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.

Christmas at Hycroft!

You will LOVE Christmas at Hycroft! There’s loads to see and do as you wander through all the nooks and crannies of the beautiful Edwardian mansion. Learn about this stunning building in the centre of Vancouver that has been a part of local history, and mystery too! (Word has it that the place is haunted…)

Inside you’ll find ALL THREE FLOORS decked in seasonal splendour thanks to our fabulous in-house decorators and corporate decorators, and the excellent variety of unique boutiques, crafters and over 25 local Artisans. Outside, Hycroft’s  Courtyard is a buzz of activity with entertainment, vendors, Emelle’s Catering Trailer and the traditional “Kitchen Creations” located in the Coach House. Don’t miss all those tasty snacks!

Tickets are $15 per person, but kids under 13 are free. The event runs from November 17th-20th and is open daily from 11am to 9pm and Sunday from 11am-6pm. For more information, visit Christmas at Hycroft. 

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

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.

Top 5 Tips to Maximize Your Museum Trip

Are your kids’ brains turning to mush over the summer break? Need something to stimulate and engage them? Look no farther than your provincial museum, just a hop away on Vancouver Island! The Royal BC Museum offers tons of fun for kids and lots of interactive exhibits, but making the trip can also be daunting. Here are the Royal BC Museum’s top tips for making the most of your museum experience!

  1. Pre-plan with your kids

Get your kids buy-in by inviting them to help decide what you’ll see when you visit the museum. Let their curiosity curate your experience. Get a head start by checking your local museum’s website for exhibitions. The Royal BC Museum also has a terrific online resource in the form of the Learning Portal.

  1. Arrive early for exclusive access

Avoid the crowds and get the museum to yourself by arriving right when the museum opens. Most museums, including the Royal BC Museum, open at 10am and are quiet for the first hour or two. You can even bypass the box office altogether by buying your tickets online!

  1. Enjoy kid/family programs

Check out the special activities and events designed for your family. The Royal BC Museum features phenomenal summer camps for kids, Wonder Sundays for families, and more great activities, all found in the program guide. See if the feature exhibitions are kid friendly like the Royal BC Museum’s Mammoths: Giants of the Ice Age.

  1. Draw

Bring a pencil and paper so that you and your kids can sketch what you see. Drawing things encourages close looking allowing kids to notice details they may have missed. It helps everyone slow down and enjoy what they are seeing. Plus you get to look back at your creation and remember your museum visit.

  1. Take snack/food breaks

Most museums have great cafes. The Royal BC Museum is no exception, and also plays host to a kid-friendly Food Truck Festival in the enclosed back courtyard. Keep the hangriness at bay with lots of snack breaks.

Kidsworld Summer Program!

Wondering what to do with your kids during the long summer months? Wonder no more! After 10 months in school, every kid and parent can use the 65+ days of Kidsworld! With your $45 membership fee per child, KIDSWORLD offers children between the age of four and 15 years (not intended for children under the age of four years), accompanied by a parent/guardian, an opportunity to explore their community together, all summer long, while learning along the way! You’ll save a ton of money while seeing some amazing attractions in our area. A different event or activity in a different location, every day of summer, with all events/activities offering FREE admission for both the child and one accompanying parent/guardian. Experience events like a Harbour Cruise; Theatre Under The Stars; Playland; Burnaby Village Museum; Crash Crawly’s; Maplewood Farm; Westcoast Railway Heritage Park and the list goes on. It’s the perfect way to keep everyone busy, happy, and educated throughout summer months.

Go to www.kidsworldprogram.com for more info.

Winners in our Summer Fun Facebook Party!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Summer Fun Facebook Party! We had amazing prizes, great conversation and loads of fun.
Below is a full list of our winners. Thank you to all of our amazing sponsors too!

$50 Hip Baby Gift Card
Winner: Heather Noelle

4 pack of tickets to the PNE/Playland One Day PlayPasses
Winner: Kirsten Fisher

3 Family passes for Pirate Adventures
1. Francesca Murray
2. Lindsay Sutton
3. Lesley Hui Ogden

Buddy Play Package from Goose and Moose
Winner: Ruby Kyte Smith

Super Spinner from Goose and Moose
Winner: Tracy Roper

Limited Edition Camp Pack from Mabel’s Labels
Winner: Joy Logie

2 Family Day Passes to the Vancouver Maritime Museum
1. Sarah Holden Dinsdale
2. Amber Fearnley

Britannia Mine Museum, 2 Family memberships
1. Jenny Cha
2. Jenica Enquist

Vancouver Police Museum Camp for 1 youth, July 15-17
Winner: Kimber Ellie Dawn

One family pass $30 to the Vancouver Police Museum
Winner: Sunshine Hanan


Don’t Miss Our Summer Fun Facebook Party!

On 24 June from 7-8pm, join WestCoast Families for our Summer Fun Facebook Party!

We’re excited to be hosting this event so that our readers can learn all about our amazing local events, service providers and local treasures that make your summer a blast.

We’ve been slowly revealing our prizes on our event page, so check back regularly to see what you can win.

To join the party, click on our Summer Fun Facebook Party link and “attend” the event. The night of, for each prize we’ll ask a question about Summer Fun in the Lower Mainland. Participate in the conversation to be randomly selected at the end of the evening to win a prize.

We look forward to “seeing” you there!

The Pumpkin Train Pulls Into Squamish

Take your kids on a Halloween adventure without all the scary stuff!

This pumpkin train is a 40 minute round trip train ride. Children of all ages will travel with their parents to the magic pumpkin patch where they will search for the magic pumpkin. Choose a pumpkin and if you are lucky it may contain a magic surprise. Draw a face and have your pumpkin carved by train conductors to take home. Other treats include mini rail rides ($3), multiple games and craft stations followed by the train trip back to the starting point.

Reservations highly recommended!  book online at wcra.org or call 604-898-9336
39645 Government Rd. Squamish, B.C.

You can also take this opportunity to book a trip on the ever popular Polar Express Train ride coming this way during the Holiday Season