We were blessed to have visited Chobe National Park located in the Northern region of Botswana. The country of Botswana is an incredible place to visit with it’s laid back lifestyle, focus on the environment and the protection of animals. We spent two weeks enjoying time with family, the culture and the natural beauty of this country.
During our visit, our family took us to stay at Chobe Marina Lodge and surprised us with a safari tour of Chobe National Park. This was an incredible, hard to put into words experience for us. Chobe National Park, which takes its name from the Chobe River, is Botswana’s first national park. Our youngest was so excited – he loves animals and this was a dream come true for him (I can see him returning home to live with family in Botswana!).
Each of us wanted to spot a specific animal on our safari ride – the top ones were elephants, a giraffe and a hippo. We spotted some of these and so much more. While the park is home and famous for its elephant population, we did not see one on our safari ride (although we did see many when we were leaving the Lodge to drive home on the highway!). The giraffe surprised us when we stopped for a bathroom break during the middle of the ride, it was so close! It was completely breathtaking and majestic to see this beautiful animal, can you tell it is my favourite animal?
Enjoy my collection of photos during our safari drive through Chobe National Park. Next week I will share our Chobe river boat ride!
While we may be in the start of August, summer is far from over! We still have several great weekends left of camping, labour day long weekend and not to mention fall camping (one of my favourite seasons to camp in from my Girl Guides days!). Camping (or glamping!) not only gets us out of the city but forces us to put away the electronics and our connections to work, and focus on the most important thing, family.
As parents, we know how quickly our children’s attention spans can be. While we may be content curled up reading a book in nature or enjoy watching the rain from inside the cover of a tent, children can be easily bored. The same goes for the car rides, day trips and the list can go on and on. It is so important that we are prepared in advance with games and activities that will keep them having fun and engaged.
Goliath Games has an incredible selection of fun indoor and outdoor activities that will keep them engaged both physically and mentally. These top four activities are easy to carry, easy to use, loads of fun and the best way to unwind together as a family. They are literally just pack and go!
To help save our sanity on the drive up to the camp, cottage or beach, the 6 in 1 travel magnetic games is a life saver! It is small and portable, just a tad bit longer than the length of your hand. Players can choose from checkers, chess, backgammon, Chinese checkers, snakes and ladders and Parcheesi. Each of these games will appeal to all age groups and your older ones will delight in being able to teach their younger counterparts.
This portable game is suited for two to four players, although we found two was the best just due to the size of the game itself. The board pieces were a bit smaller – so be careful when using them. They come with their own carry case that fits in the back of the game (bottom left image above). I loved this concept, as too many times we put the pieces in baggies and the baggie gets misplaced or parts thrown out, making the game unusable. This toy was easy to use and navigate for both our youngest and eldest.
While we all need those rainy day breaks, boredom and frustration can slowly creep in if you don’t have enough planned or ready to go but Flip’n Chips has you covered! This is a unique take on the traditional game of memory. The game can be played with up to four people, although I think two to three would be the best, especially with younger players. You put the chips in the case it comes in, shake and pour. Then you flip over a chip to find your colour – the first to seven chips wins! Easy right? We had a lot of fun playing this game, it is an interesting take on memory and you have to build up a strategy plan in order to secure the correct chip colours.
Need to burn some of that high energy off? Zoom Ball is the perfect, high action game for your children to play. The concept is pretty easy to follow – each child (or adult) pulls on their set of handles to send the ball in the middle over to their partner who performs the same action to send the ball back. You really have to keep yourself on your toes for this one! Especially if you are playing with younger children – it can be hard to keep up with them! This is an extremely fun and yet competitive game, especially in our home with all boys! Throw in a water balloon in the inside of the blue ‘ball’ and you really have some action fun!
The i-Top brings smart technology to kids activities, where you spin to win! In this activity, children spin the i-Top and it counts the number of spins – the higher your score, you win! This game reminded me of all the spinners and battle games my children loved to collect but this was far more advanced! Your kids will spin the top, complete challenges while it records who wins! No more battles over who is the winner here (win win for all parents!).
Summer camping, day trips to the beach and relaxing at the cottage should be a fun way to unwind with your family away from the stress of every day life. With planning, you can make every moment spectacular and full of adventure! Planning for downtimes, car rides and keeping them moving is key to a great adventure. These four games were by far a fantastic way to keep the kids moving, minds engaged and working together (and sometimes against to keep that competitive edge).
Make sure to follow Goliath Games on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with the latest toys, games and more!
What are you favourite summer time activities and games to do together as a family?
Disclosure: I received the above mentioned products in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.
The adorable Shopkins, which are North America’s number one toy (and my niece’s favourite) are hitting the stage live in Canada in their Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! Tour.
About Shopkins Live! Shop It Up!
The beloved Shoppies make their theatrical debut in an original live show featuring musical performances by Jessicake, Bubbleisha, Peppa-Mint, Rainbow Kate, Cocolette, Polli Polish and more! The fun and fashionista Shoppies are joined by the Shopkins – Apple Blossom, Strawberry Kiss, Lippy Lips, Kooky Cookie, Poppy Corn, Slick Breadstick and Shady Diva. An ensemble cast of multi-talented performers brings the show to life on stage through urban style music, song and dance.
All of Shopville is in a tizz as preparations get underway for the annual, “Funtastic Food and Fashion Fair.” Shady Diva showcases her latest fashion designs; Lippy Lips gives colorful advice at the nail salon; Kooky Cookie tries to get in a beauty nap! No event is complete without a few hiccups! Who has high-jinxed the fashion pageant? Where is the super-secret celebrity guest? Will Slick Breadstick ever find a dance partner? The Shopkins and Shoppies need your help because as we all know – the show must go on!
Music, dancing and all of your favourite Shopkins characters can be found in this adorable live show now touring in Canada.
In this show, the Shoppies are given specific tasks to complete in order to make the festival a success. There is a fashion show to prepare, booths to finish off, sweet dishes to make and a special celebrity guest to meet. No one wants to disappoint the ever so cheeky Shady Diva (who was honestly my favourite part of the show, she had me in tears laughing with her cheekiness!). Jessicake is responsible for meeting the celebrity guest but in her rush to please Shady Diva assigns the task to Kooky Cookie and the guest disappears! They must work together to solve the mystery of the kidnapped celebrity and still pull off the show.
The show had a fantastic story line that was delivered extremely well. I found myself laughing out loud at the humour which was great for both parents and children a like. I loved the one liners like “This is not how we party!”, “OMGG” and “Can’t a cookie get some beauty rest”. I knew a bit about the Shopkins going into the show but my niece was an expert and would fill me in throughout the show on the characters names and what they are famous for. I was blown away by how much the children there knew about the Shopkins. The characters are beyond precious and I can relate to why young children LOVE them. Rainbow Kate was my favourite Shoppie with her burst of fresh air and optimism – you couldn’t help but smile when she came out.
While the show itself is full of humour and fun, it had some great underlying messages. We learned about friendships and sticking together because with our best friends by our sides we can do anything. We learned that it is okay to make a mistake but that you need to own up to your mistake, try to fix it and even apologize to others if it affected them. We also learned that we shouldn’t always judge a book by its cover – everyone has feelings and they can be easily hurt.
One of the most heart warming parts of the show was watching the young audience dancing in their seats, in the aisles, screaming (literally screaming) every time their favourite character came on stage. The Shoppies had a fantastic stage presence and really drew you into the show. You felt as though you were part of the action which is so important for young children who were enthralled by the characters. The Shoppies and Shopkins truly came to life for them and you could see the amazement in their faces.
This show is a definite must see for all young fans. The show runs until the end of this month in Canada, to find more tour dates head over to their website here.
You can also follow Shopkins Live! On Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with all the latest information.
Shopkins Live! Trailer
Disclosure: We received tickets to the show in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Vacation and travelling should be fun and relaxing. For many parents, we also know how stressful it can be with children in tow. They can quickly go from being okay and happy to a complete melt down over the waiting for flights, the movie that they don’t want to watch and anything and everything in between.
Last holiday season, our family made the almost twenty hour total travel time from Toronto to South Africa. We had one lay over in London. Going there our children were so excited and even though we left at midnight, the kids refused to sleep. While Mom and Dad’s eyes were trying so hard to close, we were hounded with questions of how much longer would this plane ride take, why did the movie selection suck so bad and how badly they wanted to get up and move around. Needless to say by the end of the last twelve hours in the air, both of us couldn’t wait to land.
The plane ride back was even worse as we had an eight-hour layover in London and the flight back to Toronto was overbooked and delayed due to people trying to bring on more carry on luggage than they were allowed to. We were all exhausted, bored, cranky and uncomfortable. The only bonus to this experience, we learned many valuable lessons on how to prepare for a long flight.
Our number one mistake? Failure to plan fully for the kids to be entertained. I had packed colouring books, books, toys and treats but what they really wanted was a couple of good movies that would help make the hours pass by quicker. The movies on the plane, while not the worst, were definitely not what they wanted to watch.
So what should we have done? Netflix on the go!
Now we have the option to download many of our children’s favourite flicks and shows on our iPad so that they can watch them in the air and during layovers (not to mention it would have been amazing for the many car rides we had as we travelled from country to country during our stay). Not only is this the perfect solution for travelling by plane but it also alleviates the headaches that can come from long car rides because lets face it – no one is a good traveller when they are bored and confined in small places. This applies to kids, teens and parents alike – no one is at their best at these times.
Share with me! What was your worst travelling experience? What did you learn from it? Have you used Netflix on the go downloading?
Disclosure: I am a #StreamTeam Member and receive perks with this affiliation. All opinions expressed are my own.
This year, as a family, we have decided to explore more of our beautiful country. We have been to Ottawa and Gatineau but other than that as a family we haven’t traveled much throughout our province and neighbouring provinces. We really want to change this starting with a trip to the beautiful areas of Montreal and Quebec City.
About Top 10 Montreal & Quebec City
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Montreal & Quebec City covers all the region’s major sights and attractions in easy-to-use “top 10” lists that help you plan the vacation that’s right for you.
This newly updated pocket travel guide for Montreal and Quebec City will lead you straight to the best attractions these cities have to offer, from walking around Old Montreal to visiting Notre-Dame Basilica to the Montreal Botanical Gardens. Find the best hotels, food, and attractions for every budget.
This revised edition includes:
Brand-new itineraries help you plan your trip to these areas of Montreal and Quebec City.
Expanded and far more comprehensive, new laminated pull-out map now includes color-coded design, public transportation maps, and street indexes to make it even easier to use.
Maps of walking routes show you the best ways to maximize your time.
New Top 10 lists feature off-the-beaten-track ideas, along with standbys like the top attractions, shopping, dining options, and more.
Additional maps marked with sights from the guidebook are shown on inside cover flaps, with selected street index and metro map.
New typography and fresh layout throughout.
A free pull-out map is marked with sights from the guidebook and includes a street index and a metro map.
About DK Eyewitness Travel
For more than two decades, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides have helped travelers experience the world through the history, art, architecture, and culture of their destinations. Expert travel writers and researchers provide independent editorial advice, recommendations, and reviews. With guidebooks to hundreds of places around the globe available in print and digital formats, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides show travelers how they can discover more.
The DK Eyewitness Travel guides are the perfect books to help you not only plan out your trip but to also carry with you while you are traveling. The book is slim and fits perfectly into a purse or a backpack. You will only need this book when planning and visiting in Montreal and Quebec City.
This book itself is colour coded and broken down into the following sections: Top 10 Montreal and Quebec City Highlights, The Top 10 of Everything, Montreal and Quebec City Area by Area and Streetsmart. You can find moments in history, historic sites, parks, performing arts and even children’s attractions and festivals and events. The Top 10 highlights helps you pinpoint the main stops you should make if you are limited with your time. I would absolutely love to visit the Basilique Notre-Dame and Musée Pointe á Callière. Each section also contains ten important facts and must see at each location, for example at the Basilique Notre-Dame they explain about the stained glass windows and Daudelin sculpture.
I really enjoyed the Streetsmart section which contains important information like how to get in and out of the city, getting around, hotels, customs as well as containing phone numbers, addresses for each location. There is even a useful phrases at the back of the book in case of emergencies and basic conversation! This guidebook is a definite must have for those traveling or are planning to travel to Montreal and Quebec City.
You can purchase a copy of this book on DK Canada.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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