Keeping the kids awake during road trips

Keeping kids entertained on drivesWhen I was young and when we went on road trips, we had to walk barefoot uphill both ways in the snow. Wait.  I mean, we had to entertain ourselves with nothing more than the radio to listen to and the other passengers to entertain us. (But. But.  I don’t LIKE THAT SONG!) I’ve always gotten sick really easily if I read or wrote or coloured in the car, so when I was a kid, when were weren’t listening to the limited radio stations available to us (and I swear, I feel like our first car didn’t even HAVE a radio) we were singing songs and playing games. We have a lot more options at hand for the kids on road trips now.  For one, they don’t get car sick (knock on wood) so they colour and write stories and read books.  We also have the plethora of electronics we throw into the back to keep them entertained.  But sometimes we kick it  old school when we’re in the car, and it reminds us how much fun car games can be. We often pull out the car games in moments of desperation – like when they’re about to fall asleep with only an hour left to go.  That nap you know will make everything quiet in the car/van but if they sleep they’ll be up until midnight.  And you don’t want them up until midnight!!

20 questions

It’s an oldie but a goodie.  Think of something and let people ask you yes, no, or sometimes questions until they guess what you’re thinking of (or you hit 20 questions.) Warning.  It isn’t a super easy concept for the 5 and under crowd to grasp. Have you tried playing 20 questions with 7 and 5 year olds? It’s hilarious!  And possibly a bit frustrating if you let it get to you. Daddy “Is it an animal?” 7 year old “yes” Mommy “Does it have fur?” 7 year old “yes” 5 year old “Is it a house?” Mommy “We already said it was a furry animal” 5 year old “Oh right! Is it a furry cloud with feet?” snicker snicker snicker. 7 year old giggling “No!” Other 5 year old “Is it a house?”

Story-telling game

This is where one person starts a story and each person gets to add a sentence to the story.  This goes well as long as you have the following rule:  Your sentence cannot be “and then he died. The End.”  Without that rule, there is fighting.  With that rule, things go quite smoothly as we move through lands of princesses, dragons and monsters. We also play license plate games, and find all the letters of the alphabet games.  Here is a whole list of games to play in the car, many of which we’ve tried and done quite successfully. How about you?  What games do your kids like to play in the car?

Calypso Theme Waterpark – Fun for the whole family!

I had heard the ads on the radio. I knew that there was a waterpark not far from Ottawa, but I had definitely never been, until about a month ago when I got the opportunity to take my family to Calypso for the day.

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If you’ve been, you know this already, but I have to say that the park is HUGE! Big gates at the entrance open to a promenade area with lockers on one side and life jacket rental on the other. (Rentals are free by the way.) Then there is the gift shop and restaurants leading the way to the attractions. Attractions.. rides.. I’m not quite sure what to call them. Some were just big slides, but others were truly amazing.

Calypso has 35 slides and more than 100 games. There’s a lazy river suitable for kids, and a huge wave pool. The biggest draw, according to the people at Calypso, is the lazy river, the Kongo Expedition. It takes 15-20 minutes to meander along the river, past elephants and alligators, through water features that spray and soak, with animal sounds the entire way.

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The pools are all heated which is great because Calypso is open in all weather during the summer months, though the slides are closed during thunderstorms. There is one area suitable for even the youngest kids, with a gentle walk-in pool and small slides, and a spot for bigger kids right next to it.

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There are grassy, shaded areas near all the rides with lots of picnic tables. You can bring your lunch or eat at one of the many restaurants in the park.

Now that I’ve been and experienced Calypso with my kids, I’d love to go back with just my husband and go on all the big rides. Or go with a group so that we could trade off and do some rides while the kids play. Either way, Calypso was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to go back!

The CFL is back in town

My husband is a huge CFL fan. He had season tickets to the Renegades and as soon as the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group started taking deposits for the new team they were trying to bring here he put down deposits. By the time we actually went in to choose our seats we had to buy a third one since we had a daughter in between.

We’ve taken my daughter to Senators games in the past but I wasn’t sure how she would react to a football game when it was finally time for the Ottawa REDBLACKS home opener. Turns out the kid is a HUGE football fan. She got right into it chanting DE-FENCE and Let’s Go RedBlacks. It was awesome watching her and her daddy cheer together as the team pulled out the game by one point.



If you’re a sports fan these are great games. The team loves the crowd and the crowd loves the team.


Now, a few things you should know if you’re thinking of taking in a game with your little ones:

  • There is lots of beer flowing in the stands, some people drink too much. Not so much in the first game we went to, which had a tight scored but at the second one I definitely noticed it.
  • There will be swearing. I don’t think my four-year-old paid any attention to it, but I certainly noticed it.
  • It is loud. If your kids can get into and cheer right along it will be awesome, but if they get scared or nervous around that kind of thing be aware and at least prepare them.
  • It is crowded. There are always people walking up and down the stairs and you will be constantly getting up to let people past you to get to their seats. The stadium can hold over 24,000 people and they’ve been selling out. If you’re child gets nervous in crowds it might overwhelm them. If your child is older have a plan on where to meet if you get separated.
  • It is not cheap. A bottle of water is over $3, a hot dog is around $4, a bag of popcorn is $8. You don’t have to eat at the game but if you’re planning on it take lots of cash.

Now, loosen up your vocal chords and get out there to cheer on the city’s newest sports team. Go RedBlacks!