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Dad Springfree Trampoline Slam

Who Says Dads Can’t Have Fun On A Trampoline?

Ever since having children I’ve wondered when the age will hit that I don’t feel like behaving like a child anymore. When I see the kids at the splash pad or out on the baseball diamond I instinctively want to join in on the fun, ignoring the fact that I may have lost a few steps.

While we were discussing the addition of a new trampoline from Springfree Trampoline Canada, I was mostly thinking about how much fun the kids and their friends would have but there was also a little piece of me that was excited to have a trampoline of my very own to jump on as well. Now, when I say a little piece of me, what I really mean is that I did all this for myself and the fact that the kids are having fun with it is a cute side note.

The trampoline couldn’t have come at a better time as I have really been lacking in the physical activity department lately and I’m pretty sure I have jumped on it every day since it arrived at our house. There’s just something about feeling like your flying that I can’t get enough of. Luckily for me, I have a beautiful young daughter who has been there to motivate me by reminding me daily to be careful because I am dangerously close to the suggested weight limit for the trampoline and she doesn’t want me to break it… Thanks, honey.

So, to all the dads out there who think the fun has to end just because we are getting older, I say get those shoes off and start jumping! In fact, hit the splash pad, shoot some hoops and play some tag with the kids, too. There’s no law that says we have to grow up at a certain speed. Have fun with your kids while your bones still allow it!

If you do happen to be in the market for the greatest trampoline on the planet, I’m also excited to announce that as a special offer just for you guys, if you order a trampoline from the Springfree Trampoline Canada website, you can use code SpringInto150YYZ4 to get a tgoma game system (RV $399.00) absolutely free! tgoma is an interactive Smart Play attachment for your Springfree trampoline that allows you to use jumping power to play different games, both educational and fun!

Disclosure: I was provided a Springfree Trampoline in exchange for my participation in this program.

Springfree Trampoline Basketball

With These Kids, Everything Is A Competition

Having never owned a trampoline, and knowing how competitive my kids are, I was curious to see how they would possibly find a way to compete against each other with our new trampoline from Springfree Trampoline Canada. In the first 5 minutes of jumping on the trampoline, they had already invented 3 new games and haven’t looked back since.

Making their lives a little easier was the fact that we ordered a few add-on accessories for our Springfree Trampoline, including an attachable basketball net and the tgoma interactive game system. The basketball net is pretty self explanatory and I have to admit that it has me bouncing on the trampoline more than I expected to. The tgoma, however, is a really neat device that has the kids laughing and jumping for hours so far.

The tgoma system is cool because it is controlled by four sensors on the Springfree mat which connect wirelessly via Bluetooth to a tablet. Using the body as the controller, the sensors track movement creating an outdoor interactive Smart Play experience. The games built into tgoma range from fun and educational for the kids to fitness programs for the adults.

Tgoma Springfree Trampoline

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking the same thing I was before we actually tested out the tgoma system, which is that we spend so much time trying to get the kids to put the technology away, so why would we encourage them to go outside and use it. My only response to this is that you have to try it to fully understand how great it is. Watching my kids jump on the trampoline while also solving math problems is amazing. It works multiple parts of their brain while also keeping them active and having fun all at the same time.

We’ve had the Springfree Trampoline for a couple of weeks now and not only is it the safest trampoline I’ve ever jumped on as a bigger guy, but my family has never been so active during the lazy days of summer. So, yes, the Springfree costs a little bit more than the average trampoline but the safety, longevity and quality you get out of them really makes it worth the investment.

All this said, I’m excited to announce that as a special offer just for you guys, if you order a trampoline from the Springfree Trampoline Canada website, you can use code SpringInto150YYZ4 to get a tgoma game system (RV $399.00) absolutely free!

Now if you’ll excuse me, my daughter challenged my to see who could do the most jumps in 5 minutes, which is something tgoma can track! Happy Jumping!!

Disclosure: I was provided a Springfree Trampoline in exchange for my participation in this program.

Springfree Trampoline Kids Jumping 2

Safely Jumping Our Way Into Summer With Springfree Trampoline Canada!

For years our children have begged us to get them a trampoline and their wish has finally come true. Thanks to the fine folks at Springfree Trampoline Canada, we are now the proud owners of their Large Oval trampoline and it has been battle-tested multiple times a day for the last two weeks!

What I love most about Springfree Trampoline is that they have gone out of their way to build the safest trampoline on the market. Take a look at these safety features:

No Springs – Springfree uses flexible composite rods instead of metal springs, eliminating pinch points that could trap feet and toes.
Flexible Safety Enclosure – cushions falls and places the jumpers back on the jumping surface.
SoftEdge™ Mat – Springfree has created a shock absorbent SoftEdge™ mat that eliminates any hard edges at the jumping surface and will absorb 30 times more impact than traditional padding.
Hidden Frame – Springfree Trampoline has a fame located well beneath the jumping surface where jumpers can’t hit it.
tgoma Game System – encourages one-at-a-time play that eliminates injuries associated with multiple jumpers. I’ll be talking more about this as the summer rolls on!

Outside of the obvious safety measures, the most refreshing part of having the trampoline is that the kids never want to sit around the house being lazy anymore. We had gotten into a rhythm lately of waking up in the mornings and spacing out in front of the television for an hour or so before going to school. Now the kids are up and jumping in their pyjamas before I can even remind them to brush their teeth!

Springfree Trampoline Kids Jumping 1

It’s truly been amazing to see how active this 13×8 contraption has made them and as a parent who’s children don’t like going to bed, the Springfree trampoline has been a lifesaver at getting them tired in the evenings. Daddy has even tried it out a few times but is getting dangerously close to the weight limit, if you know what I mean… Hopefully the trampoline will help shed a few of those extra pounds!

I’m also excited to announce that as a special offer just for you guys, if you order a trampoline from the Springfree Trampoline Canada website, you can use code SpringInto150YYZ4 to get a tgoma game system (RV $399.00) absolutely free! My next blog post will cover the tgoma game system and I know you are going to love having it with your trampoline!

I leave you with this video describing why the Springfree Trampoline costs more than traditional trampolines and you’ll see why it’s the safest choice out there today.

Disclosure: I was provided a Springfree Trampoline in exchange for my participation in this program.

City Ottawa Marketing Kids

Marketing To Children And What You Need To Know About It

It’s no secret that companies have been marketing to children for a long time. Television commercials, billboards and magazine print ads have long promoted unhealthy food and beverage choices for our children, making it hard to keep a lifestyle on track.

In fact, did you know that children view four to five food and beverage ads per hour. When you consider children watch on average two hours of television a day – the number of food and beverage ads viewed by our children adds up.

How are children and youth vulnerable to marketing?

Did You Know Ottawa Marketing Kids

Children believe what they see, especially at the younger ages. I’m going to warn you in advance that the following stats are a bit staggering.

• Before the age of five, most children can’t tell the difference between and ad and a television show. Marketers are getting smarter and making the commercials look more like tv shows.
• Before the age of eight, children are unlikely to know the reasons behind marketing.
• By the age of ten to twelve, children know that ads sell products, but they are often unable to judge an ad. Of all forms of marketing, youth in particular are vulnerable to digital marketing. It is viewed as entertainment, grabbing their focus and attention.
• Healthy habits start in childhood. Children learn about nutrition through the marketing of food and beverages. Unhealthy eating over the course of time is linked to multiple diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and stroke.
Marketing influences foods that children eat and that they ask their parents to buy. Marketing can influence kids to eat unhealthy foods. It also makes unhealthy foods seem “normal.”

Healthy Eating

When you add in the fact that a lot of our kids are watching YouTube on their iPads and computers nowadays, there is more reason than ever to be worried about the type of marketing they are being fed. Understanding that the state of marketing to our children is clearly a problem that needs to be looked at, here is what is being done in Canada and around the globe to help.

In Canada…
• The Canadian Federal government has committed to “introducing new restrictions on the commercial marketing of unhealthy food and beverages”.* Work has begun on improving food labels, reducing salt and eliminating trans-fats.
• Senator Nancy Greene Raine presented an Act to prohibit direct food and beverage marketing to children 13 and under. Specific instruction on labelling, packaging and advertising directed at children would also apply.
• Quebec is the only province to have banned commercial advertisement directed at children under 13. Results show that Quebec is the highest consumer of fruits and vegetables and has the lowest obesity rates for six to eleven year olds since making this change. Experts note that Quebec “has reduced fast food consumption by $88 million a year.”

Around the world…
• In 1991, Sweden banned ads to children 12 and under and banned mail ads for children younger than 16.
• In 1992, Norway banned television ads for children under 16 and banned all ads that could be seen to exploit the vulnerabilities of children.
• In the UK in 2006, ads for products high in fat, sugar and salt found in television shows for children ages four to 15 were banned.
• In 2011, the Spanish Parliament approved a law on Nutrition and Food Safety, which stated that kindergartens and schools should be free from advertising.
• In 2014, Brazil determined all ads directed at children under 12 to be “abusive”.
• In 2014, Mexico restricted television marketing to children and in movie theaters during the afternoon and weekends.

In short, the world is starting to take notice and has been taking steps to help protect our children from the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages. Now it’s your turn to share your thoughts on the subject.

What Can You Do To Help? Have Your Say!

Ottawa Public Health wants your opinion about marketing of food and beverages to children and youth. Complete this brief online survey to tell them what you think.

To be eligible, you need to be 16 years of age or older and live in the City of Ottawa. By completing the survey, you will help them better understand what people in the City of Ottawa think about marketing to children and youth. They are also accepting written briefs or submissions by email or mail. Please send your written response to: m2cy@ottawa.ca or contact name 100 Constellation drive, ON K2G 6K8.

*Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this program*

Summer Canonball

Summer Is Here & It’s Time To Get Outside!

“This post is sponsored by Bayer. To make sure these products are right for you, always read and follow the label.”

In the age of electronics, we’ve been pretty lucky when it comes to making sure our kids get enough outdoor time. Both kids ended up loving sports, which keeps them outside from morning until night and makes this dad a happy camper. I figure if the only downside to this is that they sometimes don’t want to come inside, that’s a trade-off I’ll take.

While we aren’t much of a classic outdoors family, with the camping and hiking and whatnot, we love spending time outside together. With that said, here are a few of our favourite summertime activities!

1. Baseball

Baseball Kid

I can’t tell you how happy I was when my son decided he wanted to try baseball as one of his activities. I played competitive fastball my entire youth and while I purposefully didn’t push my son into it, I’m excited that he discovered a love for it on his own. That means I get to coach, which also means I’m using muscles I hadn’t used in a looooong time. Luckily for me, I have discovered ALEVE® Back & Body Pain, because I’m not sure how else I’d be able to get through running up and down the baselines for 5 tournament games in one weekend!

2. Soccer

Girls soccer

While my son chose a sport I was familiar with, my daughter has gone in the opposite direction. As if 16 hours of gymnastics a week wasn’t enough, she also decided to excel at soccer. I will admit that when I was a kid the baseball kids were trained to dislike soccer, I really love watching her fly up and down the field like a bolt of lightning. It’s also kind of nice to not know anything about a sport because I can pay more attention to my daughter and worry less about the rules.

3. Glamping

KOA Family Cabin Camping

I mentioned earlier that we are not a campaign family, but that doesn’t mean we don’t hit a campground for the weekend on occasion. In our case, however, we choose to book a cabin at nearby KOAs so it feels like we are camping without the uncomfortable feeling of a deflated mattress at 2am! The only real downside to this is that my wife is an allergy sufferer and occasionally needs to pop one of her Claritin® Allergy tablets to get through the day’s events, but then we are back on track!

4. Water Fights

KOA Ivy Lea Wet Wagon Ride

Whether it’s just us with water balloons or the entire neighbourhood with water guns, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a good water fight! That is, as long as the people getting soaked know that they are in said water battle…

5. Trampolining

Trampoline Kid

We are officially a trampoline family now and I have never seen the kids want to be outside more in their lives. Seriously, they wake up and before I can remind them to brush their teeth they are outside jumping in their PJs. Even on the hottest days of summer so far they are out there, jumping and melting in the hot sun. You can imagine how eager they are to stop jumping to come and get their sunscreen on… Luckily we found the Coppertone® Sport Sunscreen Continuous Spray SPF 30 which not only gets them back on the trampoline in minutes but also handles the sweat with ease and holds its SPF for at least 80 minutes of activity.

There’s so much more we love to do in the summer but this covers the major items on our yearly checklist! How about you? I’d love to hear what your favourite summer activities are, so feel free to go ahead and leave them in the comment section!

Get Outside Bayer

“This post is sponsored by Bayer. To make sure these products are right for you, always read and follow the label.”

TownePlace Suites Business Centre

When A Hotel Turns Into A Gymnasium

Disclosure: TownePlace Suites hooked my family up with a stay while we were in Buffalo and certainly exceeded all expectations we had with such a large group.

We traveled to Buffalo last weekend to take part in our daughter’s 1st ever gymnastics competition. I haven’t written much about gymnastics on here yet but if the trend continues, you are going to be sick of hearing about it by the end of the year. We brought the whole Kanata Gymnosphere competitive team and crashed into the TownePlace Suites Buffalo Airport location like a hurricane!

I had tweeted a warning to TownePlace Suites ahead of our trip to make sure they understood what was about to happen and they assured me that they were ready for it. I saw round-offs, back handsprings, cartwheels, handstands and more as the weekend went on and could have sworn we were back at the gym as opposed to being at a hotel. True to their word, though, TownePlace was ready at every turn.

TownePlace Suites Tweet

I have to admit that at one point during our stay I realized I had become the annoying guest who always had a question or request for the front desk, but each time they handled my requests swiftly and with a smile. Even when the kids got a little loud and rambunctious in the lobby area, which may or may not have happened on a couple occasions, the staff were polite in asking them keep it down a bit.

There were so many memories made throughout the weekend that it’s hard for me to talk about all of them but here are a few of the highlights.

The Pool – Something I learned this weekend is that gymnasts are not allowed to go in the pool until after they have finished their competition. That meant for 2 full days the girls could only stare at the hotel pool and dream of how much fun it could be. I’m not sure what I was expecting but those kids hit the water as if they hadn’t swam in years. It was really fun to see their excitement.
The Business Center – Who knew that the TownePlace Suites business center was going to be the place the kids spent the most time in? The girls spent hours on the computers watching, what else, gymnastics videos! I mean, it’s technically the business they were there for, right??
Pizza Night! – I was tasked with ordering pizza for the group on our final night, which is well outside of my area of expertise. That said, I ordered WAAAAY too much pizza but ended up being able to pay the staff back for all my questions by sharing some pizza with them. I’m just going to pretent that was my plan all along…
Breakfast!!! – The breakfast area was my favourite spot in the hotel, for obvious reasons. Every morning, the breakfast nook opened and was filled with goodies such as cereal, fruit, yogurts and my personal favourite, waffles! In fact, I had tweeted to TPS a month before our arrival asking if they had waffles and upon our arrival at the hotel they handed me this note.

TownePlace Suites Waffles

It’s a small gesture but knowing that they cared enough to make our stay a little bit more special is something that will always keep me coming back. We had an amazing trip and can’t wait to see what next gymnastics season has in store for us. I also want to say a huge thank you to TownePlace Suites Buffalo Airport for making our stay a memorable one!

Oh, by the way, we also did some gymnastics while we were in Buffalo! Proud Dad Alert!!

Stumpfs Gymnastics

Chess Master Kid

Checkmate

Kids are funny creatures. Just when you think you know exactly who they are and what they are destined to be, they throw you a curveball that changes your entire view of them. Take my son, for instance. If you’d have asked me at the beginning of the school year I would have told you that he was an “all sports all the time” kind of kid who didn’t tend to express himself creatively very often.

As we close in on the end of the school year he still loves sports but he has also dabbled in things like writing stories, music, dance, YouTubing and most recently, playing chess. Chess is the one that was most surprising to me as we had never played it at home before, mostly because I never learned to play. He told me that he had joined the chess club at school and if I’m being perfectly honest the first thing that popped into my head was kids with suspenders, pocket protectors and tape on their glasses.

The truth, however, is that a lot of the sports kids had joined the chess club and I was really excited that my son decided to step out of his comfort zone to try something new. As it turns out this wasn’t just a weekly club that was getting together for fun to learn a new game, they actually had tryouts for the school team and my kid made it! They went to the city-wide school tournament and ended up placing second out of all the schools!

Chess Kid Medal

She was so happy for her brother for winning a chess medal!

He has since asked if he can enter a city-wide tournament where he wouldn’t know anybody, which is a huge step for him as a shy kid. I am excited to announce that he even managed to win a couple games at that tournament and finished a half point out of the medals! I know this sounds like a giant humble-brag post but this was a really big deal for him and I was so proud that he broke out of his comfort zone and did something that made him nervous. He proved to himself that he could do it and although he was disappointed that he didn’t win, I could tell that he was proud of his achievement. He has asked to try his luck at the next tournament and I couldn’t be more proud of my little Bobby Fischer in training!.

For the record, I didn’t expect him to win anything, especially considering he had just started playing chess a couple months earlier. I just wanted him to have a good experience and not for him to get crushed in every game he played. I think I did a great job of concealing my nerves while he was playing. This face looks totally natural, right??

Kids Playing Sports

How Much Is Too Much When It Comes To Kids Activities?

Dinner? Check! Water bottle? Check! Healthy snack? Check! Leotard? Check! Shorts that go over top of leotard or the whole outfit is ruined? Double Check! I quickly run over my list before picking up my daughter from school and rushing her to her 4:30 gymnastics class at Kanata Gymnosphere. We usually have about 20 minutes to eat dinner in the minivan, yes, I’m a proud minivan owner, and chat a little about our day before she has to get dressed for class.

This may sound chaotic to some parents, and admittedly it was at first, but it is normal routine for us now. To be perfectly honest I’ve grown to really enjoy that 20 minutes between school and gymnastics because we get a chance to talk, laugh and turn off life’s distractions for a little while. My daughter spends 16 hours a week at this gym so that one on one time before class starts is important for both of us.

I know what you’re probably thinking, “16 hours a week for a 6 year old?!? That’s crazy!!”, and I would have definitely agreed with you a year ago when we first walked into the gym. We started in a regular once a week class, which then jumped to 9 hours a week, then 12 and now 16. Every step of the way we hesitated, wondering if it was the right decision for our daughter. The thing is, she loves it, and she is really good at it. It also helps that the staff at Kanata Gymnosphere treat her like family from the minute she walks in until she leaves her session, and the focus, determination and discipline she has shown lets us know as parents that she is able to handle the workload.

All in all, between our daughter and son, we spend just over 20 hours a week at various organized activities and while the kids don’t ever complain about it, my wife and I definitely worry about the effects it could have on them, and ourselves. We keep a close eye on things such as the kids’ schoolwork, sleep patterns and general moods to make sure that the activities aren’t negatively affecting their day to day lives. It’s not just the kids we have to worry about either, as shuttling them all over the city and coordinating schedules for two working parents can be tricky and stressful as well, so we’ve had to be mindful of how this is affecting us as partners.

Kids Gymnastics Baseball

I’d love to sit here and act all-knowing but the truth is that I have no idea if we are doing the right thing for our kids by letting them spend so much time in extra-curricular activities. They don’t seem to be showing any signs of fatigue and their teachers have no complaints so we allow them to continue doing the things that bring them joy. We make sure to grab hold of any family/snuggle time we can get, eat dinners together when possible and talk to the kids a lot about how they are feeling. We’ve managed to strike a balance in there somewhere for the time being and hopefully we’ll fine tune it as time passes.

So, what’s the answer to the question of how much is too much when it comes to your child’s activities? I think the answer is that it depends on the child. Only you can know how your child reacts to different environments and workloads. What works for my kids may not necessarily work for yours, and that’s perfectly alright. As a former sports brat myself, my advice would be to let them experiment with new activities, gauge how they interact in them and talk to them about how they feel while doing it. Letting your children guide you as opposed to making the decisions for them is always a step in the right direction.

If you want to talk more about youth sports and activities, I’d love to hear from you in the comments or over on my Facebook page at facebook.com/canadiandad! Cheers!

Peekaboo Beans CTV

Add Some Style To Your Kids’ Lives With Peekaboo Beans

I’m not so old that I can’t remember a good chunk of my school days. When I look back at the pictures, however, there is one thing that is extremely clear. When it came to style, I was running a score in the negatives… It’d be easy for me to blame my parents for allowing me to leave the house in rags all the time but the truth is that my style didn’t get any better as I got older.

Now that our kids are both in school we have been trying to find clothes that not only match their personalities but that also are a little different than everything else out there. When Peekaboo Beans asked the kids if they wanted some new outfits to try out both of them gave a resounding yes and they were really excited when the package arrived. In true kids fashion, here is what happened when I asked them to sit still and pose nicely for a photo of their new outfits… If you look closely you can see his devilish smile through the blur.

Peekaboo Beans Blurry

We did eventually manage to calm down long enough for daddy to get a proper shot in front of the Christmas tree but, in the art of full disclosure, not without some bribery of milkshakes later in the afternoon… What? I never claimed to be perfect! Here’s the “real” photo, haha.

Peekaboo Beans Christmas

The kids loved the outfits, which can be found in the Peekaboo Beans Shop, and they arrived just in time for the kids to wear them in their 2nd ever TV appearance on CTV Morning Ottawa Live! It’s hard not to notice that they have been slowly stealing all my jobs from me and now they look better than I do too! Oh well, it’s tough to be mad at these cute, little faces. If you’re looking to add some style to your kids’ closets, you should definitely head over to the Peekaboo Beans website to see all the have to offer!

Peekaboo Beans CTV 2

OCR Academy

Why Do Kids Have To Climb Everything??

I’ve written previously about how I have to work extra hard to bury my inner helicopter parent and as my kids are getting older I am finding that fight gets harder every single day. One of my biggest triggers is with the kids’ constant need to climb everything they see, so in an effort to fight back against my brain I decided to take them to a controlled climbing environment by visiting the OCR Academy here in Ottawa.

I foolishly thought that by letting them climb things that were meant to be climbed, my mind would be at ease. I was wrong. I spent the first 20 minutes following closely behind the kids, not wanting them to do anything without me being right there as a safety blanket. As I watched them fly through the obstacles I started to realize that they could handle themselves just fine, and even the times they fell it wasn’t so bad. A funny thing happened when I started letting them do their own thing, I got to actually relax a little bit and really enjoyed watching them push their boundaries. Who knew? I even managed to get comfortable enough to shoot some video and have shared our experience below.

How about you? Do you still have helicopter blades hidden underneath your hat or are you perfectly okay letting your kids explore on their own? Let me know in the comments here or on our video!