Summer camp is an adventure that many kids participate in yearly.  Whether it is a day camp or a sleepover camp, these are days spent learning new skills, making new friends and creating great memories.

This year, camp may look a little different.  In many places across the country, “in-person” camps have been cancelled or there is a restriction on the number of children that can attend, leaving many parents and children wondering what to do for the summer.

This is where Virtual Summer Camps come into play, literally and figuratively.  With both free and paid camp options available, you can find virtual summer camps all over Canada offering a variety of different activities and learning experiences for your child(ren).

So check out your local camps or the links below and find the perfect summer camp for your child(ren):

Virtual Summer Camps for Kids

Virtual Programs in Canada

Stem Camp

Are you worried that your child may get hurt in the kitchen? Will they accidentally set the barbecue on fire? Or just how much of a mess will they make? Not fond of the idea that food could be wasted? While some parents may find the idea of cooking with their children or letting their children take over the whole task of cooking daunting, with a few tips and age appropriate tasks, this can become an enjoyable and delicious activity for the whole family.

And summer is the perfect time to “get cooking” with your child(ren) and let them try out new skills.  Divide up the meal preparation, letting them make a salad or side dish.  For older children, teach them how to “fire up the BBQ” and get grilling.  See what cool, refreshing summer dessert they can create.

Kraft Canada has divided their cooking tips by age appropriate skills:
Children 6 yrs & under
Children 7-9 yrs
Children 10-12 yrs
Children over 12 yrs

Here are some real-life tested recipes plus articles and tips on cooking with your kids
Parents – Cooking with Kids

Food Network – Cooking with Kids

Easy recipes for kids to make

Kid Chefs

 

The warm summer weather is starting to arrive, and the sunny days are perfect for being outside.  This is a great time to encourage your child(ren) to get out and explore, build or create.

Forts are always fun to design and build. Add an “outdoor kitchen” onto the fort and allow for fun dirt creations.  A sandbox can provide hours of fun.  Create a city or race track, using a mixture of materials with the sand like toys or building blocks.

Obstacle courses are not only a create way to promote physical activity, but are very creative as well.  Challenge your child(ren) to use as many different objects in and around the house to create different obstacle courses for the family to do.  Outdoor scavenger hunts are another fun option for exploring the yard, the neighbourhood or a local forest.  Or let their creative flow with different Backyard Games and turn your backyard into a giant board game.

The warmer nights allow us to extend our outdoor activities into the evenings. Turn your backyard into a “drive-in” movie theatre, and invite the neighbours to do the same.  Arrange for a movie night, using a projector and white bed sheet as the screen. Enjoy family campfires, experimenting with different fireside snacks like s’mores or banana boats.

Enjoy making your backyard more fun with these ideas.

 

 

We are always looking for different ways to stay busy with different activities.  While there are many options with the traditional board games and card games, sometimes you want something different.  This is where puzzles and dominos are great.  They are activities that will keep you and/or your child(ren) busy for a while.

Maybe you are looking to try something different for you next family video call or gathering.  Play Bingo (where one house is assigned as the Caller for the numbers).  This is a great game for all ages. You can print the cards or play online if you do not have the game at home.

Or play a game of Tenzi. If you have never played Tenzi, you have to try it. This game comes with 4 sets of dice, each a different colour and ANY age can play.  It is a simple game to follow and play, but can be fast paced.  The original set comes with a few game card ideas and there is a 77pc card set with different game ideas you can buy.  To prepare for this game, ensure that all the households have a set of Tenzi dice.

Looking to buy any of these games?  Or want to build on to your collection of games? You can purchase these and many others online:

Amazon

WalMart

Toys R Us

Mastermind Toys

Boardgame Bliss

One of my fondest memories of summer vacation is the card games my family would play at night.  As we got older, the competitiveness of the card games would increase.  Now when we get together for family vacations, the next generation is joining us with the nightly card games, bringing in new competitive partnerships.

Card games are a great way to spend a rainy afternoon, help with number recognition and counting or as a way to learn how to do an activity by yourself (with all the variations of solitaire)

Here are a few of the classic card games that my family loves to play:

  1. Uno and all the new variations – Uno Spin is definitely a new favourite for my family.
  2. Skipbo
  3. Ratuki
  4. Rummy
  5. Go Fish
  6. Crazy Eights
  7. Old Maid
  8. War
  9. Concentration / Memory games
  10. SlapJack
  11. Snap
  12. Solitaire and all the different variations
  13. Cheat
  14. Spit

If you are looking for a refresher on some of the card game rules, here are a few links to help:

Bicycle Cards

10 Kid Friendly Card Games/

 

Or if you are looking for online playing options where you can play against “the computer” or other online players check out:

Cardz Mania

Card Games

World of Card Games

For some of us, working from home is new and still a novelty.  For others, they have been doing it for years.  And they can provide us with great tips on ways to ensure we are staying productive while working from home.

 

  1. Create a workspace or home office – Each person who is working in the house should have their “own” area to work (to the best of your ability).  Be flexible and maybe have a few spots in the house for working, this allows for “privacy” if one family member is on a video meeting.  Make your workspace as comfortable as possible.
  2. Set a firm “start” and “end” of the day work hours – keep office hours that are in-line with your coworkers.  Having set hours helps establish a sense of routine.  This routine also helps if you have kids, as they can set their “school work” schedule around your work day and know when not to disturb you.
  3. Take breaks – Just like when you are in the office, it is not good to sit for too long.  Build into your daily schedule short breaks to get up and move.  This could be as simple as walking into another room to fill up your water bottle or doing a few squats at your “desk”.
  4. Get dressed – As tempting as it is to stay in your pajamas all day, get dressed, whether you are leaving the house or not.  And keep your morning hygiene routine; shower, shave, brush your hair and teeth – it is the little things in our daily routine that helps keep “normalcy” in our lives.
  5. Keep your routine – this is more than just your morning routine, this includes your work day routine.  If you have certain business tasks that need to be done daily or weekly, continue to do them around the same time or in the same order each day.  And if you have trouble starting in the morning, make your commute to your home office a little longer and go for a walk around the block.
  6. Build in physical activity – whether it is going for a walk, doing an online/virtual exercise class, or playing outside with kids, build in physical activity into your daily routine – it can be in the morning, on a lunch break or after your working hours.
  7. Designate a “work-free” zone – This is important as it gives your family a space to be in to do other things (watch tv, games, puzzles, etc) while you are working. This also allows your downtime to be without distractions. You won’t be tempted to check your email one last time.

One of the challenges parents face when home all day, is keeping their child(ren) and themselves busy.  And busy with a variety of different activities.  We all like variety, and doing the same thing each day can become  monotonous.

 

If you are struggling with new ideas, here are a few good websites that have a wide variety of different activities for different age groups that will keep your kids engaged.

 

TVO Kids

More than just television programs for kids, this website has many different activities from games, videos, live streaming TV shows to “Learning from Home” to keep kids busy.  They offer “Learning at Home”, where they have partnered with teachers to put together engaging resources to help kids with their learning at home.  This is a great tool to have for preschoolers, as well as your elementary school kids.

TVOkids

 

CBC Kids

Another great website for kids with a variety of videos, games, quizzes and fun learning facts.

CBC Kids

Do you have a young budding chef in your family?  Are they always asking to help you with the preparation of meals?  Or is baking more their passion.  Help fuel their passion for cooking and baking with age appropriate tasks or recipes.  Kraft Canada offers a wide array of recipes divided by age appropriate skill level for convince.  So browse through them today and see what delicious meal or snack your child can make for you today!

Recipe Ideas for kids 6 yrs and under

Recipe Ideas for kids 7-9yrs

Recipe Ideas for kids 10-12yrs

Recipe Ideas for kids 12 yrs and older

Depending on where you live, your local school board may have started the online learning process for your kids.  Be sure to check your school or school board websites as they will have links by subject to many great sites that can complement your child’s at-home learning.  And remember, that for many school-aged children online learning is new, so as parents, it is important that we monitor and support the child(ren)’s well-being.  They may be experiencing a wide range of emotions at this time.

And while your child(ren) are learning at home, here are a few additional websites that may not have been included in their school resource package that can assist with research or other learning ideas to keep the mind active:

TVO Kids

More than just television programs for kids, this website has many different activities from games, videos, live streaming TV shows to “Learning from Home” to keep kids busy.  They offer “Learning at Home”, where they have partnered with teachers to put together engaging resources to help kids with their learning at home.  This is a great tool to have for preschoolers, as well as your elementary school kids.

TVOkids

 

CBC Kids

Another great website for kids with a variety of videos, games, quizzes and fun learning facts.

CBC Kids

Canadian Geographic

Take this time to learn more about Canada.  Canadian Geographic is an authoritative source for all things related to geography, wildlife and environment, climate and energy, travel, culture and exploration in Canada.

Canadian Geographic

 

The Canadian Encyclopedia

Canada’s own national encyclopedia was originally published as a print edition in 1985 and continues to be produced by, for and about the people of Canada, charting its events, culture, history and landscape.  Now in digital format, the encyclopedia continues to strive to be the most comprehensive collection of Canadian stories online.  The Encyclopedia contains more than 30,000 multimedia items including images, maps, games, audio and video, making it a great resource for your geography, history, science, art or general social studies projects.

The Canadian Encyclopedia

 

Ted Talks

Enjoy a different type of screen time with your child and watch fun, informative and captivating talks that are sure to inspire.

TED talks for kids

Have a budding chef or baker in the house.  Maybe your child is looking to learn a new skill.  Let them take this time to explore in the kitchen and discover what is involved with the different mealtimes at home.  Have them help with the grocery list and learn about budgets as they look through the weekly flyers.  Let them choose part of a meal to make or let them make a meal.  This helps build a strong foundation for healthy habits and nutritional skills that will be carried with them throughout their lives.  Have special family traditional recipes, plan a video cooking party with family members and learn that special technique that has been handed down generation to generation.

Kraft Canada offers additional tips and ideas to help get your kids interested and active in the kitchen

Kraft Canada

The Canadian Food Guide is a good reference point with tips for healthy eating for the family

Canada Food Guide: Tips for Healthy Eating