March 7th, 2017

Fun Family Activities For March Break

A Canadian winter rarely feels over until about mid-May. So for some, the first day of spring on March 20 provides mainly encouragement. But for school kids, as well as teachers and parents, it means so much more.

It’s time for spring break!

Depending on your school district, the break tends to fall between mid-March and very early April. No matter when it lands, however, the kids love it. Still, after some time spent relaxing, they’re usually eager to get out and do something fun.

Don’t worry, we can help.

March Break Family Fun options in Western Canada:

PlayDome


Location: BC Place Stadium – Vancouver, BC
Date(s): March 22 – 26
Description: Imagine a huge, full-scale carnival, including all your favourite rides and games, with tons of delicious food options. Now picture it all under one giant roof. That’s right, this carnival takes place indoors at field-level of the truly massive BC Place stadium. Even better, unlike most carnivals, endless rides are included with the price of admission.

Pacific Rim Whale Festival

Location: Pacific Rim National Park & Area – Ucuelet, BC
Date(s): March 11 – 26
Description: We may not get to see them as much as we’d like to, but wild animals are our neighbors on this earth. So why not come out and say hello to the annual migration of grey whales that pass by the BC coast each year near Ucuelet. There are also dozens of events planned during the festival for the whole family. Even better, Pacific Rim National Park admission is free this year!

Spring Rally in the Alley

Location: Gasoline Alley Museum @ Heritage Park – Calgary, AB
Date(s): March 24 – April 2
Description: Ever wanted to be a race car driver? How about a mechanic who builds, fixes, and races their own cars? Well, if you also happen to be a kid, this is your chance to dress and act just like a classic racing enthusiast. You can also play games and make crafts while you’re at it. With that much fun stuff to do, your time at Gasoline Alley Museum is sure to zoom past.

Fort Edmonton Park Day Camps

Location: Fort Edmonton Park – Edmonton, AB
Date(s): March 27 – 31
Description: This spring break in Edmonton, while you’re at work, your kids can have some old-fashioned fun with their friends (and we’re talking pioneer days-levels of old fashioned). That means outdoor adventures and games, cooking over open fires, building homemade toys, and more. These day camps run from 8:30 to 4:30 with separate groups for 6-to-8 and 9-to-12 year-olds.

The Royal Manitoba Winter Fair

Location: Various Venues – Brandon, MB
Date(s): March 27 – April 1
Description: Leave it to Manitoba to hold a winter festival entirely during the spring. But they obviously know what they’re doing, since this beloved annual festival has been running for over a century. It includes horse events, concerts, food, children’s play areas, an agricultural trade show, a hypnotist, and even a unicorn show. No wonder it attracted 110,000 visitors last year!

Festival of Fools


Location: The Forks – Winnipeg, MB
Date(s): March 25-31
Description: All of us like to clown around sometimes. But the performers at the Festival of Fools take clowning to the next level. These expert acrobats, jugglers, magicians, and yes, clowns, will amuse, amaze, inspire, and entertain your entire family, especially the little ones. There is also face painting, clowning classes, and even a “Boogie Woogie Hootchy Kootchy Dance Extravaganza.”

Enjoy the break!

 



September 19th, 2015

Going Green: Harness the Power of Kids

Green recycle kids

Keeping the earth in great shape is a job for us all, young and old alike. And when it comes to recycling, kids can go green with no problems at all–with just a little guidance. Here are four ways to help your kids be kind to the planet–while having a total blast.

Make it a game: can it be recycled? Reused? Composted?

Make it a game: can it be recycled? Reused? Composted?

Host A Clothing And Toy Swap

Collaborate with other parents to recycle outgrown clothes and toys. Help everyone sort things by size or type (all the games and puzzles over here!) and see what treasures you can dig up. Afterwards, have some boxes and bags set up so you can drop off anything that didn’t find a new home at a worthy charity.

Make A Game of Post-Dinner Chores

Get your cleanup crew in gear with a cleanup sorting game: can it get recycled, composted or reused? Stoke competitive fire by promising a small prize or treat to the first to get everything put away. Track how much garbage you’re generating and see how your household improves over time.

Make Playtime Eco-Friendly

Is that garbage, or a crafting opportunity? Often old cartons and containers can be repurposed through glue, paint and a child’s imagination. One creative child we know transformed an old (and well-rinsed) laundry softener bottle into an Egyptian pharoah’s headdress, so the sky’s the limit here. Need some entry-level advice? Find those unmatched socks and take a look at this sock puppet guide from the masters of Muppetry, Sesame Street.

Families relaxing go green

Think ‘experience’ rather than ‘object’ at gift-giving time.

Think Green In All Things

When you’re planning a birthday party or a family vacation, brainstorm ways to minimize garbage. Consider giving experiences rather than things for birthdays and holidays. Go for bike rides or picnic in the park. Seek out environmentally friendly after school activities.

The best way to motivate your children to recycle is to demonstrate eco-friendly ways of living, and encouraging them to participate in green initiatives.

In general, creativity combined with a sense of fun make an eco-friendly childhood a snap. Before you throw anything away, consider if it could be reused or recycled in any way. By using fun and participatory activities, you can teach your kids how to recycle and tread lightly on this earth.



August 23rd, 2015

5 Ways to Sharpen Your Brain When the Kids Head Back to School

Brain not quite ready to help the kids with algebra? Follow this fitness regime to get sharp!

It can be so much fun having the kids home for the lazy hazy crazy days of summer (and, in some cases, it’s even better if they are off at camp!)  But September will be here soon, and that relaxing combination of slowing down, sun tanning, and perhaps one too many Slurpees can make it hard to shake off ‘summer brain.’

This can pose a problem, because when school starts again, parents are expected to snap out of the stupor and help with homework and all the new concepts on the curriculum.

If you think that’s stressful, you’re not alone: a UK study last year found that helping with their children’s homework was a cause of significant stress for lots of UK parents. A quarter of those surveyed said they considered their children’s homework tasks to be too hard, while nearly two thirds admitted there have been times when they were unable to help because it was too taxing.

Still, with a few weeks of summer left there’s still time to prep, so here are a few ideas on how to make heading back to school less of a headache.

Speed it up

Quick: What element is represented by the letter K in the periodic table?

If you thought to answer “Krypton” (like celebrity rocker, Gene Simmons) then you may need to start watching Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader.

The popular trivia show tests adults on basic facts learned in elementary school, and has stumped many contestants. In fact only two – a Superintendent of Schools and a Nobel laureate – have been able to answer the final Million Dollar Question.

Ease your brain back into gear by playing along with trivia game shows like this, Jeopardy and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Better yet, challenge the kids to the board game versions of these shows, or other brain training classics like Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble.

By the way—“K” in the periodic table is for potassium.  But we all knew that.

Move it

Fractions, geometry, decimals… if these words remind you more of alternative rock bands than math concepts, it may be time for some remedial math study.

Start by practicing everyday math skills without relying on Siri or your smart phone calculator. Next time you have to help calculate the amount for a tip, to convert from pounds to kilograms in a recipe or double-check the grocery bill, do it all in your head! Sound too hard? Recruit the kids! Use back to school shopping as an opportunity to teach them about money and budgeting.

Jog it

Was it Jane Eyre who ran off with Holden Caulfield? Did Mr. Atticus get with Hager Shipley? Or was that Gilbert Blithe??

Decades later, characters and stories from the classics you once read and loved in school may now not exactly be top of mind. But many of those books are still found on school curricula today, so you may just get a chance to share these very same classics with your child this year.

While speed reading To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, Jane Eyre and Anne of Green Gables would be fast…picking up the DVD version may be faster still, and enough to jog your childhood memories.

Feed it

So-called ‘superfoods’ like blueberries and broccoli have long been known to make us brainier—but eating those repeatedly may get super tedious.

With the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables available as fall approaches, this is an excellent time to stock up on healthy – and affordable – alternative brain foods, and to try some new flavours.

For example, for your salad:

  • Leave out the lettuce; instead use a blend of spinach, collard, turnip and mustard greens that are much higher in folate, a B vitamin which is crucial for brain function.
  • Try a fresh handful of sage, an easily found herb known to be an outstanding memory enhancer.
  • Throw in some pumpkin seeds:  they are chock full of omega 3 and 6 – fatty acids found to help with our thinking skills. Tote these smart snacks around for you and your kids to enjoy at anytime.

Rest it

The last weeks of summer don’t have to be all about study…remember to take a moment to relax and recharge your batteries. Research shows that our brains benefit from regular downtime. Whether you nap, meditate or take a walk – regular mental breaks can help increase productivity, replenish attention, and encourage creativity, for you and the kids too!.

Now, no matter how much brain busting prep you do, you’re still not likely to know the answer to all of your child’s homework problems—but that’s ok; the most important part is being available to help.  Even if you don’t know the answers, sorting them out together can be fun and educational for both you and your child.

So get ready, and good luck!



August 13th, 2014

Swirlio Frozen Dessert Maker

Big Boss Swirlio Frozen Fruit Dessert Maker Review

My youngest is banana obsessed. He loves them frozen, fresh, in desserts, you name it. While I like bananas, I prefer them in smoothies or recipes instead of alone. There is something with the texture of fresh bananas that has never been appealing to me. However, they are great in desserts and I love them in my morning smoothies. Since there is such a love of frozen bananas in my household I was excited when I was approached to give my review of the new Big Boss Swirlio Frozen Fruit and Dessert Maker. READ MORE



August 7th, 2014

Classic Summer Fun – The Rules to a Fun Water Fight

L7304454The arrival of summer brings us many wonderful things. Fresh fruit right from the orchard, days on the golf course with friends, days at the beach and BBQ’s with family. All of these are great and enjoyed by all but there is one thing, one incredibly fun event that anyone can enjoy. I am talking about the Water Fight! Nothing is more fun than ambushing your sibling or parent and soaking them. Below are some simple tips and rules for a Water Fight to ensure fun is had and everyone plays safe.

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August 6th, 2014

Sidewalk Chalk – A Young Artists Main Tool

L7428600When I was a young boy (I am NOT going to tell you my age!), staying outside during the summer from 9am until dinnertime at 5pm was the norm. There were all kinds of things us kids would get up to. Water fights, catching bugs, bike rides and other activities dominated our days. There was one activity that my parents always encouraged me to do and that was draw on the driveway with my sidewalk chalk.

Now I’m no artist. I’m serious. I can barely draw a smiley face. As a child though I thought I was the greatest artist that ever lived! Of course my parents encouraged me and praised my exceptional drawing skills. I know now they were of course being polite. I know this because my dad told me the other day I was just awful at drawing. I’m ok with it I swear.

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June 27th, 2013

Summer offerings from Banana Boat

Stay in the zone with the new Banana Boat Sport Performance CoolZone Sunscreen

BB-Coolzone-SPF-30The new Banana Boat Sport Performance CoolZone sunscreen stimulates the senses, thanks to its crisp and clean scent, while the aloe-enriched formula leaves skin feeling cool and refreshed. This broad spectrum UVA and UVB formula provides waterproof and sweatproof protection, in an easy-to-use spray canister.

Don’t let the hot and sticky haze of summer slow you down. The new CoolZone spray will leave you feeling fresh and invigorated so you can take on your next outdoor activity by storm.
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