Tag Archives: kids

The PO-80 Record Factory Kit from Teenage Engineering is very cool

The smart folks at Teenage Engineering have produced another cool product. As Yanko Design explains….

The PO-80 Record Factory Kit is a record cutter that engraves audio onto 5″ vinyl discs, giving kids the ability to record their own LPs the old-fashioned way, quite like how millennials made mixtapes and burned their own CDs. The Record Factory, created in collaboration with Yuri Suzuki, lets you engrave and playback 5″ discs with an ultra-analog lo-fi sound. This isn’t studio-grade equipment, after all, but it does add a creamy muffled, effect to your audio that totally sounds like the 40s and 50s in a nutshell.

Love it! For more on the PO-80, see these write ups in Yanko Design and the Awesomer.com.

(Image link to Yanko Design)

What do you get if you get your six year old to design you website?

Well, if you are Kevin Basset, you get this: Kevin Basset | kevin.tw

I can’t remember the last time I was so charmed by someone’s site.

Well done, Kyra. Well done, Kevin.

The way to tell your kids how to live is to show them

There is no one way to teach your kids things. You try things and some things stick and some things don’t. Additionally you as a parent are not the only influence on your kids. Sometimes the things you try and teach your kids is undone by others.

It’s a hard job but it’s worthwhile. To make it slightly easier, I want to share this good advice from Austin Kleon. It’s gleaned from this piece he wrote, Love what you do in front of the kids in your life. Here it is:

You can’t tell kids anything. Kids want to be like adults. They want to do what the adults are doing. You have to let them see adults behaving like the whole, human beings you’d like them to be.

If we want to raise whole human beings, we have to become whole human beings ourselves.

This is the really, really hard work.

Easy, right? 🙂 Seriously, in retrospect I have found my kids have adopted things I have demonstrated love for in my life. Not everything. But more than I could have imagined.

Here’s the other thing. Even if they don’t, you have spent your time doing things you loved AND raising your kids. Some people sacrifice things they loved and went on to becoming bitter and resentful. You have to sacrifice some things when you raise kids: make sure it is not the things truly dear to you. Who knows: your kids may up loving them too. And loving you more as well as understanding you better. What could be a better outcome than that?

Thinking about Fun (something good for you to do)

kid playing in leaves

Are you having fun? That’s a question often asked of us as kids. Then we get older and get more responsibilities and that question dies off. You might only hear yourself saying: I am not having fun.

That’s a great loss. Our lives are enriched by fun. If you can’t even imagine fun anymore, here are too good pieces for your serious self to read:

I really recommend you read them and challenge yourself to make time to have fun. Remember make your own fun. For some people it is being goofy, other people it’s making something, and still others find fun in doing things no one else would consider “fun”. Never mind. Find your fun wherever you can and cherish it.

(Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash)

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How to get more cooperation from your kids regarding chores and morning activities

For people struggling with their kids while they work from home, this piece from The New York Times in 2018 might help. I think a lot depends on the personality of the child, but for some of you, it just might be the thing you need. In a nutshell, they did this:

We devised a personalized morning checklist for each child — with their input. And we created a breakfast menu and a lunch menu, just like the ones they give you in hotels. We’re talking the works here. For breakfast the children can have cereal, muffins, eggs however they want, smoothies. You name it! And the lunch menu is equally expansive. Each night the kids complete their menus for the next day’s breakfast and lunch.

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Quick and Easy School Night Meals

Not just for people with kids: Giadzy 5 Quick and Easy School Night Meals

Your week is going to be busy enough. You need a meal plan. That list can help.

On parenting and the freeing and closing of your mind

There are stages in parenthood when your children occupy all of your mental time, and when they do, you may find your mind is closed. If before parenthood you found yourself open to contemplate and examine ideas, after parenthood you may find that your ability to do that has shutdown. I found that for certain stages of the life of my child, all of my time was spent either focusing on their care or worrying about them. But then there were stages when they settled down and there was less to worry about and my mind freed up again.

If you are a parent and you find yourself wrapped up in the state of your child, you should believe that that will pass, and while you never stop thinking about them, you will find you think / worry about them less. This is a good thing.

Do your kids love Lego? Then you may want Pley, a Netflix for Lego

Pley is a cool idea and much like Netflix is. You subscribe to the service, you get a new Lego kit. Once you build it and enjoy it for awhile, you send it back and they send you another one. Your kid always has new kits to build, and you avoid having their room fill up with Lego.

For more on this, check out: Cool Tools – Pley.

Notes for Parents on Summer Day Camps in Toronto

My kids spent many years going to summer camps in Toronto. If you have to or want to send your kids to summer camps, you might find these notes useful.

The first two things you need to do: 1) get out a calendar and 2) determine your budget. Do this in February. Really! When you get out a calendar, you will likely see that the kids have 9 weeks off in the summer (for some reason I used to think there were only 8 weeks off for the kids). Next, get a budget, because you will need to account for camp costs as well as transportation costs and extra costs like if you have to pick your kids up late. When you have a calendar and a budget, your camp options will come into clearer focus. Also, you can start thinking about other things happening in the summer, like vacations, visits from family, work assignments, and other things that will affect you.

As far as organizations offering camps, the cheapest camps by far – by far! – are the ones run out of community centers from the City of Toronto. They also fill up really fast. By March, if I recall. Book those first.

North Toronto Soccer had relatively lower costs than most camps. Great if your kid loves soccer. Note: ask how much time the kids spend outside. That can be a very tough camp in the middle of summer. (Not just NT but any outdoor camp.)

My kids liked the film camp at NFB, and it was indoors and so good during some weather, but one year was enough. Also, doing it with kids under 10 was better.

If your kid loves to do art, the AGO camps are great. If you are thinking of becoming a member and signing up, do both: members used to get a break on camp costs.

Harbourfront had some of the most interesting camps. DD loved them, but DS did not. Also, Harbourfront has buses that take your kids to and from camp from various locations around the city. Saves time, costs money. Can be a lifesaver.

Hockey camps are the most expensive, some going for $600 a week. UCC had relatively cheaper ones, but they fill up really fast too. UCC has lots of good camps, and they are in line with camps at places like AGO and NFB, but the hockey ones always filled up right away. Sign up for those first! Also there were hockey camps at Larry Grossman arena that were good and not as expensive.

Another benefit of hockey camps: the kids spend alot of time in not hot facility. Great experience during the hot days of summer.

To save some money, put your kids in camps with long weekends. That one day can save 20-50 bucks

To save more money, take time off and spend time with your kids. Note: this may not be cheap, either. If you plan to take a week off and plan to take your kid to a different venue every day, you will see it will add up. If you want to do this to save money, your goal should be to find activities you both like that aren’t too expensive, be it going to the Islands, having picnics, bike rides, kite building and flying, etc.

Don’t be too dazzled by camp promises. You might think: wow, my kid will learn SO much at this camp. They will learn things. And they will likely have fun. But think of camp as really good babysitting/daycare. Camps are mostly run by teens, and alot of camp time is getting kids to and from locations, feeding them, tracking them, etc. My son hated that. Also some councillors are really great, others are just there to do the minimum. One week my son went to a hockey camp and loved it because the councillors were great. He went to the same camp a few weeks later and didn’t because the councilllors had changed.

See if you and your kid’s friends can go to the same camp. Talk to other parents and try to make this happen, especially if your kid is not extroverted. Camp can be stressful for introverted kids: having old friends can help. Some kids thrive on camps and love them. Others can’t wait to be old enough not to go.

Try to pick up your kids on time. Once camps are done, usually around 4, the councillors will likely round the kids up in one place and more or less have them sit around until you get there. It is super boring, and it will likely make it harder for you to send your kid to such camps in the future.

My kids were done with camp by about 11. I know there were camps that go well into the late teens, but that wasn’t for mine. Likewise, overnight camp was not really an option for mine. Yours may be different.

Keep receipts for all camps. Keep them in one spot. You should be able to get a significant tax break from them, assuming you are paying taxes.

Need a gift for a child? Consider the Kano computer


I am a big fan of the Raspberry Pi. And I think there is no better way to learn about computers and take your knowledge to a deeper level than building your own computer. The folks at Kano must agree, because they have put together this kit than combines the Pi with everything the owner needs to build a workable and very useful computer. Now you can buy all these things separately, but this kit saves you time and makes up for any lack of knowledge you might have in this area.

You will still need to have a display device to connect to it. Preferably this will be a HDMI device, though it is possible to hook it up to a non-HDMI device. (See here for details.)

For more on the Kano, go here: Kano – Make a Computer.