I remember many shopping excursions to the United States with my mom—outlet stores filled with clothing and jewelry were thrilling, and buying unique back to school supplies made me feel like I was in a candy store. As I have aged, shopping is still a delight and yet my store preferences have evolved. As a new homeowner I would get excited about tools, and then after my kids were born I visited garden centres and kids’ gear shops more and more frequently. As a super busy Mom and business-owner, I now demand a ton from my shopping experiences. The stores must provide great value, include many items that I need, and allow me to research my purchases digitally. I have honed my passion for shopping and no longer trek south of the border to get my heart palpitating.
The large oval Springfree trampoline arrived and one by one, the neighbours came around with a mixture of curiosity and excitement in their smiles. A few friendly dogs wandered by as eagles peeked out of their high nests. I could have been living in the Cinderella movie.
As a child I never had a trampoline. My dad was a physical education teacher and he shared scary statistics about accidents and injuries. When we moved into our current neighbourhood and had children, the local trampoline was both wonderous and daunting. I firmly believe in kids exercising through play, but the huge rectangular mat held by metal springs and rods felt very unsafe. Wanting them to take advantage of all of the cardio benefits of trampoling, I tried rules… ‘only in the middle’. ‘One at a time’. ‘Only when an adult is watching’. But none of these solutions made me feel safe, and it was increasingly hard to clean the house or make dinner when I was standing stressfully watching the kids jump and wondering what I would possibly do if they broke something – or worse. When my son got with a cut due to jamming his bare foot in one of the springs, I’d had enough.
Fast forward to the sunny day when our Springfree arrived. The kids were out at a friend’s and as I watched the crew set it up, my mind raced. I could jump on it every day and eliminate the need for a cardio machine that would hurt my back! The kids could be zipped in one at a time and I could spend time making a healthy dinner without supervising them. OOOH – the neighbour’s toddler could come and use it like a giant playpen! Maybe I could fill it with beachballs…. On and on the ideas streamed. The boys returned home and I didn’t hear whining for three hours. I had to keep going to check on them and the giggles were endless. They wanted their dinner served inside their new ‘fort’.
The Kids’ Perspective on the Springfree Trampoline (in their words):
– You Bounce high – higher than the other trampoline that has rusty springs that cut our feet last time.
– There’s a basketball net and you can do slam dunks without breaking it.
– The nets around the outside help you to play soccer because the ball bounces right back to you and there are no metal rods holding them up to hurt ourselves on.
– The kitten loves to play on it and we chase him around and around while we giggle. He thinks the nets are fun to claw, and they don’t break.
– The mat on the bottom is really cushy and feels good to jump on.
– The staff from Springfree brought over all of the cartons, set up the whole trampoline, tested it by jumping (too cute), and left two hours later with all of the garbage.
– I feel safe and comfortable leaving the kids to jump without my constant supervision.
– Because there are no springs – just flexible rods located underneath and there is netting around the perimeter, my typical concerns about trampolines have been put to rest.
“This post was sponsored by Springfree Trampoline. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.”
Don’t you just love Christmas? The excitement, the anticipation, the magic in your children’s eyes as they imagine what they’ll find under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning?
We decided to help you with your Christmas countdown fun by curating our favourite DIY Advent Calendars from Pinterest.
1. DIY Magnetic Tin Advent Calendar from Makoodle
2. Colourful Forest Advent Calendar from Love From Ginger
3. DIY Modern Advent Calendar from The Sweet Escape
4. No Sew Reusable Branches Advent Calendar from Design Mom
5. Muffin Tin Advent Calendar by Doodle Bug Blog
6. DIY Lego Advent Calendar from Frugal Fun 4 Boys
7. Mini Stocking Advent Calendar from Trillium Design
8. Bright and Colourful Advent Calendar from Love My Dress
9. Toilet Paper Tube Advent Calendar from Modern Creativity
10. DIY Wall Chart Advent Calendar from The Painted Hive
What a winter we have had! But the cold should not keep Canadian families indoors. Bundle up, get outside and get physically active every day with one of our 10 outdoor winter activities for kids. Why? Because active play is essential to every child’s physical, cognitive, emotional and social development—even in winter. Unfortunately, one study shows Canadian kids spend only three hours per week playing actively in the winter, compared to four and a half hours in summer. (via www.participACTION.com). A part of this lack of play during the winter months is due to the four main barriers to play; safety concerns, too much screen time, unruly weather and not enough hours in the day.
According to the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, but only five per cent of children in Canada are meeting the guideline. We’ve racked our brains for outside winter play ideas and think you’ll be excited by the results:
1. Use the time after school or after activities when lots of kids are around to structure playtime. 30 minutes of tag, soccer or snow play can impact kids’ fitness levels significantly.
2. In a cold climate? Pack a hot chocolate picnic and find a frozen lake or snow-covered toboggan hill. Reward the kids afterwards with jammies and a movie under the covers. (It’s also budget-friendly!)
3. Encourage your kids to have a race around the block and make ‘Olympic’ medals for participants.
4. Scour yard sales and second hand stores throughout the year and pick up snowshoes or cross-country skis. These activities are fun for the family and help everyone (ahem) break a sweat.
5. Use different months of the winter to structure activities to raise money – October is breast cancer month, January is Personal Self-Defense Awareness Month and February is diabetes. You can find a full list of months and their meanings here – we’re willing to bet you can structure a tae kwon do or skipping fundraiser for a great cause!
6. Shut off screens and let the kids get bored. It’s amazing how this stimulates imagination.
7. Darkness and safety concerns can be a barrier. Why not organize a ‘party’ outside on a Friday evening with lots of kids, parents to supervise and flashlights to illuminate! Dodgeball, Capture the Flag, What Time is it Mr. Wolf and relay races can be great bonding exercises for both big and little players.
8. The Girl Guides are a great group, and we can’t say it any better than they have! Here is a comprehensive list of winter games that also help teach a few lessons.
9. Geocaching is an incredible adventure that incorporates travel and orienteering. It’s a great travel-focused activity for kids that can be found worldwide.
10. Often winter brings not only deep freezing but deep discounts. Bundle up and take advantage of inexpensive canoe rentals and less expensive winter camping sites (if safety and lakes permit). Just be sure to protect yourself from frostbite and weather. And don’t forget the hot chocolate!
More ideas? Let us know, and have fun outside!
What kid doesn’t want to set up on the front lawn with ice-cold lemonade and a cash box? Not only to pass the time and teach them some math skills, you can up the ante a bit by encouraging them to donate the proceeds to a charitable organization. Make a day of it with girly lemonade stands that help fellow women attain their basic rights in third world countries.
Small actions can drive big change. Plan Canada’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ initiative is helping to inspire youth to turn lemons into Pink LemonAid by hosting LemonAid fundraisers in their communities.
The girl issue is real, and it’s affecting girls and women around the world – but what is it? Girls in the poorest regions of the world are among the most disadvantaged people on the planet. They are more likely to live in poverty, more likely to be denied access to education, and more likely to be malnourished, simply because they are young and female.
And yet, studies show that when you invest in girls, the whole world benefits. If a girl has enough to eat, a safe environment, and an education, she’ll work to raise the standard of living for herself, her family and her community. And in time, she can even strengthen the economy of her entire country.
Did you know?
- 70% of the one billion people living in extreme poverty are women and girls.
- Girls are 3x more likely to be malnourished than boys.
- Globally, 66 million girls do not attend primary or secondary school.
There is an urgent need to stand up for the rights of millions of girls. In the poorest regions of the world, girls face double discrimination and unique barriers to survival and development, simply because they are young and female.
But when girls attain their basic human rights, they will:
- Be 6x less likely to be married as children
- Have 2.2 fewer yet healthier children
- Increase their contributions to household income by 18%
Pink LemonAid Kits full of helpful tips, educational materials and instructions on hosting can be downloaded online here. Moms can review the materials with their children and educate them on the importance of helping out girls from around the world who are less fortunate.
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
lots of cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg
Easiest, funnest (is that a word?) most perfect thing to do with kids in the winter. Sun Peaks Maple Syrup Candy. Kid’s Part: Fill a roasting pan with snow. Use a spoon to carve thin lines/troughs in the fluffy white snow they have collected. Adult’s Part: Place a pot on the stove and pour in your desired amount of pure Canadian Maple Syrup. Never leave the syrup unattended as you bring to a near boil. (It can come to heat very quickly and you never want it to boil over.) Once it is near boiling, have the kids stand back, and gently pour the syrup into the troughs they have made in the snow. Wait one minute while the syrup begins to harden. Using a teaspoon or a popsicle stick, begin at one end of the first trough and roll the candy onto the spoon. Voila! You have a maple syrup candy popsicle. Now for the lesson in teeth brushing..