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10 ways to get your teen to enjoy active time just as much as screen time

When teens become inseparable from their screens they miss out on the feel-good benefits of being active. Screen time isn’t unhealthy but being inactive is. It’s about getting the balance right and finding what they enjoy, so being active becomes a positive habit they get into for life.

  1. Enjoying active apps

An easy win is realising that screen time can be active. Some of the most engaging gaming involves VR and AR. Your teen can run from zombies, capture creatures and dance their heart out. All in a virtual world where their whole body, and not just their thumbs, get a work out. The added bonus of augmented reality apps on their phone is that it gets them outdoors too.

  1. Mucking around with mates

Playing a casual game outdoors with a few friends can be as good a laugh as gaming online. Backyard cricket, Ultimate Frisbee, a kick around in the park or a game of handball brings out the banter and gets fresh air in their lungs. And kit wise you’re looking at finding them balls and dustbins rather than a bag of pro gear.

  1. Getting into working out

Personal fitness has become highly aspirational and the gym is the new place to meet. Your teen can do the 7-minute work out with mates or workout at the free gym in the park. They can take the odd class or get the fitness bug big time and get into CrossFit. Whatever their level, there’s a device or app that will help them track and motivate themselves to stay with it and get fit.

  1. Becoming a team player

Being active is one of the many feel-good benefits of being part of a competitive team. Having a common goal and supporting your teammates through the ups and downs of competition, creates friendships and bonds that last for life. And then there’s winning! Nothing matches that feeling. Footy, netball, cricket, volleyball – find a sport and local team that appeals to your teen and watch them run with it.

  1. Honing their solo skills

Taking up a one-on-one sport or hobby that hones their solo skills might appeal to your teen more than being on a team. Sports like cycling, skateboarding, table tennis, surfing and martial arts can be competitive or just for fun, and highly social or quietly meditative. Whatever your teen enjoys most. And these hobbies don’t have to be exy – you can get a decent second-hand bike or board for a bargain with a bit of online searching.

  1. Taking up active leisure

It’s easy for teens to get stuck in a rut doing the same leisure activities with friends: chatting in a café, hanging at a mate’s house watching YouTube. Inspire them with ideas of fun things they can do free or cheaply locally that are a bit different. Like wall-climbing, kite flying, even body boarding and snorkelling if you live on the coast.

  1. Gifting fun experiences

Some activity-based experiences are expensive, but they can make a great party or surprise birthday gift for your teen. From water-parks and adventure zip-wire to roller coasters and paintball. From winter ice-skating to ten-pin bowling and barefoot bowls. Experiences make memories and get everyone up and having fun.

  1. Travelling by foot or peddle-power

Bicycling or walking places, where it’s safe to do so, saves a packet on public transport and gives your teen a great reason to be active. Not having to wait for the bus, or ask you for a lift, gives them more independence and more money in their pocket. Two things in short supply for most teens.

  1. Getting your teen out and about

You’re not the only parent whose second job is being a chauffeur. Talk to the parents of your teen’s friends. See if you can get a roster going to get your kids to their sports venues or long distance one-off events. Sharing the load takes the weight off you and means your teen is more in the mood to go because they’re with their mates.

  1. Equipping via eBay, Gumtree and Facebook

Okay, so ponies and green fees can’t be found cheaply on the internet, but a lot of second hand equipment can be. A little searching and some clever bidding can have your teen sporting some awesome gear for tens not hundreds of dollars. Get your haggling head on and get your teen out there having fun!

Want to know more about raising teenagers in a digital age? Check out Technology and Teenagers on the ReachOut Parents.

Author Bio:

Annie Wylie is the Content Manager at ReachOut Parents. She has 5+ years of experience across the media and not-for-profit sectors, using her passion and expertise for achieving better outcomes for vulnerable communities to produce stories, resources and events that matter.

How to be an active dad

How to be an active dadSome Dads are hell busy with their work and can not or do not leave enough energy at the end of the day or week to spend quality time with their kids and important people in their life. They eventually put on weight and loose touch with a healthy life including spending time with people they love.

There are many Dads that can balance their work commitments. They maintain a fitness level so they can get out and enjoy everything that life has to offer and be the best version of a dad that they can be. Surely that is the better option?

To be an active dad, you need to ensure that you are leaving enough time in the week for you. As much as your work is important, so is your physical and mental health. Making sure that you allow time for this makes for a better time spent with your children, it makes for a better YOU.

The same scenario goes for when you are in the company of others. If you are tired or drained, you will not be able to give your 100%. But when you make yourself a priority in your life, your life becomes much more pleasurable and amazing. It’s important to ensure than you are taking care of your own needs. When you become the best version of yourself, your positive vibes spread like a wildfire to the people who are important to you. By doing this you are not only improving the lives of people around you, but also you are also maximizing your potential and happiness.

Some useful tips that help to make you an active dad:

  • Take your child out for a good walk, kick of the ball, fly a frizby, a bicycle ride
  • Make the time to do something your child love or something that gives your child joy and excitement.
  • Take out some time from your routine to relax. It doesn’t mean that you need long hours; even 20 minutes are enough to be relaxed.
  • Do yoga or meditation regularly. It will help strengthen your body and helps you feel better about your mood.
  • Exercise daily. Workout daily doesn’t mean that you need a gym membership and build a six-pack, but any small activity that makes your body moving is beneficial for you in staying active and fit.

When you are active you are more helpful to the people around you. When you prioritize your time and if you are able to spend the free time with your kids, you are actually creating memorable moments with your kids and taking a healthier part in their up bringing.

Self-care is not selfish – it is a commitment to yourself that makes you realize that if you want to be healthy and active with others you need to take better care of yourself.

Want your house to smell amazing?

Want your house to smell amazingWho has sweaty gym gear hanging around waiting to be washed, work boots, shoes, school bags, dogs, cats, rabbits, last nights stale food, yesterday beer smells, smelly drain or all of the above, then this video is for you… Its a good project to get the kids involved in. Let us know if you have another idea or if this worked for you? it did for us 🙂

Clip N Climb Melbourne

clip n climb melbourne staffNothing better than finding a good idea just became great! Well that is exactly what has happened to Indoor Rock Climbing. Move over because Clip N Climb has arrived and its  great fun 🙂

double timer wall clip n climbI went along with my daughter on a Saturday morning and we were happily surprised to find an indoor venue that was Part room clip n climbcolourful, adverturous, well organised, fun, unusual climbing walls, friendly, and with happy staff members. Initially i thought “is this a place for under 10 year olds”? there was a kids party going on in one of there party rooms and it was hard to hear anything over the screaming and singing but it was all good fun.

They have a briefing area outside of the main climb area, this dads and kids in clip n climb saftey briefingis where they take everyone who will be climbing through a safety briefing, It was conducted well and simple to understand for both children and adults.

I asked the staff members is it always this young? They said Saturday morning is but they tend to get older children (12+) and adults in the afternoons and also adults after work. They even cater for adult corporate team building events, school sports excursions and parties.

There is a cafe, the coffee was ok, they have snacks, drinks and ice-creams.

rotating wall clip n climbThe main difference with Clip N Climb is that you do not need someone standing at the bottom of the wall belaying you. You are connected the same way with a karabiners but your rope is through a retractable mechanism on the roof. It first there is the “trust” factor but it all works perfectly.

My daughter summed it up perfectly:

I loved it because my Dad gets to climb with me and we had lots of fun together, we even had a race on the double timer wall…I won! haha

safety first clip n climbSafety is a priority and everyone gets checked, even Dads 🙂 There are so many different styles of climbs that make you want to climb every one. They have “The Leap of Faith” OMG that’s an experience.

Check out there website for more details Clip N Climb a highly recommended activity to do with your kids.

Clip N Climb

44 Murphy Street, Richmond, Melbourne
03 9421 6600

coloured light wall clip n climbOpen hours

TUE – THU 10am – 7pm
FRI 10am – 8pm
SAT 9am – 8pm
SUN 9am – 7pm
School holidays
MON – THURS 9am – 9pm
FRI – SUN 9am – 10pm


I’ve never met a child who doesn’t wish they could fly

And now they can! I had the pleasure of visiting iFly DownUnder in Penrith, NSW last week and wow! What an experience!

Whether it is for Father’s Day, Christmas or your birthday, I’d be putting iFly on your wish list.

ifly kids 1iFly is a state of the art indoor skydiving facility that caters for all ages, with kids from as young as 3 being able to participate. Australia’s first indoor skydiving facility opened in Penrith just 3 months ago and five more sites are set to be open around the country in the near future with The Gold Coast being next on the list.

From the moment we arrived, the experience was phenomenal! The towering ‘wind tunnel’ was awe inspiring even from the outside. Even the staircase leading us to the top added to the anticipation with each step reading a thousand feet as we climbed. 1000ft, 2000ft, 3000ft, 4000ft.

ifly kids 2Right in front of us as we walked in was a huge 16ft wide glass tunnel with two of the more experienced instructors gracefully and effortlessly flying their bodies inside, flipping and somersaulting in the air. This show alone is worth the visit!

Something that really struck me about this place was the range of different people in the facility… Everyone from experienced award winning skydivers to 3 year olds, to adults 70 plus!

After we checked in we sat down to watch the other flyers until it was our turn for training. Gazing down into the depths of the tunnel invoked excitement and admittedly a little nervousness. As per usual all the kids were raring to go!

ifly kids 3After a short time our smiley instructor Tim called us into a room where we watched a short video about how to fly. Everything from hand signals to body position and a quick look at the gear we would be wearing was covered. The instructor took as through a practice session of our body position and we all got the thumbs up!

Now if you or your kids wear glasses, do not fear. They have special goggles that can go over the top so you can wear them for the flight. After hearing a few stories about people losing wedding rings and other bits and pieces in the tunnel, we took off all our loose items and stored them safely.

ifly kids 4The butterflies had kicked in as I strutted around in my suit but the kids were more excited than ever!

We walked single file into the holding chamber in the tunnel to take our places, but before we got started they invited all of us inside the huge tunnel to bounce around on the net and feel the air rush around us! Wow! The winds in this tunnel can be turned up to over 280km/hr!! For the more experienced fliers this is far more than a thrill ride, it’s a sport with ‘Bodyflight’ competitions being held all around the world with participant’s competing in many categories from artistic flying to ‘speed rounds’.

It was time…. We could hear and feel the wind increasing as we excitedly waited for our instructor Tim to gives us the nod. I launched into the tunnel with the help of Tim and started flying! Really flying! The first thing you notice is the strength of the wind and how it rushes all around you. The highly trained instructors never let you far from their grip and coach you all the way through with hand signals and extremely animated facial expressions. It’s actually surprisingly easy to get the hang of. Relax your body, chin up and smile!

Of course the kids were naturals which according to instructor Tim is common. iFly DownUnder even have a Junior iFlyer club with after school and weekend sessions for youngsters. If footy or dance lessons aren’t their thing, this very well could be! Bodyflight is a great way to keep kids active, improve coordination, build confidence and of course meet new friends!

They warned us as we arrived that flying is addictive and they were right! The feeling of effortlessly floating around inside the tunnel was incredible. In our last flight for the session the instructor cranked up the wind and whizzed us up to the top of the 13 metre tunnel and safely back to the net. For a moment you get to experience what would take hours of flying time to be able to accomplish alone.

Watching on as the other instructors spun and flipped and flew around the tunnel, it wasn’t surprising that so many become regular fliers.

Feeling euphoric as our session came to an end, we handed back our gear and high fived each other as we exited the tunnel. Looking through the photos and videos of our flights afterwards was hilarious. We never knew we could smile so wide!

We decided to stick around and grab a bite to eat while we watched the other flyers have their turns. Even the café there was amazing! UpRaw café supplies ultra-healthy foods that are delicious! No refined sugar is used in the café with a focus on healthy cooking techniques such as the intriguing ‘Air Fryer’ and the use of coconut oil. They of course offer Gluten free, lactose free and animal product free options.

iFly offers plenty of options for kid’s birthdays and other events with a focus on education and fun. This is definitely somewhere you want to check out.

Click here as iFly have specials running all the time and you can get all of the details here.

Thank you to Lex Stanley: Guest Dads Online writer and Skydiver.

STRIKE at anytime

Strike bowling friendly staff member

Whether its school holidays or you’re just looking for something to do with the kids, don’t look past Strike Bowling. Recently I visited Strike with my daughter and a couple of her friends.

We played a game of bowls, had lunch and then played Laser skirmish… they had so much fun 🙂 and the girls won both bowling and skirmish.

The minute we arrived we were greeted by a friendly staff member (that’s him in the photo) that didn’t seem to be annoyed by the girls not knowing there shoe size and he having to get a few different sizes to make a fit 🙂

We booked online as it gets pretty busy!  and we didn’t need to wait to long because the booking was in the system and all paid for, here is the link to the booking page, you just need to click on the  suburb you want to play and then click on “book a game” don’t to forget to check out there special offers in case its a better offer than just buying a straight game.

strike bowling laneWe played 1 game, had gourmet pizza and soft drink for lunch, they had a bit to choose from the menu but the girls chose pizza as they don’t eat it much. The girls chose to have the automatic pop-up lane rails come up when it was there turn so that it helped guide the bowl down the bowling lane.

It’s so exciting playing at a Strike venue, the lighting is awesome, they play great music and it just makes everyone feel happy.
Strike Bowling lounge areaWe had lunch in the lounge area, there was plenty of room to sit and relax and congratulate the winners. The pizza were really good, better than what we thought they would be. The staff members said they make them fresh out in the kitchen.

We had our names down for 1 game of Laser Skirmish too. A little scary, exciting and fun all wrapped up into one. The main question from the girls was “If we need to get out in a hurry, which exit we we go to?”
Strike Laser Skirmish

Laser Skirmish is a maze of corridors and rooms, its dark and you are either on the blue team or the green team (it was them against me of course) there is a pre-game briefing whereby the staff showed us exactly what to do and how to play. Skirmish was easy and very safe, you do get warmed up from running around. We ran around like crazy people laughing and screaming. It didn’t feel like we were playing a war game, it was more about tagging your opponent – when you hit them with your laser beam, there lights go out and you have to wait 6 seconds before you can play again, a little like “hide and seek”.
You are guaranteed to have a good time together 🙂
Strike Bowling

I highly recommend Strike Bowling as a place that will tick all your boxes.
Check out Strike Bowling for a location near you.

How to entertain the kids (cheaply) during the winter school holidays

collingwood childrens farmtop twelve tips from the nannies
School holidays often provide an excellent opportunity for dads to spend quality time with their children… nevertheless everyone can also go a little stir-crazy!

With their years of experience in entertaining children all day, the nannies (in-home childcarers) at Government-approved agency Placement Solutions have put together their top twelve tips to make the most of school holidays in Melbourne, without going broke.

All at free or affordable prices, the kids can explore their creative side at ArtPlay, Birrarung Marr (behind Federation Square). Funded by the City of Melbourne and other partners, the centre runs more than 300 workshops, events and performances each year with children working with professional artists. Ensure you book ahead for special programs or alternatively check out the ‘free stuff to explore’ such at the ArtPlay Backyard. The Centre caters for babies through to children aged up to 12 years of age; Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm.

Library at the Dock
This new Library in Docklands only opened on 31 May 14 and as part of the Melbourne Library Service, it supports gaming culture. Library at the Dock offers the latest games and consoles free to the public to experience and learn about the many aspects of gaming. From 13 June to 8 July on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11am to 1pm, the venue is hosting the 2014 Soccer World Cup Competition on PS4. Open to all ages, kids can get a team together, select their country and take part in this gaming challenge (and potentially win some prizes). Register online.

Your local library
Check out your library for its calendar of events – which are usually free – such as storytelling, book discussions, and even children’s theatre. In the city, State Library of Victoria is holding the free exhibition ‘Once upon a time: a world of children’s picture book art’ until 31 August 2014. See classic characters like Blinky Bill and the Magic Pudding, as well as fun favourites such as Miffy. The kids can view original drawings, dummy books and videos about the artworks to discover the magic behind creating illustrated stories then create their own story with a free activity booklet.

Belly Dancing at Fed Square
The whole family can shake their groove thing at The Atrium at Fed Square on the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 12.30 to 1pm. The free belly dancing lessons are led by professional instructor Trisnasari, no bookings are required and all ages are welcome.

Friday Night Fireworks at Docklands
Enjoy free music, entertainers and an incredible fireworks display at the Piazza at Docklands on 4 and 11 July. Festivities kick off at 6pm and the fireworks are at the family-friendly time of 7pm.

Child-friendly cafés
For the price of a coffee, enjoy some priceless relaxation at one of the many child-friendly cafés around Melbourne. Some of our nannies’ favourites include: Miss Marmalade, Brunswick – as well as amazing food and beverages, Miss Marmalade has a kids’ menu, small play area and baby change facilities; Little Tommy Tucker, Bentleigh – with a shelf full of toys and a kids’ menu, this is a popular spot for locals; Birdy Num Nums, Carlton North – the large, covered courtyard at the rear features a sandpit and a variety of toys; Lulabelle’s, Camberwell – this gorgeous pastry shop and café features giftwares, babywares, toys to entertain the kids, and change facilities.

Victorian Farmers’ Markets
Enjoy the fresh air and ambience at one of many Victorian Farmers’ Markets held each weekend at different locations around Melbourne. Usually requiring a gold coin donation, the markets are a great opportunity to buy fresh produce and often provide a free petting farm as well as other attractions for children.

MSO Family Jams
Anyone six years and over can jam with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) for free on 28 June at Federation Square. Bring your own instrument (or borrow one of MSO’s) and work together during the fun hour to develop an original piece of music. Each workshop culminates in a performance open to the general public. Bookings are necessary.

City Circle Tram
For a free tour of Melbourne city, the City Circle Tram is a convenient way to see the sights of central Melbourne and Docklands while experiencing a ride on the charming, heritage trams. An audio commentary provides details of city landmarks and major attractions and you can hop on and off as you like. Trams operate between 10am and 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday and between 10am and 9pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. No bookings are required.

Port of Melbourne Boat Tours
A free boat tour of the Port of Melbourne will exhilarate the kids as they see massive ships and cranes up close, and the port’s most historic facilities. The tours usually run on the last Sunday of each month so spaces are limited and bookings are required. Round-trip tours leave from Gem Pier in Williamstown and Victoria Harbour in Docklands and last from 60 to 90 minutes.

Collingwood Children’s Farm
Open every day, this is your child’s perfect opportunity to get up, close, and personal with a range of fuzzy, feathery and furry creatures. Just $16 for the entire family (two adults and up to four children), the kids can also see cows being milked and enjoy a picturesque setting at the Collingwood Children’s Farm in Abbotsford.

Heide Kitchen Gardens
The fifteen acres of spectacular gardens at Heide in Bulleen will give the kids plenty of space to run free and also learn about fresh produce through the amazing kitchen garden adjacent to the original farmhouse. The Gardens & Sculpture Park are open to the public and the kids can enjoy a range of free activities during the school holidays such as ‘Architecture Detective’ and ‘Art Detective’. Museum admission is free for children under 12; Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.

Placement Solutions is a Melbourne-based niche recruitment firm specialising in in-home childcare, also known as nannies and household management. The government-approved agency has been operating for 25 years and is a member of the International Nanny Association and the National In-home Childcare Association.


Simple DIY tasks to keep your bike on the road

bicycle ridesLet’s be real; maintenance is such an ugly word. Whether it be the lawnmower, gutters, chainsaw or pool, each weekend is consumed by something that needs to be maintained. While there are no shortcuts if you want things to be in perfect working order, there are simpler ways of making sure you don’t spend your leisurely weekend couped up in the shed. One apparatus you can apply these tips to is your trusty bicycle. Contrary to popular belief, you’re bike doesn’t demand hours of tinkering nor an expensive trip to the specialist every other week. By giving your two-wheeler a measly ten minutes of TLC every week, you’ll be saving yourself from trying to find a few hours (let’s face it: half a day) every couple of months. Assuming you are a regular rider, this simple DIY guide will encourage a long-lasting bicycle without extended downtime at the shop.

Washing Your Bike

You’re car gets the special treatment every month, clearing it of leaves, bird droppings and that coffee you accidently left on the roof. So why wouldn’t you do the same for your bike? Unlike a car, cleaning your bike doesn’t take nearly as long, and with the right tools, you can head back to that midday lifetime repeat in no time. While you can invest in a bike cleaning brush and a chain scrubber, a toothbrush works just as well to get into those hard-to-reach places. Strapped with a bottle of degreasing solvent, a hose and a rag, your bike should be as good as new in only a few minutes.

Lubricating Your Bike

In the world of bicycle maintenance, lubricant is your best friend. If you’re unsure of which sections need attention, a good rule of thumb is: If it moves, you need to lube it. Lubricant is a magical sticky potion that prevents your two-wheeler from becoming a victim of excessive wear, stiffening and rust. While lube is great, overdoing it will do as much damage as leaving it alone. If you’ve gotten too enthusiastic with the lubricant, wipe it away before it dries.

Assessing Your Tyres

Checking your tyres before you hit the road while decrease the likelihood of being stuck walking your bike roadside while a million cars zoom past. Before you jump on the seat and take off into the sunset check the surface tread and sidewall of the tyre ensuring there are no cuts, bulges or debris lodged in the rubber. If you do find any glass or nails piercing the rubber, you will need to replace the tube. Any specialty parts can be found at places like 99 Bikes, click here to view their range.

Evaluating Your Brakes

Newsflash: it’s not a good thing if you are dragging your feet along the ground to stop your bike. It’s an issue commonly ignored by the average rider that can be easily assessed and fixed. To do this, simply hop on your bike and give the levers a good squeeze to ensure it comes to a halt with stretching or fraying the brake cables. Then take a look at the brake pads. Are they hitting the rims evenly?  Any unevenness means you will need to replace them.

Avid riders, do you have any simple maintenance tips? Let us know in the comments below.

5 Ways to entertain kids at home

5 ways to entertain the kids at home

To keep the kids happy, there are many ways in which they can have fun at home. Entertainment at home costs nothing. It’s also a great way to encourage kids to have their friends over or if life has been hectic, some solo time may be just what is needed to recharge.

A sleep over or a play date

Having a friend for a sleep over is exciting! You can put mattresses on the floor to make it seem special or even pitch a small tent or make a cubby inside. Torches, dvds, food and make believe will make this fun entertainment. Children always play well together, so organise a play date at home and the kids will make their own. Having a couple of organised activities on hand might be a good idea too.


Baking in the kitchen

Kids are always interested in what goes on in the kitchen and love being ‘helpers’. They love to stir and add ingredients. This is an ideal form of entertainment no matter what their age.  Younger ones can have a go at stirring or can decorate cakes or cupcakes once iced. Older kids can measure and add ingredients. The end baked result can then be enjoyed by all!


A craft day

Always keep a box for collecting interesting things like plastic lids from jars, wooden ice block sticks, empty toilet rolls, scraps of material even if you have to cut up an old piece of clothing, old wrapping paper, etc.  This is a challenge that will make you look at everyday items very differently! Children love creating. This activity will encourage them to use their imagination. Make sure to have child friendly glue, sticky tape and coloured markers on hand. Their crafty treasures will then be displayed with pride.


Outside play

It doesn’t matter what the weather is like, kids love running around and playing outside. You could organise a scavenger hunt, where you hide items in secret places around the yard.  Give them the list of items to be found and listen to their squeals of delight as they find each item. A treat can be given as a reward for the child who finds the most items on the list. Playing on a trampoline or swing set will also give them endless entertainment.


Pool party

If you are fortunate enough to have a pool, this is a great way to entertain kids of all ages. For younger ones, parents may need to stay. Children love making up their own games in the pool or your could provide a selection of floating games such as pool volleyball, dive rings or other inflatable toys.  Make sure to supervise the pool antics at all times and make sure to have a good supply of food on hand. Swimming always makes kids hungry! 

The goal of entertaining kids at home is to tire them out! Children have so much energy! This is all part of their growth and they will develop through play which stimulates them mentally as well as physically. Let children be children while they can.  They may want to show you a performance they have choreographed themselves or you may hear them acting out childhood games.

3 Animated films that your kids will love

kids blue ray movie

Ah, the holidays. I remember when I used to look forward to the final toll of the school year, a piercing buzz that permeated every hall, vibrating in my head as I flew out of the gates. Freedom. As my niece dives into my movie collection, and fires up my LG Blu Ray I am reminded of this youthful enthusiasm and the loss of freedom. I am beginning to understand why adults slide down on the couch to watch Toy Story for the 12th time; the characters and in-jokes are the closest we’ll come to regaining our childhood. Sweet nostalgia. Sadly, Woody and Buzz are no longer a new deal (though they still seem to be a big deal), and there are new contenders entering an increasingly pixelated ring, re-defining the term animation. No longer cells drawn on slips of paper and flicked for fast motion, computers have rendered a new age of kidult entertainment.


Initially released in 2006, the story of Lightning McQueen has lasted the distance and beaten the field several times over, as young crowds are ever attracted to the charms and warmth of a smiling, red car. Radiator Springs is a peaceful town of community minded vehicles, going about their business and generally living life, McQueen wants to be someone else, somewhere else, representing youthful enthusiasm and the power of dreams. Striving for the Piston Cup, his ambition takes him and his mates (Mater, Sally and Doc) on an unforgettable adventure, where he experience a host of emotions and experiences that will change his core group forever. Masterfully written, the script appeals to kids and adults, loaded with humour and moral messages without saturating a good thing. And my patience.


A lesson in imagination and adventure, Epic follows the tale of a grieving teenager, as she struggles to come to grips with her Mum’s death and her Dad’s eccentricities. MK has never believed in her the hair-brained concepts of her father, preferring to believe he’s been taking too many happy pills than admitting to the likelihood of magical little people flying around on bird and insect-back, but oh wait, he’s right. Not only is MK confronted with their microscopic existence, she is literally shrunk down to their level and suddenly caught up in the ultimate adventure, a battle for life and light over darkness and death. Visually arresting, you’ll fall in love with Epic within the first five minutes. And my niece? The phrase again, again, again comes to mind.


The usual little guy faces impossible odds formula is rejuvenated by Turbo, a garden snail saga about speed, ambition and following your dreams, even when they seem ridiculously impossible. Theo is a garden snail, tiring of a life exceedingly ordinary, ill-suited to the slow pace of his community. After a series of random events, Theo becomes a social media sensation, attracting the notice of racing hero Guy Gagné. At the end of the movie, you’ll be pondering the dynamics of family, the preciousness of friends and the unpredictability of fate, as everything unravels and comes together unexpectedly (or expectedly, as it’s a Pixar movie).

What are some of your childhood favourites? Are you a Disney purist or Pixar enthusiast? Let us know in the comments below.

What if the kids want to cut their visit short

If there is something upsetting your child, it helps if you have a cooperative ex spouse. They can assist you with explaining to your child that we have agreed that there is time spend with both mum and dad and it is your time with your dad now.  If your ex is hostile, they will probably make the situation worse by sympathizing with your child.

Your response to your child is important when they say “I want to go back to mum house”.

I would start by asking “what is wrong” and lets talk about it and try and resolve it. If it is just because you have disciplined them for being naughty, then the conversation could be more “I understand your not happy because I told you off but going home to your mums is not the answer”.

You could say that that your mum and I have agreed that in times like these going home is not an option. If they persist, a response can be “Going home whenever we have an issue is not how we solve things, let talk about it and work it out.

Loosing your temper will not help, If you feel upset, just say we will talk about this in a little while when both of us have calmed down. If it is because your child misses their mother, then maybe a suggestion to call and say hello. It would never be ok for you to accuse your child of loving their mother more.  It is not about that, they will probably be young and just simply missing the other parent.

A walk or an activity can always be a good distraction, keep busy with a bike ride or get a basketball and shoot some baskets down at the local court? You might even suggest that next time they should bring a photo of their mother so they can have it on there shelf.

You could also provide an activity for them – to make something special for their mum. Bunnings kids activitiesBunnings have quiet a few children’s  activity classes for kids over the age of 5 and you must accompany them. It would be worth checking out your nearest store for their times and taking your child along to make something for their mum. You can see more information here

Try your best to be understanding and compassionate, nothing will get resolved if you stand firm and say you are staying here hail rain or shine. Planning in advance to have one of their friends over for a play can help or arranging to drop your child at their friends house for  couple of hours can make them feel happy and that you understand their life needs to continue as normal as possible. I bet when you pick them up they will be happy that you provided the play date.

If you know people in your neighborhood with similar aged kids, it might be worthwhile in getting to know them so that you can do joint activities. There is a great group called Single Parent Active Kids they organise activities for single parents (for both mums and dads) to get together with kids and share fun activities, definitely worth checking it out, I have a post on them here:

Making the most of school holidays

Torquay Back BeachSeptember School Holidays are a great time to get away, particularly the second week as everywhere is a little quieter. I first checked with my daughters mum that she didn’t have any existing plans.  It is never a problem unless there is something already locked into her calendar. Whenever I plan a trip away I always get in early with plenty of notice. I have also locked out a long weekend in February (not my normal weekend) but because I plan ahead and have given plenty of notice it’s not a problem,  I am also happy to reciprocate if requested.

These school holidays we have gone to Torquay in Victoria. Its on the west coast and known for its surfing, they hold the rip curl Easter surfing pro events at Bells Beach. I booked in advance the sea-view cabins at the Torquay foreshore caravan park. I booked online after seeing a friend’s Facebook posts that looked so good.
Torquay foreshore seaview cabinsWhen I arrived I found there were premium positioned cabins and then the other cabins. I was allocated to the “other” cabins. Still in the same area but not absolute beach front which is what I was expecting. There was also the promise of BBQ’s provided on each cabin balcony (as per the online photos), however, there were no BBQ’s…  I went to reception and queried this and they said they just took them off the balconies because of the rust and maintenance required?

They said we could use the communal BBQ’s? But there is a big difference in my mind between private and communal.

With all of this being a bit disappointing on our arrival, I chose to practice what I preach “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it” so I sucked it up and got onto having a good time – one on one with my daughter.

bike riding torquayWe brought our bicycles with us and rode along the beach track and into the main township. We also went for walks, lounged around watching TV and playing iPad Scrabble. I could not believe that my daughter was triple my word score until i caught her using the “best word” button 🙂

Torquay back beach cafeFound the best cafe located right on the back beach where each day we walked to get a latte and hot chocolate Mmmm.

The weather has been wild, I thought the roof was going to blow off from the high winds . On the first night, my daughter called out in the middle of the night to tell me she was scared (I don’t blame her, it was very loud). We have enjoyed the time together just stopping for a week and spending quality time without the pressures of work and busy schedule. Would recommend it to anyone.