Dr. Says Kids Need To Get Outside, Even During Extreme Cold

Pull on your big boy mittens

Dr. Says Kids Need To Get Outside, Even During Extreme Cold

kid in snow

How cold is too cold to send your children outside to play? A Toronto pediatrician claims that the public school board's policy to hold recess indoors when the temperature drops to a wind-chill factor of below –28C is a "terrible idea."

According to an article in the CBC, Dr. Dan Flanders thinks the health benefits of being active far outweigh the potential risks of exposure to the elements during the polar vortex.

"If you dress your kids up properly, if you dress them according to the weather, there really isn't much risk," said Dr. Flanders. "We know from the scientific literature that play and movement and physical activity is crucially important to kids' health and well-being that strikes me as quite a benefit."

The Toronto District School Board has also been known to cut recess short to 10-20 minutes during recent cold weather.

But Dr. Flanders slammed the effect of sedentary activity on our kids, who already spend far too much time in front of computers, TV, and video games.

"When you use the weather as a reason why kids should stay inside, it says something about whether it's a priority to them," said Dr. Flanders.

Of course, kids need to get fresh air, but many simply aren't properly dressed for the extreme coldand that is impossible for schools to guard against.

As commenter ArtSmith111 pointed out: "There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices." 

Do you keep your kids inside on really cold days? Are Canadians getting too soft when it comes to winter? 

The Birthday Cake To End All Birthday Cakes

Talk about having your cake and eating it

The Birthday Cake To End All Birthday Cakes

cake made to look like boy

You know those moms who go all bananas when it comes to baking birthday cakes? Yeah, well, I don't pretend to be that mom for a second. But after laying eyes on the masterpiece that a baker made for a boy's fourth birthday, we all might as well agree to throw away our cake pans now.

It wasn't Thomas the Tank Engine or Dora that made its way onto little Alfie's cake, but a life-sized chocolate sponge of . . . Alfie with his toy monkey.

According to an article in New York Daily, the 12-layered cake weighed—wait for it—28lbs, took 15 hours to put together, and cost a whopping $660!

"I couldn't believe how amazing the cake looked, and I just cried," said 23-year-old British mom, Chantelle Rose. "Alfie was so happy. He was just screaming and pointing, 'It's me, it's me, it's Alfie and monkey.'"

Pretty incredible, given the minor fact that the uber-talented baker, Lara Clarke, hadn't even met Alfie when she embarked on the project. 

The cake was so realistic, in fact, that when the time came to slice it up, guests were reluctant to scoff it. (Do you want half a head or an arm . . . ?) Some of the children at the party even demanded to know "why a little boy was sat on the table."

Amazing or amazingly creepy?

Dad Packs Wisdom and Inspiration On Napkin Notes

A reminder not to take things for granted

Dad Packs Wisdom and Inspiration On Napkin Notes

dad writes on napkins to daughter

When a dad started scrawling little notes on napkins in his kindergartener's lunch, he had no idea they would take on a life of their own. More than 700 napkins later, Garth Callaghan's little girl has grown up—and he got cancer. 

According to an article in Today, the notes to Emma began with symbols, since she couldn't yet read, and over time have evolved to include inspirational quotes of his own as well as those from the likes of Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and Dr. Seuss. 

Now in the eighth grade, Emma started penning a few notes of her own: for her 44-year-old dad, who has fought kidney cancer twice in a matter of years, and now has prostate cancer.

But he insists his story isn't about cancer "because any parent at any time could be hit by a car or have a heart attack. This is really about leaving a legacy so that she can understand some of my life philosophies and how much I love her.”

Just 40 notes shy of his goal of writing 826 napkins—one for every day until his daughter graduates from high school—Callaghan is all about following through with promises. 
The notes are safely kept on an indexed spreadsheet. And Emma's friends now count on the notes as much as she does.

"I love napkin notes for a couple reasons, not just the obvious ones such as knowing my dad is thinking about me or learning a new quotes,” she said. “I love them because they remind me not to take things for granted, because my dad started getting serious with them when he had cancer for the first time.”

A compilation of the napkins is available in a booklet via Kindle and Amazon.

As for Callaghan, he doesn't plan to give up his napkin habit any time soon. “I wrote an epilogue to it,” he said. “It basically implies that I expect to be around long enough to write my grandkids napkins notes.”
And he's not the only dad out there rocking the lunchbox notes...

Photo courtesy of Garth Callaghan