Needing Ideas for Keeping the Kids Entertained?

With movie theatres, YMCA camps, libraries and schools being closed, are you having trouble thinking of positive ways of keeping your children entertained?

Get cooking

Yesterday was a perfect day to spend some time in the kitchen making St. Patrick’s Day cookies. Involve the children in measuring, mixing, cutting out the shapes and then the fun part of decorating and eating them.

Depending on the age of the child, let them use a crinkle chopper to help get vegetables ready for a salad, e.g., cucumber, hard-boiled eggs, etc. An older child could handle cutting potatoes and carrots.

Get outside

Going for a hike can be a fun thing to do – watching for birds or playing I Spy – while at the same time getting some fresh air and exercise. Or hide some new, inexpensive toys (or toys they may have forgotten about!) in the backyard, and then give the child clues as to whether they are getting hotter (closer) or colder (farther away) as they look behind bushes and trees. This could even be Easter Eggs with Easter approaching.

Get creative

Dig out some things to make crafts, for example – colourful wrapping paper, empty cardboard tubes, yarn, stickers, paints and more. Let the child decide what they will create.

Learn about the world

If you are concerned about your child missing school, a number of educational programs are being offered by virtual reality including a tour of The San Diego Zoo, The Great Wall of China, Yellowstone National Park, Hawaii’s Waikiki Beach and more. Activities that would normally not be free and for most, too far away.

Learn about how we’ve handled pandemics in the past

GroundedExperts recommend talking to small children about the virus if they ask, and then with the assurance that we are doing things like carefully washing our hands and staying home to stay healthy.

For older kids (grades 3-5), I have a novel Grounded and an activity book to go with it. It has lots of fun activities and older children can learn about how kids in the past lived through a pandemic. This might also be a time for learning about what life was like for their grandparents and great-grandparents, who will probably remember the polio pandemic.

If you are interested in my Grounded novel and activity book for your child or student, I am selling the kit for $20.00+shipping (no tax), as this is a particularly timely topic.

Keep well,

Shirley Hartung

The Ontario Vaccine Farm

I often went for walks when I visited my parents after they retired to Palmerston, a small town in southwestern Ontario. One day, shortly after their move, while out getting to know the town, I came across a historical plaque situated very close to their home. On reading the plaque, I was fascinated to discover that it was in honour of Dr. Alexander Stewart. a local physician. I had often heard my mother speak highly of this family and was interested to learn why the doctor was remembered in this way.

Canada was known as having played an important part in the area of vaccination production, Toronto ‘s Connaught Lab being highly respected in this field.  But I discovered that this expertise was not limited to the big cities, but had taken place right next door to my parents’ new home as Dr. Steward was the first to produce smallpox vaccine in Ontario when in 1885, he established the Ontario Vaccine Farm which originally consisted of a converted barn. There Dr. Stewart Stewart used government-approved methods for obtaining and processing vaccine from inoculated calves. This took place during the time that smallpox outbreaks were recurring. Large quantities were sold to local health boards to prevent further spread of the disease.

By 1907, some 22 years later, most of the vaccine used in Ontario was from American farms but Dr. Stewart had new plans which resulted in the construction of buildings that housed a  lab as well as an operating room.

After his death in 1911, Dr. H.B. Coleman continued the work for 5 years, until 1916, when it was turned over to the Antitoxin Lab at the University of Toronto.

I arrived back to my parents’ place, inspired and encouraged by how one person can make the world a better place by using his/her talents.

To learn more about the Connaught Lab and it’s work in the field of virology, get Grounded: Activity Book. Once you have it, go to page 27  to see how Connaught Lab was involved with the polio vaccine.