Category Archives: Organized Fun

All Kinds of Creative Fun

When my youngest announced that he wanted a sleepover birthday party when he turned 7, I thought “Yikes, how can I wear these boys out so they sleep?”
Then I put on my thinking cap (and had a glass of wine). With my son being a huge Phineas and Ferb fan, the theme for the party was decided which made planning the activities that much easier. If you aren’t familiar with this Disney cartoon show which makes great co-viewing, here is a quick synopsis. Phineas and Ferb are brothers likely around 10 or 11 years old who dream up some crazy activities to do each day of the summer holiday such as building a roller coaster, hosting their own game show, opening a restaurant, etc.

Here is what we decided to do for my son’s party. As the weather was warm and sunny, we blew up our mini bouncy castle and borrowed an inflatable slide which instantly turned our backyard into a mini-carnival. Once the boys had worn themselves out on these, we had an egg hunt. I had found some of those Easter eggs that you can put whatever you want inside and put some Phineas and Ferb tattoos as the treasure. As the boys uncovered their tattoos and covered themselves from head to toe with tattoos, the grill master Daddee-O, made skyhigh burgers and hotdogs.

After dinner, the boys made tie-dye t-shirts. This was probably the craziest activity I could do with 6 boys and do it inside the house! Dye was everywhere and yes, some was even walked on to the carpet. (Fortunately we found it in time and cleaned up the rogue participant at the same time.) Thanks to Michael’s the craft store, we had a great range of colours. I wasn’t sure how this activity was going to go over with boys given that it was a “craft” of sorts but everyone loved it. Their favourite part was the unveiling the next morning when we rinsed and unwrapped and untied the shirts to see what each one looked like. (They proudly worn them to school the next day!)

For dessert we kept with the creative theme and had made cupcakes ahead of time. Each child became a mini dessert chef – choosing their icing and variety of toppings to create a sweet! masterpiece. After their work was done, they indulged in their creations.

As they had expelled a great deal of energy outside and with some of the thinking activities, they were ready to watch a movie in the basement (and so was I)!
Everyone slept through the night, much to my amazement as this was the first sleepover for all but the birthday boy. Yet they were up at 5:30 the next morning.

A few words of advice if you are thinking of tie dying at a child’s birthday party (for children under the age of 12), I recommend you have 1 adult for every 2 children as the dye can get very messy. Also, wear gloves! The dye is quite strong and it took me 4 days to wash my hands back to normal.

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Real-ity Games for Children

Every year, we have a Christmas party mixing friends and family from various social groups which can create some social anxiety for the children. To help everyone relax, I try to find an outside source of entertainment to give our little friends a common ground. This year, Dynamix Adventures came to the house and led the group in a 2 hour series of co-operative games. They played tic, tac, toe in teams, noodle catch, calculator codebreaking and my favourite – Puzzle solving relay – with mini trolleys that required teams to pull team mates from one side of the room to the other – even some of the moms joined in the fun. These games involved every child – ages 3 to 10. Most of the activities were aimed at the 8 to 10 year olds. At the end of the activities, every child earned a prize from the treasure chest.

Following Dynamix and a break for dinner, I led the children in an annual Amazing Race which I create every year. Here are the stations and clues for this year’s- some are Minute To Win It activities and others I dreamed up or found online. In true Amazing Race fashion, there are Detours and Roadblocks. This year I think I made it a bit too difficult as only one of the 3 teams of 5 completed every task. So if you use each of the tasks as I have detailed below then I think they are best suited for ages 10 to 12. I have added some hints and links to give more detail.

Task #1:
Roadblock:
Who feels like having a ball of fun?
Choose 1 team member to do this challenge.
In the basement find the adult with the gold Christmas ornaments. You have to fan the ornament from the start line to the finish line using a book. No hands! (the air current generated by the fan moves the ornament along the ground. The trick is to find the right angle to move the ornament.)
When you have completed this challenge to the adult’s approval, you will receive your next clue.

Task #2
Detour: Which sense makes the most sense? Hear or Touch
Pick one and then find where this activity is.

Hear (in the family room)
In hearing, teams have to make up a rap song that incorporates the 3 words they will receive from the judges in the family room. Once the team has made up the song, sung it for the judges and received thumbs up from the judges they will receive their next clue. All members of the team must participate.

Touch (in the kitchen)
All team members need to be blindfolded and touch items in 4 bowls – one bowl at a time. They need to correctly identify the items in each bowl in order to receive their next clue.

Task #3
Candy Cane Race – on the top floor
Each team member needs to move 1 candy cane from the one pile to another – using only another candy cane in their mouths. No hands.
Once all members of the team have completed the task to the satisfaction of the judge they will receive their next clue.

Task #4
Roadblock: Who is the tallest?

In the studio, stack four layers of cups with paper plates in between. All of the cups need to be used. 5 levels ending with 1 cup on the top.

Task #5
Who likes to wear belts? 2 people to participate.
In the main hall, two players with a cord around them both need to move 1 ornament around the cord to the tree. Once completed to the judge’s satisfaction, the team will receive their next clue.

Task #6:
Unscramble these words.
Envelope number #2
In the basement play the game

“Tweeze me.”

Each member of the team uses tweezers to move 1 Tic Tac each from one bowl to another. Once complete they will receive their next clue.

Task #7:
Detour: Choose between 2 tasks – Bottom’s Up or Play It By Ear

Bottom’s Up: In the hall, knock over bottles with a yo-yo tied to your waist

Play it By Ear: In the basement, place five cans with varying quantities of pennies in the correct order

Once the task has been completed the adult will give you your next clue.

Task #8:
Chocolate UnicornMeet the adult in the kitchen. Using one hand, each team player must stack 5 snack cakes on their forehead and have it stay there to the count of 3.
Once complete – race to the mat in the front hall!

Enjoy!

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Put Some Bounce In Your New Year

With the weather turning wet and messy, I needed to find a dry activity which would help work the beans out of my boys. Through twitter I heard about Skyzone Sports in Mississauga – a new indoor trampoline park. So we headed there with some friends on New Year’s Eve. My personal goal was to tire the boys out so they would go to bed at a decent time that night.

This place is fantastic – wall to wall trampolines for 3D dodgeball, 4 rows of trampolines that end in a foam pit and a soccer field sized area of just trampolines. As we arrived at opening time (10am on Saturdays), we had the place to ourselves. If I hadn’t forgotten to have waivers completed by the other parents as we picked up their children, we would have been bouncing immediately (Notes: be sure to have a waiver completed for each child before you arrive at the centre – saves lots of time AND they are MANDATORY. They have lockers – bring your own lock! Wear good socks – you have to wear their shoes – which have been sprayed with disinfectant. )

We (yes, I was a very active participant as well) explored everywhere. With children between the ages of 6 and 9, 1 hour of bouncy was just right. For the younger ones it was perfect. For the older ones, they could have likely played dodgeball for another half hour. It has been two days and my buttocks are certainly letting me know that an hour was plenty! What a great workout!

Overall,

Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park - Mississauga

this is a good family and friends outing when the weather isn’t co-operating.

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It’s Carnival Time

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It is Friday before the long weekend and I am sitting in the parking lot at my sons’ camp “eavesdropping” on Mary Kay, owner and principal leader of Kids Inc., as she explains what the plan is for the day. I wish I could join in – it is carnival day- with giant inflatable slides and games, dunk tank with the counsellors. Plus I heard a rumour that there may be an ice cream truck visiting later and giving each camper an ice cream. Oooh! MK just announced that the table of campers who earn the most carnival tickets can go to the prize table at the end of the day!! Every week has a new theme at Kids Inc. Check it out for your children- kids Inc

So much fun! I wish I was 8 years old again! May your day be full of fun and games whatever you are doing!

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A Birthday Party With A Kick of Self Confidence

When my almost 6 year old son told me that he would like a Ninjago birthday party, at first I wasn’t sure how to bring this idea to life. Then with some help from friends on twitter and facebook, the idea for a karate birthday party was born. Did you know that many karate schools will host birthday parties? I do now and our party was awesome!

After calling around to various dojos in the Brampton and Caledon area, we found The Acadaemy of Martial Arts on Main Street in Brampton. They offer 2 hour birthday parties which includes a one hour karate lesson, games, pizza and drinks all for $15 per participant! (you bring the cake and a knife). The 10 boys who celebrated my son’s birthday loved every minute they were in the dojo. Sarah, a vibrant teenage instructor, taught the boys a series of blocks and kicks. Each child was able to practice with an instructor or with the visiting silent Ninja – their “special guest”. As the boys learned the moves, they built up to learning how to break a board. You could see their chests swell with pride when they successfully broke the board.

Then the games began! Ninja stars (rubber ninja stars) were throwed by the instructors at the boys and the boys had to dodge them. If they were hit then they were out. The last man standing was crowned the Ninja. Dodgeball karate style! The next game was Crazy Ninja (essentially tag with one of the blockers). The player who was the crazy ninja had a blocker – if they touched a player with the blocker the player was out.

We had some help with the birthday cake. Rose at Essence Cakes has been making my son’s birthday cakes for about 3 years and every year she outdoes herself. I don’t know how she will top this year’s – a 3D foot tall Ninjago made out of icing on top of a cake made to look like Lego.

In addition to the loot bags I had prepared, the dojo gave every participant a pass to try a class for free plus the birthday boy received a t-shirt from the school. I know he will have fond memories when he wears it.

At the end of the party, the boys were tuckered out (sugar highs only last so long). Their energy levels might have lowered but their self confidence rose a little bit as they learned something new and did something they may have only ever dreamed of.

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Amazing Summer Camp – The Amazing Rainforest in Bolton

I must tell you more about the Amazing Rainforest and the program that they offer children in and around the Bolton, Ontario area.

My boys went to their summer camp last year and their spring break program this year. Everyday they came home with big smiles on their faces and something new to tell us about.

Here is what The Amazing Rainforest is offering this summer:

July 4th to 8th: Junior Camp = Body Works, Senior Camp = CSI Forensic Science
July 11 to 15: Medieval Times for both Junior and Senior (plus $20 for the trip)
July 18 to 22: Magic & lllusion for both Junior and Senior
July 25 to 29: Junior Camp = Lego Mania, Senior Camp = Entrepreneur
August 2 to 5: Rainforest Mirror for both Junior and Senior, French Immersion program is offered and the theme is Photography
August 8 to 12: Junior Camp = Caledon Explorers, Senior Camp = Entrepreneur
August 15 to 19: Junior Camp = Lego Mania, Senior Camp = Electricity
August 22 to 26: Junior Camp = Medieval Times, Senior Camp = Photography
August 29 to Sept 2: Junior Camp = Lego Mania, Senior Camp = Robotix – Mindstorm

Junior Camp is ages 5 to 7. Senior Camp is 8 to 12.
Cost for 9 to 4pm program is $185 per child, cost for 8 to 6pm is $195 per child
*plus 13% tax
To register, call The Amazing Rainforest at (905) 857-2467.

Additionally the campers do a presentation on the Friday of each session to the parents at 4pm! See what your child has learned for yourself!

Here is a description of each of the weeks:
CSI: Become an investigator and discover how the experts solve a crime. Through various labs and a case study, children will learn about Forensic Science, how to collect evidence, examine it and problem solve a mystery. Labs include: Hair ID, Fingerprint Lifting, Dental Impressions, Shoe Impressions, Fibre Analysis, Counterfeit Cheques and Handwriting ID.

LEGOMANIA: Through various building projects and teamwork, children will build tall structures, ships, cities, vehicles that can perform tasks, hold various loads, endure stability tests and exhaust the creativity of young LEGO lovers.

ROBOTIX: Mindstorms: Using LEGO elements, children will build robots, program them to perform tasks such as: walk, talk, dance, hold a ball. Mindstorms NXT features the latest in robotic technology: an advanced 32-bit microcontroller, smart sensors and interactive motors.

Electricity: Build simple circuits or your very own electric car. Girls and boys will enjoy creating simple mechanical and battery operated projects out of household objects.

Rainforest Mirror: Children can paint their very own snake, lemur, jaguar, frog and toucan mirror and take it home. Mirror size approximately: 18″ x 24″

Photography: The week focuses on imaging and capture techniques, creativity and concept. Kids will take home a small portfolio of photos. There will be a display of the photos during the Friday presentation.

Caledon Explorers: Explore Caledon Trails, Historical Sites and its changes. Takes place indoors and outdoors.

Medieval Times: Build a castle, catapults, drawbridges and a trebuchet. Children will make costumes, perform small skits and enjoy storytelling.

Bodyworks: Explore the human body and its systems through hands on experiments like: measuring your lung capacity, reaction time, heart rate, and more. Construct models of lungs, the joints and make a skull out of clay.

Entrepreneur: An entrepreneur is someone who is innovative, responsive to change and sees new opportunities. Kids have a natural ability to find creative solutions to everyday situations. During this week, kids will create a product or sevice, prepare a business plan and business card. Informative presentations from various business administrators are given.

Magic Tricks: Children will learn about illusions. Learn magic tricks and provide a magical performance for you.

Various field trips are held during select weeks such as: Fantasy Fair, Albion Conservation Area, Medieval Times, Caledon Historical Sites, etc.

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Hollywood Birthday’s Summer Camp in Roncesvalles Village

Jen - Founder and owner of Hollywood Birthday parties


Hollywood Birthday’s is offering a Summer Day Camp in Toronto for children ages 7 to 13. http://www.hollywood-birthdays.com

The weeklong summer camp will offer children the chance to write, film, edit and act in their own short film.

Hollywood Birthday’s founder and owner, Jen Schlumberger, will use her experience as a filmmaker, actor and improvisor to help the kids create several short films over the course of the week.
Everyone will have a chance to write, use the cameras, create storyboards, edit using imovie and of course, act in the films. The campers will collaborate in small groups, utilizing the strengths of each child. At the end of the week, each camper will receive a DVD of their work to take home.

Contact Jen at hollywoodbirthdayparties@gmail.com for more information

Camp Details:
For ages 7 to 13

Weeks Available:
July 25 to 29
August 8 to 12

Cost: $350 per child
Camp will start at 9:30 and run to 3:30pm.

Before and after camp care can be arranged – starting at 8:30 ($10 per day), $20 each day after camp care from 3:30 to 5:30.

Campers are to bring a nut free packed lunch each day.

Jen has her CPR and Standard First Aid training.

About Jen Schlumberger:
With her BA in Television Production, her Bachelor of Education and her professional improv training, Jen is equally experienced in front of and behind the camera. She currently freelances as producer/editor in the “real television world” with companies such as CBC and Corus Entertainment.

In 2005, Jen received a grant from the CFTPA and Corus Entertainment to make a short children’s film, “Dream Catcher”.

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