Make Eye Exams Part of Your Back-to-School Routine

provided by Hakim Optical

Notebooks and binders, pens and pencils, a new lunch box and backpack, a new outfit — the staples of a typical back-to-school shopping list.

However, one of the most important items to get your child ready to return to the classroom is often overlooked, and that is their eye health. To help identify — and potentially rectify — eyesight problems early, children should have their eyes examined annually, and there is no better time to have that exam done than right before a return to school.

“Poor eyesight can lead to serious academic challenges if left untreated,” says Bijan Minbashian, Vice President of Operations at Hakim Optical. “An annual eye exam will test your child for near- or far-sightedness, depth of vision, colour perception, eye coordination, lazy eye and focusing ability. This will help ensure they can see instructions written on the SmartBoard or vital information from their text books.”

The Canadian Association of Optometrists estimates that as many as a quarter of children have a learning difficulty that is related to vision challenges. When a child is straining his or her eyes in the classroom, it can lead to headaches, blurred vision, fatigue and eyestrain — and those are likely to be reflected on the report card as well.

Classroom eyesight problems can be compounded with the amount of schoolwork now being done using electronic devices. Children’s eyes are particularly sensitive to the blue light that emanates from tablets, smartphones and computer screens, and should be protected.

But it can be hard for parents to identify when their child may be having vision problems — sometimes the child isn’t aware that the way they are seeing the world is not the way it is supposed to be seen. The following warning signs that could indicate some correction is necessary:

  • Complaining of frequent headaches, eye pain or squinting/rubbing their eyes.
  • Issues with school, including paying attention during lessons or a sudden drop in grades.
  • Holding reading material close to their eyes or sitting close to computer or TV screens.

“If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, it could be a symptom of deteriorating eye health,” says Minbashian. “Please schedule an eye exam as soon as possible and help ensure your child’s vision is the best it can be.”

Founded in 1967 by Karim Hakimi in a makeshift laboratory in the dance hall of the former Elmwood Hotel on Elm Street in downtown Toronto, furnished with old equipment he rebuilt from a closed-down Chicago lab, Hakim Optical now has more than 160 showrooms and 120 one-hour factory outlets across Canada. By consistently offering value, selection and excellent customer service, Hakimi has turned a one-man operation into one of the most successful optical companies in Canada, with more than 40 million pairs of eyeglasses sold to date.

Join the Guardians of the Wild Scavenger Hunt at the Calgary Zoo!

Are you ready to share our conservation actions and pledge to take action in your daily life?

Are you ready to be a GUARDIAN OF THE WILD?

Introducing Guardians of the Wild, the Calgary Zoo’s new on-park program designed to share their conservation action stations and encourage you to take action to protect wildlife and wild places. This interactive program will help to enhance your zoo experience and inspire a visit to all corners of the park.

Here’s how the program will work:

  • They’ve designated 10 action stations throughout the zoo where you will be urged to take
    a pledge for wildlife.
  • These pledges are tied to simple actions that we can all take in our daily lives to make
    an impact.
  • For each pledge you learn about and visit, you will be given a unique code to that action
  • Once you have collected all 10 codes, or as many as you can, head over to the website and enter them for a chance to win galactic-size prizes including a trip for 2 to China to see giant pandas.
  • To help you navigate your way through the park, they’ve replaced all of the existing maps
    with new Action Maps that reflect this program (check it out below!)
  • When you are visiting and if you have more questions, stop by the Calgary Zoo’s Plan Your Visit booth near the main north entrance or check the website!
  • The program runs from July 4 – September 3 and the winners will be contacted by September 4. A full list of the rules and regulations is listed on the website.

The more stations you visit the more chances you have to win fabulous prizes, including a trip to China!

Prizes include:

  • Pollinator Yard Kit: Includes seed package, native plant nursery gift certificate, container pollinator garden, package of local honey, non-toxic lawn care package, permaculture garden tour.
  • Food and Fun Basket: Chocolate gift basket from a Rainforest Alliance certified partner, Cococo by Bernard Callebaut, Coffee from Kicking Horse, lemur puppet.
  • Refurbished Macbook Air sourced from GEEP.
  • Oceanwise Culinary Delight Package: Gift certificate(s) to experience local restaurants and food vendors that feature Oceanwise products.
  • Trip for 4 to the Burgess Shale in Field, BC including accommodations in Field, BC and guided hike.
  • Gift certificates for Forest school registration and MEC.
  • Camping gear package, oTENTik stay in Banff.
  • Columbia River Paddle trip for 4, plus accommodations in Radium, BC, and a rain barrel.
  • 4 tickets to Panda Breakfast.
  • One grand prize trip for two to China. Includes $4500 credit with a Tour Operator to cover flights, hotels, and a visit to Panda Base at Chengdu. Also includes $500 spending money.

Click on the map below to get started!

Stop Stampede Frowns Before They Start!

by Parenting Power

Plan First

Do a little planning before you head out. Decide what makes sense for your family and let your kids know the plan from the start; involve them in the planning if you can.

Junk Food

One corn dog, the works or somewhere in between? Decide now so that your kids don’t have to beg and you don’t have to argue.


What’s your spending limit? Are you paying for everything or will the kids need to use their allowance for games and souvenirs?This will make yes and no much easier in the heat of the moment.


How many are allowed? Which ones are off limits? Who is paying for them? How long are you willing to stand in line for that roller coaster anyway?

Home Time

Let the kids know the time you are leaving, give them a warning and then stick to what you say. If you know that you will cave when your kids beg to stay, just decide to stay without setting the limit – match your words and your actions. If you know that your kids will melt down at a certain time, GO HOME before then, please.

Too Rich For My Blood

There are often good money-saving deals to be had on tickets to grounds,, but if a trip is beyond your budget, choose other activities around the city that fit. Rather than saying, “We can’t afford it,” which may leave your kids wondering whether you can pay for groceries, say, “We’re choosing to spend our money differently this year.”


Ask your kids what they would do if they got lost. Don’t just tell them what to do, be sure that they can tell you. They need to know (or have with them) your contact info.

Teens on Their Own?

If you are worried about your kids being at Stampede on their own, go together and set short times for them to go off and meet back at a prearranged place and time. This will help them to learn responsibility and you to determine whether they are ready for more freedom next year.


Pick a curfew that makes sense for your child and your family. Discuss how the children will get home and what they can do if they run into a problem. When setting curfews, always discuss the consequence as well as the expectation. “When you are home on time, you are showing me that I can trust your word. If you are not home on time, you will not have the freedom to head out again until you have built up the trust again.”

Smartphone Etiquette

provided by Access to Culture

July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, and a great time to talk to your kids about Smartphone etiquette. What do they need to know?

Sharon Schweitzer, an international etiquette and modern manners expert, who is the founder of Access to Culture, offers these tips:

  • Avoid texting, talking and driving: If your kids are of driving age, this can never be said enough. Not only is it discourteous to others on the road, but it is also a safety hazard. Many cities and states have regulations prohibiting texting while driving; and a few allow talking with the use of a hands-free device. The National Safety Council website provides statistics on distracted driving and advises that even hands-free cell phone use leads to cognitive distraction and slower reaction times:
  • Observe silence in places of worship, cinemas, museums and libraries: Checking your phone or having it ring during a religious service—even if you don’t actually post or text—is a major faux pas and is quite inconsiderate of those around you. Traditional religious or holy sites and homes of the arts are places where there isn’t an exception to the rule. Mobile phones are off-limits. If you must check your phone, go outside and move at least 10 feet away from the building.
  • Avoid talking in a waiting room: When waiting for an appointment, the time may be spent completing forms, watching TV or quietly reading. Many medical and dental providers post signs prohibiting mobile phone calls, while allowing texting. Keep in mind that others in the room may have a serious condition, and someone else’s chatter can only add to the anxiety. If a phone call is urgent, step outside to avoid disturbing others.
  • Use a quiet voice in public: It goes without saying that shouting on the cell phone is rude, and even if the conversation is positive and exuberant those around you may not be so enthused. Modern manners experts recommend that you lower your voice, so others cannot hear your conversation. If the person on the other end has trouble hearing you, find a private place to continue the conversation.
  • No calls on public transportation: On public transportation, it may be crowded, hot and space may be at a premium. Passengers are often impatient and ready to get to their destination. The last thing they want to do is listen to a Chatty Cathy on the cell phone. Be mindful of those around you and keep cell phone usage to texting (with the sound off) while on public transit.
  • Be mindful of conversations: As juicy as it may be, no one wants to hear your best friend’s latest drama discussed in a loud, detailed conversation in public. Keep private conversations private; wait to take those calls when you’re at home in a space with no noise restrictions or public etiquette concerns.
  • Cross the street phone free: Even with protected crosswalks, it is imperative for pedestrians to pay attention when crossing the road in busy traffic. In the road there are distracted drivers (those phones again!), EMS and commuters bustling every which way – being on the phone while walking in the middle of the street only adds to the hazard. If you’re in a conversation, wait to cross until after you hang up, or put the person on “hold” or mute.

Canada Day in Calgary and the Foothills

O, Canada! There are events all over Calgary and the foothills region celebrating our beautiful country and the diverse people who call it home – why not pack up the kids and enjoy one of these great community festivals in your area? Don’t forget to stay up for the fireworks!

The City of Calgary and Partners Canada Day Celebrations
Join Canada’s 151st birthday celebrations taking place across downtown! There will be many fun, family-friendly, free events filled with music, dance, art and culture! The entertaining Indigenous Showcase is back on Prince’s Island Park, there will be a ‘One City, One Voice’ community sing-a-long at the Riverfront Stage, food trucks along Riverfront Avenue, a military showcase, Francophonie celebrations of food and music, a street fair in the East Village, and a multicultural celebration in Eau Claire (just to name a few!). Don’t forget that entrance to the National Music Centre is free on Canada Day, thanks to the support of Bell. As always, the evening will close with some great bands on the Riverfront Stage and the ENMAX Fireworks spectacular at 11pm! For the day’s schedule and full listing of Canada Day events with The City of Calgary and Partners, visit the website.

Celebrate Canada Day at Chestermere Lake
Celebrate Canada Day on the Lake! Start the celebrations with a free pancake breakfast in John Peake Park at 9am, followed by entertainment all day at the Pavilion Stage. Guests can also enjoy the bunny races, book sale, trading post, food trucks, and more! End the night with fireworks over the Lake. Check out the website for more information.

Airdrie Canada Day Celebration and Fireworks
Come celebrate Canada Day 2018 with Airdrie Parades and Fireworks! Airdrie’s favourite family-friendly summer celebration! Parade begins at 10am on Main Street, followed by the first ever Canada Day Street Festival! Fireworks begin at 10:45pm at Chinook Winds Park south of Yankee Valley Blvd. Bring the whole family and enjoy! Website.

Cochrane Canada Day Celebration and Fireworks
The Canada Day Community Celebration at Mitford Park. Cochrane Area Events Society is hosting a jam-packed family festival to celebrate, admission is free for the whole family. The celebration includes lots of fun for kids (petting zoo, pony rides, arrow tag, bouncy castle, mini golf and much more,) henna and sparkle tattoos, live multicultural entertainment and more! Fireworks display at 11pm. Website.

Canada Day at Spruce Meadows
Join for a variety of family-fun activities, a Rocky Mountain Symphony Concert, and amazing sport! Check out the website.

Canada Day at Fort Calgary
Enjoy family-friendly activities including free Fort Calgary scones for the first 1,000 guests, live music, kids’ crafts, circus performers, theatre games, a Fort Calgary artefact tent, the 3rd Annual Bow River Paddling Race, and more! All outdoor activities are free. Website.

Dominion Day/Canada Day at Heritage Park
Celebrate Canada Day the old-fashioned way! Enjoy a pancake breakfast, an old-fashioned parade down main street, mini chuckwagon races, family games, entertainment, and much more! Wear your red and white and celebrate Canada’s birthday! Website.

Canada Day Celebrations at the Calgary Corn Maze
Come on out for free pony rides and mining activities. Also, enjoy the farmyard animals in the petting zoo, train rides, zip lines, rope courses, and so much more! For more information, visit the website.

Canada Day at Calaway Park
Sunday Jul 1, 2018 at 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
There will be surprise giveaways at Calaway Park all day long! Join in for the fun. Website.

Canada Day at Eau Claire Market
Come celebrate Canada Day with a free all-day party at Eau Claire Market! There will be free ice cream (while supplies last), live entertainment, artisan market, children’s crafts, face painting, airbrush tattoos, petting zoo, magicians, and much more! Plus, for the adults, Garage Sports Bar will be hosting a licensed area with live music until 9pm. Website.

5th Annual Canada Day Block Party
Hosted by BassBus and MarketSpot YYC, the 5th Annual Canada Day Block Party is an all-ages celebration. The event boasts one of the best views of the Canada Day fireworks in Calgary, and will include Bassbus Live Music Stage, ft. headliner Justin Martin; Beer Garden (provided by Garage Sports Bar and Wildrose); Massive Local Vendor Market; Free Kids Activities (crafts, yoga, dance, and more!); and YYC Food Trucks! Website.

5 Ways to Make Sure You’re Road Trip Ready

With more than 5,000 kilometres of beauty from coast to coast, it’s no wonder many Canadians are such fans of summertime road trips. Whether you’re heading down to Nanton for some antiquing, or making the trek to Lake Louise, there are a few ways to ensure time spent on the road is a breeze.

“Hitting the road with your windows down and your favourite tunes on the radio is one of summer’s simplest pleasures, only enhanced by how beautiful our country’s landscapes are,” says Darryl Croft, automotive expert at OK Tire. “Before heading out, it is important that drivers are prepared in case of an emergency.”

A good place to help you prepare is OK Tire. OK Tire has been servicing Canadian auto owners since 1953, and what started as a group of individual tire retailers is now the largest independent tire and auto service retailer in Canada. There are over 300 independently owned locations coast to coast, and this continues to grow.

Here are five things to check before heading out on your next adventure:

  1. Vehicle maintenance. Your tires, brakes, steering and suspension should all be professionally checked to confirm they’re running smoothly. Poor performance from any of the above can spell danger when your trip calls for high speeds, bumpy roads or quick stops. The expertise of OK Tire’s auto specialists can help make sure your car is as safe as possible. They offer service, repair and name brand tires, allowing them to service and repair every part of your car. Their seasonal vehicle maintenance services include wheel alignment, ride control inspection, fluid and brake checks, and more.
  2. Have an emergency kit handy. Your kit should include: non-perishable food, bottled water, washer fluid, a spare tire, jumper cables, jack and tool kit, first aid supplies, flares, candles and matches or a lighter, flashlight, batteries and your cell phone charger. Keeping this small yet crucial kit with you could help to avoid a roadside disaster.
  3. Top up. Keep your eyes peeled for the next gas station when your fuel drops to one quarter full. Don’t risk unusually long distances between stations that may cause delays in your road trip plans because your vehicle can’t take you any further.
  4. Have a backup set of keys. How frustrating is it when you’re ready to leave the house and can’t find your keys? Now imagine that happening when you’re a hundred miles from home and can’t go anywhere. You will thank yourself later for this foresight.
  5. Have all necessary paperwork on hand. Keep your owner’s manual, registration, license and proof of insurance with you – and ensure they are valid for the length of your trip. If you don’t have your vehicle’s manual anymore, most automakers offer PDF versions online.

And while being cautious is an important part of road-tripping, so is having fun. What’s a road trip without plenty of drinks, snacks and music? OK Tire has created the perfect playlist packed with road-trip favourites to help make your journey that much more enjoyable. Prepare for the upcoming summer adventures with a visit to OK Tire today. You can find your local OK Tire location here.

What Do You Really Want for Mother’s Day?

by Parenting Power; photo:

Breakfast? Cards? Those are nice…but it’s possible that what you really wanted was for the snack dishes to make it into the dishwasher by themselves, the coats and shoes to make it off of the mudroom floor. or the toys in the toy box?

If that’s what you want, it is not too late. Moms often find themselves wishing daily that something would change (less back-talk, more respect). Now’s the time to use these tools and teach the change we want.

1. Know what needs to change.

How will the new behaviour look? Is it an action or a new piece of language (please and thank you?) Is it age-appropriate for your kids? Do you need to start with baby steps or can you go right to the new behaviour?

2. Create a plan with your kids

Share your vision: When I walk into the house, I want to see a clear floor with coats on hooks and shoes in their place. How can we make that happen? If you’ve got young kids that need help in figuring this out, work with them. Use their suggestions as kids tend to buy in more when they have made the suggestion.

3. Devise the cues

How will this happen? Will there be a new sign on the back door? Will you cue them as you pull into the driveway? Work together to find a respectful script for everyone, along with consequences. (Maybe no-one leaves the back hall until things are in their place).

You: Where do your shoes and coats need to go when you get inside?
Them: Coats on the hook, shoes on the mat – got it mom!

4. Plan the start and the check in

Confirm when they will get started and mark the calendar for a quick consult in a couple of days, just to see if anything needs to be re-jigged.

Change doesn’t have to be hard and it can make things a whole lot easier!

Hike for Hospice Calgary

On Sunday, May 6, come out and join Hike for Hospice Calgary! Fundraise for a worthy cause and help bring smiles back to the faces of grieving families. Groups, family members of all ages, and furry friends will go on an easy 5K walk through Fish Creek Provincial Park, followed by a complimentary BBQ lunch! Family-friendly activities include face painting, a photo booth, and the new Courage Wall. Registration is $10 per adult and free for children five and under. All funds raised go to support children, teens, and families coping with life-threatening illness, sudden, or expected death.

For over 35 years, Hospice Calgary has been a vital part of the community. Last year, Hospice Calgary helped over 2,800 children, teens, and families through critical illness and loss. Hospice Calgary operates two centres of care: Sage Centre and Rosedale Hospice. Their team of professionals provide individual, family and group support, workshops, and 24-hour end-of-life care. Grief is a difficult journey, and Hospice Calgary is there every step of the way, for as
long as they are needed. Be a hero for grieving children, teens, and families.

Sign up today for Hike for Hospice Calgary or make a donation at Find out the latest Hike for Hospice Calgary news by liking them on Facebook,, or following on Twitter, Calgary’s Child Magazine is a proud sponsor of Hike for Hospice Calgary.

Spring Break Event Roundup!

by Calgary’s Child Magazine; photo:

The kids are out of school – and that means they’ll be looking for stuff to do! Fortunately, there are tons of great activities, Easter events and drop-in programs all over the city (and beyond) to keep the little ones entertained! For more events, check out our calendar.

#COREeaster Egg Hunt
March 19 and 31; The Core Shopping Mall
It’s easy to join in the fun; retailers will hide plastic Easter eggs either in their stores or throughout the common areas of the shopping centre for shoppers to find. For all clues on your hunt, follow our Twitter and Instagram accounts on where the eggs are stashed. Clues will be sent out throughout the day, so make sure to check back! Inside each colourful egg you will find a prize voucher for exciting retailer prizes such as gift cards, swag, gift baskets and more that can be claimed either at the participating retailer’s cash register or Guest Services (located on level 3). Website.

Butterfield Acres Easter Hunts
March 24 – 25 and 30 – 31, 10am-3pm; Butterfield Acres
We’ll start off in the Birthday Barn listening to the Legend of the Easter Bunny! Once we hear what the Easter Bunny needs each of the children to do (he really appreciates their help!), then it’s off with our baskets to do his bidding with a special hunt. When the children find the items the Easter Bunny needs, they’ll carry them over in their baskets and send them down the tunnels to help the Easter Bunny get everything sorted to go to his Secret Workshop where they magically turn into Easter Eggs for all the girls and boys in the world. All the ‘kids’ then head in to the Prairie Palace to get their own spring planting underway with an Easter pot to take home, all planted, watered, and put into a plastic bag. Dress warm! Register ahead; this event is popular! Website. 

Easter at Bass Pro Shops 
March 24 – April 1; Bass Pro Shops
Get a free photo with the Easter Bunny and complete fun Easter crafts! On March 31st at 2pm, come and participate in an Easter Egg Hunt! (registration required, starts at 1:30pm!) Website.

Peppa Pig at Northland Village Mall
March 24, 11am-3pm; Northland Village Mall
Peppa Pig & her brother George are coming to Northland and want to meet you! Head to Centre Court to meet your favourite sibling duo. We’ll also have face painting, a balloon artist, colouring pages and more! The event is free, but we encourage you to bring a non-perishable food item for donation to The Calgary Food Bank. Website.

Mad Science Machines – Brixology with Lego Bricks
March 24, 1-2pm; 4807 8 Ave SE
This free class teaches children about the Engineering Design Process and mechanical engineering. Build, test, modify and re-test a drawing machine made with LEGO® bricks. Discover how simple machines including gears, wheels and axles, and levers are useful design tools for mechanical engineers. Limited Spaces. Registration is required. Taught by Mad Science of Southern Alberta. Brought to you by The Calgary Public Library. Website.

Fred Penner is Coming to Bragg Creek
March 24, 2-5pm; Bragg Creek Community Centre
A “must-see” multiple award winner and acclaimed family entertainer! Fred Penner is an icon of Canadian culture. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the website.

Earth Hour 2018: Calgary Unplugged
March 24, 7-9pm; St. Patrick’s Island
Go out and spend a fun off-the-grid evening with lots of other Calgarians! This fun and free evening will feature free hot chocolate, bike-powered music and lights, kids’ nature games, and lots more! Event-goers can bring a light, drum, costume, lantern or decorate their bike and take part in a procession to signal the beginning of Earth Hour. Website.

Come to Glenbow Ranch for a Star Night at the Park
March 24, 8-10pm; 255001 Glenbow Road Cochrane, AB
Do Something Memorable for Earth Hour! Join the Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Calgary Centre for a night of star and planet gazing! Telescopes will be provided for participants’ use, and there is a chance that one or two of Jupiter’s moons will be visible. As this is an outdoor event, don’t forget to layer and dress warmly! Accompanied kids are welcome. For more information, visit the website.

Family Easter Crafts and Cookies at Southland Leisure Centre
March 27, 9:30-11:30am; Southland Leisure Centre
There are two activity times: 9:30 to 11:30am & 6:30 to 8:30pm. Hope on down and make Easter crafts for your family and friends, and enjoy some light refreshments, too! For all ages plus an adult. Website.

Easter Eggstravaganza at the Calgary Zoo!
March 30-31, 9am-2pm; The Calgary Zoo
In partnership with Calgary’s Child Magazine. Enjoy two days of classic springtime fun at the Calgary Zoo. This year, the Zoo decided to spring into action for wildlife conservation! Kids of all ages will love the fun-filled family activities including face painting, sweet treats, bunny races, cookie decorating and more. All activities are free with regular admission. For more details on the egg-stra special family-friendly holiday event, visit the website.

Easter Egg Hunt for Dogs (And Their People!)
March 30, 9-11:30am; Calaway Park
Join in the fun and have your pooch sniff for dog treat filled eggs across Calaway Park’s south lawn at the 7th annual Easter Egg Hunt for Dogs in support of National Service Dogs on Good Friday, March 30. National Service Dogs is a non-profit, registered charity dedicated to enriching the quality of life and enhancing the independence of children and families living with autism and special needs. Website.

Easter at the Market
March 30-31, 10am-2pm; Calgary Farmers’ Market
Put a little spring in your step and join in the Easter festivities at the Calgary Farmers’ Market! Hop on over to the main stage and get your picture taken with the Easter Bunny and decorate an Easter cookie too (while supplies last). Cash or food donations for the Calgary Food Bank will be accepted to snap a bunny photo and to ensure no one goes hungry this Easter. Website.

Easter at Westbrook Mall
March 31, 12-4pm; Westbrook Mall
Come on down to Westbrook Mall and enjoy some Easter fun! Have your picture taken with the Easter Bunny and enjoy our petting zoo! Website.

Cineplex Family Favourites: Hop
March 31, 11am-1pm; Select Cineplex Theatres
Cineplex’s Family Favourites is a great way to enjoy a classic family movie at a great price! Admission is $2.99 per person, making this a great way to spend the weekend with the family crew. Participating Cineplex Theatres are Crowfoot Crossing, Sunridge, Chinook, and CrossIron Mills. Website.

Taste of Jamaica
March 31, 12-8pm; Thorncliffe Greenview Community Centre
Learn more about Jamaican culture at this year’s Taste of Jamaica! Enjoy a tasty serving of authentic Jamaican fare: think ackee and saltfish, fried plantains, jerk chicken and fried dumplings – included with the adult admission price. And check out live performances featuring reggae and gospel music and a children’s area with face painting and games. Adults $15; children $5; families $35. For more information, visit the website.

Easter Fun at Marlborough Mall
March 31, 1-4pm; Marlborough Mall
Hippity Hoppity, the Easter Bunny is on its way! Stop by Marlborough Mall and get a free 5 x 7 picture with the Easter Bunny. While you are there, participate in the Easter Egg Hunt, and don’t forget to stop by and visit all those cute barnyard animals at the Butterfield Acres Easter Petting Zoo! Website.

The Olate Dogs 
April 2, 7pm; Bert Church Live Theatre
The Olate Dogs are the winning participants from Season 7 of America’s Got Talent! Led by Richard Olate and his son Nicholas, the Olate Dogs are a high-energy, fast-paced canine theatrical act filled with amazing dog tricks, human acrobatics and humour. Website.

Vaisakhi Mela 2018
April 7, 1-6pm; #10, 7555 Falconridge Boulevard NE
The mission of this festival is to encourage all recognized multicultural associations representing their country to participate in the event through songs, dances, performances and activities! Bring the family. Website.

24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years

By Heather Cowie, The City of Calgary Recreation

It goes without saying that we want the best for our kids! As parents and caregivers, we try to do our best to navigate the messages, images, pressures, and expectations that come along with caring for a child, but it is not an easy task. As a long-time recreation professional and parent of a 19-year-old, I know how hard parenting is, and I am lucky enough to have help along the way!

These days, one of the messages we often hear is our kids are more sedentary than ever before. What does that mean? Well, can you believe that only 9 per cent of Canadian kids between the ages of 5 to 17 get the recommended 60 minutes of heart-pumping activity recommended each day? Think about that: only 9 per cent. That means that in a group of 10 children, only 1 child is getting enough physical activity each day!

Recently, ParticipACTION came out with the “Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (0 to 4 Years)” and split them into three important categories: Moving, Sleeping, and Sitting. What if we all started thinking about our days using these three categories? As parents and caregivers, we know that little ones need their sleep, and, let’s face it, so do parents! However, the amount of time spent moving versus sitting is a critical factor in growth and development. All people, of any age, cannot function properly without the right combination of sleeping, moving around, and sitting. It’s critical for us to be mindful of how much time is spent on each of these categories daily, and to teach our children healthy habits early on in life.

Although it can seem challenging, breaking up your child’s day to include more movement and active play is easy! Think about getting outside to your local playground or park, play or create movement-based activities at home, or access the many low cost and/or free activities throughout Calgary, many of which are listed in Calgary’s Child Magazine!

We all want the best for our kids, so let’s get them started on the right foot!

Check out this chart to see what guidelines are recommended for your child’s age:

Infants (less than 1 year old)

Being physically active several times in a variety of ways, particularly through interactive floor-based play; more is better. For those not yet mobile, this includes at least 30 minutes of tummy time spread throughout the day while awake. 14 to 17 hours for 0 to 3 month olds or

12 to 16 hours for 4 to 11 month olds of good quality sleep including naps.

Not being restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g., in a stroller or high chair).

Screen time is not recommended.

When sedentary, engaging in pursuits such as reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged.

Toddlers (1 to 2 years old) 

At least 180 minutes spent in a variety of physical activities at any intensity, including energetic play, spread throughout the day – more is better! 11 to 14 hours of good quality sleep, including naps, with consistent bedtimes and wake-up times. Not being restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g., in a stroller or high chair) or sitting for extended periods.

For those younger than 2 years, sedentary screen time is not recommended.

For those aged 2 years, sedentary screen time should be no more than 1 hour – less is better.

When sedentary, engaging in pursuits such as reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged.

Preschoolers (3 to 4 years old)

At least 180 minutes spent in a variety of physical activities at any intensity, including energetic play, spread throughout the day – more is better! 10 to 13 hours of good-quality sleep, including naps, with consistent bedtimes and wake-up times.


Not being restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g., in a stroller or car seat) or sitting for extended periods.

Sedentary screen time should be no more than 1 hour less is better.

When sedentary, engaging in pursuits such as reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged.

Heather proudly works for The City of Calgary Recreation Department and believes that together, we can impact activity levels of kids in this country.