4 Grad Gift Ideas They'll Love Whether your son or daughter is graduating from high school or university/college, you'll want to mark and celebrate the occasion with the perfect gift! Since we’re all staying close to home these days, here are some great grad gift ideas that your teen and young adult will love and enjoy while at home. 55-inch TCL Roku TV If there’s anything we’re all doing these days, it’s binge-watching our favourite shows. I think your graduate would be thrilled with their own 55-inch TCL Roku TV! It’s super easy to set up. You just create a Roku account and set it up with your Internet and then you have all the popular streaming apps like Netflix, Prime, Disney+ and Crave, etc at your fingertips. It’s powered by the Roku OS system and actually provides access to more than 150,000 movies and TV shows from top free and paid channels, so it is easier than ever to binge-watch your favourites! And, if they’re night owls, they can watch without disturbing you because the Roku mobile app enables you to use private listening when you connect a pair of headphones to your phone! The picture itself is 4K so it’s very crisp and clear and makes binge-watching a picture-perfect experience! $400, roku.com Hamilton Beach DrinkMaster While you’re watching your favourite show, why not enjoy a homemade milkshake?! This DrinkMaster Chrome Classic from Hamilton Beach has a cool, 50s diner vibe that I love and it whips up serious delicious drinks in no time flat. You can make your favourite milkshake, but you can also make smoothies or malts too! It has two speeds and comes with this 28-ounce mixing up, which gives you plenty of room without worrying about it spilling all over. And it looks neat on your counter too! $70, hamiltonbeach.ca 10.2-inch iPad An iPad is always a great gift, especially for graduates. This is the 10.2-inch iPad and it’s a great way to stay in touch with friends and family with Facetime and now, of course, Zoom. They can also use it to download their favourite apps, watch TV and movies, listen to music, and even use it as a portable tablet if they’re planning on continuing their studies in the fall. It’s great because you can easily add a Smart Keyboard, Apple Pencil and use your iCloud account to transfer work between a student’s Mac and iPhone. $429+, apple.ca The Knot Dr.
How to Teach Your Teen the Art of Face-to-Face Connections Here’s a question for you to ponder: Are we as parents doing all we can to prepare our teens for high school, college or the workplace? Are we doing all we can to best support the next generation so they can function in the best way possible in the real world? Are we supporting the next generation by way of offering them pivotal life skills? What I’m talking about is developing face-to-face communication skills, in an age where it is becoming a lost art. We are all experiencing a unique time in history, no doubt about it. We are also searching to create a new sense of normalcy as well. It’s more about physical distancing than social distancing. We need to connect and interact socially now more than ever. And when it’s safe to connect face-to-face, that’s even better! Here are some tips on how to teach your teens the art of face-to-face interaction and become better communicators. Have mutually beneficial conversations I will make a basic assumption that we all like to be understood. One main factor to really understanding someone is by listening. Some quick tips on how to fully engage are to ask clarifying questions. It is always OK to ask questions of anyone you are talking with, such as, “I really want to understand your point, would you mind saying it again for me?” Or perhaps you can ask them to rephrase it in a different way so that you understand. Instead of offering (pretend) nods of understanding, ask for clarity! Don’t interrupt, listen more and talk less. It’s easy to talk. When we talk, we are sharing what we already know, but when you truly listen, you may learn something. One quick tip I’ve used with teens to work on listening skills is creating a for-fun mock TV or radio interview. I have my clients create a short list of three questions to ask, but I always stress one key point to them. I emphasize for them to listen to the answers very carefully instead of thinking about the next question to ask on their list. This small adjustment tends to bring big results. By doing this, you truly put a focus on actively listening to someone and this small habit can be applied to real-life job interviews. How to have hard conversations Most of us, not just today’s youth, will inevitably need to
Top Chef Canada's Contestants on Cooking Up Their Careers If life in quarantine has you flipping channels in a neverending search to find something suitable to watch with your teen, you can now put the remote safely down for at least an hour a week. Food Network Canada's Top Chef Canada Season 8 has just started wherein 12 chefs from every corner of the country compete in the most prestigious cooking competition in the country, battling it out for the biggest prize in Top Chef Canada history and the coveted title of Canada’s Top Chef. Yes, they're in for a wild ride but we wanted to talk to the competitors about their lives BEFORE Top Chef. They were open and honest about their journeys that led them to the kitchen (they weren't all as smooth as butter), the importance of family support (one contestant's father STILL won't tell people his son is a chef) and their advice for teens looking to start a life in the kitchen. Adrian Forte When did you know you wanted to be a chef? I was always cooking as a teenager, but I decided to pursue cooking professionally the summer before Grade 12. I had realized I wasn’t going to be a professional athlete and I was already extremely passionate about all things food. I enjoyed being in the kitchen, so I thought to myself, “why wouldn’t I want to do this all the time?” What did your family say when you chose a career in the culinary arts, which can mean a lot of long nights and tough work? I come from a whole bloodline of chefs. My mother, grandmother, aunts and uncles all spent some time in the kitchen. My grandmother had seven children and it was a rite of passage in our household for every one of her kids to learn the craft. The tradition has been passed down for generations, so when I decided to pursue cooking professionally, my entire family was ecstatic about my career choice and they continue to support me. What do you wish you knew back then that you know now? Nothing. I believe life is a lesson and experience is the teacher (it’s sort of my mantra). I’ve always learned from my failures and mistakes, and I apply what I’ve learned to the next situation, endeavor or business venture. I’m a firm believer in trial by fire or sink or swim. Trials and tribulations develop
Real Talk with ABC's A Million Little Things' star Lizzy Greene By Rachel Naud Lizzy Greene, 16, plays Sophie on the ABC hit show, A Million Little Things. The show, currently in its second season, deals with some very grown-up themes including suicide and depression. We sat down with Greene to talk about her character, Sophie, and why she thinks A Million Little Things is a show every parent should watch with their teen. A Million Little Things has quickly become a fan favourite! Did you expect the show to take off like it did? Yes and no! I definitely thought it was a super special show because of how it tackled such harsh and difficult topics with so much humanity and respect, but I also didn't expect to get such amazing fan feedback. It makes me and the entire cast and crew so happy to read stories from viewers about how our show has helped them overcome and gather strength to talk about their own struggles. How do you like filming in Vancouver? Have you found some cool spots you like to visit in the city? Most definitely. The city is filled with beautiful attractions and many cute little nooks to relax in during off days. I really love to go to the Vancouver Art Museum, and look at the new exhibits every few months. And I also love to study in one of my favourite spots, The Wedgewood Hotel restaurant. The piano is always playing, and the entire environment makes you feel like you've gone back in time. It’s very relaxing, and an easy place to relax and work on scenes. Why do you think A Million Little Things is so important today, as it openly talks about depression and suicide? I think it’s really important because any talk about mental illness helps break the stigma. Our show is a story of a modern family of friends who is hit with a bombshell they never saw coming, the suicide of one of their close friends. This story is really important because it shows just how common it is for the signs of depression to go unnoticed — until it’s too late. What else I think is really incredible is we have had two stories of suicide on the show thus far, one that was too late, and one that was caught just in time. It shows that not everything is inevitable, all you have to do
How to Create Consequences with Your Teen By Delaney Ruston, MD Originally appeared on Screenagers Tech Talk Tuesday blog In a recent blog, I wrote about how to effectively say “no” around screen time and I promised to write more about accountability and consequences when rules are broken. Enforcing rules is by far one of the hardest things we do as parents, especially with teens. There is so little written that gives example consequences and yet getting ideas is so important as a parent. So, after you read this, share what you do in the comments section below — that would be a real gift. Knowing I would write this tonight, I decided to clarify with my daughter, Tessa (who is in Screenagers — and now in 11th grade), the consequences regarding the rules (that she helped create) around screen time at night. Sunday through Thursday night, at a time we agreed upon she hands my husband or me her phone, or she or she plugs it in to charge in the corner of my bedroom. The rule includes not using her computer for socializing after that time as well — i.e. no instant messaging or Instagram on the computer. I asked her for ideas for consequences if she did not turn in the phone at the agreed upon time. Her first one was that if she breaks the rule, she would not have access to her phone for the entire following day. I responded “really?” — with a tone that implied that maybe that would be too harsh. And then, she quickly came up with something a little less harsh, “I can’t bring it to school the next day.” We agreed that made sense. Next, we started brainstorming ways she would succeed with the rule. I asked if she thought it would help her to put an alarm on her phone for the time that she is supposed to put it in my room. She said, “Yep, that makes sense, I will set it for five minutes before to help remind me.” Setting fair consequences, that our youth help set (when possible), is a gift we give our children. It is a lot easier to “check out” and just let kids and teens sort out for themselves what, when and how long they want to use screens. But, of course, that is not the solution. Frankly, that approach would prevent many kids from reaching short- and
4 Reasons to Take Your Teen to FAN EXPO in Toronto The Family Zone. This year, FAN EXPO is featuring its Family Zone, which offers the FAN EXPO experience to people of all ages. There is something the whole family can enjoy this year from August 22-25—taking part in the sorting hat ceremony, playing Quidditch, or watching a Knight Fight! The Zone will occupy 10,000 square feet of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and will be packed full of activities the entire family can enjoy. For a full list of activities, click here. The celebrity guests. John Travolta (Grease), Brendan Fraser (The Mummy), Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park), and Zachary Levi (Shazam!) will be among the guests at FAN EXPO this year. Meet and take a picture with your favourite star during their scheduled Photo Booth times! The shopping. Tons of retailers from all over pack into over 400,000 square feet for the ultimate shopping experience. Specializing in everything gaming, comics, anime, fantasy and horror, these vendors will have exactly what you’re looking for, whether it be DVDs, games, memorabilia or branded merchandise from your favourite series. The Artist Alley. A must-see at FAN EXPO, the Artist Alley showcases the people behind the scenes of your favourite comics and shows. Here you’ll find original art, up-and-coming comics and graphic novels, and limited edition prints! You can find new talent and seasoned pros in Artist Alley, so take your time going through the booths. There is something here for everyone and you never know what you might find.
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.
Carlos Bustamante's 5 Truths About Hollywood As a reporter on ET Canada, Carlos Bustamante is used to life in the spotlight. He’s had a front row seat to the glam life of Hollywood and has witnessed first-hand the making of stardom. That’s why he knows all too well that fame is not as simple as it seems. Behind every success story is not only years of struggle, but a team of people to manage everything from hair, makeup and publicity to being responsible for what comes next. What else he sees? Hollywood life is not all it’s cracked up to be, which is something he thinks every star-struck teen needs to understand. We sat down with Bustamante to chat about the realities of Hollywood and fame, and the messages he wants every teen to know. By Rachel Naud Your kids are still young but if they become interested in Hollywood glam, what will you tell them? They’ll understand how unreal a lot of what they see is. I have friends that are makeup artists and publicists that work with actors. There is a community of people that make a famous person famous. They will understand that. If they become obsessed with fame or want people to know who they are, they will understand that there is work that goes into becoming a top-rated movie star. You don’t just wake up one day and have someone discover you. More often than not, it comes from years of hard work, whether you want to be an actor or a musician. Behind every success story is one about a person working for decades before a big break finally came along and 100 more people that never got their big break. The main lesson I want them to learn is that if they choose a career that might end up in fame, their main focus should be their love for their craft. Because if they don’t have that, they’ll never be happy trying to make it. How do you think Instagram and other social media feeds have influenced the desire to be famous? I think social media has made fame accessible. Anyone can pick up a phone and record themselves. The possibility becomes so much closer to home. You don’t have to live in L.A. to make it big. But they still have to understand that the YouTubers who have the highest followers or have endorsement deals work every single day,