Thursday, March 19, 2015

Making Science Fun for Kids

It's been tough year with Jayden at school as he's being really challenged to do his best and focus in the classroom. This means that I try everything I can to make learning fun when it comes to homework time.

This year, I've studied for several grade two science tests with Jayden. I can very clearly label the water and wind cycle and man, do I ever know the properties of solids, liquids and gases! Some of our best homework moments have been doing science work. He loves science almost as much as his older brother. Not only is it cool, kids just love to know what makes the world work, how things in nature happen and how to create their very own experiments. We have tons of fascinating books about science and they were all Ty's favourites, as a little kid. He loved reading about animals, thunder and lightening and of course, dinosaurs!

One of our favourite things to do together is go to the Ontario Science Centre and we've seen some incredible exhibits over the last year or two. The Human Body and the Science of Rock n Roll were just two of our adventures there.

Now you can take a break from watching Full House with the kids and have science fun with these titles from Netflix Canada! We absolutely love "The Magic School Bus", "Sid the Science Kid" and just recently watched "Let Your Mind Wonder" for the first time. Kids love to see science come to life in these shows for little and big kids.

For Your Little kids:
1. The Magic School Bus Gains Weight
2. Fetch! with Ruff
3. Animal Mechanicals, Balloon Volcano Island
4. Sid the Science Kid

And Your Big Kids:
1. Nova: Hunting the Elements
2. Cosmos
3. Deadliest Volcanoes: Nova
4. Let Your Mind Wonder

Want to have more family science fun? 
Enter below for your own family pass to visit the 
Ontario Science Centre in Toronto*!

Disclosure: Yay! I am part of the Netflix stream team (#StreamTeam) and have received product and a subscription to Netflix in exchange for writing monthly posts.  Already a huge Netflix fan, this is a pretty sweet deal!

*Family Pass is for 4 guests to visit the Ontario Science Centre before December 31st, 2015. No transportation included. Non-transferable. Contest ends April 5th, 2015 at 11:59pm.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Would you have told his mom?

I had to make a judgement call today. It was one of those moments as a parent, when you have to decide whether what is right is more important than the bond of secrecy between you and your child.

Today I told another mom about the sexual innuendo and language that her 11 year old son was texting Ty (and others) and posting on Instagram. It went a little something like this....

I've recreated this conversation to be similar to the original and protect the names involved.

When I talked to Ty about it, he already knew what I had seen. He was embarrassed that his friend was talking like that (he really was) and wasn't sure how to handle it. I was willing to be the bad guy and suggested that he tell this buddy that I had seen it and had asked him to stop or I would have to discuss this with his mom.
Today, we arrived at a birthday party for another buddy of Ty's and I knew this kid would be there. The poor guy didn't even look me in the eye and looked very nervous, as I introduced myself to his mom. I have no doubt at all that he is a great kid and a terrific friend to Ty, but maybe he just needs a reminder of what language is acceptable and the implications of his behavious online. 

While I knew that telling this mom about her son's language online could have gone either way, I was willing to risk it because I would want to know if the roles were reversed. I would want the chance to talk to my kids about what's appropriate and how to conduct themselves with others and online. Thankfully, this particular mom and I had a fabulous discussion about the struggles that kids and parents are up against with today's influences; video games, tv shows and don't even get me started on the lyrics on the hottest songs- sex is everywhere (which is why I'm thrilled that the new sex ed curriculum will be addressing some of these topics, earlier). This mom wasn't involved in what he was doing online, but she had an older daughter who watched out for her brother and she had very strict rules. She confessed that lately, she had been getting suspicious that these rules were being broken. She was really glad that I had shared the information about what I read and was planning to talk to him next week. We exchanged phone numbers to keep in touch and even planned to have a date with both of our boys together. I was so relieved that I had talked to her and that it had gone so well.

I'm blessed to have a wonderful and trusting relationship with both of our boys who are discovering the new online world with their friends. And as much as I trust them, we also have a policy in our house that Paul and I have ultimate control over their devices and can check any and all social media (they're on Instagram) or texts at any given time. While we've made our rules for Instagram really clear, they are kids, they make mistakes (sneaking behind the scenes and posting direct messages to each other on IG) and they're still learning about online etiquette. It's MY job to help him navigate this world, so we do spot checks all the time. Sometimes we find nothing and sometimes we find something concerning that needs a discussion. Sometimes Ty just needs a bit of guidance on how to interpret a post or even how to reply, and I love that he comes to me for advice. This means that unlike tons of parents, I know EVERYONE they are interacting with and EVERYTHING that's been posted. Since having had to explain so many new words to our son over the years, like what "rape" meant, I want to make sure that Ty has the right answers from me, if he has any questions at all. 

I've yet to hear if this boy has spoken to Ty about what his mom knows and I'm hopeful that it won't impact their friendship. So for now, I'm feeling glad that my new friend and I had this important discussion and that maybe, with a little help from our parent friends, we can be more aware and figure out how to teach this stuff to our kids.

So, what do you think? Did I do the right thing? Would you tell or keep it to yourself? Would you want to know if it was your child? 

What would you do?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What makes the WWE Live Events so Family-Friendly?

We love to try new experiences with the boys and we have been really fortunate to take them to some pretty awesome events and shows over the last few years. With a crazy busy schedule, we really make family-time and opportunities to make family memories, a top priority.  So I was hesitant when I was offered tickets to the WWE. My first thought was who I was going to get to babysit the kids but then I talked to so many people who had attended shows when THEY were kids. After looking into the event coming to Toronto, I found out that the WWE events are not only affordable for families (tickets start at $20), they are also a totally kid-friendly event. This was something I wanted to experience with my boys!
The show taught me a few terms like arm drag, hip heist, guillotine, double leg takedown and body slams and of course it didn’t take us long to know who the bad guys were (the entire audience boos) and who we should cheer on (“RKO” for Randy Orton). My boys were yelling “top rope” and “we want tables” with the rest of the audience, when they thought chairs were not quite enough for Daniel Bryan to take down Kane.  I learned the names of the key Superstars and the kids were really excited to see their heroes take the ring right in front of them. Sure, they’re beating each other up, not dissimilar to my own boys when they wrestle at home, but it’s a show, entertainment at its best! WWE encourages families to watch together, talk about it and be sure to tell the kids to “not try this at home”.

So, when did the WWE get so PG? Paul used to go to the Wrestlemania events back in the day when he could cheer on Hulk, but boy have things changed. Since the shows inception, over 30 years ago, the WWE has evolved to become a fabulously cost-effective night out for the family (I saw kids from 3 years old and up!) and an experience you and the kids will never forget. Coupled with the hype and excitement in the arena is the opportunity to engage with your favourite Superstars on social media too! Tweet using a particular hashtag and you could vote how the Divas will entertain you. Share and tag your photos on Instagram or tweet a photo to your favourite wrestler and you might just get ‘favourited’ and retweeted like I did.

Some tips for your first WWE Experience;
1.       Take a trip to your local dollar store and get the kids to help make some signs to hold up at the show. Do your research so you know who will be there and what wrestler’s names to post on the sign. Jayden (age 7), was pretty excited to see Randy Orton!

2.       Watch some YouTube videos or the Pay-per-View Wrestlemania network (now available in Canada) to help the kids understand what they will be seeing and to learn who the key players are at the show. There are even some free apps to get you in the mood and tips for parents
3.       It’s really crowded, so try to get there early so that the little ones aren’t too overwhelmed. Buy your snacks early and try to take bathroom breaks during the show and not intermission (line ups were crazy).
4.       Get the kids to save up their allowance! Our boys took $30 each to spend on something special to remember the event. There are all of your favourite wrestling superstars on t-shirts, flashing gold necklaces, wristbands, and signed posters.
5.       My boys also suggest that you watch out for flying sweat! LOL!

Watch the WWE Facebook or Twitter feeds to see when the Superstars will be coming to your city! I promise that it will be family fun you will never forget.

This post was brought to you by WWE, but the images and opinions are my own. For more information, please visit