Category Archives: Adventure Cove

Stories from Adventure Cove, our children’s activity program

5 Family Fun “Field Trips” at Madden’s

Not that we expect you to get bored at Madden’s, but in case you want to explore further around the area, I thought I’d share a few ideas for field trips while you visit Madden’s. Here are the top 5 in no particular order.

Pirate’s Cove

A weekly adventure the staff at Adventure Cove have in store for the kids is mini golf. Pirate’s Cove mini golf course in Brainerd, MN can be an entertaining attraction for the kid’s to enjoy while at Adventure Cove or can make for a nice outing with the family. Their beautiful landscaping sets the scene for an great family outing with fantastic decoration bringing the “pirates cove” to life. Pirate’s Cove also offers go-cart rides so be ready for some nail-biting fun!

To learn more visit Sign up the kid’s up to attend by visiting Adventure Cove.

Outback Trail Rides:

Each week during social season, our Tennis & Croquet Club schedules tours and provides rides to and from Outback Trail Rides. Kid’s can also attend through our Adventure Cove children’s program.

You’ll be able to go for a 1 hour trail ride through the beautiful Pillsbury State Forest. They accept riders of all ages and all experience levels. If you want to set something up on your own you can do that as well. The company offers private or extended trail rides, hand-led pony rides, group rides, birthday parties, and a picnic area.

To learn more visit Sign up at the Tennis & Croquet Club or Adventure Cove.

Paul Bunyan Waterpark

Adventure Cove Children’s Program takes weekly trips to the Paul Bunyan waterpark in Baxter, MN. The 30,000 square feet of waterpark are sure to entertain anyone! There are two large waterslides; one of which is a halographic waterslide. You can select a theme of images and music to surround you as you make your trip down the tube slide!

To learn more visit  Sign up the kid’s up to attend by visiting Adventure Cove.

Sunup Ranch Tour

Feeding a horse a treat for the first time

The Sunup Ranch tour is another activity scheduled weekly by both our Tennis & Croquet Club and Adventure Cove. The tour lasts one and a half hours and consists of a wide range of activities including exploring traditional barns, seeing horses, bird and wild life watching, a hayride, riding demonstrations, and if available meeting a “baby” horse (foal) and/or baby cow (calf). My favorite was seeing the herd of horses in the pasture with their baby foals. Be sure to bring along your camera, bug spray, and binoculars.

To learn more visit Sign up at the Tennis & Croquet Club or Adventure Cove.

To try to get the kids to practice roping a calf, I had them take a photo of me doing it! Sadly, they did not reciprocate.

Jack’s Family bowling

The last of Adventure Cove’s weekly field trips is a visit to Jack’s House, Family Entertainment Center for bowling. Bowling is always a classic family activity. At Jack’s House you can bowl until your heart’s content at surprisingly low rates.

To learn more visit Sign up the kid’s to attend by visiting Adventure Cove.


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Craft & Activity Ideas for Kids

We’re on round three folks. We’ve shared some summer olympics ideas and craft ideas. Here are some final ideas for getting kids out and enjoying the summer weather. Some of them can be used at any time of year so save this in your favorites so you can come back to it on the next snow day.

Clothespin Drop

Materials needed:
-Culligan water jug
-10 clothespins

How to play:
Place the water jug on the floor along the backside of a chair. Have the child sit upright on his/her knees and have them try and drop the clothespin in the water jug without lowering the clothespin lower than the backside of the chair. It’s harder than it looks! See who can drop the most clothespins in the jug! You can make the game easier or harder by changing the size of what you are dropping the clothespins into. Think ice cream pail for the youngsters.


Materials needed:

How to craft:

This activity allows for children to create their own  cartoon! First you must cut out about 15 pieces of paper starting about 2 inches long and an inch in a half tall for the front page, then every piece of paper after that about an 8th of an inch longer for each paper following. This cutting will allow for the paper to “flip.”  Staple the 15 pieces of paper together at the left end as far over as possible. Now comes the fun part. Draw any kind of carton on the first page then draw the same cartoon on the following page but drawn slightly different as if the cartoon has just moved. Create a story line and show your friends!

We took a video of the sample flip book made at Adventure Cove. Check it out!

Edible Dirt

Foods needed:

Your dirt dessert doesn't have to look this pretty. Be creative! How close to dirt you you make it look?

-Gummy worms
-Chocolate pudding
-Oreo cookies

How to snack:
This is a great snack for anyone of any age. Get a bowl and fill it with pudding. Throw some gummy worms and crushed Oreo cookies into the pudding for a delicious treat! You can spend lots of time decorating and make it look real or just throw it all together for a quick treat. This is something fun you can let your elementary aged kids do on their own although you should expect a little mess! To mix it up consider adding chocolate ice cream and or whipped cream on top.

Scavenger Hunt

Materials needed:
-Paper with list items to scavenge for

How to play:
This classic game will never be boring throughout the duration of anyone’s life. Each scavenger hunt can be unique and created based upon where the event takes place and who the scavengers are. Create a list of
items to find that is realistic yet challenging for the kids to find. Anything from a pine cone to a butterfly is fair game so long as those items are available around the area. If in a safe neighborhood with people you know, write down items that could be found in households and have the children go door to door asking the neighbors for the items on the list. Otherwise you can set limits like “you have to stay in the backyard.” Be creative.

Here are a list of some things you might use for your scavenger hunt:

-A Pinecone
-A red leaf**
-A rock the size of a quarter**
-A butterfly
-A ladybug
-An acorn
-Three things that are green**
**Using different numbers, colors, and comparing to everyday items are great for younger kids to help them practice and keep their minds sharp while they are off from school

This website also provides some great ideas with a printable lists of items:

Thanks for reading, Madden’s Adventure Cove Staff

To read about more activity ideas select “Adventure Cove” from the menu at right.


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Fun Kid’s Craft Ideas

Yesterday we shared some great “summer olympic” games for kids. Now, here are some fun craft ideas.

Picture Frames

Materials needed:

Front view of a popsicle stick picture frame

-popsicle sticks
-glue or hot glue
-Any kind of craft items to decorate the frame (i.e. seashells, confetti, etc.)

How to craft:
There are  several ways to approaching this craft. You
can have the children paint their popsicle sticks first
then have them lay out how they would like their
frame to look. Or have them lay out the frame in the
design they want then paint it after gluing it together
(be sure NOT to attach the stand on the back until

Rear view of popsicle stick picture frame

after the kids are finished decorating). We would
suggest designing the picture frame first; then
applying paint and other craft items. Be creative and
put that special unique art to your picture frame.

Paper Airplanes

Materials needed:
-printing or writing paper

How to craft:
Kids LOVE to fly their very own airplane that they built themselves. We suggest going to the following website for great folding ideas.

Bug Jar

Materials needed:
-clear plastic jar or container
-construction paper or foam paper
-google eyes
-pipe cleaners

How to craft:
This is a simple yet fun activity to do with your children because it’s both an inside and outside activity that allows the children to marvel at bugs. First find a clear plastic container that would be simple enough to fill with leafs, dirt, sticks and bugs, and also simple enough to poke holes into for breathing purposes. First cut out  green construction or foam paper in the shape of grass long enough that would cover round the plastic jar. This will be glued to the bottom circumference of the jar. Next you can cut out green leafs to spread sporadically on the jar along with any other color paper in the  shape of bugs. Be careful not to apply too much decoration to prevent viewing of the bugs the children will collect for their jar.

Next, glue on 2 googly eyes on the top of the jar near the lid. After, poking 2 holes in the lid right above the eyes to insert pipe cleaners to make antennas. After, poke small enough holes in the lid so hat the insects or bugs the children collect won’t be able to crawl out. Have the children go out and find any grass, leafs, dirt, pine cones they want to fill their jar half way. The final step is to have the children take out their bug jars and collect any bugs they want. If they wish to have an ant farm, have them fill their jar with grainy sand about ¾ of the way. Then have them carefully collect a lot of ants to make a colony. Watch the ants dig their holes and how they work!

Enjoy! Madden’s Adventure Cove Staff



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Fun Kid’s Game Ideas for Summer: Summer Olympics

Looking for an exciting game or activity for the kids?  Look no further for some simple, yet fun games and activities to throw together quickly and for little to no cost! In this post we’ll talk about one of our favorites: summer olympics. Then in the next couple days we’ll share a few more posts on more activities and crafts. Even a fun and delicious dessert!

Summer Olympics

Materials needed:

Need an activity to burn some energy? Our summer olympic ideas are sure to wear out even the most energetic.

-Several pieces of small rope or material to tie legs together for three-legged races
-Water balloons
-Eggs and spoons
-Party balloons
-Darts and plywood

How to play:
Have a master score card for every player involved. Scoring is as follows for each event:
1st place: 3 points
2nd place: 2 points
3rd place: 1 point

*Each team member will receive the same amount of points for the above placing’s.  No two people are allowed to be on the same team twice UNLESS all players have been used.

Games for Summer Olympics:

Three legged Race!

Materials needed:
-Rope or material

How to play:
Set up a start and finish line outside a good distance apart for the children to run back and forth with some difficulty. Or create a challenging obstacle course that might include hills, stairs, water puddles, etc. Tie a
small rope or material (i.e. bandana or old t-shirt) around the right ankle of one child and around the left ankle on another child. They must work together to get a good run to get back and forth, to and from the start and
finish lines against other racers!

You could always substitute this game (or add another) for an old-fashioned sack race if you can find bags big enough for your kids. For those who haven’t heard of sack races, you simply have your child climb into a large sturdy bag that comes up to their waist (people used to use potato sacks) and have them hop to the finish line racing their friends or siblings.

Water balloon/egg toss!

Materials needed:

Kids at Adventure Cove participate in a water balloon toss on a hot summer day.

-Water balloons or eggs

How to play:
With teams of 2, have the children face their partners in arms reach within each other to start with ALL the eggs/balloons starting on one side of the line. The judge will yell “toss” and the players will toss their
balloons/eggs to their partner. After each toss have one line take a giant step back, or have the judge have one line stand even with him or her after each toss. Keep backing up until there is no more room or until a team has won.

Back to back they face each other!

Materials needed:
-Party Balloons or water ballons

How to play:
With teams of 2, have the teams stand back to back. Place a balloon (replace with water balloons to make it a little more interesting!) between their backs and have them keep the balloon there without dropping or popping it. Have a start and finish line for them to try to work together to win the race! In the event of a balloon dropping, the team must go back to start and start over. In the event a balloon pops, that team is out.

Wheel barrow races

Materials needed:

How to play:
Make two lines: one line that is the start and finish and another midline for the teams to switch roles. Have one teammate start on his or her hands and have their partner hold up their legs by their ankles. At start, have the players race on their hands across to the midway line. Have the partners trade positions, and race back to the finish line. The players cannot advance if the wheel barrel child uses anything but their hands racing for them.

Balloon darts

Materials  needed:
-8 Darts
-3X4 Plywood

How to play:

Staple a good amount of balloons onto a piece of plywood or anything you deem safe to staple and throw darts at. Give the kids 8 darts to throw to try to pop as many balloons as they can. Set the plywood at a decently challenging distance (based on the childrens’ age and ability). The most balloons popped wins!

Spoon Races

Materials needed:
-Hardboiled eggs (1-2 per participant)
-Spoons (any kind will do as long as you have the same kind for each participant)

How to play:
Designate a start and finish line. Hand each participant an egg and a spoon. This game can be played as a relay race between groups or as an individual race. To begin, have the racers place the egg in the spoon and when you say “go” they should run as fast as they can to the finish line without dropping the egg. If the egg is dropped they have to start over from the beginning. To make it more challenging for the older kids, have them hold the spoon in their mouth instead of in their hand.

Look for tomorrow post for more ideas! Enjoy your summer fun, Madden’s Adventure Cove Staff

To read more about Adventure Cove and children’s activities at Madden’s select the “Adventure Cove” from the menu on the right.


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Children’s Vacation Paradise

A "throw-back" kid's vacation. Sometimes the best toys are made by nature.

Madden’s Resort on Gull Lake is a gold mine for the young to experience a true vacation. We’re not saying the adults won’t have fun, but you might just get a little jealous! With many ways to get wet, run around, and explore the great outdoors, children can enjoy an amazing experience that will last a lifetime. Did you know Madden’s was featured in Parents magazine as one of four resorts in the nation for great “throw back” family fun?

What is it that makes Madden’s a great place for kids you ask? To start, Madden’s offers an exclusive day program for those between the ages 4-12 at Adventure Cove. With a friendly and fun staff, Adventure Cove offers many activities.

Slip ‘n Slide and water games at Adventure Cove

Adventure Cove Activities:

-Balloon animals
-Face paint
-A full playground with a sandbox
-Water balloon wars and toss
-Fishing contests
-Field trips to Paul Bunyan Water Park, Pirates Cove mini golf & go carts, Jacks Family Bowling Alley, Outback for horse trail rides, Sunup Ranch for a tour a quarter horse and beef ranch
-Soccer, Frisbee, scoop toss, and other outside games
-Water Ski School
-Tennis lessons
-Fun arts and crafts, playdough activities
-Activities at our marina including kayaks, paddleboats, canoes and pontoon boats
-Pizza and S’mores parties!
-Finally many games and swimming opportunities

Playdough time at Adventure Cove

Madden’s Waterpark

The fun doesn’t stop at Adventure Cove, after a great day there children can enjoy a lakeside swim at one of our three natural sand beaches. At our Lodge’s beach we even have a waterpark with a water trampoline, tetter totter, and wall climber.

Water trampoline and water tetter totter at Madden's Waterpark

Or if water doesn’t seem appetizing, the children can go to our recreation center at the Tennis & Croquet Club and play a variety of games including:

Tennis & Croquet Club Activities:

Kid’s can enjoy various games including badminton
at the Tennis & Croquet Club

-Sand volleyball

For “kids” of all ages:

Just so you’re not getting too jealous, let me list a few activities scheduled weekly during social season for “kids” of all ages. These are great for the entire family!

-Tennis Lessons
-Golf Lessons
-Putting & other golf contests
-Water Ski School
-Horseback Riding
-Ranch Tour
-Biking on local trails
-Minnow Races
-Movie Nights

Face painting at the weekly welcome reception. Open to all guests.

Check your schedule when you arrive or inquire at the Tennis & Croquet Club for more information on all of the resort’s recreation opportunities.

Yours in Fun, Tim (, Social Activities Coordinator

**Submit photos of your kids enjoying Madden’s to be featured in our summer photo posts by emailing**


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43 Fill Adventure Cove

Adventure Cove at Madden’s on Gull Lake was extremely entertaining the last couple days. 43 children had the opportunity to play and compete in different games and activities, splash around and swim, and even enjoy a pizza party and bonfire with s’mores! The children were able to run around and expel all sorts of their little body’s energy while laughing and screaming for joy. Face painting and balloon animals also made an appearance for the children to enjoy. The experience the children had at Adventure Cove the last couple days will in no doubt be engraved in their little minds for a very long time.

Tim, Social Activities Coordinator


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