Tag Archives: activities

Pool looking North from the upper stretching area.

North York Central Homeschool Swim Lessons

I’m organizing swim lessons for homeschoolers.  The pool is Douglas Snow Aquatic Centre, the City’s large 50m pool in Willowdale at 5100 Yonge behind the North York Civic Centre, and next to North York Central Library at the North York Center Subway stop on the Yonge line.

Friday mornings starting Sept 27 2013, at 10:30 for a half hour lesson, and then I’ve arranged a half hour of leisure time immediately after from 11 to 11:30 so the kids can stay in the pool, and the adults and young siblings can join in too.  During the lessons the adults can observe from the upper level open gallery.  For the final lesson, they will probably open up the water slide for the kids to use too, but normally it won’t be available for use.

Pricing is the City’s standard lesson fee, which is $68 for a nine week session (about $7.50 a class) (might be more expensive if you aren’t a Toronto resident).  For the extra half hour, we pay a ‘Guard Fee’ which is $15/week for the group.

They are willing to accommodate a variety of ages and a variety of levels, with a maximum of 15 kids (which would be 3 groups of 5 kids each).  If you have taken the city’s lessons before, they have their system of “Ultra Levels” in their “Learn to Swim” program, so please let me know which level your child(ren) is in and the pool will try to spread them out so those in similar levels will be in a group, if we have multiple groups.  If there is too large of a gap between levels it might not work out (e.g. four kids at levels 3-5 and one at level 9, or 3 at levels 1-2 and one at level 5).  Caveat: Since it’s during the day, the instructor won’t have the extra “Deck Attendants” you might be familiar with from evening or weekend lessons.

The upstairs space is fine for eating lunch in, and the library is right next door so you can make a day of it if you are traveling for the lessons too.

We’d like to have numbers finalized by end of next week, September 13.  Contact me directly if you are interested or have more questions.

Howto Try Trihexaflexagon

We finally managed to get a hexaflexagon working!  Check out the video of my son demonstrating.

If you’re having trouble getting started too, here’s a recap of our journey.

We were introduced to them a few weeks ago thanks to vihart‘s great video (via my friend Kate), but stumbled around at first trying to figure them out.   We watched Danny Halvern’s Hexahexaflexagon movie and had some success putting them together with a compass and ruler but it was very time-consuming and we didn’t get many iterations before giving up.  We read over the hexaflexagon construction instructions but were still overwhelmed.  We found a page that talked about the different ways to flex it, but it was still too much to get us off the ground.  I went back to basics and read Martin Gardner‘s original Scientific American Book of Puzzles and Games which probably would have worked if I had taken the time doing it myself, but couldn’t work trying to get the kids to do them as well.  I found a template (and was confused by the having both sides on one side) but, didn’t have a colour printer available so was stumped again.  How were we ever going to get folding?!

And along came the Celebration of Mind Gathering for Gardner.  Their party organizer’s kit finally collected together a simple set of Trihexaflexagon templates in the same spot that we could work with.  We printed out numerous of their blank templates (note to self: modify this to include the numbers for the absolute newbs) and after a few attempts at numbering and colouring it for the kids we got one put together.  Woot!  My son has already modify it to include putting the pattern in the middle and watching it go to the outside and he wanted to do two more before bed, but there is plenty of time for it now.  Are hexahexaflexagon’s next?

Update: Day Two.  We’ve made a few more videos as we worked through our folds and more.  First up is me walking you through the tri and the hexa hexaflexagons.

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.

Perseids Meteor Shower

Pawnee Perseids (Photo © Michael Menefee)

This year the Perseid’s Meteor Shower will peak at 1200h Aug 12, so late tonight will probably be your best chance to catch 90 to 100 meteors an hour.  It’ll be tough for a single individual to see all of them though, so why not get a group of four together and lay down head to head so each of you gets a quadrant of the sky (if you’re into making an official count of them). And remember, don’t be discouraged if tonight isn’t a great night (weather or location wise) as it’s just the peak, there is still a pretty good chance of catching a few in the next week as well.

For us city dwellers, Light Pollution will serious hamper your chances of seeing many so if you can, get out of the city to up your chances of catching a shooting star.

If you’re keen to get info from experts, NASA will be holding a ‘Live Chat’ on their page starting at 11pm EDT.

For the younger crowd, here’s They Might Be Giants reminding us that “a shooting star is not a star is not a star at all”