5 Waterparks in Ontario You and Your Teen Will Love By Rosalind Stefanac The heat is on, and for those of us who don’t own a cottage or backyard pool, waterparks are a great way to keep cool and have some fun with your teens in the process. Here are my top picks for teen-friendly outdoor water parks in Ontario to check out this summer—and they all feature private cabanas for rental if you’re looking for privacy, shade and poolside bar service. Bingemans Big Splash Kitchener, Ontario Why they’ll love it: In addition to 11 water slides and a large wave pool, the park features a big indoor arcade, outdoor mini-golf and dedicated space for beach volleyball. Lots of open spaces for playing frisbee too. Why you’ll love it: Free parking! You can bring your own food/cooler (no alcohol or glass) and can camp on the premises via tent, container cabin or log cabin (there are 450 campsites available). Campers get access to a lovely gated pool and poolside loungers too. Calypso Limoges, Ontario Why they’ll love it: The biggest of the bunch with 35 waterslides and a wide selection of water games. My teen (and I) loved the Kongo Expedition, a lazy river that took us through jungle-like caves and unexpected waterfalls via inner tube. The park also houses Canada’s largest wave pool at 50,000 square feet, with waves hitting up to 1.5 metres above the surface. Why you’ll love it: If you don’t rent a cabana, there are lots of shaded, grassy areas with picnic tables for reading or napping while the teens are occupied. You can bring your own picnic, plus there are several bars/eateries on site. Well worth the drive even if you’re outside of Ottawa. Splashworks: Canada’s Wonderland Vaughan, Ontario Why they’ll love it: Thrill-seekers will get a kick out of the 60-foot tall Muskoka Plunge or the Super Soaker, which takes rafters spiraling down a dark tunnel to plummet into a splash pool. Even my 17-year-old, who is rarely impressed by anything, rated the day a 9/10 (point lost due to lineups). Why you’ll love it: Once the water park closes at 7 p.m., there is still a massive amusement park within the premises included with your admission, which means easy access to more rides, shows/concerts and plenty of restaurants. Just note that the waterpark’s cabanas sell out quickly so book at least a week in advance. Wet ’n’ Wild Toronto Brampton, Ontario Why they’ll love it: Thrilling slides, such
4 Things To Do With Your Teen In Toronto This Summer Summer may be half over but there is still time to have some serious fun with your teen. In a bustling city like Toronto, with so much to do, the options can sometimes be overwhelming. Whether you want to make it a day out with the family or if you only have a few hours to spare, we have something for you! Go to Canada’s Wonderland. Wonderland has something to offer all family members of all ages. Check out the new ride, The Yukon Striker, which is the longest, tallest and fastest dive coaster in the world. If rollercoasters aren’t your thing, check out Wonderland’s waterpark, Splash Works, where you can cool down and experience waterslides and wave pools. Take them to the Museum of Illusions. Of interest to kids, adults, and everything in between, the Museum of Illusions offers a one-of-a-kind interactive art experience that blends science and psychology. With more than 70 different illusions, there is a great balance of simple illusions and advanced mind-benders that make you question your own perception. Make sure you visit the vortex tunnel! Take them to Casa Loma. The gothic castle is a landmark in Toronto, where you can visit the past by viewing their Classic Car Collection and their Dark Side of Toronto photo exhibit. Or, you can experience their escape room series! Try the immersive and theatrical King of the Bootleggers escape room, set in 1920s Toronto during prohibition, where you must take cues from the actors and work with your team to become the new Kings and Queens of the Bootleggers. Visit The Funhouse. The Funhouse is an immersive experience created by visual and musical artists from across Toronto. You begin in a 1920s hotel, then get lured deeper into a multi-sensory maze of 14 featured rooms. Blending visual arts, music and immersive tech for an alternate universe, the Funhouse is always different (you choose your own adventure!) for a unique experience for everyone. Photos courtesy of Tourism Toronto.
8 Alternative Summer Camps Your Kids Will Love! By Jonquil Jardine Summer is coming up and parents are searching for the perfect summer camp experience for their kids. Traditional summer camps include hiking, leadership activities and games. But have you thought about circus, virtual reality or computer camp? They do exist and we’ve found a roundup of alternative camps your curious kid will love! Toronto, Ontario V4Lab Ages 12-16 years old This summer program is designed for students that like design, tech, science and engineering. Canada’s economy is continuing to grow and it’s important for youth to be exposed to various types of technologies. This two-week program covers Augmented Reality, Arduino as well as team-building activities. Additionally, all programs offered at V4Lab are taught by instructors in the industry! https://www.ryerson.ca/v4lab/program/ Toronto, Ontario NOT Sports Camp Ages 8-16 (Different camps for various ages) Let’s face it, not every child is into traditional sports offered at camps. Imagine a camp that offers Harry Potter’s favourite sport, Quidditch? Well NOT Sports Camp does along with other non-traditional games such as KIN-Ball, inner tube water polo, Capture the Flag and much more. Also, the camp is held mainly outdoors at University of Toronto’s Back Campus Fields which overlooks the city! https://kpe.utoronto.ca/summer-camp-not-sports Toronto, Ontario(with locations in Ottawa and Chicago!) GTA Photography Classes Ages 12-17 Is your child interested in photography? If so, they will love what GTA Photography has to offer! Your teen will have the chance to learn photography with the help of Instructors already in the industry. https://gtaphotographyclasses.com/kids-teens/ Elora, Ontario Summer Circus Camp at the Elora Centre for the Arts Ages 6-12 The Elora Centre for the Arts offers a week-long summer camp which focuses on acrobatics, juggling, clowning and much more. This program is for those that love endless possibilities! https://eloracentreforthearts.ca/event/summer-circus-camp/ Richmond Hill, Ontario The Steam Project Ages JK-Grade 8 (Different camps for various ages) The Steam Project is the camp you wish existed when you were a child. Unlike traditional summer camps, The Steam Project camp teaches Art, Technology, Mathematics and much more using a hands-on approach. Additionally, they have creative programs such as their “Tinker” summer program, which allow kids to design and create their own toys! https://www.thesteamproject.ca/a-different-camp Vancouver, British Columbia Windsure Adventure Watersports – Windsurfing Camps 12+ Does your child love the water? Well, we have the perfect camp for you! Windsure Adventure Watersports offers windsurfing camps that can combined with skimboarding, sailing and kayaking. Additionally, all classes include the use of a complete sailboard, wetsuit and life jacket
4 Ways to Help Your Teen Get a Summer Job By Jonquil Jardine Summer is almost here, and school is almost out. Many teens will be looking for a summer job to gain experience and make some extra cash. Working can be a great opportunity for teens to gain independence and work experience. Most importantly, it also teaches them about managing money, networking, confidence-building and work ethic. But, with little to no experience, how can they land a paying gig? We have four tips to help. 1. Assist Your Teen with Their Resume Resumes can be used as a marketing tool. It outlines an individual’s background, skills and education. But how can a teen create a resume with limited experience? “Simply add volunteer work or accomplishments,” says Toronto-based Human Resources professional Kulebika Natkunam. Some things to keep in mind while helping your teen with their resume include, avoiding formatting issues, which can be easily solved by using resume templates. Additionally, avoid spelling errors by using online programs to help with grammar. Lastly, a good resume is organized, informative and, most importantly, a representation of your teen’s goals and accomplishments. 2. Network with People You Know Networking is important for anyone seeking employment. For teens, networking means talking to everyone they know in hopes of creating an open dialogue that can help with future professional contacts. You can also help your teen network by using the connections you already have. For example, “Ask your friends if their companies are hiring for summer,” says Kulebika. Many companies search for candidates during the summer due to current employees taking leave. 3. Practice Interview Techniques with Your Teen Interviews can be one of the most important and nerve-wracking steps of the job hunt. One way you can help your teen reduce anxiety is by conducting “mock interviews” while providing feedback. It’s important that you provide them with constructive criticism along with examples of how to answer questions. Providing real-life examples that accompanies a behavioural trait will prove to be beneficial when your teen is in an interview, says Kulebika. For example, when responding to questions in the mock interview, make sure your child provides a real-life example such as, helping the neighbours clean their lawn, even though they didn’t have to. This is a real-life example. The behavourial trait can be helpful, kind and productive. Practicing and conducting mock interviews will not only help your teen better prepare for their
5 Ways To Get Your Teen More Active This Summer It may be called the lazy days of summer, but Health Canada recommends that teens engage in at least 60 minutes of exercise daily. Not only does regular physical activity help maintain good health but it’s a great way to boost body image and confidence. While the end of the school year signals the end of gym classes and school sports, it doesn’t have to mean that physical activity comes to a stop. To keep your teen active all summer, here are five ways to encourage them to keep moving. By Rhiannon Ness Sign them up at Planet Fitness. The gym is offering teens aged 15-18 the chance to work out for freeat one of its 30+ locations across Canada until September as a part of its Teen Summer Challenge. They will be offering fitness classes with a certified trainer that are designed specifically for teenagers once a day, Monday through Friday. The gym is also sharing an important message about body positivity. “Planet Fitness is a judgement-free zone,” says Becky Zirlen, senior public relations manager at Planet Fitness. “So, this is the perfect opportunity for teens to try a gym!” Try cycling! Cycling is a great way to stay active, and it could be an important way of bonding with your teen. On top of that, it is a way that could keep the whole family active! In 2018, ParticipACTION released its Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth and found that only 35 per cent of Canadian kids and teens aged 5-17 are meeting the national physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity per day. Get the whole family on their bikes after dinner for an early evening ride! Enroll them in sports camp! Many community centres and schools like UCC Summer Camps and Camp UofT offer themed sports and fitness camps for teens. These camps are a great way to stay active while also giving them the opportunity to meet other teens with the same interest in sports and fitness. Find a program in your area—check schools, parks, community centres—for the perfect fit for your teen! Have fun. Encourage your teen to try different things until they find something they love that doesn’t feel like work. Toronto-based personal training specialist Leo Stafford suggests “that people do whatever grabs their attention.” This could be a sport that they
How I Helped my Daughter Transition from Dorm Life to Living on Her Own By Sara Dimerman After my younger daughter’s first year away in residence at university, I thought that we were pretty much done with questions such as, “How long after the best before date can I keep yogurt?” and “When should I choose ‘permanent press’ on the washing machine?” However, after she moved into a house with four other girls for her second year away from home, I learned that there were many more questions to come – such as how to make hot chocolate on the stove like the way I make it for her at home. And I continued to encourage them because being able to ask for direction when you’re not sure what to do is an indication that you’re not ashamed to show that you don’t know everything there is to know, especially when living alone. I think it’s great that students living in residence during their first year away at university buy meal plans. This way, at least parents know that their teens won’t be starving or having to worry about what to buy and make for meals. Especially in addition to adjusting to living independently and managing time and responsibilities like never before – laundry and getting themselves up in the morning, for example. By the time second year rolls around, most students are tired of cafeteria food and showing a great deal more appreciation for home-cooked meals when they come back to their nest for visits. However, many are not quite prepared for the effort it takes to think about what they need to put into their fridge and cupboard (often only on one or two of the assigned shelves), making time to shop for those ingredients and then cutting and cooking them up, after a long day of classes. Even though my daughter has an interest in cooking (and often sends pictures so that she and her dad – the cook in our family – can compare their creations), she often lacks the energy or space required to cook a meal for herself. So, we agreed to pay for weekly meals in a box ( three at a time which allows for six dinners over the course of a week) which still means that she has to prepare the food, but this saves her the time of shopping for as many ingredients, teaches her to
4 Ways To Help Your Teen Get Enough Sleep Even though the kids are back in school, it can still be hard for them to get into a proper sleep routine. After a summer of late nights, a lot of teens may have gotten used to sleeping in and are now finding it difficult to wake up for school so early in the morning. Though this may seem like rebellious behaviour, there is an actual scientific reason behind this. Sleep Phase Delay Sleeping patterns for teenagers are hormonally influenced because the hormonal response to the 24-hour light/dark exposure that influences circadian rhythm (an internal 24-hour clock running in the background of your brain that cycles between alertness and sleepiness) is altered. Adolescents then proceed to physiologically want to stay awake later at night and remain sleeping late in the daytime. The scientific reason behind changing sleep patterns is called Sleep Phase Delay. It means that a child that used to fall asleep at 9 p.m. doesn’t start to feel tired until 10:30 or 11 p.m. Sleep expert Amy Marasco from Goodnight Sleep Site (a service committed to helping families get better sleep) says that adolescents show higher levels of alertness at 8 p.m. than most adults, and even more so at 10 p.m. “Further investigation revealed that the adolescent body’s release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin is delayed during the sleep phase delay portion of adolescence, making it harder for teens to fall asleep on their own,” says Marasco. Sleepiness a Serious Threat A technical report done by The American Academy of Paediatrics talks about how chronic sleep loss is a serious threat to teenagers that can contribute to obesity, mental health issues and drowsy driving. The report revealed that as students get older, sleep durations decline. Students in America, Germany, Northern Taiwan, and India dropped to less than eight hours of sleep for high-school aged students; so, it isn’t just a problem within North America. How Many Hours Should Your Teen Be Sleeping? Sleep is important to growing teens as appropriate sleep is required in order for their bodies and minds to function at their best.“The recommended amount of sleep for a teen is 9 ¼ hours which is much more sleep than the average 7-7 ¼ hours teens are currently getting,” says Marasco. Getting a proper amount of sleep will also help them fight off illness and keep up with academics, part-time jobs and family obligations. 4
Depressed and Dying Teen suicide is rising at alarming rates. In fact, according to a recent survey, 13.6 per cent of surveyed high school students in the US and a whopping 46 per cent of surveyed high school students in Canada have created a plan to die. Here’s how to spot the signs of depression and suicidal thoughts in your teens, so you can get them help before it’s too late. By Dr. Allison Forti Every day, we turn on the news or log on to our social media and see stories of teen suicide. Our children are killing themselves more and more every day. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10-24. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rates of teen suicide have steadily risen in the U.S. since 2007 from 9.7 deaths per 100,000 to 13.15 deaths per 100,000 for ages 15-24. This alarming trend also reveals increases in suicidal ideation and behaviour. According to the latest Youth Risk Behaviour Survey, which is conducted every two years during the spring semester and provides data representative of Grade 9 through Grade 12 students in public and private schools throughout the United States, 31.5 per cent of high school students reported persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness daily for two or more weeks over the past year. The same survey revealed 17.2 per cent of high school students have considered suicide, 13.6 per cent have created a plan for suicide, and 2.4 per cent have actually injured themselves in suicide attempts. In Canada, our teens are faring no better. Kids Help Phone surveyed 1,319 teens aged 13 to 18 across the country. The finding were published in a report called “Teens Talk 2016,” and included this alarming statistic — 22 per cent of those who responded, seriously considered attempting suicide in the last 12 months. Moreover, 46 per cent had formulated a plan with girls (67 per cent) being twice as likely as boys (33 per cent) to consider taking their own lives. Being aware of the signs of suicidal ideation may help parents protect their teens. Teens most at risk for suicide are those with a past history of substance abuse and mental illness (e.g., depression). If you think your teen might be depressed, it’s important to get him or her the help she or he needs. Here are eight signs to look
10 Must-Haves For Back to School From water bottles to skin care products to shoes and snacks, have your teens looking and feeling their very best for the new school year. This list has all the necessary things that they need to be fully prepared for anything that comes their way! S’well Water Bottle The perfect storage for hot or cold drinks, this durable water bottle lives up to the hype. With tons of colours and patterns to choose from, staying hydrated will be the fashionable thing to do. $45 at Indigo Clarisonic Mia 2 This is an absolute essential for teens to keep them looking fresh and feeling confident. The Clarisonic Mia 2 is a gentle machine that cleanses pores and keeps skin looking healthy and glowing. Comes in Pink and White $131 at Clarisonic.c. https://www.clarisonic.ca/en/face-brushes/mia-2-facial-cleansing-brush/CL367.html Adidas VL Court 2.0 Shoes These shoes are a staple for any teen’s wardrobe. With cushy rubber soles, these comfortable shoes are sure to be a popular choice for your teen. Comes in Black and Red. $49 at Mountain Equipment Co-op Simply Protein Kids Bars They are healthy snacks, peanut-nut free with quality ingredients and absolutely no artificial flavours. Only 4g of protein and 4g of sugar. These make the perfect, healthy alternative in your kid’s lunch. Just $5.99 a pack and available at Walmart, Loblaws, Metro and Bulk Barn. Mesh Shower Tote This is the perfect shower accessory with numerous compartments and a waterproof pocket to carry all your teen’s shower necessities. $14.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond Fjällräven Kånken Water Resistant Backpack These backpacks have been so popular with teens and with good reason. With narrow back straps and a handle to carry the backpack, this is a lightweight alternative backpack to the ones on the market right now. With a large main compartment and two side pockets, this pack offers ample space for all their stuff. $99.99 Yoobi Mini Supply Kit This little mini-office is a necessity for back to school. Housing everything from a pencil sharpener and scissors to a stapler, staple remover AND staples and more! It’s got everything! $9.99 at Indigo Keepsakes 2.0 Cloud Peak Boots Perfect for those chilly fall and early winter days, these boots have a soft suede-textured microfibre material and a cushy memory foam for the ultimate comfort. They won't mind walking to and from class in these comfy and stylish boots! $63 at Skechers. Lipper Bamboo Revolving Desk Organizer Teens can keep their desk essentials organized with this handy desk organizer. With
6 Gadgets Your Teen Will Love for Back to School With all kinds of new tech coming out every year, your teen is bound to want something or the other and if it helps them get ahead at school – even better! Whether they are just listening to music on the go or writing essays, this list has everything they need for a successful school year. Airpods Revolutionizing the way students use headphones, Airpods are wireless and connect to iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Macs seamlessly. $219 at Apple.ca iPad Pro More powerful than most PC laptops and are extremely easy to use. The Apple Pencil feels natural and responsive on the iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard connecting easily for typing notes, essays and emails. Starts at $869 at Apple.ca Wireless Speaker This Outdoor Technology BuckShot 2.0 Wireless Speaker from MEC comes with a rubber-bar mount that allows you to mount to your bike handle bars or dune buggy role cages. It also has a built-in speakerphone so your teen can take calls on the go! $49 at Mountain Equipment Co-op. Fujifilm Wireless Square Mobile Printer With Polaroids and photography being all the rage among teens, this gadget is perfect. Snap pictures with your phone or a compatible Fujifilm camera and this wireless printer will print immediately. It’s completely portable and comes with a rechargeable battery. $249 at Best Buy Tablet Stand With full 210 degrees rotation, this tablet stand is perfect for writing essays, watching movies, or simply having a safe place to store the device. $23.99 at Amazon.ca Reading Book Light For a book that your teen just can’t put down, or late-night study sessions, this travel-size book light is perfect. Comes with a sturdy, bendy arm that clips to any hardcover or paperback. $10.95 at Indigo.