Wednesday, August 25, 2021


 Great little tips on managing stress and the science behind it.

  1. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY - you have heard it before exercise is ‘good for you.

 - 20-60 min per day is sufficient. 


Your body doesn’t know what is causing your stress, but it does read the body. It does feel the movements you make when you exercise. It does know the feeling of jumping up and down. When you use physical activity to combat stress you are speaking to its body language which will decrease your physical stress. What physical stress am I discussing?

Stress is neurological and physiological in your body.

It is used to help you cope and survive.

Hormone activity happens with stress. Some of this is seen as pushing blood into your muscles, glucocorticoids and endorphins to ignore this. So your heart beats faster, your blood pumps harder, and your blood pressure increases. Your muscles tense up, your sensitivity to pain decreases, your other senses are heightened. Your memory shifts to channel a narrow band of experiences and knowledge. Your logical reasoning skills are no longer accessible. Your digestion slows down and your immune functioning shift. Your growth and tissue repair and reproduction systems all diminish as well. 

So it makes perfect sense that you can use physical activity to help regulate your physical response to stress. But that’s not the only way.

  1. BREATHING - any movement of your body is a great strategy. 


Deep, slow breathing regulates the stress hormone. It is gentlest way to combat trauma and a great place to begin. 

Breathe in for a slow five second count.

Breathe out for a slow 10 second count.

Hold your breath for 5 seconds. 

Do this three times. Do it daily.

  1. Positive Social Interaction. Casual social interaction makes us happy. It makes us realize we are part of the world and the world can be a safe place. 


Science has studies that show people experience greater well-being with police casual chat. Read the article by Epley and Schroeder, “Mistakenly Seeking Solitude.”

  1. LAUGHTER - belly laughs, real laughter decreases stress and increases healing, both in the mind and physically.


Just for even short term effects the Mayo Clinic and their staff of Phd doctors say laughter can stimulate many organs, regulate blood pressure and soothe tension in muscles.

  1. TOUCH THERAPY - physical affection with someone you trust in a safe context can do as much to help your body as much as physically running. 


An interesting study in the 6 second kiss…. 

John Gottman suggests kissing your partner for 6 seconds long. It would take too long to kiss with someone you disliked or someone you distrusted. It requires you to stop and notice that this person likes you and you like them. The kiss tells your body you're safe and therefore decreases your stress. Or try hugging someone for 20 long seconds.

  1. PETS - studies show that petting your animal with affection for a few minutes a day decreases stress. 


It lowers your blood pressure and is a safe relationship. There are therapy dogs and horses for example that are doctor approved for a reason. The power of connection makes humans feel safe.

  1. CREATIVE EXPRESSION - often doing what you love, that hobby, that writing assignment, that painting or puzzle project can help decrease stress.


It encourages big emotions and creates tolerance. You can deal with trauma through art, you can deal with the past history or work through an ongoing issue without barely thinking about it through your artful expressions. You may not understand what your body needs until you begin to feed it. 

Feel free to add your ‘stress reducing ideas. Thanks for listening,

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Strong Willed Child vs Strong Willed Parent

 Strong Willed Children vs Strong Willed Parent

Ya, that’s me. I realized it a long time ago and I am still shocked when I’m in the middle of one big power struggle.

I want to share a few tips I have learned along the way.

Tip number 1 -

No one likes to be told what to do - adults and children alike.

  1. Strong-willed kids are experimental learners.

Isn’t that interesting, I think because… well, I am a painter, a clay maker, a bare foot in the sand girl. I am a kinesthetic learner. I love hands-on projects. I love to experiment! Hmmm. 

Thinning about this, I have a child who is exactly like this!

These kids want to jump in the puddle to find out they get wet - so LET THEM!  Have a bag of clean clothes and socks tucked away in the van at all times with these kids. Be prepared and give them license to be themselves.

Let them learn through experience instead of trying to control them. Don’t use your relationship to influence their decisions. Use your love and patience ot watch them learn on their own and be there with the hug, the towel or the understanding ear after it all goes down. 

Some examples:

-”I know it’s cold, and you don’t want to wear a coat. I am going to wear my coat, how about we just put it in the car for a ‘just in case.?’

-I’ll bring an extra set of clothes, socks and boots, cause I have a feeling we may want to test the nature around us.”

-”Do you want to leave now or in 10 minutes without complaining?” Make a deal, let them decide, give choices and validate big feelings while sticking to the deal.

If you have ideas, please feel free to share more.

Until next time…

Stay Wild, Stay You!

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Board Games Teach Math!

 Board games - math?

Math worksheets are tough. Many kids cry over math, as do many parents. If only there was a better way? Guess What? There is! 


Using board games to learn, practice and build skills in a no-pressure way will open up your math world and bring you joy. If the game does not go the way you want, you can always start over and try again. Not ready to buy? Try different board games at local board game cafes before buying.

In BC, Canada, Lower mainland area: Boardwalk Cafe (Abbotsford), Warcraft Games (Mission), The Raving Gamer Bistro (Langley) Rain City Games (New West and Vancouver) Bastion Games (Chilliwack)

Get rid of the math power struggles and create bonding between family members and friends. I’ve created a wonderful list of games to get you started with all the math concepts written down for you, so you can pick and choose what skills you want to work on. 

If you're already a “Gameschooler,” feel free to add your favourite games and the math skills that apply to them. Have fun and keep gaming!

A starter math board list with suggested ages. If you want to add your favourite game and how it helped with math skills, please feel free to add it. 

In general when ALL GAMES are played with others you will learn and develop:

  • Social emotional

  • Reflective Thinking

  • Turn taking

  • Social Skills (Listening, Speaking, Turn Taking)

  • Planning

  • Problem Solving

  • Decision Making

  • Logical Thinking

  • Healthy competition

  • How to Deal with Mistakes

  • Delayed Gratification

  • Emotional Intelligence

  • Cooperation

  • Resilience




Catan - ages 10+ or jr 7+

  • Resource management

  • Probability (where best place your settlements before game begins)

  • Negotiation

  • Trading

  • Values

  • Chance (dice)

  • Analysis (current environment on how it impacts your chances of winning)

  • Tracking and Planning (observing other players and how to interfere with their goals)

Sushi Go - ages 8+

  • pattern work

  • times tables

  • Addition

  • Grouping

  • Algebra


Fish Stix - ages 4+

  • Pattern work

  • Adding to 10

  • Grouping

  • Sorting

  • Organizational skills

  • Counting 

  • strategy

Money Bags -ages 7+

  • Money math

  • Grouping

  • Adding

  • Subtracting

  • Estimating

  • Chance (dice)


Chess - ages 7+

  • Focus

  • Attention

  • Concentration

  • Predictability

  • Probability

  • Logical thinking

  • Planning

  • Foresight


Monopoly (note) theme games allows you to learn more

Bug-Opoly  insect facts

Dino-Opoly dinosaur facts


Monopoly - ages 8+, or monopoly jr 5+

  • Invest

  • Grow savings

  • Relestate concepts

  • Allowance / payday

  • Savings for setbacks

  • Decision making

  • Goal setting

  • Chance (dice)

  • (with monopoly jr, you can ‘act out’ the toll booths)


Pandemic - ages 8+

  • Geography

  • Cooperative skills

  • Coordinate with others

  • Strategy

  • Sorting

  • Pattern

  • Chance (cards)

  • Learning about scientists 

  • Diseases and chance to research real diseases and vaccines and scientists who develop them


Mastermind - ages 6+

  • Computing

  • Psychology

  • Design

  • Hypothesis-testing

  • Interpretation of results

  • Critical thinking

  • coding


Robot Turtles - ages 4+

  • Coding

  • Rotation

  • Multi-step problem solving

  • Computational thinking

  • programming fundamentals

  • Listening

  • Follow direction

  • Strategy


Ticket to Ride - ages 8+

  • Geography

  • Judge

  • Predict

  • Probability

  • Strategy

  • Tracking

  • Planning

  • Chance (cards)

  • Analysis

  • Resource management

  • Patterns

  • Problem solving

  • Grouping

  • Adding

  • Times Tables


Laser Maze - ages 8+ or jr 6+

  • Coding

  • Rotation

  • Angles 

  • Reflection

  • refraction 

  • multi-step problem solving


Sum Swamp - ages 5+

  • mental math

  • recall

  • speed drills if wanted

  • turn taking

  • subtracting

  • addition

  • evens and odds

  • Chance (dice)


Minecraft Board Game - ages 10+

  • Resource management

  • Probability (where best place your build structures for max gain)

  • Negotiation

  • Strategy

  • Values and counting

  • Analysis (what action to do - how it impacts your chances of winning)

  • Tracking and Planning (choose mob, weapons, build or structure -see what is available or how to mess up other players)

  • Turn taking

  • Social Studies - resources


High Seas Adventure - ages 5+

  • Addition to 10

  • Counting

  • Symbols

  • Waiting and following directions

  • Symbols

  • Chance (dice)


Race Around the Clock - ages 7+

  • Time on clock readings

  • Problem solving

  • Time elapsed scenarios

  • Calendar skills

  • Chance (spinner)


Place Value Safari - ages 5+

  • Place value for 1’s, 10’s, 100’s

  • Make Change

  • Chance (dice)


Batman - ages - 8+

  • Collect evidence

  • Follow directions

  • Counting

  • Chance (dice)

  • Addition

  • Subtraction

  • Symbols

  • Organization

  • Clockwise and counterclockwise directions

  • Reading

  • Collecting and Sorting


Frog Pond Fractions - ages 5+

  • Basic fraction beginner skills

  • Reduce fraction to simplest form

  • Identify fractions

  • Equivalent fractions

  • Strategy thinking

  • Spatial recall

  • Group dynamics

  • Cognitive and development skills


Pickles to Penguins - ages 8+

  • This linking picture game thinks outside the box. (literally)

  • make connections between picture cards

  • Colour matching

  • Pattern likeness

  • Compare and contrast

  • Sorting

  • Building vocabulary with over 900 new words

  • Compound words

  • Colours, shapes and comparative values

  • Following directions and rules

  • Social Skills

  • Abstract thinking and explanations of through process

Forbidden "Island" / "Desert" / "Sky" - 10+
(3 different games)
(join the team to do or die on a mission to capture 4 treasures and leave the island, or dig in the desert, or create a machine to reach the sky)
  • Strategic thinking

  • Share cards or information

  • Problem solve together

  • Cooperate to complete your mission

  • Chance

  • Probability

  • Analysis (current environment on how it impacts your chances of winning)

  • Tracking and Planning

  • Observation Skills



Feel free to add your favourites and the math concepts you learn from them.