Here are 10 creative ideas for an affordable and fun kid’s birthday party:
You’ve threatened, cajoled – even begged your kids to tidy up. But it still seems you’re the one facing the ultimatum: either ignore the mess or do it for them.
Here are 7 tips to encourage kids to clean their bedrooms, without raising your voice or losing your mind:
I’ll never forget traveling from Rome to Toronto in executive class with a one year-old who didn’t sleep a wink. (I’m quite certain the airline had to appease many of our fellow travelers!) Every parent has a ‘bag of tricks’ and we’d love for you to add your own ideas to our 15 ways to entertain kids on an airplane. Having their full attention for so long is a great way to bond and can reveal amazing teaching moments. Even looking at the maps in the airline magazine is an opportunity!
Usually I’m not preachy, but watching this video of three generations talking about summer ‘fun’ filmed by Nature Valley jarred me to my roots. Our relationship to nature is changing and with technology at our fingertips, it’s easy to forget about what’s important, like being outside and enjoying nature. With each passing generation, children seem to be playing outside less and less.
What if our connection to nature is lost for good? I want my grandchildren to develop skills and knowledge that can be acquired only in nature. Learning to fish, to camp, swim, built forts and plant seeds are part of childhood – play is necessary for development. Not only are motor skills developed, but creativity, reasoning, logic and life skills are honed. Can you imagine having no access to food other than fish, but the only time you’ve held a rod was during a fishing video game? So let’s make a pact to get the kids outside this summer, K?
The time is now to rediscover the joy of nature.
The kids and I have completed our ‘Summer Bucket List’ and pasted it to the fridge, where we can check off the items as we complete them. I’m giddy. Too often the summer slips away from us and I regret not having slept in a tent or taking the kayak out. This will be the best summer ever.
I challenge you to complete your own Bucket List (click to get your own printable)! I’d also love to hear your ideas in the comments below. Happy summer!
“Passported” – Seamless Vacation Planning
Feather+Flip, a family travel resource, has acquired itinerary planning company Bon Voyaging to create “Passported”. The new resource combines the itinerary planning technology of Bon Voyage with the family content of Feather+Flip. According to CEO Henley Vazquez, “Passported celebrates kid-friendly travel for grown-ups. We highlight the places your junior entourage will love in destinations you’re excited to visit. Family travel can be sophisticated, cool, and fun for the whole family.”
“Passported” allows families to view parent-reccomended restaurants, hotels, activities and sites, for vacation spots around the world, while creating a seamless vacation itinerary. Mapping capabilities are also available in unison with the technology. In addition to streamlined booking services, travellers booking with the new technology have access to special perks such as free breakfast, spa credits and late check out.
The philosophy of the company is that family travel can be sophisticated, cool, and fun for the whole family.
For more information visit: www.passported.com
It’s easy to entertain children on a dime in Vancouver, so save your money for a rainy day (not that Vancouver has any of those) and check out these 10 things to do in Vancouver for those on a budget. Here are our top 10 affordable Vancouver family activities – feel free to add to the list in the comments!
Summer is a perfect time to facilitate learning through entertainment. Remember being a kid and looking in the encyclopedia when you found a mushroom or learned a bit about physics when your fishing rod broke? Let’s get outside this summer and see what nature will teach us!
15 Summer Activities in Nature
1. Go for a hike! It’s a great way to get some exercise and discover new species at the same time.
2. Build forts made of driftwood on the beach. The kids can learn about structures while having fun scouring the beach for the much needed piece of wood for the roof.
3. Go camping! Whether it be at a site or just the backyard, camping is a great way to get outside and learn about your surroundings.
4. Do some gardening! Get the kids involved and give them a small patch in the backyard to create their own mini garden. They can learn what different species need to survive and have fun choosing the plants for their garden at the same time.
5. Go on an outdoor scavenger hunt! Make a list of things to find, whether it be a pinecone, something yellow, or a leaf the size of your hand and get scavenging!
6. Go geocaching! Teach the kids some navigation skills as they hunt for treasure. You never know, there may be treasure waiting for you right around the corner!
7. Go for a family bike ride. On a trail or through the neighbourhood, biking is a great way to be active in nature.
8. Go berry picking! Everyone can do it and afterwards the family can learn how to make a delicious treat incorporating the berries.
9. Fly a kite! You can get crafty and make your own or you can by one at the store. Either way, kite flying is a great family activity.
10. Have a neighbourhood game of soccer! Get the whole neighbourhood involved and play this simple yet fun game in your front yard or the park. You will be teaching the kids about teamwork in a way that just seems like fun and games.
11. Decorate the sidewalk with chalk! The kids can unleash their creativity while enjoying the great outdoors.
12. Take out your camera and go outside for some outdoor photography. Get some shots of your favorite plants and animals to use in a scrapbook!
13. Scavenge the beach for shells and sea glass to use in an art project of the kid’s choosing. Their creativity will not be lost over the summer with projects like these.
14. Go kayaking or stand up paddle boarding! Get outside and breath in the ocean air! Perseverance is taught (especially if it’s your first time) and the health benefits are endless!
15. Set up the sprinkler on those particularly hot summer day’s and watch the endless hours of enjoyment begin.
If you’ve cared for kids during summer break, you know how those ten weeks can stretch out! But summer is also a wonderful time to learn with your kids, in ways that might not normally have time for. Best of all: they can help someone (or something!) in need, and feel really great about it.
Here are five activities for all kinds of kids:
The entrepreneur: If your kids want to earn money, brainstorm for small business ideas. The classic lemonade stand still lures many a thirsty family en route from the park. Perhaps a portion of the proceeds can be donated to a charity. Have your children research at least three.
The environmentalist: Create a way-station for migrating monarch butterflies, whose populations are threatened due to loss of natural habitat on their routes. Visit http://monarchwatch.org/waystations/ to learn what to plant in your backyard or a nearby abandoned lot.
The fundraiser: With FIFA World Cup on this summer, many will have soccer on the brain! Perhaps your resident soccer nuts could invite friends to play ‘the world’s longest soccer game’ in the local park, to raise funds for sports equipment for underprivileged kids.
The friendly neighbor: Is there an elderly person in your neighborhood, or mom with a very small child? Summer’s a great chance to walk across the road with some baking, to ask how your son or daughter could help. It’s a great chance for your child to practice reading out loud over the summer.
The caring baker: Invest in a tin of fair trade cocoa, or bag of fair trade sugar, and learn a basic cupcake or brownie recipe. Wherever your child offers these treats (to neighbors in need or for sale at a lemonade stand) he or she could share what they’ve learned about child labour. Visit nochildforsale.ca to learn more.
“Over the River and through the woods…”
Well, you know the rest, don’t you? Gone are the days of congenial drives in the family car to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. Did those days ever really exist? Today, our little singer would rather don a pair of earphones and spend time staring at a screen (computer, gaming system, DVD player etc.) than participate in a family sing-a-long in the car. But, if like us and you feel that allowing your child to completely disconnect from the rest of the family is just plain unacceptable, there is a solution. TravelKiddy, a company that specializes in keeping your kids entertained on long car, plane or train rides without the need of an electronic screen is just a mouse click away.
Start by putting down a garbage bag… You’ll need a box of cornstarch… but $3 is totally worth the hour of sanity you’ll get out of it. You mix the cornstarch with barely enough water and food colouring to get it runny: think slightly-too-soft cookie dough. (i.e., LOTS of cornstarch, and probably one cup to 1.5 cups of water.) It makes a non-Newtonian fluid (if you want to sound all sciency). Basically, if you punch it, hit it or grab it… it’ll go solid.
As soon as you relax your hold if it (or gently push your hand into it) it’ll turn to a thick pancake-batter like consistency. Makes cool “ooze” for little kids to play with… and cornstarch is a no-brainer for clean-up. Enjoy.