Monday, April 20, 2020

Make a Collection

Look closely at stamps
Back in the day (before the Internet), it was common for kids to have collections of items that interested them.  Before email existed, people collected stamps from letters and packages they received.  Stamps were, and still are, miniature pieces of art. With a magnifying glass, you can really appreciate the wonderful variety of artwork!

Today, you may not receive many pieces of mail with postage stamps.  If you have any, take some time together to really look at the details. 

Design your own stamp
From there, try your hand at designing your own, unique stamp designs!

Start a new collection
When you get a chance to go outside to a park or natural area, what can you find that interests you?  Look with the eyes of a scientist, artist or explorer!  You might find:

  • pine cones
  • acorns
  • nuts
  • interesting leaves, plants, flowers or grasses (I know you won't pick the wildflowers, but you can take photos!
  • interesting birds
  • beautiful pebbles or small rocks
  • sand - have you ever looked at sand through a magnifying glass or microscope? Amazing!
Whatever interests you, enjoy exploring and collecting together!

Friday, April 17, 2020

Food Styling & Food Art

Don't worry, I'm not suggesting that you waste any food by creating art and then not eating it!  You can "plate" some beautiful creations, take photos, then enjoy eating your art!

Start simple:

  1. Do you know the story of the star inside the apple?  Read the story together first, then cut the apple through the middle (not from stem to flower, but right through the "equator") to reveal the star within.  Then enjoy eating it together!
    Click to download the story, retold and shared by Laura on
  2. Do you know how to make an apple swan?  Watch a YouTube video to learn how to do this.
    Search for "How to make an apple swan".
  3. Search Google Images for "food art for kids".  There are hundreds of fun ideas!
Want to get serious, particularly for teens interested in preparing food?  Do a Google search to see how chefs "plate" foods.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Write a Letter to your Future Self!

On the first day of each new school year, I asked my students to write a letter to themselves, to be opened on the last day of the school year.  When the letters were written, I collected them and filed them away, returning them to the students on the last day.  Over the course of the year, most students forgot about the letters, and were surprised to read their message from the past.  They were also surprised about how much they had changed and grown within that year.

Today's challenge is for each family member to write a letter to their future self.  When the letter is done, file it away in a safe place to be opened in the future. You can aim for one year, five years, ten years, whatever you like!

Topic ideas

  • How you feel right now
  • what is happening in the world right now
  • your family
  • friends
  • Favourite:
    • toy or game
    • TV show or movie
  • what you hope to be doing in the future
  • the steps you will take to achieve your goals
  • what worries you right now
  • what helps you to feel comfortable and happy

You can keep it simple or get creative.  Draw a picture of yourself now, or what you think you will look like in the future.  Make predictions.  Have fun imagining your future self reading your letter!

Friday, April 10, 2020

Silly Fun Time - Dance Party!

Everyone needs a chance to unwind and have some fun.  Perhaps it's time to let your hair down and have a dance party together? 

What fun and funny dances do you know how to do already?  You can also use YouTube to learn some new ones.  Can you do:

  • the Twist
  • the Swim
  • the Funky Chicken
  • Disco dancing
  • robot dancing
Need some choreography to follow?  You can find kid-friendly dance routines at:

YouTube  search for "Just Dance kids"

Do you have some favourite songs that make you happy?  Try playing them and singing along; maybe create your own dances to go with them.  Some songs you might know:

"Happy" by Pharell Williams

"Happy" performed by Walk Off the Earth

"Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves

"Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Silly Fun Time

Parents around the world are trying to do a balancing act between competing forces.  It's clear from posts on social media that this is a challenge unlike anything our generations have ever faced.  Children are aware when parents are stressed, worried and upset, and children miss their friends and the stability that comes with daily routines.

It's time to have some fun together!  Do you remember what made you really laugh when you were your child's age?  What was really fun and funny?  Depending on the ages of your children, maybe it's time to:

  • blow up a few balloons and try to keep them up in the air
  • have a Nerf™ gun or ping-pong ball battle (put the breakables away in a safe place, and emphasize safe play)
  • play "Hide and Seek" or "Twister"
  • teach your child to speak "Pig Latin"  (I know you'll regret it later, but it will be fun for a while, and they'll have fun practicing with friends over the phone or online)
  • demonstrate a "magic trick" if you know one, then teach your child how to do it

Time to watch some funny videos together?  What made you laugh out loud when you were younger?  Many classic comedy shows are now on YouTube!  Depending on which decades you grew up in, that might include:
  • Warner Bros. cartoons, Bugs Bunny, the Flintstones, Yogi Bear or The Jetsons
  • Scooby Doo
  • Mork and Mindy
  • The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock or Dinosaurs (Jim Henson)
  • Animaniacs

Do you just need to giggle and belly laugh together right now?
  1. Go to YouTube and search for "laughing babies"
  2. Love dogs?  Try 
  3. Love baby goats?  Try

❤️ Whatever you choose, I hope you can have some time to laugh and have fun together. ❤️

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Logic Puzzles and Strategy Games - part 2


Connect Four - Wikipedia

"Connect Four™" (Hasbro boxed set shown above)
  * YouTube video - how to make your own game from cardboard: 
  * You can also play this at various online game sites

SOS - download a game board and instructions using link below

NIM - you can use any small objects like buttons, macaroni, coins, etc. to set up your own game.  For a demonstration and simple rules:
   * Try to beat the computer at

Towers of Hanoi
   * Play it at

Hex - a two-player strategy game played on paper.
Download a game board and instructions using the link below.

Download game boards and instructions from my collection here

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Music Classes for Younger Children on YouTube

An Edmonton-area music teacher is hosting free online Music sessions for younger children on YouTube.  You can read a news story about her and her channel here:

or go directly to her classes here: