Monday, December 13, 2010

Season's Greetings!

Season's Greetings
We would like to wish you a happy holiday season and extend our best wishes to you and your family in the new year.

The Dynamix Team

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Safeguard kids against cyber-bullying

Posted by: Mitch Zeltzer

Whether for homework or chatting with friends, kids spend a lot of time online.  Chatting and messaging friends can be fun, but it can quickly turn ugly when kids encounter cyber-bullies.

One Possible Solution: Encourage real interaction with outdoor play!

Many kids today spend endless hours glued to the television or their computers. Why not encourage them to power off their electronics and go play outside. Whether it is the summer or winter kids can play outside, they only need to dressed appropriately. They can play many games that can include little to no equipment. (visit our website,, and sign up for our monthly newsletter for a new game idea every month!!)

Naturally this won't eradicate the problem, as online interaction has become part of daily routines in today's world. (Not to belabour the point but you are more than likely reading this online yourself!) So assuming we all accept that as a reality of today's world, we need to implement some structure to keep our children safe when online.

For some great tips on how to safeguard your children from cyber-bullying, be sure to check out our November Issue of our newsletter, Dynamix: Get Connected.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Do-It-Yourself Costume Ideas, and more!

If you are looking for some great Do-It-Yourself Costume ideas, you have to check out our most recent issue of Dynamix: Get Connected!

In this month's issue:

  1. Top 5: Costumes You Can Make Yourself!
  2. Trick or Treating Safety Tips
  3. Game of the Month: Spider Tag
  4. Featured Workshop: The Great Treasure Hunt!
See it all here:

And be sure to sign up for all future mailings here:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Are water guns bad for kids?

Written by Adam Kertesz

I recently got into a very interesting debate on Facebook and I thought it would be make a great blog entry as I'm curious to know what people's opinions on this matter are.
A friend of mine [we'll call her "Shawna"] posted on her Facebook page that her 4 year old son's camp was having a giant water fight the next day, and have asked the kids to bring in water guns. Shawna wasn't comfortable with this as she feels kids should not be playing with guns of any kind, even ones that shoot water.

It led to a series of interesting comments. here are some highlights that stood out to me:

"um xxxxxx picked up a stick yesterday and called it a shooter and we don't even have any guns!! Yes she has a big brother but still you just can't get away from these things!"

" ok but just because he's gonna learn to swear from his friends (or wherever...) doesn't mean it's going to be ok for HIM to swear in the house, right?"

" [...]children can be taught the difference between water guns (AKA Super soaker_ and violent guns... xxxxxxxx and yyyyyyy play water fight hide and seek in the back yard and "GUN VIOLENCE" the awareness of "GUNS" isn't even a thought i...n her mind... She just thinks its a fun way to spray people...."

" [...] how do you say ok to guns now and then teach them that they are actually bad when they get older?"

"If you ask [my children] they will tell you a gun is something that people use to hurt other people; so tell me, why would I let them even pretend to use one?!"

While most people who commented are parents, and I admittedly am not, the debate struck a chord with me and I felt compelled to get involved. Here are my thoughts.
First, there is a big difference between a toy gun and a water gun. I am heavily opposed to toy guns where their only purpose is for the child to pretend they are holding a real gun. While I think proper education can teach the child to separate a toy gun from a real gun, it is still not something that I feel is appropriate for a child to simulate.
A water gun however, is meant to be a fun toy. 95% of water guns, especially the popular Super Soakers, are big, bright, fun looking and colorful. That is not a coincidence. I do not even feel children under the age of 6 would make the correlation to actual gun and gun violence (if they are even aware of real guns).
To children, a Super Soaker used in a water fight is just a really fun device used for squirting water.

Of course this comes with a major 'BUT....'. Kids are smart. We all know that. It is not a far reach from Point A to Point B for the children to realize that there are similarities between a fun water gun and a real violent gun. And that is where the parents, teachers, and other influences in the children's lives come into play. Kids can and should be taught the difference between the two. And I believe it is not as ambiguous a difference as some people think. A real gun that they may have seen on TV is used by 'bad guys' for hurting people. A fun, exciting fluorescent green and orange Super Soaker is a toy, but should only be used in a fun water fight.

Please comment below as I'd love to hear your thoughts on this rather interesting debate.

And tune in next week when we discuss if having a water fight can lead to children wanting to start a real war... (that's a joke!...)

Happy Monday!

Monday, August 16, 2010

How to deal with separation anxiety

Written by: Nicky Praseuth

September is just around the corner and it starts a whole new school year for many children. Whether it be that they are returning to school or starting school for the first time. From a full summer of playing, going to camp, or just spending time at home with the family, many children will have trouble adjusting to their new environment for the first couple weeks.

Anxiety is a normal feeling when moving from one environment to another that is unfamiliar. Reactions to distress vary from child to child with common reactions such as crying, clinging, and whining.

Here are some ways you can help your child with their anxiety:
  1. Prepare and discuss with them in advance that they will be going to school soon. Explain that their routine will change (play time, sleep time etc.) and that they will have a new teacher and be able to make new friends. If you know, inform your child about who their teacher will be and which children will be in their class that they are familiar with.
  2. Be positive and try to make their transition fun and exciting! Let them know that you are excited to hear all about their day after school.
  3. If they are sad or upset, let them know it is ok to be sad and reassure them that you (or whoever) will be back to pick them up.
  4. Don’t sneak out but keep your good-byes short and sweet. Make sure you follow through with what you say you are doing. So if you say bye, do not hover around.
  5. Lastly, make it a routine and follow through! Children need consistency.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Katie's Krops

Over the years we've been fortunate to witness inspiring young people take on unimaginable challenges that leave us teary eyed and wondering what we can do to make a difference. Remember 'Pay it forward' with Haley Joel Osment? How about 'Paperclips'? 'Freedom Writes'? Even 'Rudy'...All these movies portrayed young people inspiring the world. Well, the youngens have struck once again! The article (seen below) tells the tale of an incredible young girl named Katie who, from a simple school project, created a food growing operation that has been feeding hundreds (if not more) of people less fortunate. With all the bad we have to endure watching the 6 o'clock news, it's stories such as this that reminds us of all the good our world has to offer.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Encouraging Play!

Written by: Nicky Praseuth

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, there is not enough encouragement for children to become active. Many children are spending their time indoors on the computer, playing video games, and watching TV. 

During the summer, there are many ways to encourage your child to become active such as signing them up for day camps or have them join an organized sport. 

Another way to encourage active participation for children is for parents/guardians to role model. This could be done by perhaps going for a bike ride together, going hiking in your local park or conservation area, go swimming, play soccer etc. 

For more information on the Heart and Stroke Foundation article click here 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sun Safety Tips

Written by: Nicky Praseuth

Summer is here and it is very important to be safe from the sun when you are outside! From 11am to 4pm, the sun’s rays are the strongest during that time and it is not advisable for children to be outside or exposed; keep in mind that the sun’s rays still remain strong even when there’s shade.

Make sure you and your children/campers are covered! Sunburned faces and scalps will not result to a fun summer. So make sure to wear hats, UV protected sunglasses, loose clothing, and of course sunscreen.

Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before going outside and be reapplied every 2-3 hours. Remember to generously apply sunscreen all over, paying extra attention to the nose, ears, hands, feet, shoulders, and neck.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Feeling the Heat? Here are some tips on cooling down...

Posted by Adam Kertesz

Great, fun article in the National Post on some cheap, easy ways to stay cool.
(Hint: if interested in any of these ideas, click on the article to gain access to their links!)

"[...]Even if you don’t have an air-conditioner, never fear. The National Post is here with some tips to keep you cool and comfortable even when the concrete is literally hot enough to fry and egg. Seriously, go try it. Then cool off afterward with one of our wallet-friendly suggestions.

Public pools and splash pads are open across the city

In this extreme heat, who cares if splash pads are meant for kids. Slap on some sunscreen, grab a pair of flip-fops, the kiddies if you happen to have them, and head out to one of the many fun-filled fountains. Check here for a list of splashpads across the GTA. If you’re looking for a more submersive experience, jump into of the city’s many public pools.

Take an extended ride on the subway

If you’re relying on fans and cold showers to cool off at home instead of central air, grab a good book and try the more human way — a ride on the TTC. In the middle of the day, the Yonge-University line is a dead zone, so why not indulge in the underground air conditioning? For $3 you can ride the rails for the length of the line and get some reading done in the meantime.

The LCBO and Beer Stores are air-conditioned

A frozen margarita is a great way to enjoy summer to its fullest, but if beer’s more your taste both the LCBO and the Beer Store offer air conditioning so strong you barely have to chill your drinks after leaving. Stop in on your way home from the subway as a break from the heat. You not only get to drink your reward, but beer bottles fit perfectly into the nape of your neck, which sends a sweet, ice-cold, certified chill down the spine. Ah, there’s nothing like the smell of hops on a July afternoon.

Take in a matinée

The only place where the ai -conditioning might be stronger than a liquor store is a movie theatre. Many theatres offer discounted weekday matinée ticket prices. Notably, Rainbow Cinemas offers $7 matinees and Bloor Cinema members enjoy $5 matinees (non-members can pay a $9 ticket fee that includes a membership for next time). Toy Story 3, anyone?

Centre Island is only a ferry ride away

For some seemingly inexplicable reason, Centre Island is degrees cooler than the heart of the city. The ferry costs just$6 roundtrip, and the breeze off the water and the view of the city skyline are worth far more than that — just ask anyone who belongs to the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. The ferry terminal is located a southern-most tip of Bay Street at Queen’s Quay. Grab a picnic at St. Lawrence Market and head over to the south side of the island. The beach facing across Lake Ontario is the coolest part of the island.

Delight in some ice cream or gelato

Skip the ice-cream truck (most of their wares are available in the grocery store for far less) and splurge on a treat that doesn’t come from a factory. One great spot is Delight on Queen Street West, which offers fair-trade and organic chocolates as well as homemade scoops. Their strawberry ice cream actually tastes like fruit, instead of the ubiquitous pink stuff, so at least you’ll get some vitamins with the cream. If you’re really looking to cool off, nothing works better than lemon gelato. That being said, as someone who spent a summer scooping for a genuine gelateri, you need to make sure it’s the real deal. Dolce Gelato in Little Italy is as authentic as anything you’ll find in St. Mark’s Square.

Bonus tip: Find a summer read at the library

All 99 of Toronto’s public libraries are air-conditioned and have hundreds if not thousands of possible summer reads. If you’ve got a sullen, suddenly-out-of-school teenager, the TPL also has plenty of programming for your teen. Here’s a list of branches and hours.

Read more:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Toronto Parks are finally Smoke-Free!

posted by Mitch Zeltzer

Based on an amendment to a Toronto Municipal Bylaw, smoking is not allowed within a 9 metre or 29.5 foot radius of play areas.

So from now on, when you and your children visit one of the 833 playgrounds in Toronto parks, you will be able to take a deep breath and enjoy the great outdoors, as the City of Toronto make a great step toward a smoke-free city!  

According to the City of Toronto website, here are some of the reasons for this change:
  1. Second-hand smoke harms your child’s growing body.
  2. Seeing a caregiver or loved one smoking increases the chance your kids will try smoking.
  3. Young children could eat toxic cigarette butts or choke on them.
  4. Your child has more smoke-free places to play, now that both the schools and Parks, Forestry & Recreation playgrounds ban smoking.
  5. Cigarette butts release harmful toxins into the ground and take a long time to decompose or biodegrade.
Click here for more information.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

An incredible display of sportsmanship

Posted by Adam Kertesz

In a world where sportsmanship has sadly lost much of its meaning, and we seem to have lost all hope in our future generations, here is an inspiring story that shows how truly compassionate high school students can be.

Here is the link to a fantastic article by Rick Reilly at, but to paraphrase: In Indianapolis, a junior varsity girls softball team (Roncalli) was completely dominating a game against a team (Marshall) from an inner city school playing their very first game in school history. The Marshall team showed up with very little equipment, and most of them (including their coach!) have never even seen a game before. Roncalli then did what NO ONE would expect them to do: an inning and a half into the game, after not losing a game for 2.5 years- THEY forfeited the game. And what happened next was just amazing to watch:

"The Marshall players did NOT want to quit," wrote Roncalli JV coach Jeff Traylor, in recalling the incident. "They were willing to lose 100 to 0 if it meant they finished their first game." But the Marshall players finally decided if Roncalli was willing to forfeit for them, they should do it for themselves. They decided that maybe -- this one time -- losing was actually winning.

That's about when the weirdest scene broke out all over the field: Roncalli kids teaching Marshall kids the right batting stance, throwing them soft-toss in the outfield, teaching them how to play catch. They showed them how to put on catching gear, how to pitch, and how to run the bases. Even the umps stuck around to watch."

So the next time you hear about pro athletes getting arrested, fighting with fans, refusing to shake hands with their opponents; or about kids getting into fights, laughing at their opponents when they score a goal, refusing to shake hands with their opponents (because their 'heroes' the pro athletes did the same thing)... think about the girls in this story and how little a 2.5 year winning streak meant to a team that in one afternoon, probably without even realizing it, changed the lives of that Marshall team. The players on both of these teams all walked away that day not just as better players, but as better people too.

Friday, May 14, 2010

It's all about perspective!

posted by: Mitch Zeltzer

This is one of those videos that can blow your mind, and really get you thinking...  Enjoy!

Too often we only try to see things from one perspective, our own!  To be a true team player you must put yourself in other people's shoes and really try to understand where they are coming from.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cooperative Learning Conference (GLACIE)

posted by Mitch Zeltzer

If you want to learn more about Cooperative Learning and the incredibly effective strategies and structures  you can bring to your classroom, the GLACIE conference is a must!

"GLACIE is proud to present its 25th annual Cooperative Learning Conference, Achievement through Active Engagement, to be held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on May 27 and 28, 2010. This worthwhile event will provide an opportunity for educators to come together to learn and share structures and strategies of Cooperative Learning through active participation."

read more and register at:

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The coolest 'Make a Wish' ever

Not much to say about this except, turn your speakers on,maybe grab some Kleenex, and enjoy.

Deep down, everyone wants to be a superhero...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What humans can learn from dogs

posted by Mitch Zeltzer

WARNING:  The videos in this post do have some graphic footage of injured people and dogs, that may not be suitable for everyone. While the lesson that can be learned here is valuable, please be aware that viewer discretion is advised. If you are under the age of 18, please consult with your parents/guardians before watching these videos.

I think the contrast between these two videos speaks for itself.

First, let's examine some disappointing and tragic human behaviour.

Now, let's look at an amazing lesson we can learn from our canine friends.

Too often we see others ignoring those in distress and just moving about their business.  It isn't always as dramatic as the video above.  It can be as simple as holding a door open for someone whose hands are full.  Or letting someone ahead of you in a line.  It doesn't need to be a grand gesture, but these small, simple gestures can have a grand affect over time.

And for the children out there who are reading this blog and have watched the videos above.  When you see someone being teased at recess, do you just walk by and ignore it, like the first video?  Or, do you step in to help like the second video?

I think we can all learn a valuable lesson from that very brave dog!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A tribute to Steve Hannon: Amazing Camp Director, Incredible Role-Model...

posted by: Mitch Zeltzer

While this posting is long overdue, I still felt it necessary to pay homage to Steve Hannon, who was not your typical camp director.

Steve was one of those people who was just amazing at what he did.  And, what Steve did best was find a way to make a difference in the life of every child who passed through Camp Kennebec, in Arden Ontario.

Kennebec was the first sleep away camp I attended.  I can safely say that my experiences there helped mold me into who I am today. The life skills and the relationships I gained at Kennebec have made a lasting impression on my life and are, in many ways, responsible for the path I have chosen for my life.

Sadly, Steve Hannon passed away in Kingston, Ontario on February 24, 2010 at the age of 66.  I know I speak on behalf of anyone who had the privilege to be apart of Steve's world when I say that Steve was an amazing man that everyone loved, respected, and admired.

For me, Steve continues to be a role model.  I can only hope that I can do him justice as I try to emulate Steve and the incredibly positive impact he had on those around him, particularly kids.

There was a great article on Steve in the globe and mail.  Visit this link to read more about Steve:

Thank you Steve for amazing memories that will last a lifetime!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Humanity prevails

I have no doubt when a school board in the Bronx was searching for their 6th principal in 2 years their profile did not match that of a man named Shmuly. After watching such a heartfelt story about overcoming the odds and accomplishing a feat that defies all logic, you have to ask yourself - How can I impact the lives of young people? This story just proves that with the right tools, dedication and the human heart, every child has a chance to succeed.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A GOLD-en story...

Just a really quick entry today... In case you were doubting if kids are being inspired by what we're seeing transpire out in Vancouver, here's a nice experience I had today that brought a smile to my face.

I was running an after school program and the kids were split up into two teams. When we make teams, I always like to have the kids come up with a creative team name to be used the rest of that session. Each team had 10 seconds to come up with a name that they all agreed with and was chosen in a fair way.

One team took a long time to come up with something, electing instead to be named by me (I named them Silly Monkeys, but I digress). The other team though, chatted for only 3 seconds, turned to me, and shouted with loud enthusiasm "OK we have our team name!" What did they name themselves?

The Bilodeau's.

Go Canada Go! We're all watching and cheering you on...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Olympics 2010 - Go Canada!

posted by: Mitch Zeltzer

The Olympics are finally upon us!

It's time to get hyped up, so get your flags ready, your face paint prepared, and your spirit in full gear, in order to show your colours and support our country's atheletes.  Be sure to follow the olympics at

On Friday night, Feb. 12, 2010, the opening ceremonies will begin and the Olympic Flame will finally light the Olympic Cauldron in Vancouver.  After over 100 days and travelling 45,000km!!!

We, at Dynamix, are proud to have had the opportunity to play a role in the Olympic Torch Relay.  As many of you already know, Dynamix had been given the privelege of bearing the olympic torch as it passed through Montreal. Coca Cola and RBC selected Dynamix for its positive impact on society and its youth.

So, to get you in the Olympic spirit, we've posted a fun video that documents Allison's experience carrying the torch for Dynamix.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Haiti - One way to help right here in Canada

With each passing day, we are hearing and seeing one horrific story after another in Haiti. We, at Dynamix, have been trying to think of practical ways we can help. Although we can't be there to sort through the rubble and literally pull people back to life, we have realized that we can make a difference. There are many people making their way from Haiti to Canada with nothing but the clothes on their backs, with 90% of them heading to Montreal. Right here in our own community, within our borders, there is a lot we can do to help.

So this is where we reach out to you, we would like to collect as much winter-wear clothing to make refugees from Haiti feel comfortable, safe, warm and at home. Please take the time to find any winter-wear clothing you have that you don't use anymore. You can bring it by our office, in Toronto or Montreal, where we will have a box in the front for your donations (visit the Contact Us section of our website for our address). We will be sending all of your generous donations to to the Haitian Community Centre in Montreal, who will distribute it to those in need. Even a simple hat can make a significant difference in someone’s life.

To learn about other ways you can help/donate, visit our previous blog entry for all the details.

Thank you in advance for your generosity and effort,
The Dynamix Team

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti Relief- What you can do to help

I'm sure many of us have spent the last few days glued to our TV's watching the horrible images being shown from Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake.

In case like many people you were wondering what you can do to help, I wanted to provide a few organizations that I've found online that are accepting donations. It is crucial that we get them this money ASAP. This is a country that was in financial ruins and political disarray even before this disaster, and they need our help now more than ever. Today, the Canadian government has generously pledged to match every dollar raised in these efforts (up to $50 million).

The easiest way to donate? As you will see in the list below, you can donate through the Salvation Army with a simple text message. Just text: “Haiti $5 donation” to 45678.

Every single dollar counts.

The Red Cross Donations by phone or online 1-800-418-1111

Doctors Without Borders Donations by phone or online 1-800-982-7903

Global Medic Donations by cheque or online 20 Claireport Cres. Unit 9 Etobicoke, Ontario M9W 6P6

The Humanitarian Coalition Donations by phone or online (Care, Oxfam and Save the Children) 1-800-464-9154

The Salvation Army Donations by phone, text and online 1-800-725-2769 Text: “Haiti $5 donation” to 45678

World Vision Canada Donations by phone or online 1-800-268-5528