Watch Andrea Vance from WestCoast Families on Global Noon News Hour Parenting Segment, Mondays.

Next appearance: Monday, March 31, 2014
Topic: Family Travel & Adventure!

Monday March 10
Spring Break 2014

Indoor Rock Climbing: Hive, Cliffhanger
Touring: Big Bus Sightseeing
Leaping: Origins Parkour

What’s going on:

Evergreen Cultural Centre:
Spring Break Festival: Monster Theatre’s Mini Masterpieces
Mar 18-19-20

Scotiabank Dance Centre
The Dovbush Dancers
Mar 27

West Coast Railway Association, Squamish
Dinosaur Train
Mar 20-23, 27-29

Cool kids camps:
Place Des Arts, Coquitlam: visual & performing arts
Circus West, Vancouver: circus performing
Jump Gymnastics, Vancouver: 4-8, gym & crafts
Tom Lee Music school, Vancouver: School of Rock

Monday October 21
Halloween Fun!

Haunted Village
Burnaby Village Museum

October 25 – 27
Witch’s Ball, Circus Sideshow, and carousel rides. Bring the kids in costume. | (604) 297-4565

Family Fright at the Fort
Fort Langley Historic Site

October 26-27
Trick-or-treat, balloon surprises,  “Mike’s Critters”
decorate a pumpkin
Also Grave Tales walking tour! | 604.513.4777

Halloween in the Forest
Surrey Nature Centre

October 26, 10am–2pm
Follow the Forest Fairy to discover owls, bats and other creatures of the night.
Identify mystery items using your sense of touch.
Pumpkin patch.
aged 5-8.
Rain or shine!
$7 per child. | 604.502.6065

Taves Family Farms – previously Apple Barn
Hayride, ride a pony, pick your own apples, choose a perfectly-round pumpkin, Corn Quest Maze, jumping pillow,

Pet barn animals at Farmville
Farmers Market – country store

Hazelmere Pumpkin Patch
Gabriel Farms, Surrey

Weekends only, 10am-5pm (some extended hours-please call)
U-pick pumpkins and gourds, hayrides, petting zoo, mini corn maze, face painting.
Concession and more. Bring your family and your flashlights!
604.992.7748  Facebook


Monday September 20

Consignment stores in Greater Vancouver.
– a few retail consignment stores still open – check for full listing.
– need to bring items in, sometimes book appointment.
– items need to be in-season
– get 40-50% of selling price

Wee Ones Reruns – Kingsway, Vancouver
Buttercups – Ladner
Listings online at

–  easy, just fill the bag – no appt, no lugging stuff.
–  season doesn’t matter – can sell any item, any time.
–  usually awarded points, which can be spent.
–  Prices usually lower, commission usually lower

   Perfect Threads

Kids Swap meets around Greater Vancouver.
Book table, bring your clothes & other items
100% selling price is yours.
More effort, more time.

Monday September 9
Home Grown Kids Fashion

Souris Mini
Montreal-based designs.
Interchangeable coordinated
High end but not expensive

Organic, eco-friendly, made in Canada
BEST denim jeans for toddlers ever
Soft & comfortable

Path + Laftr
Clothing for youth, teen and pre-teen boys
Local company.
Amazing fabrics, super comfortable and great teen styles

Kelowna based, made in Canada
Simple, well designed.  Great quality.

Monday February 25 2013
Spring Break Camps

Performing and Visual Art Camps
Arts Umbrella, Granville Island
Hip Hop, Creative Drama, Cartooning, Photography.  Ages 3-19.  March 18-28

PNE Garden Auditorium, Vancouver
Unicycles, juggling, acrobatics.  5-14 yrs.  Full & half days. March 18-28

Crafty Spring Break Camps
Create It Emporium, Surrey
Daily programs: sewing, needle, painting, creating crafts.  Sign up for as many days/whichever days you want.  6-13 yrs. March 18-29

Performing and Visual Arts Camps
Evergreen Cultural Centre, Coquitlam
Kids on Stage, acting for camera, animated world.  Ages 7-14.  Full day. March 18-28

School of Rock
Tom Lee Music, Vancouver
Play guitar, electric guitar, drums, sing… practice, perform, and a live concert at the end.  March 18-22

January 28, 2013

Sports Funding

Athletics 4 kids
The support of A4K is available province-wide for children ages five to 18 currently enrolled in school. Basic registration fees are paid for a multitude of approved sports, up to an annual maximum of $600 per child. For more information, visit

BC Sport Agency
BC Sport Agency has a number of programs that support community sport participation such as the Sport Participation Program, Local Sport Development Fund, and Aboriginal sport grants. For more information, visit

JumpStart, Canadian Tire
Canadian Tire Jumpstart is a national charitable program that helps financially disadvantaged children participate in organized sport and recreation. Jumpstart helps cover registration, equipment and/or transportation costs. For more information, visit

Kid Sport Canada
KidSport™ Canada is a national not-for-profit organization providing financial assistance for registration fees and equipment to children aged 18 and under. Through a confidential application process Kid Sport Canada provides grants so children can play a season of sport. For more information, visit

Community Centres
Contact your local recreational centre for grants and bursaries for various sports and programs for low income families.

Hockey associations
Many hockey leagues and associations have waivers for families who can’t afford the registration fee.

September 17, 2012

Back to School Style

Hatley Stores:
Joe Fresh:
Nobis Hats:
Mountain Equipment Coop:
Peekaboo Beans & Cici Bean:
Triple Flip:
Redfish Kids Clothing:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cool Summer DayCamps for kids.

Also look at any organization that offers kids programs year round.  Topics: Science, Gymnastics, Sports, Educational, outdoor, recreational, dance, music, arts, and much more.  Don’t forget about your local community centre & libraries too.

Tom Lee Music Learning Centre
School of Rock
Glee Camp – Surrey, Richmond, Vancouver
Singing & dancing show choir
one week each

SFU Camps
Burnaby & Surrey
Sports, Education (ESL, Leadership, Computer), Outdoor (mountaineering, orientation,) , Recreation, Aquatics

Timberline Ranch
Horseback Riding,  also includes swimming, climbing, crafts, games.
Maple Ridge
Ages 7-8  older kids camps also, but overnights.

UBC Botanical Gardens
Eco Explorer – linking humans with the environment.  Cohabitating with wildlife: photo safaris, wild plant tastings, off-site excursions
Garden Explorer – become a friendly gardener.  Cook with weird veg, make compost tea, water conservation.
Ages 7-11

Half or full days
Ages 4-12
Visual arts, music dance, theatre
Architecture, drama, mixed media, music, cartooning

Monday, April 30, 2012
Do you know where your food comes from?

More & more families going local, concerned about what they’re feeding their kids (and themselves).
Lower Mainland is a goldmine for local produce, and organic food.
Smaller, family oriented businesses
Quality products

Local Organic Farms

Goat’s Pride Dairy – Abbotsford
Goat milk, yogurt, cheese
Store on site, or from many grocers around Lower Mainland (Choices, Organic Grocer, SPUD, Planet Organic, etc)

Sumas Mountain Farms
Beef, chicken, pork, eggs
Can preorder from website & pickup in Abbotsford
Look at the page for rideshares with/for other orderers

Two EE’s Organic Produce
Family owned since 1960 – daughter & son-in-law of original farm owners now run the store operation, and a son runs the produce farm.
Lettuces, Kale, Carrots, beets, cauliflower, brussels, Fava Beans!
More than 48 kinds of vegies

See the April issue of WestCoast Families for more profiles on local organic farms

Farmer’s Markets
Complete Family event.  Meet the growers themselves, talk about the food.  Artisans and crafters too!
Lunch, Entertainment
Schedules vary

North/West Vancouver & Burnaby:

See “Listings” section of WestCoast Families website for FULL Listing of Farmer’s Markets in the Lower Mainland.

April 9, 2012


Are they ready?  First time?  Lots of camps have “sample sizes”
Interests & Challenges.  What are they about? Sometimes pushing boundaries outside “normal” life.  Meeting other kids.  Boosting self esteem.  Take on new challenges.
Length – varies from 3 days to 4 weeks +
Cost – varies from $200 to more than $10,000!
Ages – 5 & up.  Usually grouped with similar ages.  Younger ages usually have shorter camps (ie. 3-4 days)

Religious Camps:
Camp Qwanoes – youth focus, year-round, Christian camp.
Camp Luther – Christian camp, outdoor adventure,
Stillwood Camp – Religious camp.  Program of Challenge & recreation.
Camp Squeah – Mennonite Church, natural setting for kids to build relationships, grow, be nurtured.
Timberline Ranch – religious camp, horseback riding, biking, skateboarding, and lots of outdoor activity.

Outdoor/Adventure Camps:
Sasamat Outdoor Centre – Experience wide range of outdoor activities: kayak, geocaching, swimming, campfires, archery,
Evans Lake Forest Education Camp – Eco Fun Forest Education, outdoor skills & leadership
YMCA – Camp Elphinstone – camping adventures, ocean, growth of campers through community & friendships. International!
YMCA – Camp Deka – lake, adventure camping, unique personal experiences.

Specialized Camps:
GIFTS – Act, Direct, and make your own movie!
Dave Murray Ski/Snowboard school –
Digital Media Academy  – computers & digital media  at UBC Campus –

Click HERE for a full listing of camps in the April 2012 issue of WestCoast Families magazine

February 20, 2012


Play based
Montessori – multi age classes, learn at own pace.. and learn through hands on doing instead of teaching.  Free to move about, work alone, or with others.
Waldorf – start with belief & trust in the good in the world.  Beautiful.  Imagination & creativity.  Academics come later.
CEFA – junior kindergarten – core subjects like reading & math, incorporating fine arts like dance, yoga, drama.  Freedom to learn & grow through play.

Elementary & beyond
Montessori & Waldorf
Sports & Outdoor
Language Immersion – Mandarin & French
Learning Disabilities
Community based schools

Home Schooling
Distance learning
Parent led.

Distributed learning
Teacher led, provincial curriculum.

Great resources

January 23, 2012

Arts Umbrella
Early learning programs – Creative Dance for 3-5 yrs
Musical Theatre, starting at age 8

Triple Threats 5-11 yrs

Gabriela’s Movement Studio
Creative Movement 2-9 yrs – music, props, instruments… discovering dance!

Place des arts
Hip Hop for 8-18 yrs, performing in competitive events too.

Pacific dance arts
Specializing in Ballet… but also includes jazz, modern, & contemporary dance.   General Dance programs use ballet as a base, but cover lots of genres.  Professional programs too.

Vancouver Academy of Dance
ALL kinds of dance –Ballroom, chinese dance

Community Centres
LOTS of dance classes for all ages.
Very inexpensive, often fill up.

JANUARY 9, 2012

Education (and FUN!) at home

Rainy dull days of Jan & Feb can be spiced up.
Creative ways to spend days indoors when the outdoors is really not an option.

Building sets
Find building blocks around the house: egg cartons, toilet roll inserts, cardboard boxes.   And a lot of tape!
Create large scale buildings that inspire creative play.  They can use the creation for their cars, dolls, or whatever else they like to use their imaginations with.

Get a magnifying glass and inspect everything!  Great for boys & girls.  Trap an insect for a short period of time and really take a close look.  Brave the cold & rain for a short time and collect rocks, leaves, tree bark, and anything else that may look more interesting closeup.

Life skills
Cooking, sewing, knitting, woodworking… whatever you’re good at.  Immerse you & your child in it for a few hours one day.  You’d be amazed at what they are capable of creating.  Never underestimate!

Create a book
Have your child dictate a story about herself.  Type or print it on paper, fasten the paper together, and have your child illustrate each page to make a personalized picture book.