The best kid-friendly dining experiences in Toronto

A good meal or a cup of decent coffee is hard to come by when you have kids. Nice restaurants are filled with couples who give you the death stare when your kid starts wailing because they are not going to get a toy with their meal. Not to mention the hipster brush off you get at trendy coffee joints; it’s enough to send you running to the embrace of fast food restaurants with ball pits. But fear not, parenthood no longer relegates you to a lifetime of plastic meals and an early cholesterol-induced grave. Now parents can have their cakes and eat them too. Playful Grounds is a new kid-friendly coffee shop on College. Come and enjoy all the luxury and leather seats you find in a regular coffee shop with the added convenience of stroller parking, kid-friendly bathrooms and as many toys as you can play with. The mom-friendly menu is kid-friendly too and your wee ones can enjoy healthy snacks served in sippy cups and bowls with suction while you sip a latte and relax. The Rainforest Cafe in Yorkdale Mall is like a fairytale wrapped in an adventure wrapped in an Indiana Jones movie. The

Save $100 in 10 Minutes: Your First Trip to the Bank

If you’ve got some little spenders running around the house, it might be time to start teaching them a little about saving and responsibility with cash. A little work while they’re young can go a long way towards encouraging solid spending habits and a lifetime of benefits. When you ask around with your friends about when they started having their own bank account, you can bet that those who are better with their cash now, had a good early start. Getting the jump on personal finances can start with a quick ten minutes. I would recommend front-loading the financial experience with a little bit of work. Whether you’ve got an extra project around the house, a neighbor who needs some help or just some house cleaning you’ve been putting off for a while, it’s great to show kids how they can earn money through hard work (great concept, right?). Work out a deal with your child that they can keep half of the money to spend on something fun, while the other half goes into their first bank account. This will sound impossibly grown up to them, and the responsibility of it will feel awesome.

Kids Halloween Costumes That Won’t Break The Bank

Halloween is closer than you think, so it’s time to start thinking about your kid’s costume. A little bit of work now will save on stress, cash and sleep when October 30th runs around and you realize junior needs to be a spaceman like Tommy from down the road! Don’t smash your financial pumpkin and sanity! Act this week to save cash and build the holiday hype. Start Early *Your kid is going to want to do everything early around Halloween. *What do you mean we can’t start trick or treating at 2:30?! Why not start asking them what they want to dress up as for Halloween now, so you can both get your gears turning on ideas. Two weeks of prep time is always better than one or two nights. Steer Clear of Pre-Made Costumes Because you started planning early, you can avoid walking through pharmacies and grocery stores in fear of your kid wanting the overly priced pieces of plastic that pass as costumes. Most times, your child will only get one use out of the costume, or need to wear a winter coat over it (the realities of Canadian Halloween!), so don’

Cheap and Easy School Savings!

If sending the kids back to school is causing you a ton of stress worrying about all those school expenses, then here are some ideas to help you prepare for the expenses and save yourself some money in the process. 1)     The school envelope – Grab an envelope and start stashing money in it. This is your emergency backup for the times that you forget to pack a lunch or withdraw the lunch money. It’s also a life-saver when your child appears the morning of a field trip with a permission slip and a need for cash. 2)     Ask the school about financial assistance programs – Ok, so it can be a bit embarrassing to ask for reduced tuition, lunch waivers or fee waivers, but if you qualify, why not do it? Use the money that you save to provide for your family in other ways – rather than padding your pride. Been there, done that. 3)     Talk to your child’s teachers – Ask them what expenses to plan for. How many field trips will your child take this year? What opportunities will be available to your child later in the year? Teachers plan for these things well in advance and they

12 Affordable Ideas for Summer Fun for Kids

When we are on a tight budget, it can be hard to find interesting and challenging activities for our kids. However, with a little thought and sometimes just a little planning, we can find plenty of summer fun activities. Here are just a few suggestions. 1. Plan a Picnic You don’t have to travel far to have a picnic. In fact, you don’t have to travel any farther than your own backyard. The fun isn’t only in the picnic alone, but in the planning of it. It is a perfect way to create some cheap summer fun. 2. Plant a Garden Gardens offer kids a perfect opportunity for learning about plant life. If you start early enough in the season, you can start the garden from seeds. That is the ideal way to start a garden since the kids can watch the garden grow from the very beginning sprouts. However you start too late in the season to plant seeds, you can buy a few seedlings from just about anywhere, including many grocery stores. The kids can still watch the plants grow. Have them keep a chart of the growth every day or two. They can even