Thursday, December 01, 2016

Candy Cane Problems

I can't unwrap candy canes without breaking them.

Who cares, right? Tastes the same.

Not to kids, it doesn't. It tastes like minty disappointment. There's no greater ruiner than she who was entrusted with a new candy cane and broke it, and no one more insulted than he whose brother managed to get an intact one.

Gingerly peeling the plastic off a candy cane while your 3-year-old breathes down your neck feels much like those people in the movies with the wire cutters attempting to diffuse a bomb.

And if you fail, the results are also comparable.



Monday, November 28, 2016

Big Boots

Purchasing footwear for kids is always a great reminder of how fast kids are growing. "I can't believe it," we say as they tromp around in their new boots.

Well, believe it. They had these adorable little round kid boots last year, and now they have these giant monster truck-tire jobbies with velcro (bought from the OTHER side of Kiddie Kobbler).



I get all faux-traumatized (well, maybe a bit for real), then I remind myself that they sell them large so the kids can grow into them over the winter.

I also remind myself that one day, the shoe tray in the entryway will look like this




and when that day comes, their old Kiddie Kobbler boots will seem still pretty tiny after all.







Saturday, November 12, 2016

Family Game Night

We have a decent collection of board games, mostly from the days when we'd get together with friends for "game nights". Nowadays, Hubs and I occasionally enjoy a game of Dominion or Lost Cities when we go wild and try something other than Netflix. 

Board games are fun. We look forward to playing many a board game with our sons, too. 

Not sure when that'll be, though. Big Bro has liked board games since ever. Little Bro does too, but it's a different kind of "like".

As in, "I like to make my own rules",  More of a monkey-wrenchy, sabotagey kind of like.



Family Game Night, circa 2016.



Monday, October 31, 2016

The "Sugar High" Myth

Here's a fun fact to follow up on Halloween candy overload:

Did you know that the "sugar high" is not a thing?

I admittedly sometimes feel skeptical, especially after a night like tonight spending a good hour being mauled by my two rowdy, KitKat-filled post-trick-or-treaters dressed as blanket ghosts.

But, according to research (and this isn't new), an overload of Halloween candy (etc.) doesn't actually make kids into wild baboons. It's the excitement of the day, or parents' expectation of a sugar high that makes it seem related. We see it because we are looking for it.

So how do you like that? The correlation between sugar and craziness was all in your imagination. So when your kids are having a post-Snickers swing from the curtains, or doing donkey kicks in the tub... all in your imagination.

I have quite the imagination sometimes, it seems.











Monday, September 19, 2016

Bricks 4 Kidz

What if I told you there was a program starting up near you where kids can learn STEM concepts and skills year-round by constructing machines, buildings, vehicles and other projects with LEGO bricks?

You'd say you want to be a kid again? Me, too!

Big Bro and I were invited to a sneak peek of the Bricks 4 Kidz program, which will be part of the soon-to-open Club Square facility in Kanata. Club Square will feature zones for coding and online gaming, cooking, arts and crafts, and science activities.

Don't get your shoes on yet; it's not due to open until later this fall. But we got to try a sample workshop, and here's what it was like:

The instructor, with a strong background in programming and robotics, led a short interactive lesson on gears. Big Bro was anxious to get to the hands-on part ("I'm ready to build now!" he'd announce every so often).

Soon enough, the kids were handed a toolbox of parts and bricks, along with a tablet featuring step-by-step instructions much like the leaflets you get with Lego sets.
Yes. This is what I'm talkin' about. 

Using gears and a motor, the kids made a 'Paper Crinkler" and "Plate Spinner". These were two of the (over 300!)  proprietary projects designed by engineers, architects and teachers for Bricks 4 Kidz.




What was really cool to see (besides the machines put in motion, of course) was how the activity appealed to a wide age range. At 5-and-a-half, Big Bro was by far the youngest, so he needed some parental help, which I was happy to contribute, but he really enjoyed the project. Watching the plate spin, he was brainstorming all kinds of inventions that he could use it for (Dusting? Brushing teeth? Passing out snacks?). The older kids, aged 11 and 15, started modifying their machines, making all kinds of elaborate inventions, even disappearing into the hall at one point to test them out. How often do you find a workshop that appeals to a 5-year-old and a 15-year-old all at once?

Big Bro's only two beefs were that he couldn't take the machines home (though he did have a little project created with their help) and that he couldn't stay longer. Oh yes, I'm picturing this will be the kind of place parents will have to drag their kids from.

Although...FYI, there IS going to be a café and young kids' play area in Club Square, so maybe giving them "a few more minutes" wouldn't be out of the question.

Bricks 4 Kidz has programs for kids of all ages, from Duplos for the under-five builders to advanced robotics clubs for teens. They do after-school programs and birthday parties. They also have a homeschool program (woot!) and offer workshops for groups up to 20 people. I can hear the parents of little makers and LEGO fanatics lighting up now.

If all this wasn't appealing enough, I'm told there will be tool belts and badges kids can earn as they master different skills and techniques. I don't know about your kids, but mine would be all over these tangible milestones.

How many more kids will pursue engineering, architecture, robotics and coding because of engaging programs like these? Well, whether they do or not, they'll be learning STEM principles and skills in the only way that learning makes sense-- when they're engaged and interested, and that's what you'll see at Bricks 4 Kidz.

http://www.bricks4kidz.com/canada-ontario-kanata/
https://www.facebook.com/B4K466/

Monday, September 05, 2016

If You Give a Kid Some Tape...

Do you have a maker kid at your house?

I do! The good people at Dollarama probably recognize me as the one always buying armloads of masking tape. No toy can compare to the endless possibilities of tape. I recently had to take apart a pirate ship made of two dining room chairs held together by a pantload of tape (complete with flag), much to Big Bro's dismay. We did need them for sitting, eventually.

For all of you fellow parents with maker kids at home, I have written a story in the "If You Give..." style of Laura Numeroff.








And this is why it's a losing battle to try to clean up around here.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Listening Skills

Kids have selective hearing. I don't know how many times I've practically had a bullhorn in the kids' faces and can't get their attention... but boy, talk about bat-like hearing whenever I'm saying something that's not as kid-friendly.




Next time I need their attention, I'll just mutter a few swears. Or something about butts.