‘Chatterbox’ opens a dialogue on Family Day

Braeden Wallace, 13, asks his eight-year-old sister Teaghan what she wants to be when she grows up.

“I want to be an architect or a professional writer,” Teaghan said, “because that’s what Mommy wanted to be.”

Their father, Andrew Wallace, looked on as his children play a game exploring life skills. It’s Family Day at Casa Loma, in Toronto’s west end, and the Wallace family is participating in a game of Chatterbox.

Andrew Wallace says the game is helpful in teaching life lessons and helps his children open up to him.

“We’re concerned with the life lessons and character building that a game like this helps cultivate,” Wallace said.

The game is the creation of Kim and David Maksymuik, two accountants from Safety Harbor, Florida. They realized there were few materials to teach their twins important life skills. So they came up with an educational game.

Chatterbox consists of cards in six categories, including family life, getting along with people, building character, achievement skills, goal planning and money skills. This Family Day they promoted their educational games at Casa Loma.

During the Family Day event, the Casa Loma library had six communication stations. They covered such subjects as money, self-esteem, build an Inukshuk, tolerance and manners matter, each representing a life lesson taught in the game.

“I wanted to show people how easy it can be to introduce and teach difficult subjects,” Maksymuik said.  “All the families were having a great time while learning important and necessary life lessons.”

“What I’ve noticed in playing the game with my kids is that a lot of the time when I think I know what they are going to say, I’m wrong,” Maksymuik said.

“Since we started to play when my children have a question they have a hard time asking they call it a chatterbox question and we deal with it openly.”

Lou Syler, Marketing Director and the co-ordinator of the Family Day event, said the game got a pretty good response during the day since a lot of people spent time playing at the tables.

“When we were approached by the Chatterbox company it made sense to use their game for our Family Day event because it encouraged the family experience,” Syler said.

Andrew Wallace likes that Family Day at Casa Loma involves education, something he always encourages his children to do.

“It’s always nice to have a day to spend time with your kids, but today I feel like I’m learning a lot about them too,” Wallace said.