10 March Break Activities in Ottawa

March Break is just around the corner! If you plan on sticking around the National Capital Region this March Break, then you’re probably wondering what there is to do to keep the kids busy, entertained and happy.

With that in mind, here are 10 March Break Activities in Ottawa:

March break Activities in Ottawa

1)   Visit a Sugar Bush

Over the March Break, you won't have to wait until the weekend to visit a Sugar Bush. The Log Farm in Nepean is open March 12th to the 16th from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and includes a bonfire and wagon rides! Visitors will not only see how the pioneers would have collected maple syrup, but also learn how maple syrup is made using modern wood fired equipment.

2)   Try Downhill Skiing, Winter Tubing or Snowshoeing! 

March break is a prime time to take the kids downhill skiing or enrol them in downhill ski lessons. But if you aren’t skiers, hills such as Mount PakenhamMont Cascade and Domaine de l’Anne-Gardien offer winter tubing too! And ski hills, such as Calabogie also offer snowshoeing (including rentals). Fun in the snow for all ages and abilities!

Downhill skiing

3)   Visit a Museum

Ottawa has many great museums that appeal to a a variety of interests. Whether you want to teach kids about farming and agriculture at the Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum or learn about dinosaurs or Canada's Arctic at the Canadian Museum of Nature, there are plenty of things for kids of all ages to see and do at a local museum.

This year the Canadian Museum of Nature has a special Butterfly Exhibit that is only on until April 3rd. March Break is a great time to go check it out (tip: it's really busy, so make sure you book your time slot ahead of time).

For younger kids the Children’s Museum at the Museum of History is always a hit! They currently have a special Dreamworks Animation exhibit that features over 350 items including rare and never-before-seen concept drawings and interactive displays from DreamWorks  animated classics.

From March 3rd to the 18th, the Canadian Space and Aviation Museum has something space-oriented for children of all ages going on each day. The museum will focus on a different aspect of basic astronaut training, including flight training, parachute training, and more – with fun, interactive activities. There will also be daily demonstrations of Shaping the Future in Space, or take part in self-guided craft activities. 

And we can't forget - the Canadian Science and Technology Museum is open again! March Break is a great time to reacquaint yourself with this beloved museum and its new, updated exhibits and galleries. We recently wrote a post all about the museum's new look and what you can expect on your first visit.

Exploring a museum is a great way to spend a couple of hours or an entire day!

4)   Take a Haunted Walk (for older kids)

Older kids, who are also fans of a good ghost story, may appreciate the fun and mystery of Ottawa’s Haunted Walk. They run every night from downtown Ottawa and are definitely a memorable way to spend an evening as a family. There are usually a couple of different tour types to choose from and each offer a unique way of seeing our city!

5)   Go Cross Country Skiing

 March Break is usually a goot time to check out the groomed cross country ski trails in Gatineau Park or the new multi-use Sir John A. MacDonald trail. If you don’t own skis you can usually rent them from places such as Mountain Equipment Co-op and Fresh Air Experience. 

Cross Country skiing

6)   Skate as a family at the Sens Rink of Dreams and Rideau Hall

Weather-permitting, the Sens Rink of Dreams at Ottawa City Hall is open daily from 6 am to 11 pm and unlike many other public skating rinks there is also a heated changing facility. If you don’t own skates (or you just discovered your kids have outgrown theirs) you can rent skates right on site (during designated times).

Rideau Hall also has a public outdoor skating rink which is open until March 25th, weather-permitting. 

7)   Slide or Dive into a City of Ottawa pool

The City of Ottawa offers a wide range of public swimming schedules during the March Break and have locations all over the city that offer everything from standard swimming, to slides to waves! The great news is that it isn’t expensive, in fact kids 2 and under are free!

8)   Sign up for a program at the Ottawa Public Library

Every year the Ottawa Public Library offers free programs for school age children and teens as part of their March Break. Program themes and length vary depending on the library, but past programs have included programs about science, technology, arts and more!

9)   Paint Pottery

If your kids love to be creative bring them to a ceramic painting place in Ottawa. There are several including Pottery Playhouse in Stittsville and The Mud Oven on Bank Street. Kids can paint something as simple as a plate or mug and make it their own – or get a head start on birthday gifts for family and friends. It’s a lot of fun and the mess is left behind!

Painting Pottery

10)  Try Bowling

If you’re anything like me the last time you went bowling was on the Nintendo Wii. Bowling is great exercise and a fun way to play together as family. Ottawa has several bowling lanes to choose from including Walkley Bowling Lanes and Orleans Bowling Centre. Merivale Bowling Lanes even has glow in the dark bowling!

How do you plan on spending your March Break this year? What are some of your favourite family acitivities? 

 

 

Easy and cute Valentine's Owl

On Sunday we hosted a group of 5 year-old girls for a special Valentine's Day party at our house. There were cupcakes, Valentine's Bingo, and a couple of crafts - including this sweet little owl!

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What you'll need:

  • toilet paper roll
  • pretty Valentine's paper (or paint)
  • red and orange construction paper
  • googly eyes
  • hot glue gun

I didn't have any fancy Valentine's paper, so I ended up having the kids paint their toilet paper roll white. If I ever do this craft again I will *not* use paint, as the glue was having a lot of trouble sticking! Wrapping your roll in patterned paper would be a better option.

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Once the paint dried, we bent the top of the roll to create the owl's ears. Next, I helped the kids to glue all of their individual pieces on. You COULD use white glue I'm sure, but 5 year-olds are not exactly patient when waiting for glue to dry. I also pre-cut all the pieces for the kids, but older ones (like my 8 year-old) would be able to cut her own pieces no problem.

Finally, I let the kids decorate their owls by colouring hearts or adding stickers on the body. Again, the paint did not help us out here - paper would be much easier!!

What should we watch on Netflix? A Family-friendly Reality Show Edition

I don't know about you, but I see many Facebook posts asking, "What should we watch next on Netflix?"

This month I thought I would save you the ask and share some of our favourite reality shows to watch as a family.

These are the shows that we watch when I don't want to watch any more Naruto or Dicky, Ricky, Nicky and Dawn (or whatever order their names go in), Victorious, and Richie Rich.

These reality shows are a good compromise for us because there isn't too much adult content for the kids, but still interesting enough that the adults don't want to immediately leave the room. :)

Note: My kids are almost 9 and 11 so some of these shows might not be appropriate for younger kids.

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Reality TV Shows We Love

We've watched a lot of cooking shows lately and there are some really fun ones:

Zumbo's Just Desserts makes us all think we can become incredible pastry chefs, and we love the drama of the "mean guy" - because there's always a mean guy in a reality show with eliminations right? :)

The Big Family Cooking Showdown - Teams of three people, all family members, come together to compete against another family to create a meal for under $10, family favourites (made in their own kitchens) in under 90 minutes, and a meal to 'impress the neighbours' in an hour and 15 minutes. They may be good cooks, but are they good cooks under pressure and on a timeline?! Is Gramma helpful or just bossy? Was bringing the teenager to help you a good idea or should you have brought your cousin instead?!

Skin Wars - While there is a bit of nudity in this show, it is all very tasteful and the artistry is FANTASTIC. My only concern with the show is that the kids wanted to see RuPaul's other reality show, and RuPaul's Drag Race is not appropriate for my kids yet (though I watched it after Skin Wars and admit, it is totally fantastic).

Beastmaster - This is kind of like American Ninja Warrior. We love watching the competitors from different countries try to make it through this race that we couldn't make it through the first four feet of!

Are there any other family-friendly reality TV shows on Netflix that you watch that we should add to our list? Have you watched any of our favourites?

Disclosure: We are part of the Netflix Stream team and receive perks (like Netflix giveaways!), but all opinions are our own.

Easy Valentine Craft for Kids

Every year my daughter brings home creative homemade Valentines from other kids and I often think two things 1) Where do parents find the time to help their kids make these and 2) I should help my daughter do something like that next year.

So, this year, my daughter mentioned she wanted to make butterfly pencil holders for her classmates. She insisted it’s easy – and frugal (I think that’s my word for 2018), and she was right!

Butterfly Pencil Holder Valentine

What you need:

-       Construction paper - choose whatever colours of construction paper you want (my daughter is partial to blue).
-       Scissors
-       Pencils (you can get some really nice Valentine’s Day ones at the Dollar Store or, as my daughter chose, glittery ones that are good for any time of year.
-       Markers, stickers, pipe cleaner, etc. for decorating

Easy Butterfly Valentine for kids

Instructions

Fold the paper in half and then along the crease draw a butterfly wing shape (you may be able to fit two in one 8.5x11” sheet of construction paper. Cut along the line, careful not to cut along the crease.

Once the butterfly shape is cut out, make a 1” slit near the top and bottom along the crease to slip the pencil through.

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Decorate the butterflies using whatever materials you have on hand: pipe cleaners, googly eyes, markers or stickers.

Stick the pencil through the slits and voila! Valentine done!

Butterfly Valentine pencil holder for kids

Do your kids make their own Valentines every year? If so, we’d love to hear what you create and how! Leave a comment and let us know.

 

Beat the February blues and join a class!

January is loooong. And although February is technically shorter, it can feel like eternity when we're stuck in a deep freeze.

It's so important in winter months to stay active (both physically and creatively!) and keep your spirits up, especially for those of you who are more affected by the lack of sunlight. Our fab blog sponsor Nepean Creative Arts Centre has provided us with an awesome list of classes for both adults and kids to help you lift your spirits!!

An old altered image

An old altered image

Altered Images: Photo Transfer Workshop

Image transfer techniques are an easy, modern and creative way to add dimension to any work! Create a unique family photo display on wood artists' panels to take home. The benefit of this class is that applications are endless. Supplies included.
When: Saturday February 3rd, 10 am-4 pm
Cost: $96.50

Canvas and Cocktails Workshop

(Misty here: I have personally taken this workshop and LOVED IT!!) Explore your artistic side with this night out! Learn the very basics of acrylic painting, completing a 16 x 20 canvas while exploring and savouring wines from around the world. Supplies and two glasses of wine included. Professional art instructor and wine sommelier guide you and answer questions.
When: Friday February 16th, 6:30-9:30 pm
Cost: $73.25

You Bet You Can Act!  Workshop

Learn effective stage presence. You can make 'em laugh and make 'em cry. Teachings include: acting skills and enunciation, projection, postures, and character development. In collaboration with Suzart Productions.
When: Saturday February 24th,  12:30-4 pm
Cost: 10-14 years                           $60.75
15-16 years (code 1109213)            $68.50

Belly Dance – Level 1

Explore fluidity, grace, and strength through this ancient and sensuous dance form developed in the Middle East. The fundamentals of posture, isolations, steps and accents of belly dance are stressed.

When: Tuesdays, February 7-28, 11 am-noon
Cost: $44.75