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Halifax’s Family Magazine ourchildrenmagazine.ca


Summer 2021


Healt h Welln & ess Nutr ition Book Revie ws


Spread your

Fly into the amazing world of one of nature’s more beautiful creatures in a giant INTERACTIVE MAZE that will have you discovering something new with every twist and turn. This larger-than-life, low touch adventure will guide you through the surprising challenges of being a caterpillar. But follow the right route, and you can morph into a beautiful butterfly.

Book your spot online! www.thediscoverycentre.ca

Our Children is about Your Children and we would love to tell Your Stories

Let us know what matters to you and your family as we plan our content for the 2021-22 school year. Send your ideas to Our Children Magazine Editor Crystal Murray Crystalmurray@advocateprinting.com

@nimbuspub or nimbus.ca



Words and art by Lori Doody

Words by Nancy Cohen Art by Carmen Mok

Baby Steps to Reading Carol McDougall and Shanda LaRamee-Jones

$12.95 | children’s picture book | ages 3–7 978-1-77108-935-7

$10.95 | baby board book | ages 0-2 978-1-77108-927-2

$14.95 | picture book | ages 0-2 978-1-77108-930-2



Day camp playbook Summer camps offer kids a little scheduled activity and inspiration





Summer 2021

Discovery Centre’s campers explore the wonders of STEAM


Into the wild



DEPARTMENTS 7 Editor’s note Flex the natural athlete in you

8 First bell Events, products, trends, and more

10 A Different Rooute Keep wellness simple: reimagining the health of girls

20 Nutrition Let them eat pizza

26 Kids adapt to a covid world Teaching kids to stay pandemic-safe without turning them into germophobes is a delicate balance for parents A place to learn and grow. Camp Believe is a summer haven for kids affected by a parent's mental illness

30 Book reviews Highlighting local authors and illustrators, Trevor J. Adams recommends books for kids


28 Health & Wellness

A great family camping experience is more about the right attitude than the right gear— what you need to know before you pitch the tent

Painting rocks lets kids make a whimsical contribution to their favourite pathways


On our cover Tic, Tac, Toe. Into the wild you go. Use our cover to tick all of boxes on your summer fun list. Photo: Illustrated by the Our Children team

Publisher Fred Fiander Editor in Chief Crystal Murray

Contributing Editors Trevor J. Adams Jodi DeLong

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Flex the natural athlete in you PHOTO: NORTHOVER PHOTOGRAPHY

Fuel your kids with the wonders of the great outdoors

Crystal Murray, Editor in Chief

Our Children Magazine

@OurChildrenMag www


crystalmurray@ advocateprinting.com


When I was a kid, self-esteem was never available to me in any amount of abundance– especially when it came to www organized sports. www


t wasn’t the proudest moment of my elementary school track and field day. I was tucked in under the bleachers peeling away curls of blue paint from the bottom of the seats above my head. I could hear my name being called for the event. Three times the speaker amplified my name as my classmates waited at the starting line of the 200-metre dash. Finally, the race started. I peeked out under the bleachers watching a flutter of prepubescent legs scramble to the finish, relieved that I had escaped the humiliation of possibly coming last but ashamed that I hid myself away. The memory of that Grade 5 field day came flooding back as I read Fawn Logan Young’s column for this issue (page 10). When I was a kid, self-esteem was never available to me in any amount of abundance— especially when it came to organized sports. It’s not that I wasn’t an active kid. I loved being outdoors and although I ran through the fields around our home, drove my bike all over town and played in the nearby creeks and ponds catching minnows and frogs, I never felt that I was or could be athletic. I was a young adult before I let go of that mindset and realized that my physical strength, my mental wellness, and in many cases, my purpose, came from my connection to nature. Athleticism has nothing to do with wearing a team jersey or winning medals, it’s how you participate in the game of life. Watching my own kids grow up I wonder if I would have had that same desire to connect with the nature that was outside my back door if I had grown up with an Xbox and Netflix. I've raised my family in rural Nova Scotia. There has never been a shortage of technology or access to online entertainment, although I wish I had been more diligent at limiting that exposure. But living minutes from the beach

I didn’t play organized sports in the summer but spent most of my days in the outdoors. Nine year old me making friends with a crab on a beach near my home in Pictou County.

in one direction and forest trails in the other, it wasn’t hard to get the kids outside. We always carved out time for a few summer camping trips to completely unplug and reconnect to something more meaningful: time as a family. It’s been a hard few weeks in our province, and especially in Halifax, as COVID-19 cases hit all-time highs. We were so close to making it through an entire school year without an interruption from the pandemic. I hope that you, your children and their teachers are all proud of the way everyone embraced the many changes to school life this past year. Don’t discount your hard work. Unfortunately, we are wrapping up the school year from home. It’s a tough one to swallow after all the effort to keep our children in the classroom, participating in their activities and engaging with their friends. The changes in our province have marshalled us all to the start of a new race. But we have been training and we know what we need to do to get to the finish line. We don’t have to be athletes; we just have to play by the rules. Then we all win. Stay safe, enjoy your summer, and see you in September! n




Our Children | Summer 2021

By Darrell Roberts

TAKE A FIELD TRIP FROM HOME COVID-19 has made rainy day activities like visiting Halifax’s museums far more difficult. The Nova Scotia Museum (which is comprised of several museums around Nova Scotia) has a myriad offerings to help your child feel like they’re on a real field trip. Your kids can practice saying Gaelic words and phrases and learn about the legend of the fairies in Gaelic culture. They can also listen to Roger Lewis, the Nova Scotia Museum Mi’kmaq cultural heritage coordinator, talk about the history of the Mi’kmaq and Mi’kmaw place names in a series of short videos. The Museum of Natural History has printable activity sheets and educational activities for kids (and adults) of all ages. Go for a walk in the park and bring one of their checklists to help you spot and identify various species of birds or trees. Embark on a scavenger hunt or investigate everyday objects using skills from archeology. Check out the Nova Scotia Museum blog for instructions on how to become a “museum maker.” Kids can learn about museum curation by collecting specimens and objects outside and from their own possessions. When they’re done, they can give you (or a friend or family member) a tour. The blog has a list of questions that will help your child think about the importance of preserving history. naturalhistory.novascotia. ca/learning-home

DISCOVER SOMETHING NEW This summer, shrink down to the size of a bug when you visit the Discovery Centre’s new exhibit Amazing Butterflies. Created by the Natural History Museum in London in collaboration with Minotaur Mazes, kids will navigate an interactive maze of giant leaves, grass, and trees as they learn about the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. While you’re at the centre, visit other exhibits focused on energy, health, flight, oceans, and more. Stuck at home? Check out the BiteSize Science and Discovery@ Home video series, originally developed at the beginning of the pandemic. These interactive science workshops include a list of required supplies (which can usually be found around the house), an instructional video, and a learning guide. These workshops range in topics from geology, to architecture, to music. thediscoverycentre.ca

LET YOUR IMAGINATION RUN AWAY Wonder’neath Art Society is a public studio space on Maynard Street in Halifax for both professional and amateur artists of all ages. Although the studio is currently closed to the public, the society is offering free art kits for pickup from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Saturday. Each kit is based on a specific theme. For example, a recent kit was called “Enchanted Painting” and included water colour paints and a paint-by-numbers print from artist Merle Harley. Although there is a specific project every week, the studio also encourages kids to use their imagination to make their own creations. For more information, find them on Facebook and Instagram or call 902-454-6860. n

5 great categories SUBARU & SALTSCAPES


Picture-Perfect Fishing Villages


All Fore for Nature

Watch for Subaru and Saltscapes 2021 Staycation Photo and Story Sharing Contest coming soon! Buying local and staycations are critical to our local economic recovery in this majestic region of Canada. We hope you are inspired with each Saltscapes issue including the annual Saltscapes 2021 Food & Travel Guide published in May this year.

Dancing Taste Buds

In summer 2021 we are delighted, once again, to invite Saltscapes readers and tourism partners across Atlantic Canada to create a “Well Worth the Drive” inventory of road trips. Simply by sharing your favourite photos and staycation stories you will have a chance to win fabulous prizes including the Subaru grand prize (a two year lease on a 2021 Subaru)!

Splish Splash

Visit saltscapes.com for details

The Local Libation Trail

Whether you are looking to spend a night or a summer, Hidden Hilltop Family Campground has something for everyone. There’s never been a better time to book your summer vacation. We have a great promotion for weekday camping. This special is available for 4 day reservations only from Sunday to Thursday.

Covid friendly daily activities, heated pool, petting zoo and much more.. For booking and information

1 866.662.3391 local 902.662.3391


Hidden Hilltop Family Campground 2600 Highway 4 Glenholme, Nova Scotia

Come join us Rain or Shine!




Keep wellness simple: reimagining the health of girls The healthy messages all girls need to hear

By Fawn Logan Young


few years ago, I had the opportunity to work with Halifax Regional Municipality Recreation to facilitate a few sessions at an afterschool program called Fit and Fab. At the time, the Canadian Health Measures Survey from Statistics Canada reported that kids are highly sedentary between 3 and 6 PM, also known as the After-School Time Period (ASTP). Additionally, reports by Canadian Women and Sports found that 1 in 3 girls stop participating in sports and physical activity before late adolescence. This is why a program like Fit and Fab came to fruition, to help promote physical activity among this vulnerable demographic. As I do with any of my facilitation sessions, I began by creating workshops from scratch to cater directly to the participants. I tried to put myself in the shoes of the girls I would be working with. I wanted to draw upon my own personal experiences from when I was a young girl and bring in my love for the outdoors.

Our Children | Summer 2021



Halifax Solid Waste Resources is offering free presentations & activities for schools via Microsoft Teams! Topics include: What Goes Where Composting Compost Scavenger Hunt Recycling BinGo Waste to rt xhiition Fit and Fab was an opportunity for girls to learn that connecting with nature and keeping active in the outdoors can be just as rewarding as organized sport.

There are three things I wish adults would have told me in my adolescence regarding my health:


 ealth does not necessarily correlate to weight. In North H America, young girls often get messaging from popular culture that extra body weight is bad. This stigma impacts the mental health of girls. When we relate this to physical activity, girls can become discouraged because weight loss has become the end goal, instead of the benefit of exercise itself.


 ufficient exercise does not need to be intense. I have met many S girls who have told me they get anxiety when they think about gym class. There seems to be the assumption among some young girls that if they are not athletic, physical activity is unattainable. We have failed young girls in some cases by not encouraging low impact activities, reassuring that sufficient exercise can be as simple as going for a walk. One does not need to run track or do the Beep Test to gain the benefits of physical activity, as often promoted.


 hysical and mental health are holistic, not binary. Yes, we often P hear that exercise can aid in the mental health of individuals; however, it is often talked about as if our physical and mental selves are separate.

Although these concepts might seem complex for young girls, I was able to get this messaging to them in a simple way through outdoor activities. In one session, we did a trail clean up. We discussed how important it is to keep our planet clean and that the same respect we show for it, we should for ourselves, physically

Contact us at: wasteless@halifax.ca




Our Children | Summer 2021

Physical activity does not need athleticism…Nature has the power to fulfill our holistic wellbeing

It’s no surprise: Summer is a prize... ...and you could win big with the TD Summer Reading Club at Halifax Public Libraries! Register and set your goal, June 15 through August 31: • • • •

Online at halifaxpubliclibraries.ca/kids By email at src@halifax.ca At any Library branch during open hours Or, by phone at 902-490-5753

and mentally. Another activity was a simple mindfulness walk we hiked in silence, listened, and then shared what we had heard. Many girls expressed the calming effect the walk had created. One participant shared how things that were once just sounds turned into music. Creating safe spaces outside for girls opens lines of communication. I was able to better understand their personal perceptions of health and to gain greater insight into how they maintain their health. I also had the opportunity to give them my own insight, as it was not long ago that I was in their shoes. What I had wished participants would take from these sessions was that physical activity does not need athleticism and that nature has the power to fulfill our holistic wellbeing. This message is simply meant to provide parents and teachers with insight, not to stoke further anxiety about childhood wellbeing. Simplifying the definition of exercise and utilizing nature’s gifts might be the key in creating spaces in which girls feel welcomed and confident enough to participate in physical activity. Fawn Logan-Young is a Haligonian currently studying at the University of Ottawa. She writes about nature, travel, and social phenomena. differentrooute.com n

Feedback www

Learn more and explore Summer Reading Club prizes, reading lists, and events at halifaxpubliclibraries.ca/kids.






Our Children | Summer 2021


Want to keep the kids active and inspired this summer?


p m a C y Da k o o b y a Pl By Talia Meade

t’s camp registration season once again and this summer, camps are operating slightly differently. Fear not, from singing to coding, there are still a variety of activities to keep the kids busy whether the camp experience is virtual or in the community. Although no one is sure how this summer will shape up, Nova Scotia Public Health released COVID-19 Day Camp Guidelines in February that camp organizers like Ryan Turner have been following. Turner runs Mad Science of the Maritimes and says that this year camps will be smaller than usual. He also noted that if restrictions tighten, virtual day camps might be a possibility. Last summer Mad Science offered shorter, virtual sessions. If they’re in demand again this year, Turner says that might be something he thinks about running. 

Communicating with parents about guidelines and updating them on plans when the time comes will be key since in-person camps are still dependent on case numbers staying low, Turner adds. Until then, there are plenty of at-home experiments to do on their website. The Maritime Dance Academy facilitated in-person summer camps last year and are planning to do the same again this year. Janice MacNeil who is the general manager of the dance school says that everything ran smoothly last summer despite it being their first time running a camp in the pandemic.  This year, MacNeil says they’re on track with registration and will continue answering questions about safety as well as pivot if they need to.  Read on for Our Children's roundup of virtual and in-person (pandemic permitting) day camps on offer this summer.





Discovery Centre: The Discovery Centre is putting on in-person one-day and week-long camps through July and August. They feature STEAM (Science Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) themed camps such as Curiosity Camp, Summer Science and EcoDiscovery. Mad Science of the Maritimes: Mad Science is offering two weeks of in-person camps this August. Camp themes in Halifax include, Flight Academy and Crazy Chemists where kids can experiment with aerodynamics and chemical reactions.

At Debate Camp kids learn the valuable skills of listening and presenting their ideas and opinions.



Future entrepreneurs at CEED Juniorperneur Camp last summer.


Stagecoach: Movie Musical and A Tribute to Disney’s Descendants are two musical theatre camps Stagecoach Halifax is putting on this summer in Bedford. Get ready for a full week of singing, dancing and, acting to your favourite movies. Upstage Studios: Kids age eight and up can take part in one-week camps, and perform in either Grease or The Wizard of Oz. Grease will be put on in July and The Wizard of Oz in August. These camps will be held at the North Woodside Recreation in Dartmouth. Maritime Dance Academy: The Maritime Dance Academy offers a range of camps from dance to theatre and musical theatre. They offer half-day, full-day, and week-long camps at their Bedford location.

CEED Juniorpreneur Camp: Juniorpreneur camp is facilitated by the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education & Development and offers Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Developing your Online Business youth camps. The Halifax camps are held in-person on Bayers Road. Debate Camp (virtual and in-person): Debate Camp will have in-person camps held at the Armbrae Academy in Halifax where your kids can learn debate skills at all levels and practice and compete with other campers. Debate Camp is also putting on virtual camp workshops all summer long through June to August. Artech (virtual): Artech is the Ultimate Creative Technology Camp specializing in Game Design, Animation and Computer Programming for youth audiences (ages seven to 19). The programs are now fully interactive and all virtual programs and teacher-led. Artech is based in Nova Scotia but is offered to kids virtually anywhere. 

Our Children | Summer 2021


YMCA: YMCA day camps go on all summer in Dartmouth and Halifax. With a variety of fun-filled activities each day including daily swimming and field trips around the community. Boys and Girls Club: From day camps to weeklong camps, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Halifax has you covered with camp themes ranging from mystery and spirit weeks to superhero and Olympic themes.  Sacred Heart School of Halifax: Sacred Heart offers a variety of in-person day camps from sports, to creative arts, music, languages and many more.  Halifax Parks and Recreation Programs: Summer camps will be offered in up to 12 locations throughout the municipality. Many camp activities will primarily be in an outside location with some inside. Day camps and dryland programs along with Indoor and Outdoor Pool and Beach programs throughout the summer. 

Summer Day camps are a great way for kids to unplug from technology, be active, make new friends and learn a little independence.



Sportball Atlantic (virtual and in-person): Sportball offers a range of non-competitive sports training for children 12 and under, with a variety of activities happening in parks and fields throughout the HRM this summer. They also stream online videos for children 16 months to 12 years old. Breakthrough Basketball: Breakthrough Basketball is holding its first three-day shooting camp in Halifax this July. The camp is co-ed and is coached by former NBA player, Eddie Robinson and teaches players from the foundations. It will be held at the Canada Games Centre. Waegwoltic Club: The Waegwoltic Club has sailing clubs for a variety of ages and skill levels, as well as day camps featuring aquatics and tennis. n

Feedback Sportball Atlantic designs programs that set kids up for a lifetime of active living, providing foundational skills in a variety of sports.












A great family camping experience is more about the right attitude than the right gear—what you need to know before you pitch the tent


arly Wurnig has strong memories of camping with her family while growing up. She remembers the sensory experience of being out in nature, and the fun that she had with her sister. She knew that she wanted her own kids to have that same experience. When her daughter Samantha was just four months old, Karly and her husband, Jerry, took her camping for the first time at Rissers Beach Provincial Park, on the South Shore near Bridgewater. They pitched their tent, set up a pack and play, bundled Samantha up, and stayed the night. Samantha is now four and is a bit of a camping veteran. Two-year-old brother Walter is right in step.

Karly’s kids are making the same kind of memories that she made while growing up. She cites moments like the first time her children roasted marshmallows, and their excitement about getting to eat outdoors. “They love having that freedom and that change from routine,” she explains. “It’s fun to watch them explore that.” This summer, as the pandemic continues to postpone most annual festivals and events, other outdoor activities are gaining traction in Nova Scotia. Karly belongs to the Camping in Nova Scotia Facebook group, where she sees ever-growing numbers of campers ask questions and share advice.

Our Children | Summer 2021

Left: Growing up with happy memories of summer camping. Two year old Samantha Wurnig roasts her first marshmallows with her Aunt.


Right: A hike with young children includes many stops. Samantha explores the brook on her adventure to Uisage Ban Falls in Cape Breton. Below: Learn to camp programs at Kejimkujik introduce all family members to the basics of camping.


Jan-Sebastian LaPierre is the president of A for Adventure, an organization that facilitates outdoor adventures for people of all ages. “We live in this absolutely incredible paradise for adventures,” he says. LaPierre believes that camping is a great way for people to recalibrate and connect with nature. He notes that getting outside has been shown to have a positive impact on sleeping cycles and mental health. He also believes that the outdoors provides a safe space for people to connect with each other. Karly agrees, but she knows how hard it can be to push yourself to go outside. “It’s so easy to default to inside and it is something that I challenge myself with,” says Karly. Although she enjoys relaxing on the couch and using her phone as much as anyone, it’s important to Karly that her kids understand the benefits of being outside. Nova Scotia is home to stunning provincial parks and campgrounds, with a few located around Halifax, making it easy for a quick night out under the stars or for the wary first-time camper who might get a boost of confidence not straying too far from conveniences. Sandra Fraser is the parks promotion and development officer for Nova Scotia Parks. She says that after the past year, people are looking for a change of scenery (and a break from their screens) now more than ever.


Oh, the places you’ll camp


Provincial parks with campgrounds near Halifax



Dollar Lake

• Just under an hour from Halifax • Unserviced campsites • Supervised beach

• Located just outside of Fall River and Grand Lake • Unserviced campsites • Unsupervised swimming

• Located outside Dartmouth • Serviced campsites • Unsupervised swimming


Laurie Park

Top: A quick trip from Halifax, Dollar Lake Provincial Park creates a quick connect to nature not far from the city.

Graves Island

Middle: No tent no problem. At Shubie Park you can sleep under the stars in one of the campground yurts.

• East of Chester • Serviced and unserviced campsites • Ocean views

Each park has a different variety of amenities and recreational opportunities. Fraser recommends checking the Nova Scotia Parks website to see what each park has available. Families should reserve their campsite before arriving at the park. Fraser says that Nova Scotia Parks are also in the process of making the parks more inclusive and accessible. Some parks have added Mobi-mats, roll-out mats designed to offer greater accessibility on soft soil areas. There are Mobi-mats in six parks so far: Rissers Beach, Clam Harbour Beach, Mira River, Heather Beach, Pomquet, and Melmerby Beach. Nova Scotia Parks is also in the process of creating more gender neutral and accessible restrooms at the parks. Since many campgrounds are in relatively remote areas, they can be difficult to access for people who don’t drive. Shubie Campground, located in Shubie Park, is just minutes from downtown Halifax and Dartmouth and can be accessed by bus. Kristi, the owner and operator of the campground, says that while the park has something to offer for all ages, it’s an especially “amazing” experience for kids and families. “Sleeping outside, breathing in that fresh air. There’s nothing more magical than sitting around a campfire with the fire blazing,” says Kristi.

Below: Everyone should be able to enjoy a day at the beach. National and provincial parks are becoming more accessible and inclusive. Roll out beach mats and adaptive chairs can transform the summer experience.



Our Children | Summer 2021 Learn to Camp workshops and activities can get you ready to camp with your family. Park guides give step by step instructions on how to set up a tent, a tarp and even start a campfire. Check park websites frequently as pandemic safety protocols are impacting program delivery.


At the campground

Preparing for camping LaPierre says that it’s a good idea to get kids excited about camping before the trip begins. He says that sharing videos and books about camping with children is a good way to show them what the experience will be like. He suggests setting a tent up in the living room or in the backyard for a campout at home before the real deal. “Make it as accessible as possible for you and for the kid,” LaPierre says. If you don’t have room to set up a tent­—or you don’t have a tent—some campgrounds (like Shubie Campground) offer yurts or other tent-like structures so that your family can experience sleeping outside without investing money in an expensive piece of equipment. Quality outdoor gear is notoriously expensive. “Try to stick with the basics,” advises Fraser. A tent, a cooler, a flashlight, and a stove is a good start. She says it’s a good idea to practice using equipment before your trip. Miah Acebedo is the owner and operator of Nova Camp, a local outdoor gear rental company. She is a second generation Filipino Canadian, they started Nova Camp to make outdoor adventures more accessible for people who don’t have the money or room for their own gear. “I feel like sometimes people feel the pressure to spend a lot of money when they don’t need to,” said Acebedo. Clients can book online, the gear is delivered to their door or the campground, and then they return the gear when the trip is over. This summer, they hope to have family-oriented packages. Acebedo says it’s a good idea to study the area where you plan to camp, and ensure you have a campground map. They recommend packing clothes for all types of weather, even if it’s the middle of summer. “And always, always, extra socks. Anytime I make a packing list, and write down socks like four times,” laughs Acebedo. Stick to the essentials—especially your first time out. Remember, camping is supposed to be relaxing. If you’re looking for a place to start, the Parks Canada website has a useful checklist to help you pack. “You don’t want to just pick up your life and bring it with you,” says Karly. “You want to pare down and just kind of have the bare minimum of what you need.”

Your first-time camping may not go entirely smoothly­­—and that’s OK! “Even if it goes badly, that doesn’t mean it will always go badly,” says Karly. “It just takes time to figure out what things you need and what works for your family.” Although camping can be challenging, you can also make memories that will last a lifetime. Karly remembers one night in the campground, when Samantha was only two. She was too restless to sleep in the tent. Instead, Karly let Samantha lay on her lap and fall asleep under the stars. “We’re usually inside by then,” said Karly. “That was really special.” n

Nova Scotia camping essentials c Tent Bedsheets/sleeping bag c Sleeping pad c Toys and books c Cooler c Flashlight c Batteries c Waterproof matches c Camping stove c Socks, socks, and more socks c Clothes for all kinds of weather c Insect repellent c Sunscreen c First aid kit c Non-perishable food Food tent or tarp (a place to eat if it rains) c Kitchen utensils c


Feedback www









Nutritious and delicious any way you slice it By Melanie Mosher


eciding what to have for meals each day and preparing them can become tedious. The task becomes more challenging with a picky eater. Rachel Waugh, a recent grad from MSVU’s school of Applied Human Nutrition who did her internship in pediatric dietetics, gives advice for dealing with fussy eaters. “Make food fun, be creative, recruit your child’s help, set a good example, and respect their appetites.” One sure-fire choice to incorporate all of these is pizza. Pizza provides endless possibilities to suit the entire family. It’s nutritious, providing room for the recommendations of Canada’s new 2019 food guide such as including lots of fruits and vegetables, eating protein, choosing whole grains, cooking more often, and eating with others. Pizza also includes all three

macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, fat. These scrumptious pies can accommodate diet modifications for food allergies and can be prepared to suit gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, low-carb, dairy-free, kosher, and diabetic needs. There is also breakfast pizza with scrambled eggs and bacon, dessert pizza loaded with colourful fruit and yogurt, and a hearty pizza soup for colder days. Gather the ingredients and the family. Make it an event to create your own pizza by picking the crust of choice, spreading a dollop of sauce, and adding your favourite veggies or meats. Children feel empowered when they can determine their own food choices. “Serving family-style meals where children can choose their own serving amounts and what foods they put on their plate can help foster independence,” says Waugh.

Our Children | Summer 2021

Add adventure by challenging each other to mix up the usual combinations or have a slice swap to try someone else’s favourite. Cooking together is a wonderful way to begin conversations, teach basic kitchen skills, and create memories. Finish the evening with a movie or game, replacing mealtime struggles with togetherness.

Hold the mu sh

s room

My first picture book, Fire Pie Trout, was inspired by pizza. Whenever I travelled to Yarmouth to see my grandparents, my grandfather and I would make pizza from a prepackaged kit. He called it fire pie which made me laugh every time. As a child, I had no idea the name alluded to the indigestion he would inevitably suffer. He did it anyway because it was our favourite thing to do. As an adult, I knew that sort of grandparent sacrifice was book worthy. In the story, young Grace, unable to bait the hook with a worm, catches a trout using a piece of pizza crust. When I go into the classroom to share my book with students, I hand out “build it yourself” pizza stickers as a souvenir of my visit. Once I had a girl give me back the sticker backing to dispose of and the tiny mushroom stickers were still on the paper. “You forgot the mushrooms,” I said. She shook her head and answering frankly, “I don’t like mushrooms.” “There just stickers and it’s a pretend pizza.” Her eyes opened wide and she stood firm. “I really, really don’t like mushrooms!” I nodded. I love a girl who knows what she wants and can articulate it clearly.

e g an

Try fruit fo rac h

Steps for turning pizza

Pizza Soup (4 servings): 1. Stir fry your favourite vegetables in a bit of oil until tender. Include onions, mushrooms, green, yellow, or red peppers (total 1.5 cup/375ml) 2. Pick your broth. Vegetable, chicken, beef (1 cup/250ml) 3. Add a can of crushed tomatoes, undrained. Season with dried basil, or oregano (total 1/2 tsp/2ml) 4. Toss in some of your favourite pizza toppings like pepperoni, cooked chicken, spinach, olives, hot peppers (total 1.5 cup/375ml) 5. Heat through 6. Ladle into oven proof bowls and sprinkle with your favourite shredded cheese and broil until cheese melts and is bubbly (1cup/250ml) 7. Serve with crusty bread or rolls




BASE yeast dough thin crust premade pizza dough cauliflower crust English muffins crackers naan bread

Our Children | Summer 2021

SAUCE TOPPINGS CHEESE EXTRAS tomatoe sauce pepperoni mozzarella oregano olive oil salami cheddar capers creamy garlic sauce ground beef provolone anise seeds donair sauce chicken goat cheese anchovies barbeque sauce bacon Havarti basil pesto sausage parmesan red pepper flakes Italian dressing ham Monterey jack caramelized onions scrambled eggs gorgonzola hummus tomatoes broth mushrooms green onion spinach, arugula croutons sweet peppers, hot peppers olives onions cookie dough cream cheese apple slices cinnamon sugar biscuit dough yogurt strawberries, blueberries, chocolate blackberries drizzle pineapple caramel sauce kiwi marshmallows apricot preserves chocolate chips walnuts, almond slivers n

“I’m impressed that this camp offers something that presumes the natural inquisitiveness of kids and empowers them” “A transformative week - especially for a beginner” “Our son came home every day excited to explain what he learned” “A venue where their intelligence is encouraged in a fun way”

JULY 26 - 30 AUGUST 9 - 13 AUGUST 16 - 20 debatecamp.com/halifax


R CKIN’ IT Paint some pebbles for your favourite pathways By Melanie Mosher


hat if hiking with your family could be more than a source of exercise, a chance to commune with nature, and a time to explore the county? What if it could be a source of creativity, a time to express imagination, and a chance to practise random acts of kindness? Summer is almost here, the days are getting longer, and temperatures are rising. It’s the perfect time to inhale deeply and revel in fresh air. It’s time to get back to walking outdoors and fortunately, Halifax and the surrounding area is blessed with abundant trails. Imagine this scene which occurred last Spring: The gravel crunches under footsteps. The wind rustles through the branches and the speckled shadows dance along the trail as bits of sunlight filter through the canopy of trees. Up ahead an excited voice calls back to her family, “Look! There’s another one.” A young girl, about eight, wiggles with glee, pointing at something at the base of an old spruce. Her brother, about ten, races to her side. Mom, pushing a stroller and holding the leash for the family dog finally makes her way



to the kids. They smile and hesitate. Then with a burst of new energy the girl rushes ahead in pursuit of the next gem. Further back, I witness the event and wipe a tear from my cheek for I know I created the treasures they seek. For me, it began last year, while under lockdown during the first wave of the pandemic. Being sent home from my job and the uncertainly of Covid-19 left me filled with anxiety. My usual coping mechanisms of writing and reading failed me. I couldn’t concentrate enough for either. Then I recalled a story of inspirational painted rocks being left along trails for others to find. Random-acts-of-kindness that might be enough to make a mother and her three children grin. “I can do that,” I said to myself. “I can paint rocks! I had available stones on my property, so I decided to paint a few. My artistic abilities are limited, but I like colour and there were simple ideas on the internet to guide me. The next day I filled my pockets and set off for my walk along the section of The Great Trail (formerly The Trans Canada Trail)


adjacent my yard. I hid the rocks along the path as I went. My heart grew like the Grinch on Christmas day as I placed each stone, immediately feeling better. The anticipation of someone finding the treasure gave me the mood boost I needed. Returning home, I couldn't wait to paint more rocks. The following day some of the rocks were gone, some were moved to new locations. Within a few weeks, there were others. I learned to recognize the styles of other painters, some with incredible artistic talent. Some, like me, just taking the chance for self-expression and spreading joy. Tickled with this new game, I continued even after returning to work. Recently, I discovered the Facebook page called Halifax Rocks where people who are doing this very thing all over the region are sharing pictures of their creations and discoveries. It has over 14,000 members! Why not start rockin’ with your family? Get outdoors, get moving, and spread the love.

Rockin’ Guidelines Have fun.

• Use your imagination, anything goes. Monsters, bugs, inspirational words, flowers, and abstract mixes of brush strokes and colour. • There are no age restrictions. A fabulous idea for all members of the family.

Express your creativity. • Choose rocks from responsible resources. Don’t take rocks from private property. • Be thoughtful when it comes to collecting rocks. Don’t hoard them. The idea is to share, so perhaps pick one up, admire it, and find a new spot to set it down.



Our Children | Summer 2021

• Keep in mind you’re painting rocks for those who find them, as well as, yourself. While this is an opportunity to teach empathy and reap the benefits of random-acts-of-kindness, a young artist may be disappointed to find their masterpiece gone on a return trip to the trail. If they’ve painted a rock they can’t bear to part with consider placing it in their own yard or on a window sill. • Take pictures and share publicly on social media if you chose, or do it anonymously, and inwardly cherish the warmth of a good deed. • Encourage extended family to participate and invite friends, too. • Most of all, get outside, enjoy the company and the fresh air. n




Kids adapt to a COVID world Teaching kids to stay pandemic-safe without turning them into germophobes is a delicate balance for parents By Ameeta Vohra


hen the pandemic hit, the everyday lives of our children changed immediately and drastically. Schools closed and classrooms became virtual. Sports teams, clubs, and countless other activities vanished. Public health restrictions ended visits with friends and sleepovers. Some parents wonder how the changes and rules are affecting children. Are they becoming germophobes and hypochondriacs? Dr. Laura Rosen, a psychologist and clinical practice leader at the IWK Health Centre, says the team at the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) clinic was expecting more demand for their services. “At the onset of the pandemic, we saw a drastic decrease in overall demand for treatment,” she says. “That decrease

in demand continued throughout the spring and most of the summer. Then, what happened was in the fall, we started to see a bit of an increase back to regular levels of what we would normally expect for our demand that time of year. Through the fall and winter, we’d seen a significant increase again in our demand over and above what we would normally see during those times of the year. It’s really across the board; there doesn't seem to be any one thing or any few things that we're seeing more of.” Additionally, Rosen says that the clinic has seen an increase in contamination-based cases and other types of OCD. “It’s not that we think it’s the pandemic that's created a new cohort of these new germophobes, but we’re seeing an increase in all types of OCD across the board as we moved into increased

Our Children | Summer 2021

“Whether or not they are aware of it, they’re watching and modelling their [parents’] behaviour all the time” demand across the board for mental health and addictions treatment,” she says. Rosen believes many factors contributed to the increasing number of cases during fall and winter. “It was very much a novelty for a while, and we were also entering that first phase of the pandemic as the weather was getting better, it was getting nicer outside, and people were able to spend more time outside,” she says. “When the fall and winter came, we were still in this pandemic state that I think a lot of people at the beginning never thought our restrictions would last as long as they have ... I know we're very lucky in Nova Scotia with what we are able to do, but it’s still different from what we've been used to during other times.” Parents have a big impact on how children feel and act, especially in exceptional circumstances like a pandemic. “Whether or not they are aware of it, they’re watching and modelling their [parents’] behaviour all the time,” Rosen says. “When kids are coming in from battling anxiety or OCD or the like, often there is a bit of family history. One of the things that we can talk to parents about is trying not to show some symptoms that they may be struggling with to their kids as much as possible, just knowing that your kids are watching and they are going to model your behaviour.” Rosen urges parents to watch kids of uncharacteristic behaviour. “A lot of what we see are kids starting to ask a lot of questions about ‘are my hands clean?’” she says. “‘Did I just touch something? Do I need to go wash my hands?’ We’re taking more precautions these days about keeping our hands clean and sanitized, more so than we would have before.” Complying with public health directives is ideal, but Rosen says parents should watch that kids aren’t going to unnecessary and unhealthy extremes. Several resources are available. One option is to contact the IWK Health Centre to schedule an appointment to speak with a mental health professional. “When we work with children and families in treatment, part of what the treatment for anxiety and OCD is reducing some of that reassurance and the accommodation that parents are often asked to do when their kids are reaching out because they’re worried about something,” Rosen says. “The idea behind the treatment is for kids to handle that distress that comes with the uncertainty of what the world is like. Everything is uncertain. It’s being able to feel more comfortable with that uncertainty.” n

• LEARN MORE Rosen recommends books like What To Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck and What To Do When You Worry So Much. Both books are by Dawn Huebner, a parent coach who has written 10 self-help books for kids. dawnhuebnerphd.com • Talking Back to OCD by John March and Christine Benton is another acclaimed self-help book, offering a practical eight-step program to help kids manage OCD. Find it on Amazon. • Anxiety Canada is a national charity aiming to share practical, evidence-based self-help resources. Find information and the free MindShift app on its website. anxietycanada.com.




A place to learn and grow Camp Believe is a summer haven for kids affected by a parent's mental illness By Jill Chappell


ach spring as students anticipate the arrival of long summer days in the sun, dozens of Nova Scotian children are anxiously awaiting their return to a place where they can be themselves and feel included. “I don’t feel different than anyone else there. And I have no stress or worries when I’m at camp,” says one happy camper. They're talking about Camp Believe, a weeklong overnight camp for children aged 10 to 18 who are impacted by a parent or guardian’s mental illness. An initiative of the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, in partnership with Brigadoon Village, the camp is in the Annapolis Valley on Lake Aylesford. The fiveday getaway allows children to connect with others from similar family experiences while reaping the mental health benefits of nature and the summer camp experience. “Camp is this magical bubble away from what makes the real world hard,” says Brigadoon Village summer director Tiffany MacInnes. “It presents meaningful opportunities for campers to work on things that are difficult and allows them to see what they’re actually capable of back home.” Camp Believe provides inclusive programming, customized to meet the needs and interests of each camper. Activities include visual and performing arts, wilderness and environmental education, indoor and outdoor cooking, swimming and boating, and leadership challenges with a focus on mental health. “Mental illness doesn’t occur in isolation; it affects the entire family,” says Starr Cunningham, president and CEO of the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia. “Parents and guardians who live with mental disorders can experience a lot of stress and guilt about how their illness impacts their children. On the flip side, children have a lot of questions and concerns related to their neurodiverse family lifestyle. Camp Believe is place where families can get the support they need to thrive in everyday life.” During their week away from home, campers discuss their parent/guardian’s mental illness, learn about mental health, and develop coping skills. Once campers take part in these discussions and skill-

Camp Believe connects children who have similar family experiences.

development sessions, they gain a better understanding of who they are, separate from their parents' diagnoses. “She was able to talk openly with other campers about her mental illness and her home life without needing to explain everything,” says one parent. “The other campers understand and are dealing with the same things.” The impact of Camp Believe is incredible. The majority of campers leave with new coping strategies they use on a regular basis. Many are more open and comfortable talking about their parent’s illness and life situation. Ninety-two per cent of campers say they feel better about themselves upon leaving and 80% show more confidence and independence. “Our approach at camp is really positive reinforcement. We focus on pointing out the good choices they make and emphasizing their strengths,” says MacInnes. “The goal is for campers to leave having more positive words to describe themselves than before they arrived.” Mental illness does not discriminate. It impacts people of all ages, genders, races, and economic backgrounds. For parents and guardians who live with mental disorders, there is often an underlying worry about the impact on their children. Camp Believe helps address those concerns by helping children develop important life skills, character, and meaningful relationships that contribute to their continued growth and success. “He’s been able to stay

Our Children | Summer 2021

Finding a new passion and developing new skills helps to separate children from their parents mental health diagnosis.

home alone which he refused to do this before this summer,” says a parent. “He is also participating in youth group. He still shuts down, but will request alone time, and then return and discuss afterwards. He’s been more open to discussing therapies and coping strategies. Camp Believe has been healing, provided growth, encouragement, and fun.” Camp Believe also helps children manage their own mental health problems in healthy, constructive ways. Counsellors and staff work with campers to develop new ways to deal with difficult emotions and techniques to help with the unique challenges they face having a loved one who lives with mental illness. “She’s a people person but it takes her a long time to feel comfortable enough to open up,” says another parent. “Camp has proven so beneficial for her. She opened up and let people in. She has been much more independent—remembering to do her chores without reminders. She has managed an anxiety attack almost entirely on her own since coming home from camp!” The feedback from campers and parents is overwhelmingly positive. Campers return home with new friends and lifelong memories. Of the youth who attend Camp Believe, 100% hope to return the following summer and would recommend it to someone else. “When I got there, I instantly felt safe and it felt very homey,” says another camper. “All the staff were so nice. I’m so glad I had the chance to go to Camp Believe. It made me more confident and it was so much fun!”


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Camp Believe is scheduled to run from July 25 to 30, 2021. For more information or to register, visit mentalhealthns.ca/camp-believe. Jill Chappell is the marketing and communications lead for the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia. She is a regular contributor to Our Children and Senior Living, and previously worked as anchor/producer at Global Halifax and CTV Atlantic. When the laptop closes, Jill loves to get outdoors: hiking, biking, swimming, and making the most of Canada’s Ocean Playground with her husband and twin boys. n

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We keep kids hoppin’! You’ll never hear the words, ‘I’m bored!’ at White Point. We keep kids of all ages busy – from their stack of pancakes to the evening bonfire. And kudos to our recreation team for their creativity and dedication to keeping kids happy and safe – from the pool to the Boathouse. Come for daily activities, crafts, tennis, swimming, and of course... bunnies!

Live nightly entertainment for big kids! 1.800.565.5068 whitepoint.com



Our Children | Summer 2021

By Trevor J. Adams

Ancient Black Civilizations Matter By Procopius Canning Perusine Press Age 8 to 12

"Sort of like Wakanda, only real!" promises this book, sharing the true-life stories of ancient Black civilizations. Young readers will discover the ancient kingdom of Numidia and King Jugurtha, who battled the Roman empire to a standstill. They'll learn about ancient sub-Saharan Africa, where wild beasts were collected for gladiatorial games and the locals supposedly had magical powers. They'll explore art from antiquity, and travel to the Kushite Kingdom that once ruled Egypt. With brisk storytelling and a solid factual foundation, author Procopius Canning introduces readers to a new world of history.

Flash and Gleam

Who is Ana Dalt?

Genny Faces the Green Knight

By Sue Fliess Illustrated by Khoa Le Millbrook Press Age 5 to 8

By B.D. Cottleston Illustrated by Marcin Piwowarski Flowerpot Press Age 5 to 8

By Darrel Gregory Illustrated by Lizette Duvenage Friesen Press Age 5 to 8

From the soft glow of a candle, to the blink of a firefly, to an explosion of fireworks: light is all around us. With lyrical, evocative writing, author Sue Fliess takes young readers on an ethereal tour of the world around them, guided by four curious children. Khoa Le's colourful illustrations illuminate the journey, dreamily complementing Fliess's elegantly sparse text. This book will have particular appeal for daydreamy young artists.

Kids learn early that life is full of inexplicable rules, age an arbitrary barrier to their hedonistic pursuits. In this quirky, clever story, our young protagonist wonders about the oft-evoked and never seen person who enjoys so many privileges. "Why are some things just for Ana Dalt?" she wonders. "When we're watching TV and a scary movie is starting, you can be pretty sure that's the time I'm departing. 'This is for Ana Dalt!' is what's always said." Artist Marcin Piwowarski's energetic illustrations sock home the story, vividly and comedically depicting childhood indignation.

The first book in the Genny and Bug’s Big Adventures series, this is a fantastical tale of courage, resilience, empathy, and emotional regulation—all useful traits for children to explore, particularly mid-pandemic. Drawing on his vast experience coaching young athletes, author Darrel Gregory strives to create a classically-styled fairy tale, with the hero undergoing tests and trials. Young readers will enjoy the thrill of adventure, while meaningfully exploring how people carry on and stay true to their values when the going is tough and the outcome uncertain.

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Our Children Summer 2021  

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