Tag Archives: kids

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.

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Affordable And Natural Ways To Protect Your Kids From Swimming Pool Chemicals

Fun Swimming Over the last few weeks the weather has warmed up considerably and the promise of hot summer days is just around the corner – hurrah! That means outdoor swimming and weekend water park trips… okay maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, but swimming is a super fun activity for children, especially in the summer. Not only is a fun activity but it’s great for exercise and family bonding, the only downside are the health risks connected to swimming pool chemicals, that’s just a buzz kill.

Many parents are a little nervous about sending their children to a place where red eyes, dry itchy skin and green hair are common side effects of going for a dip in the local pool. Doctors like Doctor Joseph Mercola have been talking about the list of serious ailments connected to chlorinated water for many years:

“Your body absorbs more chlorine, and more importantly disinfection byproducts (DBPs) [such as chloramine], by swimming in a chlorinated pool than you would by drinking tap water for one week. Disinfection byproducts are far more serious than chlorine. They form when the chlorine in your pool water reacts with organic matter such as skin and hair.”

While indoor swimming pool chemicals won’t seriously harm your children, there are certainly a number of health problems that are linked to the chlorinated water including:

  • Hormone disruption
  • Asthma and allergies
  • Gut flora imbalance

However there are many cheap and easy ways to help protect your kids against swimming pool chemicals:

1. Swim outdoors

Ventilation, never a bad thing. Also many outdoor pools use salt water, UV or ionization instead of the regular chemicals used to maintain an indoor pool.

2. Rinse before swimming

Did you know that if your kids rinse before they swim it could help to protect them against absorbing the pool chemicals through their skin. A chemical compound called chloramine forms when chlorine reacts with ammonia from sweat. Showering before swimming can remove excess sweat that interacts with chlorine, reducing formation of chloramine on the skin.

3. Coconut Oil

A family favourite for pretty much everything. Putting coconut oil on your child’s body before swimming could provide the skin with an extra layer of protection.

4. Topical Vitamin C

The chemical structure of vitamin c neutralizes chlorine and chloramine. Spray a mixture of powdered vitamin c and water on to your child post swim and rinse in the shower. You can buy topical vitamin c spray online, or make your own.

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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.

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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!

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