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choosing games
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He was staring at me, eyes wide open. My six-year-old son was disappointed. The gift he received was not what the one he had hoped for. I explained to him the concept of a “gift”, something given to “make someone happy” and for which we say “thank you”. But during the following days, I had to accept the obvious: this new game was of no interest to my son. Actually, everything about that game was the opposite of what he liked! How to choose the right game or the right toy for your child? “Through observation, simply”, says Gilles Cantin, an Education professor at Université du Québec à Montréal. The child’s personality, age, needs, and tastes will help the parents choose the perfect game. A ball is a good choice for a two-year-old boy who likes to move and who’s learning to improve his coordination. A DIY box is recommended for an inventive four-year-old girl. And a board game will make a quiet six-year-old boy very happy. “You have to watch your children’s development and give them games that will spark their interest”, says Catherine Goldschmidt, a mother of three and a journalist specialized in games and toys. Limiting oneself(…)

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boy opening present
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Play is essential to a child’s education. Certain games are strictly meant to be fun; others focus on learning, discovery and finding out about the world while having fun. Here are ten fun and educational games to keep your 6- to11-year-old children entertained. 1) To foster environmental awareness: 4M Paper Recycling Kit Here is a unique gift to creatively foster children’s environmental awareness and teach them about the importance of recycling in a concrete way. 2) To learn in color : Art 101 Here is a novel idea to develop your child’s talent and introduce them to art using crayons, watercolours and pastels. The suitcase-type kit is very complete and easy to pack up and take with you. 3) To exercise the grey matter: Allumez les énigmes (Available only in French) Develop your children’s reasoning skills and their capacity to creatively solve the challenges proposed in this matchstick game. 4) To discover music: Discovery Marching Band Kit If it’s true that music soothes the soul, it might be wise to warn the neighbours should you pick up this set of instruments for your child. The kit includes a drum, a strap, cymbals and drum sticks. 5) To have fun with a learning app tablet: InnoTab(…)

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frozen yogurt
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The holidays are the perfect time to spoil ourselves. Let’s face it, the best gifts aren’t the ones we need but the ones we want. Personally, I love digging into tasty dishes, drinking eggnog while listening to “Silent Night” and “Jingle Bells,” spending time with the ones I love and celebrating. For a treat, try a candy cane frozen yogurt. A little bit between the fruit salad and yule log is just enough to bring us back to our childhoods. Go ahead and enjoy some before dancing into the wee hours of the night!

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Young family is playing board-game
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Family traditions don’t have to be complicated or time consuming, but it is good to have them. They give kids special moments to remember, rituals that provide a sense of belonging and identity. They also strengthen bonds in the family and impart family values. What’s most important in the choice of your traditions is to make sure that everyone is having a good time—and everyone takes part. Traditions around meals If Sunday dinners are too much work, you can make Sunday “pancake day.” Or visit a local diner for brunch each weekend, somewhere that starts to feel like home. During a busy week, pick Friday night to get take-out and always choosing a different cuisine—Thai, Chinese, Indian. Even pizza night at home can be fun; everyone gets pizza dough and adds their choice of toppings. Ice cream sundae contests can be a weekend patio ritual in the summer, with everyone competing to build the most creative, delicious ice cream treat! Traditions around playing together Even indoor game nights can get you moving a little when you play charades or create theatre for the family. Movie nights may seem obvious, but you can turn them into “festivals” with animal movies one(…)

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They're a happy couple
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Balancing the stresses and responsibilities of everyday life can feel like adding an extra chore on the TO DO list. The key is to make small changes and allow yourself to take a break. A few small things added (or subtracted) can provide some welcome breathing space in our busy lives. Start the day right : A nutritious and balanced breakfast fuels the body and gives you a sense of well-being.  Some fruit and a yogurt containing probiotics plus a whole-grain homemade muffin can get you out the door fast and recharged. Drop activities that sap time and energy : Maybe you need to excuse yourself sooner from conversations with a gossipy co-worker or organize errands better to save on travel distance.  Small, thoughtful changes can save you time and sanity. Build fun into your schedule : It may sound counterintuitive to plan a good time, but scheduling Friday nights for date night and pre-booking a babysitter guarantees you’ll make the “appointment.” Schedule family time: By blocking out hours when kids are the priority, you can enjoy time together and then tend to other responsibilities with a relaxed and guilt-free attitude. Split chores so they feel fair : Make joint decisions based on preference rather(…)

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