Category Archives: Kids

Busy few weekends

green eggs and ham storymobThe next few weekends have a lot of action going on.  Here are some of the things we’re doing, what is keeping you busy?

September 7 we’ll be meeting at the yet to be revealed location (Update! Cabbagetown Festival Another update — CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER) for our Green Eggs & Ham Storymob!  In the morning Jen will be helping out at the Ladies Learning Code Introduction to Drupal.

Toronto School of Circus Arts LogoSeptember 14 the kids and I will be returning to the Toronto School of Circus Arts for another exciting session of all things circus.

September 15 is the Ice Ride.  We’ll be participating in Toronto’s ride to help save the arctic.

September 21-22 is the Toronto Mini Maker Faire, and the Sunday has recently been announced as Family Day at the Faire, where families can go as a group and enjoy some activities as well as all the awesome makers and their creations (such as the ‘Mothra’ skis).

Toronto Mini Maker Faire banner

Toronto Mini Maker Faire banner

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Jillian Jiggs Storymob

Group shot of some of the great kids and their great costumes for the Storymob.

Group shot of some of the great kids and their great costumes for the Storymob.

Yesterday we participated in a StoryMob.  What’s that you ask?orangePirate_sm-150x150

“StoryMobs are where great kids’ books meet flash mobs with a dash of Mardi Gras thrown in.  A story mob is inspired by an exceptional children’s book and allows for participation in a variety of ways. These may include costumes & props, copies of the book, simple choreography, musical instruments and vocal parts.”

I learned of it through our love of Fancy Pants Kids, whose Mompreneur Gretel Meyer Odell is one of the organizers of the StoryMobs in Toronto.  We were eager to participate and lucky the timing worked out for us so we could enjoy this family friendly theatre-esque event in Toronto.

Jillian Jiggs Cover

Jillian Jiggs Cover

Yesterday‘s book was Jillian Jiggs by Phoebe Gilman, which was a great choice due to all the dressing up that the characters in the book do, along with the refrain: “Jillian, Jillian, Jillian Jiggs, it looks like your room has been lived in by pigs!”.

I really wish I could have gotten video of the experience itself, but when you’re in the middle of it, as a reader (of two lines I was :-D) and costume changer of the kids, I wasn’t able too.  Hopefully down the road a video will be released of it from some of the many other participants so you can see what it is like in true flash mob style.  The passers-by who were walking the closed down Queen St for the Beaches Jazz Festival seemed to enjoy the street theatre they happened upon.

Thanks to children’s book store Ella Minnow for being a back-drop and anchor for the event.

The Children's Bookstore we were performing in front of. Get it "LMNO".

The Children’s Bookstore we were performing in front of. Get it “LMNO”.

Their window display for the Storymob.

Their window display for the Storymob.

If you’re keen to try this out yourself, they will be organizing two more this summer here in Toronto.   And yeah, why not start your own local one where ever you might be?

Update: More photos on the ‘official flickr‘, and Stephanie Mclellan’s  blog (you have to go fullscreen to see them all) and facebook (if you can handle the gif formated images).

Scale of the Universe and Powers of 10 resources

The concept of the scale of the universe has come up multiple times with my kids, and our friends, so I thought I’d put together a few links and resources we’ve used.

There is the ‘classic’ video (film-strip style) from the Eames Office, Powers of Ten and now with its accompanying website.

There is the superb flash animation: Scale of the Universe 2 by Cary Huang and Michael Huang (the (at the time) 14-year-old htwins).  [Hmmm… embedding it doesn’t work, sorry]

There is The Known Universe by American Museum of Natural History, which you can interact with via their Digital Universe 3D Atlas software (powered by Partiview) and presented by one of the makers at TED (Carter Emmart).

If you want to just think about really big numbers too, check out Numberphile‘s video of Googols and Googolplexs.

Our adventures this week in pictures and video 2012-45

We started the week with some slightly crazed kids thanks to Halloween.

We also hadn’t gotten a lot of good video and me in my freaky tall blue creature halloween costume so we spent some time on the weekend putting it back on and trying things out.

Our circus school was closed last week so we missed our regular classes.  It didn’t stop my son, as I found these videos he took of himself practicing the silks.

We stepped in to Kimberly Jackson on Queen Monday after our drop-in and we saw some really nice handcrafted wooden tables that they are having a sale on atm.

Tuesday I was trying to get the kids out of the house to play, but they just seemed to want to stay in.  We ended up building some bridges out of Kapla blocks (beam and cantilever), and then put it into practice as I became a human beam bridge, and my daughter was the load.

They got some exercise by playing on their homemade trapeze they have in their bedroom.

We did get out of the house in the afternoon though and started raking our leaves — mostly to have a pile to jump in, and a few to add to our compost.  Poor tree not getting fresh soil.

We discovered Richard Wiseman‘s Quirkology feed on Youtube and we proceeded to duplicate some of his puzzles and challenges.

Game wise we’ve been playing a lot of Mastermind.

Thursday we headed down to The 90th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.  We started out in the Spirit of the Horse area and watched the Toronto Police Mounted Unit, Elaine Ward demonstrate Western Style Dressage with her horse Maverick, and a Thoroughbred horse too.

We continued the horse theme as we ate our lunch in the Horse Palace watching some of the competitors for the horse jumping warm up.  My son spotted a horse he liked the look of and we followed them into the Ricoh Coliseum to see them compete.  It was Onisha and her driver, Olympian, Reed Kessler as they were competing in the Brickenden Trophy International Jumper Class.

The highlight of the Education Barn was the pig truck.  The kids watched, fascinated, as the dozen or so piglets nursed from their mother, and as the two, 6 week old (and much larger), pigs cuddled each other.

I’m always interested in the over-sized vegetables.  This year the corn-stalk was over 21 feet tall!

What did you do this week?

‘I on the sky’ at Young People’s Theatre in Toronto

Young People's Theatre LogoDynamO Théâtre‘s I on the sky is currently playing at Young People’s Theatre in Toronto with tickets still available for this weekend’s performances.

My kids and I saw the show today (they perform twice a day for school groups as well as the ticketed weekend shows) thanks to a Toronto4Kids contest win, and it was excellent.  An acrobatic trampolining energetic costume filled play without words that is also touching and heartfelt, not to mention laughter inducing.  If you can find the time to squeeze in the 60minute show, I recommend you do, you won’t be disappointed.  Side fact for my circus followers — two of the actors are former Cirque du Soleil performers.

The program suggests it for an audience of 10 years and up, and YPT suggests grades 3 to 7, but my 3 & 5 year old were engrossed completely.  There is conflict, and bullyish behaviour from the ‘thugs’ as I named them, plus some violence near the end from the ‘soliders‘ but it didn’t seem to register on the kids.For an added bonus to your outing, after the show get a peameal bacon sandwich from St Lawrence Market and head a block south of the theatre to David Crombie Park and you can sit on a back to back green bench, almost like the ones in the show.  Minus the trampoline in the middle.

If you’re still not convinced, here is a video preview of the show.

Plus a special mention to ‘Jeff‘ for overruling the front of house staff’s aversion to my barefeet.

Playing at The Toy Box

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Thanks to Playground Studios and Theatre Passe Muraille for a great afternoon yesterday. The kids were “having too much fun to leave”. It’s running at City Hall Rotunda until Saturday, and then will be back for a few days in December (at Theatre Passe Muraille, not City Hall).   Thanks to Fancy Pants Kids for the recommendation.

An interesting observation I made: we were barefoot (as we have been for months now), but instead of getting strange looks from people, instead many people thought that they too should shed their shoes while playing.  Goes to show you what preconceptions can do.