Get out and explore your own city this March Break
Attention kids and parents! We have an assignment for you this March Break. Ever wonder what is truly the best coffeeshop in your particular city? This is your chance to find out! We want you and your kids to try out the beverage selections at five different coffeeshops in order to find your new favourite.
You can do this by:
- Referring to your city’s alt-weeklies and blogs where they typically create best-of lists
- Asking your social networks for recommendations
- Taking transit to a new neighbourhood and wander around until you find the first interesting-looking coffeeshop
Next, you and your kid have to commit to one item you’re going to order at each coffeeshop. It could be a plain cup of drip coffee, chai latte, hot chocolate, smoothie, or maybe even a cookie. (We’d be checking out the latte situation while the kid would investigate the hot chocolate) Read more...
This article originally published in The Grid
Does anyone go away for March Break anymore?
It’s just around the corner, but this year, fewer families are planning to jump on a Cuba-bound plane or load up the iPad for the drive to Florida—at least not during the school break. Families are travelling, but they’re doing it outside school holidays.
The current generation of moms and dads—let’s call them the Bueller Generation—are totally nonchalant about pulling their kids out of school for cheaper, less-crowded travel at non-peak times. These parents are making the trips learning experiences (or, at least, that’s how they sell it to the teacher). In mid-December, one Toronto dad took his children to Panama, where his son shot a couple of videos about rainforest ants and howler monkeys and made a presentation to his class. Read more...
Look! We’re experts!
Eye Weekly, Toronto’s alternative weekly magazine, interviewed Bunch’s Rebecca Brown and consulted us when coming up with its foolproof March Break Guide. We think you might recognize some of the ideas found therein. Eye Weekly is also home to Superdad Chris Shulgan’s excellent columns.
Photo by Be Nice to Mommy via Flickr
What we’re reading today:
1. Kids off next week but you’re stuck at work? Here’s how to find the best March Break camp for your kids. Via Parentcentral.ca
2. Do you work? Do you also try to spend time with loved ones? Do you then feel guilty when one thing takes time away from the other? Yeah. A new study shows that women feel more guilt about the work-life balancing act than men. Via Jezebel
3. If your toddler is just learning to talk, here’s how to help in their speech development: Listen, don’t finish their sentences, follow your kid’s interests, read more and use your hands. Via Babble
4. For the aspiring zoologist, check out the Smithsonian’s database of candid animal photos. See what the scientists see! Via BoingBoing Read more...
Ideas for Winter Break fun are coming at you daily over the next two weeks. We’ll also be rounding up some of Bunchland’s greatest ideas.
Most families get not one, but two breaks to look forward to each year: one in winter and one in March. Earlier this year, we published our super-duper-awesome Bunchland Guide to March Break. And if we do say so ourselves, the ideas we put in it were pretty darn good. So we think they bear repeating.
Build a town out of Lego
Have an abstract art party
Mount an epic scavenger hunt
Turn up the heat with an inter-family Iron Chef competition
Cozy up with one (or more) of these movies and/or books, then throw an impromptu dance party in your living room with our playlist Read more...
A week without school? Yes please! But what are you supposed to do with all the oodles of free time ahead of you? Fear not, because Bunchland presents our Guide to March Break. We asked Bunchland families to submit their awesomest March Break ideas to us as part of our Monster Factory contest.
We’ve also brought in some insanely talented guest experts to give tips on having the best time. We’ve mapped out your March Break for your family, and we’re pretty confident boredom won’t be an issue.
Turn off the Food Network, sharpen your knife set and challenge another family to an Iron Chef-style competition in your own kitchen! All you need is a theme ingredient. Iron Chef competitor David Adjey serves up tips on grilling the competition.
Jennifer and her son plan to construct a massive Lego town like this one this MB, and urban planner extraordinaire Tim Halbur has tips on building the best Lego town on your block. Read more...
We at Bunchland have to say we’re happy Lego still gets some play. We had buckets of the stuff back in our youth. These days, building huge towns out of the plastic blocks can have really impressive results like these. And did you know there are even theme parks devoted to it? Jennifer and Christian are gonna put on their imaginary construction hats and build a huge town using painted boxes, Playmobil and of course, Lego! But they’ll need a building plan before they proceed. Urban planner and author Tim Halbur is here to help.
- CITY: Guelph, Ontario
- OUR BUNCH: Jennifer. Christian, 6, Lego lover.
For our March Break, we’re staying home, but we’re going to have lots of fun building a toy town, using Lego, Playmobil and boxes we’re going to paint and cut doors and windows into. Maybe we’ll take a train set we don’t use anymore and make a train go through the town. These are my starting ideas, but I’m sure my son will come up with lots more! Read more...
Why blow a fortune on pricey paintings when you can create masterpieces in your very own home? This family plans to make art the fun way, as in the paint-splattered-everywhere, art-classes-who-needs-’em kind of way. We’d recommend renting the film Pollock for inspiration, except it’s not exactly wholesame family viewing. But even better, we’ve wrangled Toronto artist Thrush Holmes to offer tips on producing gallery-worthy work and having fun doing it.
- CITY: Danforth, Toronto, Ontario
- OUR BUNCH: Lisa, 39, former teacher/current chief kid wrangler. James, 40, journalist. Claire, 11, creative cat lover/budding writer. Lucas, 7, awesome building fanatic. Nugget, cat. Sookie, cat. Winnie, hamster.
March Break is traditionally our time to make huge messes, ’cause we’ve got lots of time to clean them up. Our favourite way to make a mess is communal art. We tape huge pieces of paper on the floor and throw paint on them with dramatic flourish, à la Jackson Pollock. Sticks, spoons, ribbons, toothbrushes — we can use anything except an actual paintbrush. Everyone gets a turn! It’s also a great way to repaint the kitchen while you’re at it. Read more...
Halina, Fil, Melody and Bianca are planning a family scavenger hunt to keep the good times rolling over MB. A good scavenger hunt can be insanely fun. You can play against other families or each other. Ridiculously large-scale scavenger hunts go on all around the world, including one that last four days at the University of Chicago. Yikes. For tips, we consulted scavenger hunt afficionado Cole Banning from Improv in Toronto.
- CITY: Riverdale, Toronto, Ontario
- OUR BUNCH: Halina, overtime employee of M.O.M. Fil, business owner. Melody, 8, witty artist. Bianca, 8, curious potion maker. Giglio, cat.
This is a game that you can reinvent every time. We have played on our own and with other families. You can create your own scavenger hunt and make it suitable to where you are and what you have access to.
Divide your family into equal groups, or play with or against other families. Read more...
- Ayelet Waldman is the author of Bad Mother, a book that presents the controversial idea that women should love their husbands more than their kids. One Oprah audience member got so mad about Ayelet’s book that she tried to beat her up (Ayelet, not Oprah). We personally can’t see how someone who share This American Life episodes with her kids could be considered a bad mother. Depriving your kids of Ira Glass, now that’s bad parenting.
Our favorite books to read aloud or to play on audio during long car trips are often (though not always) books that my husband [Michael Chabon] and I enjoyed as children, and are eager to read again. Our kids run the age gamut from 6 to 15, so finding books that all can enjoy is a challenge. All the kids like fantasy, so we tend to be heavy on those. And we all love the audio of This American Life episodes. Not exactly a book, but perfect for the car. Read more...
- We’re not surprised that Clement Virgo, who’s directed episodes of the super-gritty crime series The Wire, among other things, would recommend a French New Wave film about a troubled child as family viewing. But we’re happy we got a more challenging list from him. If you don’t feel your 4-year-old is ready for The 400 Blows, you should definitely watch it yourself, and check out his other picks with your brood. After all, a day spent curled up on the couch sobbing over E.T. sounds pretty delicious to us.
The 400 Blows
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Wizard of Oz
A Christmas Story
We don’t know if you’ve ever seen an episode of Iron Chef America, but it’s kind of like watching two celebrated chefs completely lose their minds for an hour. They’re pitted against each other in a high-speed cooking battle based around a theme ingredient, with the ultimate goal of impressing a panel of judges. This family plans to recreate the TV experience in their own home, but without all the crazy stress and high-stakes competition. Well, maybe a dash of healthy competition. Onetime Iron Chef competitor David Adjey explains how to keep cool in the kitchen.
- CITY: Mississauga, Ontario
- OUR BUNCH: Rushmi, 39, CEO of JazmYn Customer Contact Solutions. Jeff, 38, CFO of Redishred. Natalie, 7, dramatic performer. Nicole, 2, spontaneous budding engineer.