Browsing Tag

playtime

Rainy Day Games

LIVE, play By August 20, 2012 Tags: , , , , , 1 Comment

Have you ever looked outside on a weekend morning and seen the rain coming down…and despaired? Why? Because your kids are home from school, and they need something to do, besides plopping them down in front of a television or computer. Rainy day games can be a great way to bond with and entertain your kids–and they work on snow days, too!

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Teaching Kids the Art of Fishing

LIVE, play By August 15, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Have you ever thought about teaching your kids the art of fishing? Of course there’s the romance of little Huckleberry Finns sitting on a dock with a string and a stick.  And then there’s the possibility of catching dinner.  And teaching kids that all food doesn’t necessarily come from a supermarket.  But the photos you’ll get?  Priceless.

We spent a week this summer in the New York Finger Lakes swimming, casting and paddling.  But the best memories were on the dock.  When ‘Uncle Brad’ gave a fishing rod and tackle to my eldest son, the eyes lit up and hours were spent learning about sinkers, hooks and worms.  Taking them all out and organizing.  Sleeping with them.  Uncle Brad is quite the accomplished fisherman, and I convinced him to share his tips for teaching kids the art of fishing.

1.  Rule #1: Size does not matter.  Any fish is a good fish.  And catching one and handing them the rod can get them ‘hooked’ for life.
2.  Start the teaching of casting using foam fish and a foam hook.  When attached to a line, the foam hook can be used to retrieve the floating fish form in the water.
3.  A kid’s rod  is shorter with an internal reel and button.  (Bait casting reel as opposed to a spinning reel).  Shakespeare makes great ones for boys and girls and they are readily available at Target and Walmart.  (You can even get Disney, Star Wars, Spiderman and princess themes).
4.  A dock on a calm lake from 6-8am is usually the best time to nab the critters.
5.  Use pliers to flatten the barbs on your hooks.  It’s nicer for the fish.
6.  Always remove hooks from the lines when you are done so as not to invite any injuries.
7.  Make the kids look around prior to casting.  My son caught a 5-foot-eleven man named ‘Uncle Brad’.
8.  Encouraging the kids to drop the fish back into the water will excite them.  (And then you don’t have to touch them).
9.  Live worms are an easy and plentiful bait.
10.  Try to teach about the species of fish as you catch.
11.  Patience can be a challenge for kids.  But having quiet conversations as you set your lines can form the best memories and bonds between parent and child.
12.  Make sure at least one adult isn’t squeamish about baiting the hooks or taking fish off the line.
13.  Rod and reel are not necessary.  A string tied to a bamboo pole with a hook works just fine.
14.  Fish under a certain number of pounds must be tossed back.  Check in the jurisdiction you are in.  And keeping anything as a pet is just a bad idea.
15.  Hats, sunscreen, fishing license, water, band-aids and snacks should never be far away.

Next step?  Tying their own flies and mastering the art of planking a salmon.  Oh – and never make the mistake of asking first if they caught anything.  As a good friend once said, “I’m going fishing.  Not fish-catching.”

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Six no-mess crafts and activities for kids

LIVE, play By March 20, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , 6 Comments

Faries in a JarDenim RoadsIndoor HopscotchEdible GlitterIce excavationPeriodic Table Cupcakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

UrbanMommies publisher Jill Amery was interviewed on Shaw TV’s Studio 4 about great no mess crafts and activities to do with kids that help with bonding and learning.  A boon to parents everywhere!  We wanted to share some of the ideas, with some credit as well to the original sources of the ideas.  Happy bonding!

1.  Fairies in a jar: Cut the end off of a glowstick.  (This should be done by an adult – there’s a glass vial inside which, when shattered, creates the chemical glow reaction.)  Dump the contents of the glowstick into a jar and add 4 T. glitter.  Put the lid on the jar and secure the lid with duct tape (so curious kids won’t open it).  Shake.  Fairies in a jar.  We’re picturing lumieres at hallowe’en or backyard-camping companions in the tent.

2.  Denim Roads.  Faded jeans?  Upcycle, mama.  Cut the denim into 3-inch wide strips and arcs.  Paint yellow dotted lines down the centre and stick velcro to the backsides.  Presto!  Portable roads that will stick on carpet.  (Dinky cars not included).  Kudos to Jen from ‘lil Mop Top for the idea!

3.  Periodic Table of Cupcakes.  Ditto.  What an amazing way to teach chemistry to kids going in to high school – especially if they have a sweet tooth.  Kudos: Buzzfeed.  Wow.

4.  Ice Excavation.  Fill a bundt or cake pan halfway with water.  Freeze.  Scatter lego, plastic animals or your child’s favourite obsession over the ice.  Fill the rest of the pan with water and re-freeze.  Once solid, pop the ice ring out of the pan and let them go to town with a hammer, blunt knives or chopsticks, ‘excavating’ the treasures from the ice.  Note:  It’s a good time to talk ice age, dinosaurs, etc.  You can also do this with jello for younger kids.

5.  Edible Glitter:  Edible Glitter!! 1/4 sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of food coloring, baking sheet and 10 minutes in the oven.  Kudos to Silver Taylor for the idea.

6.  Indoor hopscotch.  Wow.  You are now a rockstar.

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Simple, Original Homemade Valentines Ideas

LIVE, nourish By February 13, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

After I purchased cute boxes of Sweet Tarts for the kids to use as Valentines ‘cards’ at school, I got the ‘memo’ that no candy is allowed.  Great.  (read: PANIC!)  And ‘from scratch’ is preferred.  Naturally…. So, we did some digging and came up with some simple, original homemade valentines ideas! For more craft ideas as well as the original instruction on how to make these, please check out out craft page on PinterestHappy February 14th!

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Interesting Birthday Party Ideas on a Budget

FAM, kids By February 1, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , 8 Comments

If you’re tired of keeping up with the Joneses, tossing all of those paper plates, and goody bags filled with sugary snacks and useless stuff, read on.  We like sustainability, budget-friendliness, unique ideas, and healthy parties – for mind, body, and the environment.  So we asked our community for some interesting birthday party ideas that have been a smash hit in their house. In the meantime, try these ideas on your kids and you’ll be the talk of the town…

Interesting Birthday Party Ideas on a Budget

1. The Telus World of Science offers new, exciting and unique birthday party packages for children of all ages. Pre-booked parties include a zany Science World host, exploration time in the many galleries and exhibits and a decorated private party room. Themed packages include a Preschool Package, Science Surprise Package, Insects Package and Chemistry Package. There’s limited space so be sure to book early. Visit their website for more information on the great parties Science World has to offer!

2.  Green Planet Parties supplies compostable dishes (that look stylish enough for a wedding).  Also check their cloth goody bags, reusable, sewn ‘Happy Birthday’ banners, and personalized endangered animal necklaces for the kids.  Order online, and look like a hero – both for the cool factor, and also for saving the environment.

3.  Get those kids active with a party at Jump Gymnastics.  The tots leave with balloons, get a fab lesson in tumbling, and the cake can be gobbled up while sitting on colourful stools in the party room.

4.  Dora bags are fun and all, but why not grab a reusable shopping bag (the Vancouver Aquarium has great ones) to stash the gifts?

5.  Know any interesting university students or professors?  Hire one for an hour to add spice to the party.  The marine biology major could talk about crabs at your beach bash, or the bug or dinosaur guy could do their thing.  (Think Ross on Friends – wouldn’t you like to have him at your party?)

6. Plant a garden with the kids from the party, give seeds as favours, and treat the parents to a talk from a landscape designer.

7.  Use frames as your giveaway, and do an art party.  Frame the little Picassos at the end, and other parents will be so thrilled to have a hang-able piece of art!

8.  Homeworks Etc. has great hooks that are ‘in the raw’.  You can paint them at the party, take them home, and voila – a great place for your bathrobe!

9.  Instead of gifts, hold a Giving Party.  Ask for some money and split the total between your child and a charity.  This will stimulate conversation about why little Aidan doesn’t have a wrapped present, and get them discussing the tigers.  Green Planet Parties has some great wording on their website with how to ask for the donations.

See also our One Year Old Birthday Party article.

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family travel tips

Family Travel Tips

LIVE, nourish, ROAM By December 27, 2011 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

If you are one of the very lucky to be headed anywhere on a family vacation, we have a few tips for you.  Planning ahead is definitely the cornerstone of traveling with kids.  That old Girl Guide/Boy Scout adage of ‘Being Prepared‘ can eliminate lots of stress… and there’s nothing quite like a good excuse to purchase mini makeup and a wrinkle-free dress for yourself..

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How to Have a Good Play Date

FAM, kids By August 30, 2011 Tags: , , No Comments

So, you found the perfect play date mate for your child! This is an important step, helping to ensure a well-balanced, socially-adept childhood. No pressure or anything. You’ve never had a play date before; likely you’re as nervous as you were on your first real date! No worries, though, because here are some simple, practical tips for making your kid’s play dates simple and fun, the way they’re supposed to be!

First, Stop Stressing. Unless you picked a preppy, pretentious family with whom to have said play date, just dress yourself and your child normally, in play clothes. You don’t need to get the car detailed or get a bikini waxing—and your child doesn’t need his teeth whitened or highlights put in. Just you and your kid are enough for a good time.

Have an Exit Strategy. Not wishing the whole thing badly, but have something in reserve for if things fail miserably. Sometimes it’s a terrible match between your child and theirs, but you never know until it’s happening. So, keep the date short to start out with, and it doesn’t hurt to have an errand or event afterward that could suddenly become more urgent in the event of a kid-sized meltdown.

Easy Does It. The last think you should do with a shy child is to plunk him or her down in the middle of a busy play-date with a bunch of strange kids and expect miracles. That is a recipe for disaster, actually. Start slow and start small: one new kid, on your home turf, or on a common ground your child is familiar with.

Don’t Push. Think of it a bit like a date: don’t push it. If it’s meant to be, it will be. Sometimes it will take a bit of time to elapse before they truly start warming up to each other.

Choose Play Friends Wisely. If you have a shy child, don’t ask the rowdy, rambunctious neighbor kid over as your first choice. Try to find someone more like your child, who won’t frighten or overwhelm them.

Provide Common Ground. If the date is on your home turf, have some cool stuff to play with and do available, to avoid boredom. Do something fun, like go to a kid’s museum or animal exhibit, where the kids can get tactile. Get outside so they can roughhouse. All these things are conducive to bonding.

Put the Pets Away. No matter how wonderful Fluffy or Whiskers is, it’s best to put all pets out of harm’s way until the play date is over. Some kids are afraid of animals, some get crazy over them and can cause strange reactions in a normally tranquil pet, while others are allergic. Always ask about pet allergies before volunteering to host a play date, to avoid uncomfortable moments.

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How to help encourage friendships with other kids

FAM, kids By August 30, 2011 Tags: , , , 1 Comment

Friendships are important to every child. Peer relationships allow kids to see themselves against a larger backdrop, to learn empathy and sympathy, and how to fit in with society at large.Some kids are naturally shy or more reticent than others; it’s as basic as introverts and extroverts. Still, introverts, or people who are not as bubbly and public about everything, have friends, too—usually very deep and long-lasting friendships. Making friends isn’t always easy for some people, especially some kids who are naturally more withdrawn. So how on earth do you encourage friendships for your a child?

Tips for parents to encourage friendships with others:

Start Slow. The last think you should do with a shy child is to plunk him or her down in the middle of a busy play-date with a bunch of strange kids and expect miracles. That is a recipe for disaster, actually. Start slow and start small: one new kid, on your home turf, or on a common ground your child is familiar with.

Don’t Push. Think of it a bit like a romance: don’t push it. If it’s meant to be, it will be. Sometimes it will take a bit of time to elapse before they truly start warming up to each other.

Choose Play Friends Wisely. If you have a shy child, don’t ask the rowdy, rambunctious neighbor kid over as your first choice. Try to find someone more like your child, who won’t frighten or overwhelm them.

Provide Common Ground. Have some cool stuff to play with and do available, to avoid boredom. Do something fun, like go to a kid’s museum or animal exhibit, where the kids can get tactile. Get outside so they can roughhouse. All these things are conducive to bonding.

Teach Manners and Courtesy. No one worthwhile wants to be friends with a rude bully. So, do your kids a favor and teach them how to be polite, courteous, and kind. It goes a long way in fostering friendships and earning a good peer reputation.

Do Team Events. Encourage your child to participate in team-based events. This doesn’t mean just sports; it can include debate and other intellectual teams, clubs, volunteer groups, etc. They will meet like-minded kids and spend time with them in a positive arena. When they’re small, try out Gymboree, baby gymnastics, music and other groups, where they can get used to socializing with other kids early on.

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Little Stars Bedtime Cards

GEAR, toys By February 14, 2011 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

Every night before sleep, my son comes out with the most profound observations, and I cherish the time where we discuss the ups and downs of his day.  I’ve even noticed him waiting, clingy and quiet, until bedtime, and then spilling the beans.. “Nick made me feel bad today”.  “Guess what.. the teacher said that she was really proud of me for counting to ten.”  If I miss a couple of bedtimes, I suddenly feel disconnected.  But not all nights are easy, and the kids don’t always know how to express themselves.  That’s why we love Little Stars Bedtime Cards.  Given to me by a dear friend (and an amazing parent), these are designed to affirm positive qualities that already exist in your child. They help you to go beyond teaching and telling, to engaging and connecting with your child through the sharing of common positive experiences and emotions.

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Boiron for Cold and Flu

FAM, health By February 11, 2011 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

AAAH-CHOO!  I hab a cold in my node.  And I just raided the kid’s medicine cabinet to fix it!  I always used Boiron’s Camilia for the teething pain, so was thrilled to hear that they’ve developed natural medicines for children’s cough, cold and flu.  Boiron’s Stodal for coughs is specifically formulated for children 1 year and older, tastes like honey, is toxin-, dextromethorphan- and guaifenesin-free and boasts no alcohol, no artificial colorings or flavorings.  MMMM.  www.boiron.ca

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