Sunday, September 20, 2020

National Preparedness Month - Week 4

Picture of Scrabble game tiles spelling "Ready"
Picture of Scrabble game tiles spelling "Ready"

The objective of the final week of National Preparedness Month is to teach youth about preparedness. Every family member should be prepared for emergencies, no matter their age.

It is important for parents to reassure younger children by including them in family preparedness planning. Older children need to be prepared so they know what to do if you are separated before, during or after a disaster.

It is important for responsible adults to listen to children and youth, ask them about their feelings, and validate their concerns. Children want to feel safe and need some information to understand what is happening when their lives change. However, it is wise to limit their media exposure as news stories can be frightening. It also helps to keep as much of an ordinary daily routine as possible under the circumstances.

Here are some helpful resources:

Monday, September 14, 2020

September is Preparedness Month - Week 3 - Prepare for Disasters


An important aspect of preparedness is understanding what disasters are most likely in your locale and limiting their impact.

Identify the types of disasters that are the highest risk for where you live. has identified a number of different types of disasters, including the following:

  • avalanche
  • drought
  • earthquake
  • extreme heat
  • flood
  • home fire
  • hurricane
  • landslide & debris flow
  • pandemic
  • power outage
  • snowstorm & extreme cold
  • thunderstorm & lightning
  • tornado
  • tsunami
  • volcano
  • wildfire

They provide additional information about how to prepare, how to survive, and what to do to stay safe after each type of disaster.

Learn how to receive local warnings and alerts about impending disasters.

There are two different levels of alerts: watches and warnings. When a watch is issued, this means you should be prepared because the potential exists for an emergency. Watches usually cover large geographic areas. Warnings on the other hand mean that you need to take immediate action, as the emergency is happening at that time. This is when you put your preparedness plan to use.

FEMA has a free mobile alert app available on Google Play and at the Apple App Store. The Red Cross also has mobile alert apps.

Other useful resources: 

Prepare your dwelling for potential disasters and common hazards.

Many residential areas have building codes. A home that is “built to code” only means it is built to the minimum life safety standard. You may want to take additional steps to better prepare your dwelling to help you survive potential local disasters. Here are some resources that may help you plan and prepare your home:

Check your insurance coverage.

Your insurance documents should be part of your disaster preparedness kit. You may need them after the disaster to obtain assistance and as proof of claims.

For a little humor at the end of a sober article, here are “10 Unbelievable Events Homeowners Insurance Covers.”

Sunday, September 13, 2020

National Preparedness Month - Week 2

Picture of Scrabble game tiles spelling "Ready"

The objective of the second week of National Preparedness Month is to build a disaster response kit for yourself or your family. 

Everyone should have common supplies tor three days, such as water (a gallon per person per day), food, a flashlight and first aid kit. Be sure to plan for anything needed specifically by infants, children, or the elderly. 

Additional supplies you will want in your emergency kit if you have a health condition or disability include prescription and nonprescription medications, prescription eyeglasses, contact lens solution, and extra hearing aid batteries, food, water, and other items necessary for a guide dog or other companion animal. Don’t forget hygiene supplies and mobility equipment.

If you are employed, you should maintain some supplies at work in case you need to shelter there during an emergency. You will also want an emergency kit in your car. You may need different supplies for different situations, such as a bedside kit if you can’t go to other parts to your home, or an easily carried grab-and-go kit for evacuating to another location.

Here are some resources with ideas of contents you may need for your emergency kit:

Sunday, September 6, 2020

September is National Preparedness Month

National Preparedness Month poster
National Preparedness Month
Disasters Don't Wait - Make Your Plan Today

There are all kinds of emergencies, and it feels like right now we are dealing with quite a few all at once. Emergencies can be natural or manmade. Natural emergencies include storms, floods, droughts, lightning-caused wildfires, and earthquakes. Manmade emergencies include house fires, financial upsets (e.g., losing a job), car wrecks, armed conflicts, rioting, and stolen identities.

Emergencies can be personal (e.g., broken bones) or societal (e.g., pandemics). Some emergencies we can take steps to prevent (e.g., being sure the car is in good working condition before going on a long trip), but there are many others over which we have little or no control (e.g., tornadoes or hurricanes).

Emergencies of any sort need not become disasters with the proper preparations. The month of September has been set aside as National Preparedness Month, with activities each week to help individuals and families be better equipped to deal with emergencies when they arise and prevent them from turning into disasters.

The theme of the 2020 National Preparedness Month is “Disasters Won’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.” Brainstorm with your family which types of emergencies are most likely to happen where you live. Then use some of the resources listed below to create a family emergency response plan. Be sure everyone in the family knows their responsibility, and practices doing what they need to do to respond to an emergency situation.

Some resources for family emergency planning:
Why not start creating your family preparedness plan this weekend?

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Things to Do - September Topics at HealthInfo Island!

September is Pain Awareness Month. So we also have three very different types of pain as topics: Dealing with Arthritis Pain, Migraine! and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

I guess you could even say that What is an anti-inflammation diet? might help with pain since inflammation accompanies or causes pain.

The other topics are:

  • Deaf Awareness Week Sept 21-27
  • Reproductive Cancers Awareness Month
  • Blood Sugar Control After Eating; Help for Type 2 Diabetes
Come, visit inworld at HealthInfo Island, Second Life!

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Why you should prioritize exercise if you have a chronic disease

Man and woman walking on a hillside in sunlight
Couple walking

Persons with chronic diseases—such as pain in the back or joints, heart disease, asthma, cancer, dementia or diabetes—can gain important health benefits from an exercise program. As always, it is important to consult with your doctor before starting to exercise; ask for advice on what exercises you should be doing and what precautions to take while exercising. The point of exercising when you have a chronic disease is to help you manage your symptoms and improve your overall health. Exercise is medicine!

Types of exercise and their benefits

  • Flexibility exercises increase the range of motion of your joints.
  • Balance and stability exercises help reduce the risk of falls and broken bones.
  • Strength exercises, in addition to obviously improving your strength, aid endurance, making daily activities easier to do. They slow the progression of certain muscular diseases and also stabilize your joints.
  • Aerobic exercises improve heart health and endurance. They also aid in weight loss. Aerobic activities can be done at low- and high-intensity; high-intensity exercise takes less time to achieve exercise goals. You can also alternate low- and high-intensity aerobic exercise; this is called interval training.

Disease-specific benefits of exercise

  • Pain in the back - Low-impact aerobic exercise and core exercises for the abdominal as well as back muscles strengthens muscles around the spine that affect your posture. They increase the endurance of your muscles and improve their function.
  • Arthritis pain in the joints - Specific exercises increase muscle strength around joints, which reduces joint stiffness and pain. Exercise increases the quality of life for persons with arthritis by improving their physical functioning.
  • Heart disease - Exercise benefits include slowing disease progression and remodeling heart muscle damage. Interval training is generally well tolerated by persons with heart disease. Exercise helps people with high blood pressure lower their risk of dying of heart disease, and decreases the risk of heart disease progression.
  • Asthma - Regular exercise controls the frequency and severity of asthma attacks for many individuals.
  • Cancer - Regular exercise lowers your risk of death from breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers. Those recovering from cancer report improved fitness and higher quality of life when they exercise.
  • Dementia - People with higher activity levels have less risk of developing dementia or age-related cognitive impairment. For people who have dementia, exercise has been shown to improve cognition.
  •  Diabetes - Exercise works well to increase the effectiveness of insulin in lowering blood sugar levels in persons with Type 1 diabetes. It also increases your energy and helps you lose weight. For persons with Type 2 diabetes, exercise decreases the risk of dying from heart disease.

Safety Precautions

While your doctor will discuss this with you as you plan your exercise program, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind. Your doctor may refer you to a physical or occupational therapist to help you design a safe exercise plan.

Finding time to exercise

Your exercise goal is 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity at least 5 days a week. Especially when just beginning an exercise program, it can be difficult to fit it into your daily schedule. Most likely this is a motivational challenge, so put exercise sessions on your calendar! Activities that appear as part of your formal daily plan are more likely to get done. You can also put “exercise” on your daily TO DO list; it feels good to cross that one off.

Getting started

Your doctor will help you create a plan with a starting point and a goal for exercise. Especially if you have not been active in a while, it is important to start an exercise program slowly and build up the length and intensity gradually. Remember, any activity is healthier than none at all. Sit less and move more; even an hour total a week is beneficial.

The best news is that you don’t need to set aside a full hour for a complete workout. Research has shown that exercising in short bursts works as well. Start with small sessions a few times a day, and soon you will be meeting your exercise goal and improving your overall health and wellbeing.

Staying motivated

Your doctor may recommend exercise programs for persons with your condition that are run by a local hospital or health club. Some insurance plans support these organized exercise programs.

Exercising with a friend can help you stick to your routine. So can choosing activities that are fun for you, and adding in additional enjoyable physical activities such as an occasional hike. It is OK to take an “exercise vacation” for a day, but try to get back on track the next day.

The most important exercise advice is to set realistic goals given your current health condition. Be sure to celebrate your successes as you reach health improvement milestones.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Things To Do - Volunteer to Help Seniors and Persons with Disabilities in Your Community

Picture of many different-colored hand prints
Volunteer Hands

During a pandemic, the elderly and persons with disabilities are often at the greatest risk. To protect themselves, they may become isolated and unable to access basic services or meet their daily needs for food and supplies. Isolation and loneliness have negative impacts on overall health and wellness. If you feel safe offering assistance, there are three areas in which you can volunteer. 

Delivering Meals or Groceries

Organizations that deliver food to the needy include Meals on Wheels and Feeding America. Contact local service agencies as well as the large national ones to see if they need drivers willing to bring food and groceries to needy isolated persons.

If you live in an area not served by any of these agencies, you can use social media to let people know that you are willing to shop for and deliver groceries, or run other errands such as picking up and delivering prescription medications. 

Technology Assistance

Help older family members or elderly community members stay up to date with information and keep connected with loved ones through technology. Sometimes the easiest way is to phone and talk the person through how to use their existing electronic tools, including smart phones.

Consider writing (or making a video) and sharing tutorials for downloading eBooks or audio recordings from the local library collection, or directions for emailing or for downloading a podcast. Create step-by-step written instructions for using video conferencing tools.

Remember to include tips for safe experiences online. Seniors and the disabled are frequent targets of online scammers.

If you are unsure how to start creating these educational materials, check out the free materials provided by Generations on Line

Social Support

Loneliness has large impacts on health and is increased during times of enforced isolation. Check with local civic organizations and churches to see if they can match you with a person who would benefit from a regular phone call “just to check in.”

For a good list of potential discussion topics for talking with seniors, please look here:

If you feel too shy to volunteer in this way, consider sharpening your interpersonal skills. Here is a helpful list of tips on how to engage in small talk:

Volunteering helps others, but helping others also benefits you. You will be less likely to feel depressed and will experience increased overall well being. Where can you volunteer safely?

Things To Do - Learn Some History

Picture of sneaker with green shoelaces
History of Shoelaces

If your experience of learning history ended in school, with memorizing a list of dates and the names of kings and presidents and generals, you are missing out on discovering some intriguing facts. Why not take some time while we are sheltering in place to learn some other aspects of history.

Have you ever considered that common everyday objects may not have always been the same as we encounter them nowadays? Check out this history of everyday household objects, such as chopsticks and forks, playing cards and pillows.

Ever wondered when doorknobs came to be? How long has mankind used shoelaces? Who invented ladders?

Foods are interesting to explore. How did the iconic European breads like Dutch tiger bread, German pretzels, and French baguettes come about? What’s the story behind fruitcake? Even candy has a sweet history.

How was the Eiffel Tower built in 2 years, 2 months and 5 days? Find out about this marvel of engineering.

Some engineering feats are being lost to the advance of civilization. Learn how the Inuit used to build igloos.

Be sure to share the fun facts you learn with your friends. Curious minds want to know.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Things to Do - Tour of the virtual Peale Museum!

The Peale Museum in Second Life
The Peale Museum in Second Life

Tour of the virtual Peale Museum!
August 15, 2020  (8-11am SLT)

Rembrandt Peale’s Museum and Gallery of the Fine Arts opened in downtown Baltimore, Maryland, on August 15, 1814. It  was the first purpose-built museum in the United States, and is now a US National Historic Landmark. As of today, The Peale is the newest museum in the virtual world Second Life!

Current highlights of the virtual museum include the 3D interactive Peale Museum building and the virtual world exhibition, “Redefine/ABLE: Challenging Inaccessibility.” 

At 9am SLT, a panel of accessibility experts will discuss how historic buildings can be made accessible, in RL and SL.

Please feel free to explore inside the museum, pop through the door at the top of the stairs to see the accessibility exhibit. There are fun things to discover inside and outside the museum.

Read the Press Release from Linden Lab:

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Financial Literacy Tip - Shop for School Supplies Tax-free This Weekend in These Ten States

Tax Free glass window display

Schools may or may not open in the next week in your state, but if you live in ten particular states, you will be able to shop for school supplies this weekend (Aug 7-9) without paying regular sales tax on those items. These states are:

  • Florida
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Texas 
  • Virginia

Typically included on the list each state has designated as tax-exempt items are school supplies, clothing and shoes, and in some states computer equipment is also on the list. Check this article for further details and links to the states’ tax sites.


Check this article -

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Reducing Risk Factors for Esophageal Cancer Works!

Green ECG graph with green human stick figure

The two types of esophageal cancer are the seventh leading cause of death for US men. Esophageal cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.

The two types of esophageal cancer are esophageal adenocarcinoma and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.  Both appear to be caused by irritation of the lining of the esophagus which causes cellular changes in DNA. The exact cause of these cancers is unknown.

Adenocarcinomas (EAC) begin as changes in the music-secreting glands lining the esophagus, typically in the lower portion where it empties into the stomach. In the US it affects primarily white men.  Two-thirds of esophageal cancers in the United States are EAC. It is usually associated with obesity and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) occurs in the thin flat cells lining the interior surface of the esophagus. It occurs mainly in the upper and middle portion of the esophagus tube, and is the most common esophageal cancer worldwide. It is most commonly associated with smoking and drinking alcohol.

A 2018 research study has shown that the incidence of ESCC in the US decreased significantly from the 2001 level to 2015. The same research also indicated a significant increase in EAC between 2001 and 2006.While the incidence of EAC was highest in Midwestern states, it increased the most rapidly in the Northeast.

It is suggested that the decrease in ESCC may be due to a rapid decrease in smoking. What this means is that reducing one of the risk factors for esophageal adenocarcinoma worked. EAC is treatable, and early detection can make a big difference in survival rates. For more information on esophageal cancer detection and treatment:

Prevention always has better outcomes than treatment. Let’s make a better effort to reduce the risk factors for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma by treating GERD adequately and reducing obesity.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Things to Do - HealthInfo Island - 8 displays!

The three displays and five exhibits for this month are as follows, starting by the bridge from Virtual Ability island and working around to the top of the waterfall.
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Minority donor awareness
  • Overdose awareness
  • Hangovers 
  • Healthcare for the homeless
  • Neuropathy
  • Psoriasis awareness
  • Stock your fridge and pantry for better health

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Happy Birthday ADA!

Today (July 26, 2020) marks the 30th anniversary of the date when President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. The ADA legislation protects the civil rights of persons with disabilities by guaranteeing equal opportunities for them in various aspects of public life.

You could of course celebrate with cake and ice cream. (Ice cream sounds particularly good during this heat wave.) The ADA National Network has some additional suggestions for marking this significant anniversary.

The Morning Edition show on National Public Radio is asking persons with disabilities to help them document how the ADA has impacted their lives. They accept written, audio, and video personal stories. Find out more about your opportunity to share here:

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Things to do - ASL and/or text guided affirmations and meditations

Picture of a woman meditating in a garden
A woman meditating in a garden

Video link selections of ASL and/or text guided affirmations and meditations

Compiled by HannahFeralCat, Virtual Ability member.

Instructions:  Skip or close advertisements when allowed. Use this list to find the videos that best suit your listening, practicing and time preferences. Other notecard topics in this series note closed captioning, CC.

“Waves - ASL Guided Meditation”
by Matt Reinig (10 minutes) ASL meditation, CC

“Rays of Gratitude - ASL Guided Meditation”
by Matt Reinig (4 minutes) ASL meditation, CC

“Letting Go of Tension - ASL Guided Meditation”
by Matt Reinig (6 minutes) ASL, CC, meditation

by Matt Reinig (2 minutes) ASL, text in video

“Observe the Energy Within”
by Matt Reinig (4 minutes) ASL

“Letting Go of Your Chains (ASL Guided Meditation)”
by Matt Reinig (12 minutes) ASL, text in video

“Be at Peace”
by Matt Reinig (2 minutes) ASL

“ASL Guided Meditation - Mindful Drinking”
by Matt Reinig (11 minutes) ASL meditation, CC

“5 Minute ASL Guided Meditation #1”
by Matt Reinig (7 minutes) ASL meditation, CC

“SLOW DOWN - Mindful Minute”
by Matt Reinig (1 minute) ASL

“Where Do You Stand - Mindful Minute”
by Matt Reinig (2 minutes) ASL

“DEAF Affirmation & Selbstbejahung ICH = JA!”<
by Yoga Massage (4 minutes) sign, text in video, CC

“DEAF Yoga - 10 Min Meditation - Entspanne dich JETZT/Relax NOW - Yoga Massage Betty Sch├Ątzchen”
by Yoga Massage (10 minutes) sign, text in video

“Guided Meditation for the Hearing Impaired & Deaf Community - Detachment from Over-Thinking”
by Michael Sealey (27 minutes) text in video

by Jessica vonGarrel (5 minutes) ASL, text in video, music, singing

“2015 Deaf Can Do It Motivational Message”
by Illinois Service Resource Center (2 minutes) ASL, text in video, music

“Guided Meditation for Hearing Impaired”
by Annie Borg (6 minutes) text in video

“Meditation and Mindfulness for Deaf People”
by Move and Nourish (10 minutes) text in video

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Things to do - Develop an Emergency Plan to Protect Your Family in a Disaster

PIcture of Scrabble tiles spelling Ready

According to the 2019 National Household Survey (NHS) done by FEMA, 51% of respondents with one child made an emergency plan. That means almost half of families with a single child had no emergency plan. And worse, those who did not have children or who had two or more children weren’t even that likely to make an emergency plan. To learn more about the 2019 NHS results, click here.

It is important for families to plan and practice what to do during different types of disasters. The first step in planning is to recognize the types of disasters that might occur in your region. lists over two dozen possible types of disasters to plan for. Learn how to get emergency alerts

When you create your family plan, think about the needs of individual family members, including pets. Write up the plan and share it with all family members and the contact persons you identified in the plan. Practice the elements of the plan so that all family members can respond quickly and knowledgeably.

For a list of personal preparedness resources, please see this page on the Virtual Ability website:

Be prepared for future disasters. Take responsibility for yourself and your family members by developing and practicing a family emergency plan.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Things to do - July Exhibits and Posters at HealthInfo Island - Staying Safe From The Sun (among other things!)

At HealthInfo Island this month are exhibits on how to have a safe summer.

July is also Social Wellness Month and and includes Therapeutic Recreation Week.

Also, July has Hepatitis Awareness Day, and we include information on racial disparities in US health and healthcare (in some respects the statistics are not good).

And, to balance out all the gloom and doom, there's Go For Nuts! which explains how eating various kinds of nuts can benefit our health.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

How to Prepare Food Safely During a Pandemic

Men in fire suits in front of barbeque
Men in fire suits in front of barbeque

At present, it does not appear that COVID-19 is spread through food. However, this is a good time to practice good food preparation hygiene. Here are some tips.
  • Wash your hands properly before and after touching raw food, before and after cooking food, before serving or eating food, and after eating.
  • Wash countertops, cutting boards and kitchen utensils with hot soapy water before use, and between various food items. This is especially important to isolate animal products such as meat, fish or poultry.
  • Wash fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly before cooking them or eating them raw. For complete information on how to wash various types of fruits and vegetables, consult this source:
  • Clean off the tops of cans before you open them. It’s also important to clean the can opener blade after use. For more on why you should clean the tops of cans before opening them, read this:
These hygiene practices are ones you should have been following all along. If you haven’t, perhaps now is the time to start making them part of your food preparation habits.

For more information on COVID-19 and food safety, please download this PDF:

Saturday, June 20, 2020

How to Grocery Shop Safely During a Pandemic

Grocery store fruits and vegetables
Grocery store fruits and vegetables

Try to shop at a time when it is less likely others will be shopping. Use curbside pick up if available.

If you must go into the store, wear a mask and practice social distancing. Bring your own cloth shopping bags that can be put into the laundry immediately upon unpacking at home. Click here for more information on cleaning and disinfecting reusable bags:

Bring sanitizing wipes and wipes down the handle of the grocery cart before touching it.

Fresh produce is generally a healthy food, but it is presented at the store in ways where it may become contaminated with a variety of germs. This is no reason to avoid it! Instead grab two of the plastic produce bags. Put your hand inside one, and use it to pick up the produce you want to purchase, and put it into the second bag. That makes the first bag act as a protective glove.

Wash your hands after returning from the store, and wash them again once you’ve put everything away in your pantry. Be sure to properly clean produce once you get it home or before you prepare it.

Is Drive-Through or Take-Out Food Save During A Pandemic?


Is it safe to eat at the drive-through or get take-out food during a pandemic?

There does not appear to be any evidence that food or food packaging can transmit the COVID-19 virus.  At this time, the biggest infection risk appears to be from person-to-person transmission. Food businesses should enforce work procedures that keep their employees safe and healthy. Food service employees who have symptoms of illness should not be at work. Drive-through and meal delivery programs seem to offer the best options for maintaining social distancing and reducing contact between food preparers and customers.

Remember to disinfect your credit card when it is returned to you, before you stick it back in your wallet. It is unlikely, according to current understanding, that the coronavirus can survive long on food packaging. It also appears to be unlikely for the virus to survive in prepared foods. However it is always wise to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching food packaging materials and before eating.

In deciding whether you will risk acquiring coronavirus from drive-through or take-out meals, you will also want to consider how important it is to support local small businesses. Many employees in fast food restaurants need the income their job provides.

For further information on the safety of prepared foods, please download this PDF:

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Things to Do with Your Friends – Victorian Parlor Games

Chess board with dominoes next to it

With the loosening of some COVID-19 restrictions, some of us can now visit in small groups of family and friends. Here are some fun and silly games that were played at gatherings in the parlors of homes during the Victorian time period. You probably already know how to play Charades and Blind Man’s Buff, so those won’t be described here. But do give the following games a try.

Squeak Piggy Squeak
This was a popular variation of Blind Man’s Buff. One person is the Farmer, the others are Piggies. The Piggies sit in a circle with the Farmer in the center. The Farmer sits on a pillow or large cushion. The Farmer is blindfolded and spun around two or three times.

The Farmer picks up the pillow and goes over to one of the Piggies. He puts the pillow on the PIggie’s lap. The Farmer must sit on the pillow without touching the Piggie with his (or her) hands. This is to maintain the anonymity of the Piggies.

When the Farmer is sitting, he says “Squeak, piggie, squeak.” The Piggie then makes squeaking sounds. The farmer has to identify the Piggie. If the Farmer is correct, the identified Piggie changes places with the Farmer. While the new Farmer is being blindfolded and spun around, the other Piggies can change places.

If the Farmer is unable to identify the Piggie, he must return to the center with his pillow to be spun around again. The Piggies can change places.

The Minister’s Cat
The first person chooses a letter of the alphabet and describes the cat with an adjective beginning with that letter. For instance, for the letter B: “The minister’s cat is a beautiful cat.”

The next person has to use a different adjective starting with the same letter, for example: “The minister’s cat is a belligerent cat.” The game continues until someone can’t think of an appropriate adjective. Then they get to choose another letter to start the game over.

A small object is selected and shown to all players. One person stays in the room and everyone else leaves. The remaining person places the object somewhere unobtrusive. It must remain in view, but can be placed higher or lower than eye level, and can be placed with other objects.

The other players return and look around to find the object. When they find the object, they should continue to pretend to look around a little, then sit down so as not to give away the location. The game continues until the next-to-last player finds the item and sits down. Then the remaining player is the one who gets to hide the object for the next game play.

One person is chosen as the Judge, and leaves the room. The other players put a small personal item (a piece of jewelry or something from their pocket or purse, or a shoelace or necktie) into a box. The Judge is then invited into the room.

The Judge selects an item from the box and describes it. The owner of the item must identify himself. The Judge then sets a forfeit, something either amusing or embarrassing that must be done in order to reclaim the object. If the owner of the item refuses to do the forfeit, the Judge gets to keep the item.

Forfeits could be actions such as to sing a song, tell a story, make 3 people laugh, yawn until someone else yawns, hop around the circle on one foot, rub your head while patting your stomach, tell something embarrassing that happened to you, or say “red lorry yellow lorry” five times fast. (Remember the ages of players involved, and don’t make the forfeits inappropriate!)

A variation is to have the Judge guess the owner of the item. If guessed correctly, the owner pays a forfeit before getting the item back. If guessed incorrectly, the item is returned without forfeit.

Every player uses a dictionary to write down a word nobody else is likely to know. They then write the correct definition in simple terms, and two incorrect but plausible definitions. The words and potential definitions are read aloud.,

Example: Nudiustertian
A) person who likes to be nude
B) the day before yesterday
C) a slug-like marine animal with gills
(B is Correct.)

You earn points for getting the correct definition for the words you did not look up. The person with the most points at the end is the winner.

The Sculptor
One person is chosen to be the sculptor. All the others stand still while the Sculptor walks around and positions everyone into silly poses. Players are not allowed to laugh, smile, or move.

The first person to break the statue role changes places with the Sculptor and resumes positioning the others. Play until everyone has had a chance to be the Sculptor.

Change Seats!
This is sort of like musical chairs. All but one player sit in a circle of chairs, with “It” standing in the center of the circle. “It” chooses someone in the circle and asks him or her, “Do you love your neighbor?”

If the answer given is “No,” then the people on either side must get up and exchange seats while “It” tries to sit down on one of the vacated chairs.

If the answer given is “Yes, but I don’t love people who [and then list some characteristic that pertains to two or more other players, such as “have brown hair,” or “is wearing a sweater”],” then everyone with that characteristic must get up and exchange chairs while “It” tries to sit on a vacated chair.
If “It” manages to sit in an open chair, the person left standing becomes “It” for the next round.

Fruit Bowl
This is another game similar to musical chairs, appropriate for larger groups. Everyone including the designated first “It” draws the name of a fruit (apple, blueberry, pear, etc.) out of a hat. Be sure there are more than one of each named fruit and that the number of slips matches the number of players.

“It” calls out the name of a fruit. Players who have chosen that fruit must stand and switch seats while “It” tries to sit on one of the vacated chairs. The last person standing becomes “It” for the next round.

The Laughing Game
This must be done with a straight face. The first players says “ha.” The second player says “ha ha.” The third player says “ha ha ha,” and so forth. The first person to smile or laugh is out of the game and the game begins again.

Elephant’s Foot Umbrella Stand
This item may have been more recognizable in the Victorian time period, but the game is fun in modern times. The leader thinks of a rule (for example, the item’s name must end in the letter D, or the item must be made from animal skin) and says “I went to the store and bought an elephant’s foot umbrella stand.” The other players tell what they bought at the store and the leader responds with hints to help them guess the rule.

For example, if the rule chosen by the leader was that the item must be made from animal skin, a player might say, “I went to the store and bought a diamond.” The leader would say, “Sorry, they are all out of diamonds.” (However, if the rule was that the words had to end in the letter D, the leader says, “Good shopping.”)

If a player guessed, “I went to the store and bought a coonskin cap,” the leader would say “Good shopping” for the animal skin rule, but “They were all out of coonskin caps” for the ends-in-D rule.

The first person to correctly guess the leader’s rule becomes the leader for the next round of play.

Wink Wink Murder
This works well with a larger group. Use a deck of cards or some other means to identify two people anonymously, one to become the Murderer who does not reveal this, and the other to become the Detective, who declares his or her role.

The group mingles. When the Murderer makes eye contact with someone and winks at them, that person must slump down and remain as if dead.

The Detective attempts to identify the Murderer.

Are you there, Moriarty?
This game may be the strangest of all. No idea how it got its name.

Two players lie on the floor, blindfolded, aligned head to head with feet pointing away from each other. There should be about an arm’s length between their heads. Both players hold rolled-up newspapers.

One player asks, “Are you there, Moriarty?” The other answers, “Yes!”

Then the battle begins as they attempt to swat each other with their rolled-up newspaper. Both players are allowed to roll around to escape their opponent’s flailing blows.