Spring Break 2017!

by Jodi Iverson

After the seemingly endless winter, spring has sprung! The kids will soon be set loose for two weeks and parents across Greater Vancouver are looking for fun, local ways to keep the kids occupied. We have compiled some terrific options for March Break to suit kids who camp and the whole family.

Run away to the circus! CircusWest presents a week-long camp featuring all the favourite circus skills like unicycle, juggling, trapeze, trampoline, and acrobatics. On the final afternoon, the camp culminates with a one-hour show, where the campers present their new skills for friends and family!

New kid on the block, TumbleTown offers two weeks of half or full day camps for little gymnasts aged three to eight. Expect gymnastics-based days including story, arts, and crafts, games, free play and more!

Evergreen Cultural Centre
From stage to studio, Evergreen Cultural Centre is a great choice to inspire your artistic camper. Offering quality week-long camps for artists ages six-16, there’s also tons of excitement at the Spring Break Festival, with three different shows. Remember, Evergreen Cultural centre is easily accessible by the new Evergreen SkyTrain that stops right at their front door!

Espanol? Si! Did you know bilingual children have been shown to have better critical thinking skills, which can result in better academic performance? Europa Language School offers your camper the opportunity to have fun as they learn and practise the Spanish language and culture at their beautiful new Coquitlam campus.

Burnaby 8 Rinks
Have a future Canuck or Whitecap in your house? 8 Rinks Hockey and Multi Sport camps feature professional instruction and the opportunity to hone budding athletic skills in a fun and active environment.

Jump Gymnastics
Jump Gymnastics is a leader in children’s physical literacy and offers full day spring break camps in a positive and safe environment for kids ages three to seven in both their North Vancouver and Yaletown locations. Camps include fundamental movement skills in the gym, cooking, crafts, stories, and outings!

Burnaby Village Museum’s Heritage Adventure Camps
“History Comes to Life” for campers at Burnaby Village Museum! This year they are offering 12 days of fun, featuring heritage games, arts and crafts, vintage toys, free carousel rides and more.

Gulf of Georgia Cannery
In celebration of Canadas 150th anniversary, visit the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site in Steveston for free during Spring Break. There are fun activities like crafts, games, and machine demos for kids of all ages! Pick up a Parks Canada Xplorer activity booklet and learn more about Canada’s west coast fishing industry!

Vancouver Phoenix Gymnastics
Join Vancouver Phoenix Gymnastics for two weeks of gymnastics day camps including gymnastics skills building and various themed activities. They offer camps for all ages, toddler to teen. Full and half days available with a before and after care camp option as well! Kids will love the fun tumbling and physical fun.

Time for a SnowPass!

What’s better than giving your fourth or fifth grader a lift ticket? How about providing them with the opportunity to get outside, be active and enjoy Canada’s winter wonderland? The Grade 4 & 5 SnowPass is a great opportunity to your nine or ten-year-old to try a new sport and get them outside during the winter months. When you purchase a SnowPass, you receive three free lift passes for each of the 155+ participating ski areas, that’s over 470 lift passes! To see if your favourite ski area is participating, please visit www.snowpass.ca

Just $30 gets SnowPass users access to a bunch of different hills so kids can explore a variety of locations and challenges. Kids get to practise their skill while having the time of their lives, exploring the great hills in our local area, and even a few others while on vacation!

Anyone in grade four or five (or those born in 2006 or 2007) is eligible for the Grade 4 & 5 SnowPass. With over 155+ different participating ski areas – including 31 ski areas in British Columbia, 24 in Alberta, 1 in Saskatchewan, 3 in Manitoba, 31 in Ontario, 58 in Quebec, 8 in Atlantic Canada, and 1 in the Yukon, everyone can take advantage of this amazing deal.  Your child’s grade 4 and 5 SnowPass is valid from December 1st until the end of the ski season.

Learn more about the Grade 4 and 5 SnowPass online and get outdoors into the snow and fresh air!

Get Halloween Sewing!

Halloween is a great time to DIY and putting together a stand-out costume doesn’t have to require years and years of garment-making expertise! With a little creativity and a few key tips, it’s easy for anyone to craft a creative costume.
Here are 5 tips for beginner sewers who want to make a notable Halloween costume:

  1. Choose ‘no-fray’ fabrics
    When you work with fabrics that don’t fray, costumes are as easy as cut-and-go. Look for felt, vinyl, pleather, and flannelette. Once cut, the raw edges won’t unravel, so the finish will look pro even if your skills are not (yet!).
  1. Find existing pieces
    Instead of sewing an entire costume, use clothes you already own as a base (or hit your local thrift shop) and build the costume on top of that. Having less to put together will save you time for extra trick-or-treating.
  1. Use a sewing machine that’s easy to work with
    Look for a sewing machine with features that are suitable for beginners. The Brother NQ900 sewing machine has speed control, an automatic needle threader, and an easy-to-load bobbin. A machine that’s easy to work with eliminates frustrations, so you can spend more time crafting your costume.
  1. Find creative ways to customize
    “Glue gun” is not a four-letter word when it comes to a homemade Halloween costume. Anything goes! Add studs, appliques (the Brother NQ900 has a sideways-sewing feature to make this super easy), or trim to your piece. Many sewing machines have the ability to embroider different fonts, so adding words or monograms to your costume is also within reach.
  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself
    Halloween is about having fun, and a DIY’d costume is a bragging right! So get creative, and don’t worry about little mistakes that only you will notice.

– Denise Wild

TV personality, sewing, DIY expert

Halloween Fun!

Looking for some spooky fun to keep you entertained this creepy season? Check out some of these fun happenings to keep you and your little ones busy, entertained and full of haunted history.

  • The Sea to Sky Gondola welcomes trick-or-treaters of all ages for an afternoon of activities from face-painting and trick-or-treating, to exploring the new kids’ Alpine Alley Trail. (Saturday, October 29th; 12am – 4pm)
  • Visit Spooktacular at Britannia Mine Museum and take a ride on the Halloween train, or walk through the Witch’s House, Spooky Science Show and Insect Emporium. (October 29th and 30th; 11am – 3pm)
  • Experience Halloween at Pemberton Museum with a wander through the haunted School House and participate in Halloween-themed games while enjoying fire-roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. (October 29th; 12am – 3pm)
  • A longstanding tradition, Tapley’s Farm neighbourhood in Whistler promises an evening of trick-or-treating with more than 80 homes participating. (October 31st; 5:30pm – 8:30pm)
  • Check out the Haunted Village at Burnaby Village Museum and wear your costume, listen to ghost stories and roam the haunted history of our local town.
  • Visit the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Museum for their annual Haunted Tour! There’s a mystery afoot in the museum some come out to learn, solve the secret and add to the spooky stories.
  • Hit up the Trick-or-Treat parade on October 31, 2016 at Willowbrook Shopping Centre for this popular and lively Halloween event! Just $2 (cash only) per child up to age 12. Registration starts at 4:30pm at the following Willowbrook entrances: Sport Chek, Swimco, Tim Hortons,  Sashimi Sushi, and Sears.
    Proceeds from the event will go to the Langley School District Foundation to support innovative and essential school programs for Langley students.

All Aboard!

Looking for some family fun? Love trains? Love to soar the Sea to Sky highway? Check out the West Coast Railway Association (WCRA) and their amazing rail rides that provide hours of fun for the whole family. Located at 39645 Government Road in Squamish, families can visit the Royal Hudson Steam Locomotive, with an extreme blast to the past.

There’s nothing quite like the history of a steam train, the sound of metal on metal and all the amazing history of travel. There’s also the Mini Rail, a large 1/8th scale miniature to see in the park. Worth the trip to Squamish, there’s lots of fun to keep the whole family active, open daily from 10am-5pm all year round!

A special treat is the Polar Express, coming back to the WCRA! Get the family in the holiday spirit with a ride on this mystical train that teaches the true meaning of Christmas.

The WCRA is also looking for new members and volunteers to help restore old locomotives! Get involved with other train lovers and help to do bodywork, paint, sanding, woodwork and get involved as a family.

For more information, times and more, check out wcra.org

Costume Drive with Just Imagine

Every child looks forward to Halloween! It’s a chance to escape and be someone else for a night, having tons of fun with friends and family, and of course, getting access to some tasty candy! But half the fun is in the costume, but for some families, there are other financial priorities that come before playing dress up. For some it can be a struggle just to pay the household bills and put food on the table, which doesn’t leave much left for make believe.

Thankfully, costume shop extraordinaire, Just Imagine, has created a costume drive for people to donate costumes so that all children can be a part of this fun celebration. Simply swing by the shop, donate a costume (or pick out one brand new) and add it to the collection! Children in need will be able to cruise for their favourite action figure, toy or tv character, while Lower Mainland families can purge the years of costumes collecting dust in the basement.

No child deserves to be excluded from celebrations, and Just Imagine hopes to give each chance to have a night of fun and silliness. So donate to the costume drive and be sure to check out Just Imagine’s amazing selection of costumes and other fun so that you and your family are ready for Halloween!

Share Your S’more Recipe to Win!

The Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) is encouraging Canadians to commit to camp this summer with s’more great ideas for connecting to nature through the Great Canadian Campout initiative. CWF’s goal is to encourage Canadians across the country to appreciate nature first-hand by enjoying an “in tents” camping experience.”Whether you pitch a tent in your own backyard or spend a few days in a provincial or national park, don’t miss out on this opportunity to join the Great Canadian Campout. Sleeping under the stars is one of the ultimate Canadian experiences,” said Rick Bates, CEO of the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

As part of the Great Canadian Campout, CWF is challenging campers to share their “ultimate s’mores recipe” through the hashtag #GreatCanadianCampout. Whether you choose sweet or savory, healthy or decadent, s’mores can be prepared on campfires or cook stoves. Most amazing of all, CWF will publish the winning recipe in Canadian Wildlife magazine.

Visit GreatCanadianCampout.ca for more information on how you can register your commitment to camp and enter the s’mores contest as well as the ultimate Canadian camper contest. You can also receive a guide to Canada’s greatest hikes from Canadian Wildlife magazine, review environmental tips and download a multilingual learn to camp guide.

The Canadian Wildlife Federation is dedicated to fostering awareness and appreciation of our natural world. By spreading knowledge of human impacts on the environment, carrying out research, developing and delivering education programs, promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, recommending changes to policy and co-operating with like-minded partners, CWF encourages a future in which Canadians can live in harmony with nature.

Fort Langley Fun

Since 1979, people have flocked to Fort Langley on BC Day weekend to bring to life a tradition that goes back to the early 1800s: the arrival of the fur brigades. Every modern outdoorsman or adventure fan or Vancouverite who wants to get in touch with BC’s roots must come out this weekend to see this: dozens of men, women and children dressed in 19th century clothing will be “roughing it” in their canvas tents, cooking over the fire, and sharing their old-fashioned skills with visitors.

Have you seen laundry done by hand, with a washboard and ringer? Then be sure to visit our Washer Women. Like folk music? Check out the stories and songs three times a day. Are you into fashion? Be sure to see the fashion show July 31st at 1:30 pm. All weekend, you can mingle with the re-enactors who will be at their tents, showing off their old-fashioned wares, weaving, sewing and cooking.

Cretons, Wild rice, duck and bulrush shoots, bear sausage, stew cooked with hot rocks, bannock: sound good? No? That’s OK, you don’t have to eat it, but come and watch re-enactors facing off with their traditional dishes on Sunday July 31st at 4 pm. Come early to see them cooking over their fires and watch the re-enactors of all ages cook up their 1800s recipes, and see which dish the judges choose as the winner.

On BC Day, August 1st, bagpipe processions and an exciting canoe re-enactment on the Fraser River will take place between 12:30 and 2 pm. Then from 6-8 pm, don’t miss the FREE BC DAY concert in the fort. Live music with Celtic singer, Pat Chessell! Bring your blanket and a picnic or some take-out and enjoy a relaxing evening.

So grab your friends and come on out for a different kind of weekend. And while you’re going to time travel, you’ll need your smart phones: you’re going to want to share some awesome photos with #exploreBCday #langleyfresh and #fortlangleynhs for our photo contest. http://www.tourism-langley.ca/bc-day-instameet
P.S. There are even Pokemons, a gym and monuments on site! 

Summer Fun at Rocky Mountain Flatbread

Keeping little ones busy during the summer can be a challenge, and there’s always a million extra chores for parents and caregivers. There’s also the need to prepare regular lunches and meals to ensure kids are fed and energized for all that summer fun!

Thankfully, Rocky Mountain Flatbread heeds the call of parents who need to keep the littles busy while also eating some tasty food! Every Wednesday from 11am – 12pm, moms, dads and caregivers can register to take their little one to the restaurant for parent-child workshops! Each week will feature a different activity, be it storytelling, yoga and dance, creating healthy snacks, faceprinting, crafts and tea party dress up events! Parents will have fun with their children participating in an unique activity, while kids will have a blast.

Best of all, stay behind afterwards to have a delicious pizza, full of healthy, local and organic ingredients that keep everyone fuelled and full!

Registration is required and class size is limited so be sure to register at info@rockymountainflatbread.ca to take part in these classes at the Main Street location!


Phoenix’s Therapeutic Gymnastics Program for Every Athlete

by Leigh Dawson, Special Needs Lead Coach at Vancouver Phoenix Gymnastics

Phoenix’s Therapeutic Gymnastics Program for Every Athlete

We’re running back and forth on a long trampoline designed for elite gymnasts to practice their tumbling skills. I have two stuffed animals and a stress ball spilling out of my pockets as I play a two-person tag game with my athlete who we’ll call A. This is not your typical gymnastics class.

A and I work together in a private class where we weave cardio, gross motor, coordination, flexibility and strength building together with games, gymnastics skills and lots (and lots) of trampoline time. A has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and is a member of our Therapeutics Gymnastics program. Like many of our athletes with ASD, A has difficulties with social situations, communication and behavior. Autism is a spectrum, which means that every individual that comes to us has unique needs and goals. The joy of the program is that we interact with the families directly in order to build something around those specific needs and goals, around the athletes themselves.

Not all our athletes have ASD, however. The program is available to anyone with a physical, social or behavioural need. Some of these athletes prefer to come on their own, like A, and work only with one coach. Others join a group situation, but may need an extra hand to help them navigate the class. Some of my greatest moments as a coach have been watching these children gain confidence and independence over time. As 1:1 coaches, both in a class and teaching a private lesson, we get the amazing experience of working closely with one child, getting to know their specific needs, and personality traits. By creating these bonds, the athletes, who may feel ostracized in other situations, feel comfortable. The gym becomes part of their community. We become a community together.