Category Archives: Activities in Toronto

5 Ways To Prepare Your Family For Back To School

At the moment the new school year may seem like weeks away, but it will sneak up on us much quicker than expected! Before you or your child panic about organizing the house and picking up last minute items, here are 5 ways you can prepare your family for going back to school.

  1. Add more storage space for incoming books

books3 books1

 

2. Set up an organized work space for homework and projects

workspace workspace 2

 

3.  DIY a makeshift mudroom before coats and backpacks start flooding in

4845b2c9219b4a47266bbb076e204802 be83b3c792f79fd9406f8d7d4aa64b6e

4. Put all their work needs together in a homework caddy or a find place where they can keep their homework organized.

bff6dea9efa2ecfacaf5cd80b8718c2c 0fc45f873fbee60043d37ab15b0a8657

5. Upgrade their getting-dressed routine for a smoother morning, you don’t want your children to be stressing about clothes 5 minutes before they have to leave!

ad5a392b5a4c9ba6908b580071c8a354 b0b5157988de69f8ce8ec6e236fe5b8b

Light in the Attic Learning is a  premier tutoring company in Toronto. We offer educational enrichment and remedial programs for students JK to grade 12. Our private instruction is tailored to fit each child’s individual needs and learning style while adhering to the Ontario curriculum.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto, Advice

Learning Games and Activities for Children to do During the Summer Holidays

6a00e55111563088340168e6f3fc88970c-320wiContinuing on from last week’s blog post, we’ve put together a few more activities to do with your children this summer. By keeping their minds activities during these few weeks off, they’ll be fully prepared for school in September.

Money

– Shopping
When shopping look for items that are cheaper than a dollar. Ask your children to pick a couple of items so that the total can be bought for $3.50. They’re rewarded with the items they’ve picked!

– Banks
Give your children piles of 5, 10 and 25 cents to count. If you give them fifteen 5 cent coins, how much is the total?
How many 10 cent coins will they give you to make a dollar?
If you have ten 5 cent coins, ask them how many 10 cent coins will they swap you for them?

– Piggy Bank
Most children like to collect money in a piggy bank, so every time they have earned pocket money give it to them in change.
When the piggy bank is nearly full ask you children to figure out the best way to count all the money. Big coins first? Make 10s? Put all the same values together? Randomly? Start with a few coins then add more, depending on your child’s confidence.
Shape

– 2D Identification
On walks, drives or at home, spot and name any 2D shapes that you see, for example: road signs = triangle and a window = square. Ask you children to draw them and then label them with the name of the shape.

– 2D Cutting
From newspapers/magazines, cut out pictures of 2D shapes to make colourful pictures.

– Shape Make
Use an old food box or greetings card to make a range of 2D shapes. Quadrilaterals and triangles should be easy, as should irregular pentagons, hexagons, heptagons and octagons.

– 2D Drawing
Use accurate ruler skills (or shapes made above) to make a picture using 2D shapes. For example, a house with square windows, rectangular door and circular door handle.

– Right Angle Hunt
Look around you to find lots of right angles (90 degrees). You could play an eye-spy type game (“I spy with my little eye a right angle on something blue and metal.”)

– 3D Identification
Draw and name any 3D shapes that you see at home or on your travels. For example a can = a cylinder, ball = sphere. Ask your children to name them and identify some of their properties.

– 3D Model
Make a model with ‘junk’ using mathematical names for the shapes. Discuss their properties, for example: vertices (corners), edges and faces.

Enjoy! Let us know which ones you try!

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto, Teaching Techniques

Our Top 3 (Last Minute) Events to Attend on Canada Day 2015

canada-day-fireworks-586x438Canada Day, the best stat holiday of the year (in our opinion), but if you’re like us and you haven’t made any solid plans for tomorrow yet, here are some last minute ideas for you and your family! It’s always hard to keep track of what’s happening or what’s worth venturing out into the busy city for. Here’s a list of the 3 events we might attend tomorrow:

Fireworks!

We love the amount of fireworks on display around the city and the largest display this year is at Ashbridges Bay. It’s going to get started around 9.30pm but it’s bound to be packed so get there early! There are a few smaller shows too at Mel Lastman Square, Downsview Park and at Canada’s Wonderland.

If you’re looking to celebrate Canada Day tonight, the Harbourfront Centre is having a fireworks show Tuesday night at 10:30 pm and it will be accompanied by a playlist of Canadian music.

Fringe Fest

The Toronto Fringe Festival starts tomorrow with a lineup for 148 shows, including 60 comedies, 30 drama and 13 musicals. We’re thinking about taking our children to Hamlet, a kid-friendly puppet show (4.30pm at the George Ignatieff Theatre)! Also Uncle Tommy’s Campfire Ghost Stories (10pm at FIKA Cafe) sounds fun! However, there’s no rush to get the Fringe Festival tomorrow as it runs until July 12.

Ribs Ahoy…

Last Sunday Toronto Ribfest was forced to cancel its third day due to bad weather. It’s not going to take place tomorrow instead! So for meat lovers this maybe a fun event to attend tomorrow as the schedule is full of family friendly activities, live music, BBQ demos and of course tasty ribs to be devoured. The day concludes with a fireworks display around 10 p.m.

What are you guys doing tomorrow? Let us know!

HAPPY CANADA DAY EVERYONE.

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

Why We’re Watching The Women’s Soccer World Cup

downloadSoccer may not be as popular as hockey, basketball or even the upcoming PanAm games BUT now’s the time to start taking an interest as the Women’s Soccer World Cup is taking place in Canada next week! After months of preparations the stadiums across Canada are ready and the players are preparing for the biggest tournament of their lives.

Most soccer fans we know have only watched the men’s world cup in past years, a tournament where Canada sadly does extremely badly, HOWEVER that’s not the case with the women’s competition. Canada is one of the better teams and we definitely have a chance of winning, as do our old rivals the US…

A total of 552 players will attend the event, with each of the 24 teams announcing squads of 23. Canada’s team is overflowing with sheer talent and head coach John Herdman has selected a mix of veteran and youth players to don the maple leaf shirt. Captain Christine Sinclair and her 153 international goals for Canada will lead the team. She’s joined by a number of players who were part of the bronze medal winning team from the 2012 London Olympic Games, including veteran goalkeeper Erin McLeod, midfielders Diana Matheson, Desiree Scott and Sophie Schmidt.

Here are some interesting facts that may persuade you to switch the channel over from the Stanley Cup to the Women’s Soccer World Cup:

  1. Known as “the female Pelé”, Marta will be the most famous face. The 29-year-old Brazil forward is five times winner of Fifa’s female Footballer of the Year award and is contesting her fourth World Cup.
  2. Canada – grouped with Holland, China and New Zealand – are excited about their 17-year-old midfielder Jessie Fleming. Canada’s most precocious young star made her senior international debut at 15.
  3. The US are eager for victory. They last won the title in 1999 but are nervous that their former coach, the highly regarded Pia Sundhage, is now in charge of her native Sweden.
  4. This will be the first football World Cup – either female or male – to be played on artificial turf. A contingent of leading women’s stars mounted a legal challenge against Fifa’s decision not to grass the Canadian venues but it failed to gain sufficient traction and the case was eventually dropped. Should players suffer serious “non impact” injuries though, the underfoot conditions will inevitably become a contentious topic.
  5. This is the largest, and longest, event in the history of a tournament which first took place in 1991. Comprising 24 teams, it starts on 6 June in Edmonton, where Canada play China, and concludes on 5 July. Eight countries are making their debuts: Cameroon, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ivory Coast, Holland, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand.

Here’s a little more information about the Canadian team:

GK- Stephanie Labbé | unattached / sans club
GK- Karina LeBlanc | USA / Chicago Red Stars
GK- Erin McLeod | USA / Houston Dash
D- Kadeisha Buchanan | USA / West Virginia University
D- Allysha Chapman | USA / Houston Dash
D- Robyn Gayle | unattached / sans club
D- Carmelina Moscato | unattached / sans club
D- Marie-Eve Nault | unattached / sans club
D- Lauren Sesselmann | USA / Houston Dash
D- Rhian Wilkinson | USA / Portland Thorns FC
D- Emily Zurrer | unattached / sans club
M- Jessie Fleming | CAN / London NorWest SC
M- Selenia Iacchelli | unattached / sans club
M- Kaylyn Kyle | USA / Portland Thorns FC
M- Ashley Lawrence | USA / West Virginia University
M- Diana Matheson | USA / Washington Spirit
M- Desiree Scott | ENG / Notts County Ladies
M- Sophie Schmidt | unattached / sans club
F- Josée Bélanger | unattached / sans club
F- Jonelle Filigno | USA / Sky Blue FC
F- Adriana Leon | USA / Chicago Red Stars
F- Christine Sinclair | USA / Portland Thorns FC
F- Melissa Tancredi | USA / Chicago Red Stars

CANADA A-Z
Name | Birth year | Hometown
Bélanger, Josée | 1986 | Coaticook, QC, CAN
Buchanan, Kadeisha | 1995 | Brampton, ON, CAN
Chapman, Allysha | 1989 | Courtice, ON, CAN
Filigno, Jonelle | 1990 | Mississauga, ON, CAN
Fleming, Jessie | 1998 | London, ON, CAN
Gayle, Robyn | 1985 | Mississauga, ON, CAN
Iacchelli, Selenia | 1986 | Edmonton, AB, CAN
Kyle, Kaylyn | 1988 | Saskatoon, SK, CAN
Labbé, Stephanie | 1986 | Stony Plain, AB, CAN
Lawrence, Ashley | 1995 | Calendon East, ON, CAN
LeBlanc, Karina | 1980 | Maple Ridge, BC, CAN
Leon, Adriana | 1992 | Maple, ON, CAN
Matheson, Diana | 1984 | Oakville, ON, CAN
McLeod, Erin | 1983 | Edmonton, AB, CAN
Moscato, Carmelina | 1984 | Mississauga, ON, CAN
Nault, Marie-Eve | 1982 | Trois-Rivières, QC, CAN
Schmidt, Sophie | 1988 | Abbotsford, BC, CAN
Scott, Desiree | 1987 | Winnipeg, MB, CAN
Sesselmann, Lauren | 1983 | Green Bay, WI, USA
Sinclair, Christine | 1983 | Burnaby, BC, CAN
Tancredi, Melissa | 1981 | Ancaster, ON, CAN
Wilkinson, Rhian | 1982 | Baie d’Urfé, QC, CAN
Zurrer, Emily | 1987 | Crofton, BC, CAN

GO CANADA GO!

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

Kids Activities for Earth Day 2015

earthday_logo_2015We’ve put together a list of our 3 favourite hands-on activities to empower children to help the planet.

Earth Day Pollution Solution

What You Need:

Tub of water
Cooking oil
Glitter
Paper towels
Fabric squares
Cotton balls
Swabs
Feathers
Dish detergent

What to Do:

Children often think that if oil spills into the ocean, it could be easily scooped out of it with buckets. This is an experiment which will change their minds. Encourage your children to “pollute” a tub of water with cooking oil and glitter, and then use various supplies to try to remove the oil. They will soon figure out that the cotton-based material is useless and that the cotton fibres will not hold on to the oil. Will the fabric squares work any better? Ask them to place feathers (to represent birds) in their tubs and to observe as the oil-coated feathers sink.

Afterward, watch online videos showing how volunteers use dish detergent to clean up oil-covered animals in real-life oil spills. Repeated the experiment with the detergent, your children will be amazing at the result.

(Source Scholastic)

Earth Day Science: Crystallization

This activity takes time and requires a quite a few components but it will hopefully encourage your children to take an interest in how the world continues to change and evolve. Discuss global warming with older children.

What you need:

Blown-out eggshell
Alum powder
White glue
Small paintbrush
Plastic or glass container
Egg dye
Hot water
Craft stick or spoon
Latex gloves
Drying rack or newspaper

What to do:

Geodes can be grown without using egg dye. The resulting crystals are clear to milky white, like quartz. While large chicken eggshells are suggested in this process, larger eggshells can be used. Simply increase the size of the plastic or glass container and double or triple the amounts of dye (1 packet), alum (3/4 part), and water (2 parts) used to create the growing solution.

This science project shows kids how the natural crystallization process works. You can also buy ready-made Crystal Egg Geode kits available from Professor Figgy’s Fabulous Science Kits at professorfiggy.com.
STEP 1
Start by blowing out a large white chicken egg and splitting it in half, lengthwise. The egg can be cracked by striking it against a surface or cut with a small pair of scissors. Make sure the inside of the eggshell is clean and dry.

STEP 2
With a small paintbrush, apply white glue to the inside and cracked edges of each half of the eggshell and sprinkle with alum powder until completely coated. Set eggshell halves aside to dry overnight.

STEP 3
The next day, prepare your growing solution in a glass or plastic container by using a craft stick or spoon to mix 2 cups of very hot water (almost boiling) with an entire packet of powdered egg dye. Be sure to wear latex gloves to protect your hands from the dye.Tip: Liquid food colouring can also be used to dye the geode — 30 to 40 drops will adequately saturate the solution.

STEP 4
Add 3/4 cup of alum powder to the hot dye bath and stir until completely dissolved. If there are remaining crystals in the bottom of the container, place the solution in the microwave for a few minutes to dissolve them. This will prevent alum from being drawn away from the geode.

STEP 5
Once the alum is completely dissolved, let the solution cool slightly (for about 30 minutes) and then submerge one of the dried, alum-coated eggshells in the growing solution, allowing it to rest on the bottom of the container with the inside of the shell facing up.

STEP 6
Set the container aside in a safe place overnight to allow the crystals to grow undisturbed. The longer the eggshell is in the solution, the larger the crystals in the geode will be. Twelve to 15 hours will usually result in a perfect geode.

STEP 7
The next day, remove the geode from the growing solution very carefully (as wet crystals are quite fragile), being sure to wear latex gloves to prevent the dye from staining your hands. If you are not satisfied with the size of your geode crystals, return the geode to the growing solution and wait a day or two. As water evaporates from the solution, more alum will be deposited in your geode, increasing the size of the crystals.

STEP 8
Place your geode on a drying rack or newspaper and allow to dry completely before handling.

STEP 9
To grow a second geode in the other half of the eggshell, simply re-dissolve the crystals remaining at the bottom of the growing solution in the microwave and follow the instructions above starting at step 5.

(Source The Martha Stuart Show)

Earth Day Picnic

What You Need:
Bag lunches

What to Do:
Show your children how to reduce the trash generated by their lunches. Instructed them to pack their lunches as usual for day one of the activity. As they eat, ask them to keep track of how many pieces of trash they threw out. For day two, help your children to pack their lunches as free of trash-generating items as possible. Think of things like reusable containers. On day two, ask your children to count the trash from their second lunch and see how they compare. Or for older children set a competition: “Who can pack their lunch with the least amount of waste? Winner gets an ice-cream!”

For unavoidable waste, see if there’s anything fun you can do with it, like make a collage. Most kids love an outing to the park, so this task doesn’t have to seem like a chore, work in a game of catch or soccer.

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

World Autism Awareness Day 2015: Characteristics of Autism

displaymediaWorld Autism Awareness Day takes place every year on April 2nd. The aim of the day is to spread awareness about a neurological disorder called autism. The resolution for World Awareness Day was adopted by the UN in December 2007, and since then countries across the globe have been highlighting the importance of understanding autism.

Did you know that according to the National Autistic Society, Autism is the world’s third most common development disorder? One in every 100 people suffers from autism in the UK and around one in every 68 children in America, but those figures are nothing compared to India: close to 15 million people suffer from autism at present. It’s when we realize that so many people suffer from autism across the world that days like World Autism Awareness Day become so important.

The CN Tower lit up blue last year for World Autism Awareness Day

The CN Tower was lit up blue last year for World Autism Awareness Day

What is autism?

Autism Speaks describes autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism as “a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. With the May 2013 publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual, all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. Previously, they were recognized as distinct subtypes, including autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome.

ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art.”

The most obvious signs of autism tend to emerge between two and three years of ages, highlighting that autism has roots in early brain development.

Characteristics

When we first started researching and trying to understand autism, one of the most important things that we discovered is the fact that every autistic person is different and they have their own idiosyncratic characteristics.

This means that a child’s senses and development of skills are not in sync, this may lead to a situation where a child may have developed cognitive skills while language, social or motor skills may lag behind, for example. Some children become sensitive to noise, light or smell while others may find social interaction challenging. These are some of the not-so-subtle signs that all parents needs to look out for.

People with autism often suffer from restricted behaviour and establish an affinity towards routine and find it difficult to accept change.

An autistic child may show signs of finding it difficult to make sense of the world around them and communicating their feelings. This includes establishing relationships with people, being able to express themselves, understanding metaphors or associating symbols with language.

We have briefly described autism and some of the systems to look out for, so it’s definitely worth doing your research to find out more. Even if you don’t know anyone who suffers from autism, spreading the word about the disorder can only better our communities.

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

Easter Weekend in Toronto, Canada, 2015 – Family Events

EasterParadeI don’t know about you, but our little ones are counting down the days until next weekend, when we celebrate Easter! Our children love Easter for many reasons including the chocolate easter eggs, goodies, arts and crafts at school and easter egg hunts. But our children love Easter for another reason too, we spend the whole long weekend exploring the city and attend events and festivals. Here are some of our favourite events happening next weekend! Make sure to register in advance!

  • Easter Traditions at Colborne Lodge
    March 21, 2015 to April 5, 2015 – 12:00 pm until 4:00 pm
    Visit inside Colborne Lodge and learn about 19th century Easter traditions. Families will tour the museum and spot Easter treasures hidden in the restored rooms. Children dye their own eggs using natural dyes. Last tour at 3:15 pm.
  • Kidnetix Annual Easter Egg Hunt
    April 3, 2015 – 9:30 am until 4:00 pm
    A fun filled Egg-citing Easter Egg Hunt! 3 hunts to choose from: 9:30 am to 11:00 am, 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm, and 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm. Includes: indoor playground fun, crafts, Hunny the Easter bunny, tattoos and face painting, Easter egg hunt, Easter basket giveaway, free play passes, and lots more surprises! 2 locations: Brampton and Toronto.
  • Brooks Farms Easter Fest Egg Hunt
    April 3, 2015 to April 5, 2015
    Events includes: Train or wagon ride, barnyard playland, maple sugar bush tours and meet and greet with the mascots! Take part in an Easter Egg Hunt (1 to 6 years) and a Scavenger Hunt (7 to 12 years). Easter weekend 2015 overlaps with the Maple Sugar Festival, which means the Sugar Bush tours will be included with admission to the Easter Festival. Weather permitting.
  • Canadian Pet Expo
    April 3, 2015 to April 5, 2015
    The Canadian Pet Expo is a true pet lover’s and pet family experience focusing on promoting responsible pet ownership with interactive events, demonstrations, vendor support, and workshops. Kids can take part in special Easter activities on April 5.
  • Easter Egg Hunt at Alpha’s Discovery Club Indoor Playground
    April 4, 2015 – 10:00 am until 12:00 pm
    Alpha’s Discovery Club Indoor Playground in Mississauga is holding its annual Easter Egg Hunt with the Easter bunny. The children will make an Easter theme craft and hunt for Easter eggs hidden around the indoor playground. Space is limited so reserve your tickets!
  • Community Easter Egg Hunt at Adventure Valley!
    April 4, 2015 – 10:00 am until 4:00 pm
    Adventure Valley welcomes all families in the community to the Community Easter Family Fun Event! There will be entertainment, food, Easter egg hunting, arts and crafts, and more. Set on a country club-like setting, conveniently located right at Leslie and Steeles.
  • Easter Sweets & Chocolate Tour
    April 5, 2015 – 11:30 am until 1:30 pm
    Treat yourself and your loved ones to a sweet Easter on Toronto’s only sweets tour, eat your way through the colourful neighbourhood of Kensington Market. What to expect: guided tour on the history of sweets, introduction to 6 sweet stores, samples from each location, discounts at select merchants, fun yum times for all! The tour is from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Adult $35 – Children $20. At Ding Dong Pastries & Cafe.
  • Toronto Beaches Lions Club Easter Parade
    April 5, 2015 – 2:00 pm
    Over the years the Toronto Beaches Lions Club Easter Parade has grown into an event that the entire city enjoys. It attracts more than 50,000 spectators of all faiths, religions, and cultures. This is a very important event to the Beaches Lions Club, our community and the charitable organizations they serve. It begins at 2:00 pm sharp and runs for approximately two hours. It will begin the parade on Queen Street at Munro Park and proceed west along Queen Street ending at Woodbine Ave.

easter-parade-toronto

Toronto’s Easter Parade is one of the city’s oldest traditions, starting in the early 1900’s along the waterfront at Sunnyside Park.

  • Easter Chocolate Workshop
    April 5, 2015 – 4:30 pm until 6:00 pm
    A fun and interactive afternoon for parents and children playing with chocolate! Learn about chocolate history and tasting, then get creative making your own vanilla chocolate truffles and lollipops with the host chocolatier Odile (Odile Chocolat). What to expect: taste and learn about different chocolates, roll your own vanilla chocolate truffles, for the children, create chocolate lollipops, take home your handmade treats, happy times for all! Adult $49 – Children $39. At Odile Chocolate.
  • Easter Brunch at Casa Loma
    April 5, 2015
    Join CasaLoma to celebrate Easter with a spectacular Easter Brunch. This unique buffet brunch will feature a delectable array of traditional brunch classics and signature dishes. The complete menu can be viewed on the website. Reservations are required.

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

St. Patrick’s Day Joint Activities for Parents and Children

St-Patricks-Day-Kids-3St. Patrick’s Day is a chance for everyone to celebrate Irish culture and heritage. We’ve put together a fun list of activities and facts for your children, with a cheeky Irish themed cocktail recipe at the end for parents!

1. Grow your own Shamrocks

The weather has been so nice over the last couple of days here in Toronto, if it continues you could head out into your garden with your children. Plant some shamrock seeds and talk about the importance of gardening: you could mention anything from the source of food to looking after the environment. Alternative you can by little pots and plant your shamrock seeds indoors, either way your kids get to make a bit of a mess with a spade and you’re broadening their minds at the same time!

2. History

St Patricks Day history for kids doesn’t have to be all about drawing rainbows and wearing green. We’ve always enjoyed teaching our children the real history behind holidays and events. In this list we’ve include some of the popular stories and legends as well as the actual facts about the holiday, take note of the ones your children show interest in, you should follow up on them. There’s a ton of information online or head to your local library. Here’s a brief rundown of St. Patrick’s history:

  • St. Patrick’s Day is the feast day of the patron saint of Ireland named St. Patrick. Patrick wasn’t born Irish, he was brought to Ireland as a slave after he was kidnapped. He managed to escaped back to Britain to be with his family but while there, a voice told him to go back to Ireland. He was ordained as a priest and spent the rest of his life working to bring Christianity to Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day is the national holiday of Ireland and we celebrate it each year on March 17 because this is the day he is rumored to have died.
  • People search for four leaf clovers which are very rare, finding one is supposed to be very lucky. A shamrock is actually a three leaf clover like plant. Legend has it that St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit).
  • The colour of St. Patrick’s Day is green. Ireland is known for it’s green shades of grass and the shamrock is green as well.
  • Traditionally people eat corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day although we enjoy it all year.
  • Some people claim that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. However, science has proven that there never were any snakes in Ireland because of the cold climate. It is thought that the word snakes in this legend actually represent driving out the pagan ways when he introduced Christianity.
  • Irish legend says that there is a small Irish fairy called the leprechaun. He wears pointed shoes, a hat and a leather apron. According to the legend, he’s very unfriendly and lives alone in the forest guarding his pots of gold. The story says that if you find a leprechaun, he will have to tell you where is gold is hidden. If you look away for even one second, the leprechaun will disappear along with all his gold.

3. Cooking

Corned beef is a traditional Irish meal eaten throughout the year, but it’s a favourite on St. Patricks day. If you have time, spend an hour or so making it from scratch with help from your children. Not only is it a lot healthier to make a homemade version compared to the processed store bought alternatives, you’re setting a good example for your children (to eat healthy) and you’re bonding over the simpler things in life rather than games and tv.

4. Shamrock math race!

We really like this simple math game for kindergarteners from Coffee Cups and Crayons.

5. Pot of Gold cocktail for parents

Serves 2
-2 tbsp fresh pear juice mix (see below)
-2 tbsp Michael Collins Irish whiskey
-Sparkling wine or Champagne of your choice
-Lemon twist for garnish

Mix the pear juice and the whiskey together in a liquid measuring cup or some other cup that has a spout, which will make it easier to pour. Divide the mixture equally between two Champagne flutes. Slowly top with bubbly, then garnish with a lemon twist. Enjoy!

For the pear juice mix:
-2 ripe d’anjou pears, peeled, cored, and diced
-4 tbsp water
-2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Place all the ingredients into a food processor and run the machine until the mixture is pureed. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides a few times to get the mixture smooth. Place a fine mesh strainer or sieve over a non-reactive bowl, then pour the mixture in. Allow the juice to drain out, stirring the puree gently to help the process along. Serve right away!

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto, Teaching Techniques

Family Day Activities in Toronto

family-day-2Thankfully, winter this year has been considerably kinder to us in comparison to last year’s polar vortex winter. However, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t all looking forward to an extra day off this weekend, a much welcome break during the long winter months.

Family Day is one of our favourite holidays; spending quality time with our family, having fun and being thankful for the people who are around us, what could be better. We’ve put together a list of some of the best events happening this weekend, let us know which ones you’ll be attending!

  1. Kids Fest

Running all weekend, Kids Fest features the largest indoor inflatable road show for kids. Located in Mississauga, head there this weekend for a great family outing day of fun.

  1. Ski Dagmar

Exercise and fun? If you and your family don’t often get the chance to leave the city to explore Ontario’s beautiful countryside now is the time, and it’s not even that far out of the city!

  1. Toronto’s historic sites

Maybe don’t tell your children that you’re going to look at old historic sites, it’ll sound more like a history class than a fun day out, unless they really like history class. Tell them about Fort York, where they can sample freshly baked goods made on a hearth, for example, or learn Irish dancing and listen to stories at Montgomery’s Inn.

  1. Hockey Hall of Fame

If you and your family are big hockey fans, the Hockey Hall of Fame is bound to be an interesting and informative few hours for you and your children. Why not dust off your skates and head to your local ice rink afterwards for a family game of hockey? If your family is large enough you could get into teams!

  1. Winter Stations

Five lifeguard stations along the Toronto Beaches are transformed into art installations. Chosen from among 200 different submissions, these installations will be open to the public to view and experience for six weeks, so no rush, but it could be a nice walk on Monday afternoon if it’s not too cold.

Also, how lucky are we to live in a country where we’re given a day off work to spend time with our families, just another reason why we love Canada.

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

Our Favourite Family Board Games

We love playing board games, especially over the holidays. It’s a fun way of spending time and interacting with our children that doesn’t involve putting on the television or firing up the games console. We’ve put a list of our favourite games that are fun for both children and adults!

KOT1. King of Tokyo: Hands down, this game is the best to gift to new board gamers. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone personally say that they did not have a great time with this, kids and adults alike.

dinohunt2. Dino Hunt Dice: This is a very simple game that even young kids can play. It’s great to take with you if you are waiting at the airport or at a restaurant. And, you know, dinosaurs!

Dicez

3. Zombie Dice: This isDino Hunt Dice‘s big brother, with very similar rules: you roll dice and collect brains, but don’t get shot! Again, it’s simple, but involves a little strategy. There are also a couple expansion packs available to add even more fun to the mix.

shinobi4. Shinobi Wat-AAH!: Practice your ninja skills! Again, simple rules, and there are two levels of play–one with just cards, where you build clans, and another with a board that is slightly more complicated but still is a lot of fun. We love the art work in this game.

castellan-e1418930915841-626x4705. Castellan: A game of competitive engineering. You draw cards that tell you which pieces you can use, and build pieces onto a castle. When You enclose an area, it’s yours! At the end, you count up how many towers are in your enclosures. Whoever has the most, wins!

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

Top 5 Christmas books to read to your children!

reading-to-kids-on-christmas1. Elf on the shelf

Ages: 2-6

 The Elf on the Shelf is a special scout elf sent from the North Pole to help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists. When a family adopt’s an elf and gives it a name, the elf receives its Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole each night to tell Santa Claus about all of the day’s adventures. Each morning, the elf returns to its family and perches in a different place to watch the fun. Children love to wake up and race around the house looking for their elf each morning.

This book may not be overly educational but it’s a nice story especially in the lead up to Christmas!

 2. Pop-up Peekaboo: Christmas Board book

Ages: 0-2

This is one of the best books for Christmas for younger children. A little taster of what’s in store at Christmas time.

The latest addition to DK’s Peekaboo series, this Christmas book features big, bold pop-ups that jump from the pages when babies and toddlers lift the flaps. As young children explore the spreads, they’ll learn to recognise, name, and describe different objects, providing a perfect early learning opportunity and fun way to build book-handling skills.

What will pop out of the Christmas stocking? Who will come out of the chimney? What’s hiding behind the Christmas tree? Babies and toddlers will delight in the surprises in this Christmas-themed pop-up book.

3. Wombat Divine

Ages: 3-5

There isn’t a Mem Fox book we don’t love! Also appropriate with children performing in the Christmas play at school or preschool. This is one of our favourite Christmas books.

Wombat loved Christmas. He loved the carols and the candles, the presents and the pudding, but most of all he loved the Nativity Play. Wombat loves the Nativity Play so much that he tries out for every part, but he doesn’t seem to be right for any of them. Luckily, wise Emu knows the perfect role for a sleepy wombat, and it’s the best Nativity Play ever.

4. The Jolly Christmas Postman

Ages: 3-5

What children don’t enjoy opening the little envelopes on each page of the Ahlberg’s picture books.

It’s almost a preparation for opening all the cards that arrive in the letterbox at this time of year. Children can take each colourful gift out of its envelope and discover for themselves what well-known fairy-tale characters are sending to one another for Christmas! Your children will want to write letters of their own by the end of the book!

5. The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas

Ages: 3-5

This is an adaptation of the old favourite; 12 days of Christmas with a real Aussie slant.

It’s December in Australia and the days are getting warmer. When a young woman receives a kookaburra up a gum tree from her true love, it’s a sign that Christmas is on the way.

A lovely book to teach your children about a different culture.

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

Halloween in Toronto 2014

PumpkinsHalloween is one of the most exciting times of the year for kids. From halloween costumes and jack o’ lanterns to haunted houses, it is a day that fuels kids’ imaginations. Although it is primarily a day of fun for the family, as it should be, it doesn’t hurt to capitalize on you kids interest with these educational activities.

What better time to read stories to your younger children, or to suggest a novel or two to your teenagers. Everyone enjoys a ghost story, monster tale or horror novel around halloween, these are our recommended books for the entire family which are guaranteed to be halloween hits.

  • The Witches by Roald Dahl
  • The Legend of West Fork by J.T Lewis
  • The Raven and Other Poems by Edgar Allen Poe
  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • The Host by Stephanie Meyer

There are some really fun (educational/cultural) events happening around Toronto this weekend that will be a fun day out for the whole family:

Boo at Toronto Zoo!

Up to two kids in costume (12 and under) get in free when accompanied by an adult. All kids are eligible to take part in the “Critters and Costumes Parade” at 11:40 am and 2:40 pm daily, departing from the Waterside Theatre. Also on hand for the Boo fun is My Little Pony who will be at the Zoo’s Courtyard Stage. Kids can also drop by the Play-Doh Play Centre next to the Courtyard Stage to create their very own Zoo animal or Halloween creation. Check out Zoo animals receiving festive pumpkins throughout the day.

Symphonic Spooks – Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Delight in hair-raising, spine-chilling classical music, as creatures of all kinds come to haunt the concert hall. Perfect for trick-or-treaters of all ages, well-known spooky works, including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera Overture, selections from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Symphony fantastique will be heard echoing throughout the hall.

The Haunted Walk of Toronto

From the old military town of York to the metropolitan city of today, discover Toronto’s ghost stories and darker history.  Hear of the city’s  haunted theatres, public hangings and the terrifying encounters at Mackenzie House.  Definitely not for young children!

We hope you have a lovely halloween week, let us know what you get up to! We’d love to see pictures of everyone dressed up! 

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

World Food Day 2014 Activites for Children

foodDid you know that 842 million people are estimated to be suffering from under-nourishment and chronic hunger? This is a staggering figure considering that the world has never produced so much food.

If the world is producing more than enough food why are so many people suffering? Food production relates to a variety of topics including politics, human rights and climate change and the problems that arise can be easily explored at home.

So this week, to mark yesterday’s World Food Day (16 October 2014), we’ve put together a range of resources about the challenges of feeding an ever-growing population which you can discuss with your children.

This year the focus of World Food Day is on the significant role that smallholder farmers play in feeding the world. In the poorest parts of Africa and Asia, around 500 million small family farms are responsible for 80%of all food production. This game from Oxfam will help your children learn more about the global food system and the impact it has on family farmers.

Why not try the “Flying the Kite for Food” activity, it is great for introducing younger children to the idea of food injustice. Let your children explore the reasons why some people in the world are hungry before making a kite to which they attach their wishes for a world without hunger.

Another idea is to test your children’s knowledge of different fruits and vegetables from across the world. Try creating authentic meals from the countries you have discussed!

Explore the themes of World Food Day 2014 further with this toolkit from the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. There is a family-friendly leaflet, poster and Powerpoint presentation that can be used at home after school.  As a written exercise, can your children explain why family farmers are described as “an important part of the solution for a world free from poverty and hunger”?

In a society where we often take food for granted, it’s important that we show and discuss with our children that 842 million people worldwide aren’t as fortunate.

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto, Teaching Techniques

Get your children involved with World Space Week – October 4-10

World Space WeekWhat better way to encourage your children to listen and play an active role in science class than with World Space Week! World Space Week is an international celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition.

World Space Week starts on October 4 and runs though to the 10th. These dates are significant: On October 4, 1957, the first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, launched into space thus opening the way for space exploration. On October 10, 1967, the signing of the Treaty on

Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies took place. How impressed will the science teacher be if your child can remember the full name of the Treaty!!!

World Space Week consists of space education and outreach events held by space agencies, aerospace companies, schools, planetaria, museums, and astronomy clubs around the world in a common timeframe.

This year London Ontario is hosting one of two World Space Week events in Canada. The Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration in Western University has put together a free special event.  MIT Professor Sara Seager, Exoplanet Hunter, will share her research and experiences searching for planets like Earth in other solar systems, and the search for life in the Universe.

The goal of World Space Week is to excite young people about science, technology, engineering and math, but you don’t need to wait until World Space Week to encourage your children to take an interest in these subjects. There are plenty of fun space related activities you can do with your kids at home, our favourites are on the NASA website: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/education/?page=67

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

Top TIFF Films for Kids

It’s the middle of TIFF mania, you’ve attended late night films with friends and evening parties with coworkers, but have you thought about taking your kids to a showing? This year TIFF has shown many great films suitable for children and some of them could even be educational! Even if you’ve missed the last showing, or it’s sold out, it’s worth checking them out when they hit the cinemas.

African Safari (directed by Ben Sassen)

Following animal behaviourist Kevin Richardson (a.k.a. “The Lion Whisperer”) and Kenyan film producer Mara Douglas-Hamilton as they travel on land and by hot-air balloon from the Namibian desert to Mt. Kilimanjaro, African Safari captures the incredible beauty of the African landscape and unforgettable views of animals in their natural habitat.

Animals check. Geography lesson check.

Bahar in Wonderland (Directed by Behrooz Karamizade)

Young Bahar is surrounded by danger as she and her father try to make their way from Syria to Germany, but she believes she has found her own unique way to defend herself and fight her fears. 

Not for a young child but it’s a good film to highlight the conditions and situations which people from other countries experience.

Better Together

Whether facing a challenge, playing a game or dreaming up a new invention, two heads are always better than one! This collection of short films shows how cooperation, creativity and fun are the keys to successful teamwork.

Themes: Teamwork, friendship, creativity, cooperation

The Famous 5

Our favourite crime-foiling quintet tries to beat a gang of crooks to a long-lost pirate treasure in this heart-pounding new adventure.

Once they’ve seen the films then encourage them to read the books before bed!

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

Nelson Mandela Day, a global movement that all families should be aware of.

nelson-mandela-dayOn July 18 more than 100 countries are set to join South Africa in its commemoration of Nelson Mandela International Day. The day was launched in recognition of Mandela’s birthday via unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly.

The day was inspired by a call Nelson Mandela made in 2008, for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices when he said that “it is in your hands now”. 

Our children are this next generation, and educating and celebrating his life and legacy will hopefully have a positive effect on the youth of today. This global movement not only honours his life’s work but it encourages adults and children alike to act to change the world for the better. 

This year marks the first time the day has been celebrated without the icon, however more than 1000 worldwide events are set to be held this year, more than any other year. 

In recognition of his legacy and of this day, the City of Toronto is planning to honour Nelson Mandela with a dedication of a city street, which is yet to be announced. Also, back in June the president of the Toronto Raptors, Masai Ujiri, organized and event to honour Nelson Mandela. Joined by a number of celebrities and business leaders the event raised significant funds for Giants of Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. 

There are many small simple things we can do as families that doesn’t involve donating large sums of money but the gesture means just as much: 

Why not ask your child to donate a toy? Explaining that there are many children who aren’t lucky enough to have the same privileges. 

What about encouraging your children to ride their bikes more? Then sign up for a cycle challenge and raise some money for charity. 

Or what about using your shoppers points to buy a gift card and giving it to someone who cannot afford to buy food? 

As Nelson Mandela said: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

World Population Day!

World Population DayWorld Population Day occurs every year on June 11. It is an event that marks the significant of trends and issues throughout the world.

It originally began when interest grew in anticipation of when the World’s population would reach 5 billion, which was recorded on July 11, 1987. Now over 20 years later, the World’s population has surpassed 7 billion.  

World Population Day now aims at engaging people to spur commitment and spark actions related to the opportunities and challenges presented by a world of 7 billions people. 

Every year UNFPA launches a campaign based on a specific topic in an attempt to bring awareness and change to current and future challenges. Last year the focus was on adolescent pregnancy, which is a topic that all parents should discuss with their teenagers. 

Did you know what 16 million girls under the age of 18 give birth each year? Another 3.2 million undergo unsafe abortions. For many of these girls pregnancy has little to do with an informed choice but is a consequence of rights violations, inadequate education and discrimination. 

Last year World Population Day successfully raised awareness of this issue in the “hopes of delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.”

The theme for this year hasn’t been released yet, but check back in a couple of days to see what important message UNFPA are sending. 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

Make Dad proud this Fathers Day with thoughtful gifts and fun events

A simple but nice idea is to make a “Jar Full Of Love” for Dad. Encourage your little ones to write down a bunch of messages that tells their Dad just how much he means to them. Not only is it extremely thoughtful but it will help with your child’s writing skills!

Why not take Dad to a ball game? What we love about baseball is that it’s an extremely sociable sport. Enjoy some nachos and let Dad explain the rules, plus it’s a team sport so you can show your children way being a part of a team is often important.

Another cute crafty idea is to make notepad that Dad can take to work. Wrap a rubber band around a notepad cube and using a large felt tip pen help your children to write messages on the sides. Remove band and tie with a ribbon! 

Dads + Cars = A good day out. The Yorkville exotic car show takes place from 12-5 on Father’s Day, where you can see over 12 examples of classic and exotic cars. Fun game: see how many types of cars your children can remember.

Let us know what you guys get up to this Father’s Day and we hope you have fun!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

10 alternative activities to do in Toronto this summer

It’s always nice to do something a little different with your family, especially in the beautiful weather. We’ve researched a bunch of “out of the norm” activities for you to do during June and these were our favourite.

Camp without leaving the city

Have you ever wanted to go camping but you don’t have the time to travel a long distance. Or have you ever wanted just one night to sleep under the stars instead of in your condo? Toronto’s only camping spot, the Glen Rouge Campground, is easy to reach from highways and is on the banks of the Rouge River. With hiking trails and beaches near by, you don’t even need to leave the city for that one moment of tranquility. 

Music Festival

The free Waterfront Blues Festival this year promises to be fun for the whole family. There will be a kids fun zone so that you can enjoy a glass of wine while watching the Juno and Grammy awarded artists!

Gourmet picnic

Enjoy food from different parts of the city with the Culinary Adventure Co. They organise gourmet picnics on The Island and food walking tours around the different neighbourhoods!

Summerlicious

Take your family to a restaurant that you normally wouldn’t go to with Summerlicious. Expensive and exclusive restaurants will offer prix fixes at a low cost for 2 weeks this summer. 

Make homemade popsicles

Did you know that most popsicles contain high fructose corn syrup laden with red and blue dyes? Definitely not a healthy treat for your children, we suggest making them from scratch with fresh fruit! If you’ve never made them before here is a great article to get you started. 

Go for a bike ride in the Don Valley

There are some beautiful paths that run through the Don Valley which are great for all levels of ability. 

Cherry Beach

Cherry Beach is a popular beach linking the Outer Harbour to Toronto’s Portlands. It can get super busy here but if you’re able to go during the week it’s definitely worth a visit, especially if you have a dog! 

Go fishin’

Did you know you could go fishing in Toronto? Check out Ashbridges Bay Park and Rouge Park

Spend a night on a boat

What could be better than a boat bread and breakfast?! The Making Wave Boatel is open from May until September and offers a great family vacation or a romantic weekend away while the kids are at camp!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

Earth Day 2014

April 22 is one of the most important days in the calendar year, Earth Day. Celebrated every year in Canada since 1990, it is the largest environmental event in the world. Did you know that according to Earth Day Canada more than six million Canadians participate in Earth Day activities in their communities each year? This includes nearly every school-aged child throughout the country. 

Toronto is a great city for getting involved with Earth Day events, and each year the council organizes “the city’s annual spring clean-up.” Friends, families, co-workers and classmates are encouraged to clean a park, lane way or any space that needs a bit of TLC. The ultimate goal of the clean up is to eliminate litter, stop graffiti vandalism and just to, in general, keep Toronto clean and green. Events are scheduled from April 22 – 27, but the community clean up days are scheduled on the 26 and 27. Thousands of families throughout Toronto will do their part to keep their neighbourhoods clean and green, including Light in the Attic Learning. You can register an area near you here, it’s a great opportunity to teach your children about the importance of looking after one’s environment. 

Discussing and showing your children ways they can help the environment from a young age will hopefully impact their behaviour as adults for the better. If you find that your children get bored easily and you’re struggling to educate them about Earth Day, there’s a super fun website called ecokids.ca where your children can play informative games. These educational activities delve into topics such as wildlife, energy, climate change and waste.

Last year NASA released a video for Earth Month in an effort to raise awareness of the agency’s Earth observation programs. As most children love space related shows and activities, it may be a fun to research NASA’s programs over the last few years. This video for example, features a variety of big-picture imagery, including true-colour satellite photos, data visualizations, computer models and time-lapse footage from the International Space Station.

There are many events happening around the city next week from clothing swaps to discovery walks. It promises to be a jam packed informative week for the whole family, something which will hopefully continue indefinitely.  

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

What do your children know about Easter?

For many people, Easter is all about the long weekend but what many families forget is that Easter is the most important festival in the Christian calendar. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, three days after he was executed. Even if your family are not of the Christian faith, it’s important to educated children on the beliefs of others.

The week leading up to the Easter weekend is known as Holy Week. The sunday before Easter Sunday is called Palm Sunday and it is the first day of Holy Week. It is believed that this is when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Often small crosses made from palm leaves will be given out as a reminder of Jesus’ entrance in Jerusalem and his death on the cross. 

The Thursday before the Easter weekend is commonly known as Maundy Thursday. This is when Jesus ate the Passover meal with his disciples, also called the Last Supper. Christians remember this every Sunday during Mass where they share bread and wine. 

Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday. It commemorates the execution of Jesus by crucifixion. In some countries, there are special Good Friday processions, or re-enactments of the Crucifixion.

Easter Sunday marks Jesus’ resurrection. Christians believe that Jesus overcame death and sin, and if they follow his teachings they too will have eternal life in heaven. 

There are many ways to celebrate and learn about Easter in Toronto over the next couple of weeks. Families can buy or make chocolate Easter eggs and give them as gifts to one another. It is a nice gesture as traditionally they are a symbol of new life. 

There are various events being held throughout Toronto over the next couple of weeks, including Easter egg hunts, which will be fun for the little ones! One thing that shouldn’t be missed is the Toronto Beaches Lions Annual Easter Parade which has been held every year since 1966. 

You can educate your children further about Easter with some of these fun activities curtsy of ABC Teach

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

National Autism Awareness Month

April…April, what is April known for? April Fool’s Day, spring and April showers? When someone thinks of the month April, autism isn’t necessary the first thing that springs to mind. We hope that soon it will be because of the continued efforts of National Autism Awareness Month (NAAM).

The Autism Society started celebrating National Autism Awareness Month in the 1970s as a way to highlight the growing concern and awareness about autism in USA. It is a month where educators are given the opportunity to teach the public about autism and the issues within the autism community. 

However, supporters of the cause still need to push forward for further worldwide recognition. There are many things we can do, as shown on the Autism Society website:

1.Place the NAAM logo badge on your blog, Facebook profile, Twitter page or other social media site! Customize it to include your logo too!

2. Download a toolkit of visual and content resources to help you celebrate National Autism Awareness Month!

3. Create your own National Autism Awareness Month event!

4. Sign up for e-newsletter Autism Matters to continue sharing ideas on how to make a better world for autism here.

5. Put on the Puzzle! The Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon is the most recognized symbol of the autism community in the world. Autism prevalence is now one in every 68 children in America. Show your support for people with autism by wearing the Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon – as a pin on your shirt, a magnet on your car, a badge on your blog, or even your Facebook profile picture – and educate folks on the potential of people with autism! To purchase the Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon for your shirt, car, locker or refrigerator, click here.

6. Connect with your neighbourhood. Many Autism Society local affiliates hold special events in their communities throughout the month of April. But if you can’t find an event that suits you just right, create your own!

Light in the Attic Learning is a tutoring company based in Canada, a country which proudly supports autism awareness. On October 23, 2012, a bill was passed making each and every April 2 officially recognized as World Autism Awareness Day in Canada. Not only that but Canada has joined in the “Light It Up Blue” initiative – on April 2 many iconic landmarks, hotels, sporting venues, concert halls, museums, bridges and retail stores are lit blue to raise autism awareness. Here are a few pictures of famous landmarks in Canada that turned blue this week: CN Tower BC Place Niagara Falls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here at Light in the Attic Learning, we understand that many teachers aren’t fully prepared to successfully educate children with autism. We are. We can cater, develop and produce after school learning programs ensure that every child, with or without autism, is able to reach their full potential in and out of school. Please feel free to get in contact if you have any questions!

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

Earth Hour: Why millions worldwide will switch off lights

Tomorrow, March 29, at 8.30pm millions of people are expected to switch off their lights in their offices and homes. Countries worldwide are also going to switch off the lights on famous landmarks to mark WWF’s annual Earth Hour.

The mass participation event is to show support and commitment for environmental change. The CN Tower, Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC), Rogers Centre, Oxford Properties – MetroCentre, The Fairmont Royal York hotel, Air Canada Centre, Roy Thomson Hall and Bell Media’s Toronto Headquarters will turn off their lights as a symbol of their commitment to the planet.

This year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is planning to launch its latest report on Monday, a few days after Earth Hour. It will outline how global warming is going to affect food supplies, water, the weather and wildlife in the coming years. Earth Hour allows families to prepare and educate themselves not only on these foreseeable changes but how making a conscious effort in one’s daily life can help to reduce the carbon footprint.

“The significance of these two events is massive. Climate change is the biggest environmental threat facing our planet – it’s real, it’s happening right now, and we need to act fast” said Colin Butfield, director of public engagement and campaigns at WWF-UK.

There are many fun educational ways parents can approach the topic of climate change with young children and teenagers alike. Why not research the history of famous landmarks that take part in Earth Hour? Find out about endangered species and come up with innovative ways we can save energy. For ideas of things to do in the dark during Earth Hour, The Guardian has put together an interesting list of ideas

It’s important that children understand that switching off the lights for an hour isn’t going to help climate change, but the symbolism behind it will. According to WWF more than 7000 cities in 154 countries took part in Earth Hour last year, the result saw thousands of people tackle a range of issues from energy to deforestation and oil pollution. It is now the world’s biggest environmental event. Earth Hour’s CEO and co-founder, Andy Ridley, said:

“For us the symbolism or turning your lights off will always be important. But the big thing for us has always been how to push it beyond the hour. The stage we’re at now is to make it really easy for people from their handset, tablet or laptop to be able to do something pretty immediate to make a difference. That’s the holy grail for us – building a global collective movement, far beyond the event, where the event becomes a kind of inspiration but the movement is really the essence of it.”

It is essential that there is strong environmental teaching at home and in school, so we can build on past successes that WWF and other charities have created. As Nelson Mandela said: 

“Let us stand together to make of our world a sustainable source for our future as humanity on this planet.”

Source: The Guardian

Earth Hour 2012 in London UK. Photo source: The Guardian

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

When was the last time you read a poem?

In 1999 the UN announced that March 21 would now be known as World Poetry Day. This was in an attempt to give a fresh perspective of international poetry movements with the premise “that poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings.” 

One of the main goals of the day is to “support linguistic diversity through poetic expression,” encouraging youth and adults to be heard within their communities. This can be done through the traditional poetry recitals or through more contemporary arts such as online media, dance and painting. As a tutor in Toronto, I feel that we need to show the young how fun and meaningful the art of poetry can be, so that it isn’t considered an outdated art form, but a comfortable medium where individuals can show their identities and speak about topics they are passionate about. 

A great example of this is shown through Fujiwara Dance Inventions, a group of Toronto based dancers. They have taken a traditional poem by Christian Bok and have created a dance production. In Bok’s Eunoia, each chapter is constrained to the use of a single vowel, yet he still creates the illusion of various fascinating worlds. In the dance adaptation the dances also follow these formal rules which allows them to transform the choreography. “The result is a witty and absorbing monument to human expression.”

Although it is important to show our children the modern creativity of poetry, they have to know the influences and the original work in order to fully understand the new interpretations. Here’s a list of my favourite influential poets of the Twentieth Century that everyone, not just youth, should own a copy of their works. 

  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • William Shakespeare
  • Walt
  • Whitman
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Seamus Heaney
  • Dylan Thomas

As it is World Poetry Day why not head to a bookstore, pick up a copy, and immerse your family in the beautiful world of poetry. 

On a side note, if you want your child to become a whizz at grammar, spelling and linguistics, we offer various after school tutoring lessons in Toronto that will help your kids read complicated works like Shakespeare much easier. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

All things Pi!

pi dayMarch 14 (that is, 3/14) is the day when teachers show and engage students in the study of mathematics through fun activities revolved around Pi. It’s the perfect time for educators to show students who don’t enjoy the subject just how fun maths can be.

Here at Light in the Attic Learning, we try and make maths as exciting and interesting as possible everyday in order to help students meet their maximum potential.

The official Pi Day website describes perfectly why Pi is extremely important and has major impact on most aspect of mathematics:

“Pi (π) is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Pi is a constant number, meaning that for all circles of any size, Pi will be the same. The diameter of a circle is the distance from edge to edge, measuring straight through the centre. The circumference of a circle is the distance around.”

Pi is the one number that captivates teachers and students alike as its digits go on infinitely without any pattern in the numbers. For example the first digits are 3.14159 and are the most commonly used digits, but on Pi Day students are inspired to memorize thousands of digits or use them to create art, music and poetry! The Guinness World Record for memorizing pi is held by a Chinese student who recited 67,890 digits correctly!!

Of course, we all need to eat at least one slice of pie to mark the occasion. In downtown Toronto Ryerson University will be giving out desserts at the Sears Atrium all day, followed by talk by math professor Pawel Pralat who will focus on the history, advancement and appearances of pi in pop culture!

If you haven’t had enough pie by this evening Wanda’s Pie in the Sky is hosting a pie showdown. They will be making special square pies, hosting pi trivia, throwing pie catapults and just in general having a fun messy evening.

Today is also Albert Einstein’s birthday, if nothing else, that’s an excuse for all the parents to have a glass of wine!

Happy Pi Day everyone!

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

World Book Day 2014

World Book DayWorld Book Day is an important day in every schooling calendar as it’s a celebration of reading, authors, illustrators and, of course, books. Marked in over 100 countries, children and teachers dress up as their favourite characters from popular novels, it’s the largest celebration of its kind. Yesterday saw the 17th World Book Day, where children of all ages throughout Toronto came together to appreciate reading.

A recent report suggest that students, primarily teenagers, are reading books that are too easy. Do you feel that teachers aren’t pushing your kids to read challenging titles? The organizers of World Book Day have released a list of 50 books that could help to “shape and inspire” teenagers. The list of 50 feature books are split in to categories such as books that will “make you cry”, “help you understand you” and “teach you about love”. It’s a great list of books.

There are some books on the list that could have been left off, like Twilight, but on the whole we agree with most of the books that have been included. Out of the 50, here is our top 10 books for teenagers to read:

  1. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  3. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  4. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  5. The Shining – Stephen King
  6. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  7. Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
  8. 1984 – George Orwell
  9. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
  10. The Color Purple – Alice Walker

If you feel that many of the books on the list may be a little too difficult for your son or daughter, we can definitely make sure their reading, grammar and spelling is up to scratch. We’re also running a promotion at the moment, 30% off 4 lessons, check out our Facebook page for more information!

Fun fact, did you know that the largest book store in the world is in Toronto? Cleverly titled World’s Largest Bookstore, it’s a 3 storey building that has over 20 kilometres of shelving! It’s on Edward Street, just north of the Eaton Centre.

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

Rainy day activities!

March break is just around the corner, and with the sudden dip in weather, there’s good chance that it’s going to be super cold. Can you believe that it was minus 50 in some parts of Canada last week??! It’s best to plan ahead for these situations, so we’ve found a few activities that will keep your little ones busy indoors during the break.

1. City play mat from a shower curtain

I found this activity on My Little Gems, I like it because it’s not going to break the bank and it will help bring out young children’s creative streaks. All you need is a shower curtain from a dollar store, some permanent and fabric markers. Draw on the curtain with the permanent markers, then your kids can colour in the simple images you have drawn or add to them.

2.  Dr. Seuss day

If your children haven’t read Dr. Seuss yet, now is the time. I love that the creators of the blog All For The Boys, have found a whole afternoon’s worth of activities based on two of the Dr. Seuss books. Once you and your little ones have read One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish why not make fish origami? Next read Cat In The Hat and make pop up cats and themed muffins!

3. Board games

When I was growing up Monopoly and Scrabble were two staple board games played most weekends. Playing games with your children is a fun way to spend some quality time together whilst teaching them about following the rules, fairness, sportsmanship and much more. Sites like Amazon have a section called “educational board games” which is always a good place to start when looking for a new game.

4. Baking

One of the best things about cooking with children is when you see their excitement when the finished product comes out of the oven. Look at this amazing digger themed cake, it is really easy to make! When you cook with your children, it’s the perfect time to teach them about healthy eating.

5. Building shapes

A simple yet effective way of teaching your kids about the different types of shapes used in school. You can easily make coloured sticks out of cardboard, colour coordinate them and label them with the number of sides each shape has. The children will choose a colour and build the matching coloured shape from the sticks! Great for budding mathematicians!! Thanks for the idea A B C Preschool.

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto

Top 10 family activities to do in Toronto during the March break

March break is just around the corner, allowing families to spend some quality time together. We’ve found some activities taking place in the GTA that are educational and entertaining, activities that parents can also enjoy. They are all affordable and will keep the kids away from the television! Have fun!

1. Hands in the bowl

Join Evergreen Brickworks chef, Nyle Johnston for a cooking workshop designed for children between the ages of 4-7.

Children learn about the different tastes and textures of key ingredients used in day to day cooking. A hands-on program, it encourages participants to mix, grate and mash using only their hands.

For more information click here.

2. Where the Wild Things Are stage production

Maurice Sendak’s children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are, is still just as popular as it was 50 years ago. The recent movie adaptation of the novel, proved popular with adults and children alike, so why not go to the stage production version during the March break. Produced by Presentation House Theatre, it’s showing at the Young People’s Theatre on Front Street east. You never know, it may encourage your child to read the book too!

For more information click here.

3. Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament

Does your son or daughter love history? This could be a fun activity for the whole family, while fuelling your child’s love of history and all things medieval. Guests enjoy a 4 course banquet whilst watching an authentic jousting tournament. It links modern society to the past and teaches the young about valour, glory and chivalry.

For more information click here.

4. Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival

What kid doesn’t love maple syrup? Head over to this festival to learn all about the history of Canada’s world famous syrup, there will be plenty of free samples!

There are numerous maple syrup festivals happening throughout March, have a look online to see which one is closest to you.

For more information about Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival click here.

5. Ripley’s Aquarium

Ripley’s Aquarium is the largest aquarium in North American, it house 15,000 animals including sharks. Walk your children through/under/above Canadian waters, the rainbow reef and the dangerous lagoon. With plenty to read, touch and see at each station, your children will become knowledgeable about all things under the sea.

For more information click here.

6. Hockey Hall of Fame

Is your son or daughter a budding sports star? Teach them the ways of sportsmanship at the Hockey Hall of Fame this March. As Canada’s national sport, looking back at the influential players could provide inspiration and determination to do well during gym class!

For more information click here.

7. Toronto Comicon

Do your children love comics, video games and fantasy television shows? This is the place to take them then. Attendees are able to participate in a Q&A session with various celebrities from hit television shows and  there will be numerous workshops and seminars. The best bit…costumes are encourage!

For more information click here.

8. Sneaking Around

The Bata Shoe Museum is holding a spy-themed event during March break. There promises to be lots of spy-themed arts, crafts and activities!

For more information click here.

9. ROM’s Dinosaur Gallery

From Jurassic Part to Ice Age, dinosaurs and mammals are used as a constant source of entertainment for families in films, so why not bring them to life at the Royal Ontario Museum. The gallery is home to 750 specimens including nearly complete dinosaur skeletons and fossil mammal skeletons.

For more information click here.

10. Toronto Zoo

Finally, if it’s a nice sunny day why not head to the zoo? There are over 5000 animals 460 species to see, all based on geographical locations.

For more information click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities in Toronto