Activity Book

world cup flag finder

World Cup 2014 Flag Spotting Game

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I love the flags of the World Cup — the way humble houses become castles earnestly festooned with small lawn flags and cars fly colours like ships at sea. Toronto feels like the port of the world during the World Cup and when my children were younger I saw it as a chance to have some fun… Read More »

Spongebob Nutcracker: not one of the BEST TOY PICKS 2013

Our ‘Activity Book’ Columnist’s Best Toy Picks 2013

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The holiday season is bearing down upon us. It’s been edging ever closer for a while — and now it has lurched into undeniable view. Turn away if you like, but it will remain in your line of sight. Shortly those lights will be front and centre, and carols will soundtrack your every excursion. Did… Read More »

Cooperative Games for Beginners: image of Pandemic

The More We Play Together The Happier We’ll Be

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We had Thanksgiving Dinner with good friends and some friends of friends, and it was lovely. After dinner the adults staggered to the couches while our collective children ran off to play. Despite feeling relief that they were taking their play elsewhere, we talked about our kids and how they spend their time playing. I… Read More »

Boy in the Lego Aisle, photo by Sean Dreilinger. Illustration for Mita Williams' Why I Hate Educational Toys.

I Hate Educational Toys

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My son just turned 8 and buying his gift this year proved to be a challenge. Looking back, though, I have to admit it was a largely self-imposed challenge. It all started when my husband and I started talking about what birthday present we should get him. I reminded my husband that we should try… Read More »

MAPS: A PICTURE OF A PLAYGROUND, TAKEN FROM THE SWINGS

Playing With Maps

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Recently, I did a search using Google Maps for playgrounds and, to put it mildly, I did not find what I was expecting. Instead, I found this: It reminded me of a similar experience Helen had written about here earlier. She had asked her cell phone for help but the search results only returned indoor climbing… Read More »

GUIDE TO POKEMON: ALL THE CHARACTERS IN A RAINBOW

Bunch Guide to Pokemon

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Being 42 years old, I have become the answer to Life, The Universe and Everything. And yet, because of my age, until recently, I knew next to nothing about Pokemon. It was the timing of it all. Pokemon first appeared in North America on the Nintendo Game Boy system in 1998. The franchise quickly exploded to… Read More »

STARTING FROM SCRATCH: a child plays with a laptop computer

Starting From Scratch

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I am trying to teach myself how to become proficient in a computer language called JavaScript. Sometimes, I stare at the ceiling instead of my screen. Frustrated with my struggles with JavaScript’s complexities, I like to imagine myself as a young Hufflepuff working my way through the slow and methodical mastery of spells at Hogwarts.… Read More »

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