The Anteater Bug Vac is certain to make sure they get hours of fresh air. This baby anteater has an appetite for collecting all kinds of insects and bugs. Lucky you mom. (You might want to invest in some jars with holes in the lids!) With the touch of a button, you can quickly and safely gather up bugs to observe in the anteater’s removable belly chamber. After you’re done viewing the bugs, please try to encourage your kids to release them back into their habitats unharmed… Note to kids: bedrooms are not their natural habitat. ($29.95, Ages 6+) www.mastermindtoys.com
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.”
With summer here and berries in abundance, your little one can enjoy the sweet berries of the summer season with this simple recipe. Blueberries are one of the most suitable berries for babies as they don’t need sweetening. They are high in vitamin C and contain a natural enzyme that allows them to keep for a long time in the fridge.
We’ve all been there. Our intentions were amazing, we remembered the ice packs, lotion and pail. And then the snacks got ‘invaded’ by sand. Or the sandwiches got soggy. Yuck. Here are a few of our sand and sog-proof healthy snack ideas to help keep the kids happy and full while they enjoy the beach. We like things that don’t require a plate and cutlery – ‘hand snacks’. Here are our top Sandproof Healthy Snack Ideas for the Beach.
1. Hummus with carrot sticks, pita chips
2. Peanut butter and celery (or apples)
3. Make your own trail mix: our favorites include almonds, raisins, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, Goldfish crackers, dry cereal
4. Veggie & fruit kabobs-skewer some cucumber, broccoli with strawberries, peach slices, etc.
5. Our homemade granola bars
6. Yogurt tubes
7. Frozen grapes – a great way to ward off dehydration
9. Burritos: stuff your favorite tortillas with beans (canned or homemade) add some salsa, cheese, and maybe some scrambled eggs
10. Cheese cubes
11. Dried edamame
12. Hard boiled eggs
13. Homemade muffins
14. Hot Corn on the Cob: Cut off one end (husks still on) and microwave for 4 minutes on high. Wrap in tinfoil.15. Quinoa Turkey Meatballs
16. Pre-cut carrot sticks
17. Frozen jumbo shrimp and a bottle of seafood cocktail for dipping
18. Frozen bottles of water to keep everything cold – drink as they thaw
19. Mini-bagel sandwiches so they don’t get soggy
You are a great parent. Pail? Check. Lotion? Check. Designer tent/umbrella/cabana boy? Of, course. Oh. What are we supposed to do now? If you’re long on accessories but short on ideas, we have a few activities for you to try.
Now that the warmer weather is upon us, the kids are begging for beach balls and popsicles every time we hit the grocery store. I have romantic visions of old-fashioned ice-cream socials, but they are a bit more interested in tree climbing and cowboy games. Being the mother of two boys sometimes necessitates getting a tad creative (read: wiley). This is where the concept for ‘Daddy’s Ice Cream Bar’ came about. We dressed in costumes (any excuse to wear the Little-House-on-the-Prairie outfit of course). After setting up tables with flowing cloths in the garden, I started the creation of the bar. Three flavours of ice cream set in crushed ice and antique vessels to hold toppings. Long spoons. Dainty napkins. (I can’t believe I actually just used that word). And edible flowers to add the final touches. Despite my creativity, the kids and Daddy decided that the toppings pretty much made the whole event.
Severe heat can inhibit the safety of babies and children. With global temperatures on a slow march upwards, heat waves such as this are unfortunately likely to become more frequent than their previous once-in-a-lifetime occurence. Some people adore the heat, but babies and children as well as pets and elderly relatives are vulnerable to heat strokes, dehydration and other serious heat-related ailments. Here are some tips on surviving the heat.
Press Here, by Herve Tullet
We read this with the kids and were commanded to not turn another page while they ran to the potty. Interactive, exciting, and educational, ‘Press Here’ helps kids review colours, counting and actions in a super-fun way. The kids are asked to press, rub, and shake the book to ‘move’ the dots. What a way to develop a love of reading!
With temperatures rising, it’s a great time for parents to head outdoors and get active with the family. but as the kids play, mommies and daddies tend to focus on their children’s needs, neglecting their own bodies as a result. So we thought it would be practical to post some summer hydration tips for kids (and parents too!)
“Only 25%* of parents hydrate properly,” says Dara Duff-Bergeron, mom and personal trainer. “While juggling carpool, volunteering in the classroom and taking care of a sick child, parents often forget to drink fluids and replenish lost vitamins and nutrients.”