Staying Home? Here’s How to Stay Productive

While you’re doing your part and practicing social distancing, you’re going to be spending a lot more time inside at home. It’s easy to get into a slump and lose motivation to do much of anything.

The key to staying sane while self-isolating is staying productive. This doesn’t mean you have to have a plan for every minute of every day. But even checking off just one to-do each day might help you feel accomplished and set you up for success once we’re all let back out of captivity! Here are a few tasks you can keep yourself busy with over the next couple of weeks:

Get Your Taxes Done Early

Try to find the silver lining here: We’re being encouraged to stay home just as the tax deadline is approaching. 

Okay, there are better things to get excited about right now – decreased air pollution, companies offering freebies, and everyday people doing good things to help those who need it – but you’ll have to get your taxes done anyway. Think of this as your opportunity to get ahead of one of your chores. 

Do Your Workouts

One amazing way to reduce stress and anxiety (two emotions which are likely high right now) is to get moving. You don’t need gym access or hours of time to dedicate to a workout, either.

Plenty of free, at-home, bodyweight workout videos are available online. Choose from activities like HIIT cardio, yoga, Pilates, bodyweight strength training, Zumba, and more – whatever is most likely to get you exercising. 

If you’re working from home, find a shorter video to keep you active during your lunch break. Just ten to fifteen minutes is all you need to begin to feel the benefits!

Spring Cleaning

If Marie Kondo has taught us anything, clearing your space has more benefits than you might initially think. 

The state of your home can actually impact your mental health. Decluttering your space helps to declutter your mind and is another way to bring stress levels down. Not to mention it may be a bit of a workout in itself!

Organize Photo Albums

Spend some time reminiscing on vacations, family gatherings, and pictures of the kids when they were little. Print out your favourite photos and put them in an album. No printer? No problem – some great apps like Chatbooks exist to help families document their memories. Simply upload and organize your photos, and they will print and ship a memory book to you.

If you’re feeling creative, grab the kiddos and put together a family scrapbook!

Missing any schoolyear memories? Edge Imaging securely archives student photos, so it’s not too late to order! Visit our ordering site here.

Staying home and self-isolating with the kiddos can be hard. Stay productive while staying home in order to stay sane.
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3 Affordable Resources for Learning At Home

Parents and students across the country are dealing with school closures and government advice to stay home as much as possible. Just because schools are closed doesn’t mean the learning needs to stop – trust us, the kids will get bored pretty quickly if it does!

Luckily, formal classes aren’t the only place to learn new things, and the alternatives don’t have to be expensive. Check out these free or low-cost ideas for new ways to keep the kids learning while you handle your tenth video conference of the day:

Check Your Library’s Online Resources

Your local library may be closed for the time being, but many are providing their communities with access to just as much information online as you could in person! With a library card and a free online account, you’ll likely have access to tons of ebooks, audiobooks, online newspapers, and book clubs.

Some libraries may even be able to provide free courses for teens and adults through websites like Lynda.com. Check the resources section of your library’s website to get reading and learning!

Learn A New Language

Having the ability to speak multiple languages helps improve decision-making skills, keeps the mind sharp (even into old age), and will eventually provide your child with additional job and career opportunities.

In today’s digital age, it’s easier than ever to learn a language from home. Check the app store on your smartphone or tablet for language learning apps. Whether your kids prefer learning a language to be a game or a more serious, classroom-style experience, you’ll find options for them to learn a variety of languages from the comfort of your living room, completely free or for a small fee.

Trying to limit screen time? Start small…together with the kids, write out some flashcards of everyday objects and place them accordingly throughout the house.

Find Out Your Family History

Ever wonder what your grandparents’ grandparents were like? How and when exactly your ancestors arrived in Canada? Whether you have any heritage from a country you didn’t expect?

Now that you have a bit more free time, gather the family together to learn more about where you came from. Sign up for a free trial at Ancestry (check to see if your library offers free Ancestry accounts, first!) and get searching.

Turn it into a fun project for the kids by having them build out a family tree or write up a biography on a specific ancestor. Take the opportunity to help them learn more about your family’s countries of origin, too, whether that means learning a bit of the language or having a fun family night in the kitchen cooking up a local dish.

Luckily, formal classes aren’t the only place to learn new things, so social distancing can still be educational. Check out these free or low-cost ideas for new ways to keep the kids learning while you handle your tenth video conference of the day.
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How to Spend Family Time During Social Distancing

Spending a couple of weeks at home might sound like a relief from busy everyday life and, for some people, the idea can sound downright exciting! But when you factor in that the “retreat” from society wasn’t a planned vacation you had time to prepare for, you can’t spend the time visiting friends and extended family or travelling somewhere sunny, and that all the places your kids love to visit are closed, a couple of weeks starts to look a lot longer.

So, how do you avoid 2+ weeks of the kiddos watching streaming services from morning ‘til night? Try scheduling a couple of evenings each week for a fun family activity.

Here are a few of our favourite ideas for when you need to turn off the TV or video games and get the fam together for a bit of quality time.

Cook Dinner Together

If you want to keep the kids busy for an hour, encourage them to appreciate healthy, home-cooked food, and get some help in the kitchen. This one’s a no-brainer!

Do a quick online search for kid-friendly recipes and get cooking! Classic kid favourites like spaghetti and meatballs are simple enough to keep those little hands busy.

Don’t be afraid to get a bit more adventurous with your recipes, either. Even if your kids are picky and claim not to like the meal you want to make, remember they’re more likely to try eating something they had a hand in making themselves.

Have A Game Night

Dust off those board game boxes, make some popcorn, and let the competitive spirits out!

If your kids are younger, game night is a great way to teach them how to be good sports. It can also teach them important life skills like patience, how to take directions, and how to take turns. Many board games also give kids the opportunity to learn how to strategize and learn from their own mistakes.

Organize Family Memories

Remember that family trip to Florida when the kids were little? They might not. Gather everyone together to go through some older photos on your phones, on your Dropbox account or housed on your social media accounts.

Once you’ve had your fill of reminiscing, choose your favourite pictures and print them at home for a fun arts and crafts project: building scrapbook pages together! Have every family member take charge of a specific page – for example, one person can design a page for a specific family vacation, one for events with the extended family, and one for documenting how the kids have grown year over year (we think school portraits are the perfect way to show this off). Personalize your pages by decorating with stickers and coloured construction paper cut-outs.

If you don’t have a printer at home, why not build your scrapbook digitally? Upload your favourite photo memories to a service like Chatbooks, where you can organize your photos and add captions and designs to the pages.

Missing any schoolyear memories? It’s never too late to order your digital or printed photos with Edge! Visit our online ordering site to get started today.

Social distancing is the responsible choice to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Use this as an opportunity to spend quality time with your family! Here are a few of our favourite ideas.
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Unique March Break Ideas for Kids

March Break is coming up quickly. For kids, this is super exciting: it means a whole week with no school! For parents who stay home during March break, getting some extra family time with the kids is fun, but there’s also the daunting task of keeping them entertained for a whole week…and stay on budget!

With a bit of planning, though, it’s easy to find enough free or cheap activities to keep the kiddos busy every day without ever having to hear the dreaded phrase “I’m bored”. We spoke to some industry experts to pull together a fun list of unique ideas for your kiddos to try during March Break:

Get Them Outside

  • Go for walks in the snow or try snowshoeing: Let the kids get burn off some energy by being outside! Going for a family walk will help your kids’ physical development and emotional well-being, as well as give you an opportunity to talk and connect with them. For something a bit different, try snowshoeing.
  • Hold a snowman-making contest: Invite over a couple of the kids’ friends and let them get to work building snowmen. Decide on a theme and give extra points for props and size. It’s a great way to combine physical activity with creativity.

Keep Them Creative

  • Encourage writing: The more students write, the more they develop their creativity. Writing also helps kids develop self-expression, self-confidence, and communication skills. Check out our personalized notebooks; they come with plenty of blank pages, writing prompts, and spaces for doodling and colouring.
  • Have them produce & perform a play: Parenting coach Elisabeth Stitt suggests gathering siblings and friends to write, produce, and act out a play to whatever audience they can gather. “With younger kids (3-6), they might just act out a story they know.   With kids 9-13ish, they could take multiple days to write a sophisticated script and to paint/construct scenes and props,” she says.
  • Use snow to create art: Bring the outdoors inside to let your kids explore their creativity. We love this idea for salt snow art!

Get Them Thinking

  • Board games: Bad weather might mean playing outside isn’t an option on a particular day, but the kids can still have fun inside without gluing themselves to a screen. “Board games have come a long way from Candy Land and Monopoly. There are some big-budget, highly produced games that can rival video games in terms of aesthetics,” suggests Bryan Truong of GameCows. “One of the newest trends in the board game world are Legacy games. The games themselves evolve and change after every playthrough. That means that every box will be a completely unique experience, and actions performed in the previous rounds will affect future playthroughs.”
  • Puzzles: Good old-fashioned puzzles are a fun way to keep kiddos occupied at home during bad weather. The best part is that they come in different levels of difficulty to challenge and assist with the development of kids at any age.
  • STEM toys: “While STEM toys are a little newer to the toy scene, they are a great way to keep the learning going in a fun and engaging way,” Angela Poch of Fun.com tells us. “STEM sets can involve kids in a variety of activities, from chemistry and science to math and coding.”

Get Them Trying New Things

  • Start a business: Is one of your kids a real go-getter? Leah Remillét, founder of The CEO Kid, has created a fun way to help older kids stay entertained and earning money of their own by starting their own business! She says, “Inside the CEO Kid box they’ll have everything they need to start thinking like a CEO including access to an online portal that will help them take their idea and turn it into an OPEN sign. They could be earning money plowing sidewalks by the end of the week!”
Playing outside, crafts, writing...we guarantee you'll find a unique way to keep your kids busy this March Break.
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Why Take Spring Photos?

Fall picture day has come and gone, and you have almost another full year before you need to get your kid ready for another day of school pictures…and then you see a flyer for spring photo day come home in your kid’s backpack.

The idea of spring photo day can seem a bit strange to some parents – and we don’t blame them. Spring pictures are a relatively new thing in the school photography industry and if you don’t understand why they’re so great, you may not believe they’re worth doing.

There are plenty of reasons to love spring photo day, but here are some of our favourites:

It Raises Money for the School

Almost every school could do with a bit of extra fundraising, and we’re happy to step in and help where we can.

Here’s how a spring photo day school fundraiser works: Our photography team comes in and takes care of all the hard work – the school admin team barely has to do anything. Then, after proofs go home, parents have the opportunity to order any of the fun, casual images of their child, and the school receives a percentage of each sale. 

It Documents A Mid-Year Point in the Child’s Life

We like to think of a child’s school pictures as a way to document their growth. If you take your kid’s school pictures from junior kindergarten to grade 12 and line them all up in a row, you end up looking at 14 years of their evolution.

The thing is, particularly in the elementary school years, kids can grow and change a lot from one fall to the next. This is where spring pictures come in handy – they serve as a memory from the mid-point in each chapter of their story.

It Allows Students to Have A Bit of Fun

We know fall photos have a reputation for being a bit traditional, but spring photos are where students have the chance to let their personality shine!

During a spring photoshoot, students are photographed standing up and have more relaxed options for posing. Spring photos are also taken on green screen backgrounds, so hundreds of fun images are available to choose as the photo background. Plus, they make the perfect addition to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts!

Order your spring photos online today!
Raise money for your school, let your kid have fun, and receive a mid-year memory with your school spring picture day.
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How to Make Grad Photos Run Smoothly

High school graduations may not begin for a few months, but grad photo season is already upon us! It’s one of our favourite times of the year, but we know some school staff can find it a bit stressful.

Luckily, we just so happen to consider ourselves experts at graduation photography. We want to make grad photo days feel like a breeze for our school partners, so we reached out to our professional graduation photographers to find out their best tips for running a smooth grad photo day.

Keep Reminding Students About Photo Day

This is one tip all our photographers agreed upon: Repeatedly remind students when and where grad photos are being taken and how they can sign up for their session. 

“I get a lot of students saying ‘I didn’t know grad photos were happening’, especially toward the end of the week after their friends had them done,” says one of our photographers. “Run announcements, make use of the flyers we provide, and ask teachers to talk about it in homeroom classes.”

Senior year is busy for graduates – they’re focusing on postsecondary applications and keeping their grades up. It’s easy for details to slip their mind. By talking about grad pictures frequently, hanging up posters, and handing out hard copy reminder notices, students are more likely to sign up for their photo sessions early and avoid any last-minute chaos.

Encourage Students to Come Ready 

Encourage your students to come to school ready for pictures – maybe this means they’re already wearing their favourite tie or they’ve already made sure their makeup is on point. This way, only touch-ups are required before they sit for their photo session.

When students are ready to go as soon as they get to the camera, it keeps the day running on time for everyone. 

However, sometimes students aren’t certain what “ready” means when it comes to grad photos. We’ve put together a video for your grads with answers to every question they might have around photo day.

Stay Informed

Just as it’s important to ensure students stay informed, make sure your admin team is up-to-date as well.

Stay in touch with your photographers and your school representative from your photography company. Make sure you know what the students’ options for posing are, as well as where the photographers are set up so you can easily answer any questions from your students.

Your photographer will also email you a schedule of all the appointments for each day so you’re always in the loop.

Looking for a new grad photography provider? It’s not too late to switch to Edge. Contact us today!

Hosting grad picture day at your school can be a daunting task, but it's much easier to stay organized with tips from professional photographers.
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3 Ways to Raise School Spirit

Who doesn’t want their hallways bursting with school spirit? You want everyone to be proud of where they spend most of their time during the school year. In fact, a high level of school spirit has been shown to help students perform well academically and makes them happier in general.

Unfortunately, a lot of students may have a hard time feeling particularly excited about coming to school every day. 

Luckily, raising school spirit may be easier than you think. With just a bit of planning, your school can have a stronger sense of community in almost no time. Here are some of our favourite ideas:

Hold a Pep Rally or Spirit Day

You know this from movies and TV shows: pep rallies never fail at getting staff and students together to cheer on the school’s sports teams before a big game. Pep rallies aren’t just for high school students, either, and cheerleaders or football teams aren’t necessary ingredients.

A spirit day may be better geared toward elementary and middle schoolers. Encourage students to wear school colours, organize some intramural sports games that everyone can take part in, and offer a pizza lunch. Go big and rent bouncy castles or just pick an easy theme for dressing up. Have you ever met a kid who didn’t love a PJ day?

Pep rallies and spirit days are great ways to raise school spirit. The students get a break from classes for the afternoon, have a chance to socialize with their classmates and cheer each other on while having fun. Including a unifying activity is always a win; you could make it a day of service in the community or host your own colour run. The options are neverending.

Start a Yearbook

Document how fun this year was with a school yearbook. Help your students remember their classmates and teachers, their teams and clubs, and even incorporate candid shots from school events.

Creating a fun yearbook promotes your school to your students similar to the way marketing and branding promote a corporate company.

Encouraging students to join the yearbook committee and be a part of the production process can even help them prepare for their future schooling and/or careers.

Create More Extracurricular Activities

If you have staff members that are willing to supervise, start new clubs and teams to encourage students to get more involved with the school!

Have teachers survey their classes to find out what the most in-demand activities are and look into implementing one or two of the most popular ideas. Maybe it’s a lunchtime intramural basketball “league” or an after school language club.

Check out this list of school club ideas if you’re in need of a little inspiration!

Raise school spirit with 3 of our fave ideas - no cheerleaders necessary :)
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3 Tips for Keeping Your Kids’ Information Safe Online

In 2013, global businesses recorded nearly 30 million significant security breaches, and that number has grown 33% on average each year since.

Hearing a stat like this, it’s easy to assume that all victims would be adults. But that’s not the case.

One of the worst cyberattacks of 2015 was on toy firm VTech. Personal information like IP addresses, names, birthdates, and gender was stolen from over 11 million accounts, most of which belonged to children. 

UKnowKids, a software that’s meant to allow parents to monitor their children’s communication and whereabouts, was also targeted by a cyberattack just a few years ago. Over 1700 accounts were compromised, exposing children’s full names, birthdates, GPS coordinates, text messages, and images. 

The internet can be a scary place if you’re ill-equipped, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead, learn how to keep their information safe online, and make sure they understand how important it is to be careful.

Use a VPN to keep location information hidden

A virtual private network (or VPN) uses an encrypted connection to keep your data safe by connecting to an offsite, secure server. This offers two complementary benefits for protecting your family.

First, by encrypting your connection, the VPN ensures that you’re protected from having your information intercepted on any dodgy public networks. Secondly, it prevents your location from being tracked by masking your IP address.

Along with this, of course, make sure your kids know not to tag their location in any Facebook or Instagram posts.

Educate your kids about online safety

If your kids are using a computer, they should understand the basics of staying safe, no matter how old they are. Teach them to never give away their personal information, and show them any security programs that you run on the computer. Make sure they understand how important it is to let you know if something strange happens online, and that you won’t be angry.

Our friends over at TELUSWise offer detailed, age-specific educational content about staying safe online, as well as resources on cyberbullying, and all for free! From elementary school to high school grad, there’s content to suit every stage. 

Find out which companies handle your children’s personal information

Take a moment to think about any companies that can access your kid’s data without you giving it directly to them. Does your school partner with any vendors that require personal information? Who does your school partner with for picture day?

Unfortunately, there has been a rise in North American schools being targeted in cyberattacks due to the government funding that exists. Make sure your school knows how important it is that they partner with vendors that help them mitigate their risk of an attack.

Here at Edge Imaging, we prioritize the data security of the students we photograph and have made a significant investment in this ongoing commitment.

Ask your school to switch to Canada’s most secure school photography company!
Keep your kids' information safe from online cyberattacks with these 3 easy tips

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Let’s Bring Intentional Kindness into 2020!

Did you know the term “bullying” is 123 years old? Bullying continues to be an issue among students, with many short-term, long-term, and other horrifying side effects.

When we see how bullying affects everyone involved, it’s no wonder schools have been campaigning against bullying for decades. While, in Ontario for example, incidents of bullying seem to have dropped recently, it’s far from eradicated. 

Maybe there’s a better approach to the situation. Maybe, instead of trying to stop the bad, we should be putting more effort into encouraging the good. 

Intentional kindness vs. anti-bullying

It’s been documented that the words we choose and the way we think shapes our reality

People often speak about promoting “bullying prevention” or the “anti-bullying” movement. Of course, this comes from a good place, but it also makes it seem like bullying is inevitable. 

When we decide to foster “intentional kindness”, we aim to lift everyone up. Rather than focusing on the negative acts of bullying, we make the shift to encourage students to be good to each other.

The end goal is the same, but we can choose to focus on either the positive or the negative aspects depending on which phrases we use. 

Three tips for fostering intentional kindness in your school

Lead by example

Whether you’re working with teenagers or preschoolers, kindness is contagious. Go out of your way to be kind to a neighbour or a coworker and tell your students about it. Share what the other person’s reaction was, and how it made you feel.

This shows your students that you practice what you preach, but it also shows them how simple it can be to do something nice, and how good it makes you feel afterward.

Make kindness fun

Keep the momentum going by showing your students how fun it is to be kind to the people in their life! Maybe you can create an afternoon kindness club, kick off a week-long kindness challenge, or start a good-deeds-a-thon where students pledge acts of kindness. 

Feel free to add in some positive reinforcement by sharing some of the most outstanding deeds with the classroom or the entire school.

Try a kindness experiment

Chip and Joanna Gaines (yes, the stars of Fixer Upper) are issuing a challenge to make kindness loud. They’ve created flyers, available for download on their website, that are perfect for printing and hanging around the halls of your school.

Each flyer has a number of tags on it, each with a different good deed. Students can tear off a tag and make their chosen kind deed their mission for the week. 

Alternatively, try out this version which focuses on inward acts of kindness.

Let's change our language and encourage good behaviour by changing "anti-bullying" into "intentional kindness".
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What to Expect on Junior Milestone Photo Day

Whether you’re transitioning from elementary to middle school, or from middle to high school, it’s an exciting time. Your junior milestone photo shoot should be fun and celebratory, but we know that it might feel a bit intimidating if you don’t have all the information.

Do you have to sign up to get your picture taken? What should you wear? Will it be all cap-and-gown serious, or will it be a bit more relaxed?

We often receive questions from students who aren’t sure what to expect from their Junior Milestone photo session, so we compiled some answers to our most frequently asked questions. The more prepared you are for your shoot, the more fun you’ll have, and the more awesome your pictures will turn out. 

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