considered leisure.


Is it Leisure? By definition the people participating in these acts are taking advantage of their free time, they could be feeling a sense of pleasure and experiencing flow. These acts could be considered artistic expression or socialization. So technically it is leisure, but it is not the self positive growth, self bettering leisure that we know and love. Actually this style of leisure is usually frowned upon by most people.


Thus our term today is taboo leisure. These are recreation and leisure activities that do not fall within the parameters of what society views as wholesome. Often these pursuits are deemed inappropriate, socially unacceptable, illegal, and may include self inflicted harm or harm to others, however, these activities can manifest into traditions, or social change.


Social perception is key when defining taboo leisure. Different cultures and societies have different standards. For example Dancing and bowling are two forms of recreation we take for granted now, but it wasn’t long ago when society frowned upon that promiscuous behaviour.


So back to the question, is going out and vandalising or causing mischief leisure? Does taboo leisure have a place in the world, or does leisure have to be positive, self bettering, community bettering?
Personally, I think yes taboo leisure is leisure and most of the harmless stuff should be up to the participant’s discretion. Taboo leisure that inflicts harm should not be recommended and finally any activities that break the law I would personally say are not leisure, they are crimes.

18. July 2014 by AJ McBlain
Categories: News | 2 comments


Hobbies are a longstanding form of leisure. When you search it on the internet you get a wikis, videos, lists, websites and ideas of hobbies. You get a sense that people know what “hobbies” is as a topic and it has become a common term for most people.

Another leisure that has been around for ages is collecting. If you search for collecting on the internet you will get all the good sites and even personal videos showing off people’s collections, and sites like the “Center for the History of Collecting”.

If you search leisure on the internet, however, you will get hits from nearby recreation centres, travel blogs, and maybe a reference. Although the study of leisure, and leisure as a topic is expanding by leaps and bounds I don’t think the general population quite gets it yet.

I guess this bugs me a little, because people do understand leisure since we all do it. In fact hobbies, collecting, and making videos are all leisure. There should be top 10 lists, websites and discussions on it in my opinion.

Maybe I’m just jealous. I can spend a whole day exploring blogs, journals and reports on RVing, but can barely find anything on the parent topic, leisure.



06. July 2014 by AJ McBlain
Categories: News | 3 comments

Quick dip in the lake (Winter edition)

I’m going to ask you a question. Your initial response is likely going to be “No way” or “pfft yeah right”. I want you to move past that original instinct and really think about the answer.


If I were to go down to your local lake and cut a hole in the ice, would you jump in?


My brain is wired to immediately say yes to experiences like this. In my opinion if I don’t have some medical reason not to, I have to. These are the once in a lifetime experiences that should never be passed up.



Yes it was cold, but not nearly as cold as I was expecting. The Gasp effect didn’t force me to suck in water, and my extremities didn’t send cold blood back to my heart and kill me (obviously). With the level of adrenaline going through my system it was similar to jumping into a cool pool from the sauna.

If there is an opportunity for you to try this, I highly recommend it.

10. April 2014 by AJ McBlain
Categories: Embrace the Winter!, News, Things to do, Video | Leave a comment

Throwing Games


photo 1

I think I could say I am slightly above average when it comes to throwing darts. That being said Sometimes I can throw three bulls eyes in a row (when aiming for the 20) and sometimes I can throw 12 darts without hitting the mark (or even the board).

Like most people I bowl maybe twice annually and I average around 100 points per game. That average would probably be higher if I didn’t have the random games where I bowl a 67 trying as hard as I can.

Logic games like chess (where I have yet to beat my dad) let you stop and think about your move until you are confident enough to make it. Horseshoes, however, is a game that incorporates that distracting itch on your nose that causes you to throw like you’re playing discus. When you play these games, part of your strategy can be based on your opponent’s ability to totally wreck their shot, inevitably blaming it on sunbeams or wind direction.

These are the games where you can be in your best condition and break your neighbours windows with the bolo-balls you just threw, and the type of game where you can give up, throw a bean bag over your head backwards and get a three pointer.

Oct single open

Additionally the only way to get any better at these games is to throw, flick, toss, that one thing at the other thing 10,000 times. If you ever do find the determination and time to throw that bocce ball enough to become good, none of your friends will want to play with you anymore because you always win.

I guess what I’m trying to say is throwing games where the point is to be accurate are very hit or miss (heh).

I don’t know why I am getting so down on these games though, I honestly love them. These games are extremely social. playing one five minute game of horseshoes can go on for two hours due to the stops to socialize and it’s awesome. I also love that everyone has their own throwing game. Every time I visit the east coast I get the pleasure of playing the washer toss game. In Finland they invented Mölkky, Greeks invented Quoits. Every culture has their own throwing game, and one of the quintessential Canadian throwing games is the whole reason why I started this article.

For the first time in my life I got to fulfil my cultural stereotype. I finished my dinner of pancakes with maple syrop, donned on my tuque, drove my Zamboni to the local igloo and went Curling!


I hear all around me that curling is a dying sport, and I can’t believe it. If you haven’t curled you owe it to yourself to find the local curling rink and throw a few stones. I threw my first stone this year and I was instantly hooked. I know how boring it can be watching it, but don’t judge a sport by it’s show and actually try it.

The throwing portion of curling is just as fun/aggravating as all the other throwing sports, but now you have team mates who can attempt to salvage your bad shots by sweeping. The other portion of the game is the crazy strategy which is why curling has been nicknamed “chess on ice”. So now you get to hyper plan out your moves perfectly like a strategy game, and frantically hope that you can make the shot. This makes for a very interesting, fun, and competitive game.

I’m not sure how to pump it up anymore or explain why it’s so good, but I’ve bought a broom, joined a team and joined the curling community on Google+ (that is to say I’m in).


04. April 2014 by AJ McBlain
Categories: Blog, Throwing Games | 10 comments

The best game you didn’t realize is installed on your phone

Everyone loves a fun diversion, and if it’s an not-overly-addicting game all the better! Even if you don’t think you have any time wasters installed on your phone, you probably have an amazingly simple and challenging game that you can play solo or with friends of any age:

It’s your stop watch. Continue Reading →

17. January 2014 by arleym
Categories: News | 1 comment

The type of snow best used to build sculptures and snowmen…


Growing up we called it packy snow. Although Here they call it sticky.

Either way when the snow is a perfect wet to cold ratio there is nothing else you should be doing than making snow sculptures or pelting someone with snowballs.

Some of the best parts of building

with snow is destroying it after.


04. January 2014 by AJ McBlain
Categories: News | 1 comment

What is your leisure?

If you could drop everything you are doing and do whatever you wanted, what would it be?

T.V, movies, surfing the net do not count.

Comment below, or in the LeisureBeam community on G+ 

10. February 2013 by AJ McBlain
Categories: Blog | 1 comment


My new job, and our new life has brought us to beautiful Mackenzie British Columbia, home to the coolest sledding hill.


23. December 2012 by AJ McBlain
Categories: Blog, Downhill, Things to do | 1 comment

Leisure: Cooking

Cooking is creative, productive and it can be a relaxing output for many people. It can be exciting coming up with a meal idea, or a creative cake idea for your wife who happens to be gluten free.

Rather than risk messing up everything like I almost did with the waffles fiasco, Jen and I worked together to create the monstrosity we call her birthday cake.

01. October 2012 by AJ McBlain
Categories: Blog, Cooking, Things to do, Video | Leave a comment

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