Category Archives: Activities for Kids

Science FunFest “Rocks”! (…and minerals, and maps, and insects…)

The Canada Science and Technology Museum is closed for repairs, but your kids can still get their science “fix” at Science Funfest.

Held annually as part of National Science and Technology Week in October, this FREE event features more than 70 interactive activities for your budding young Einstein, with hands on experiences in energy, forestry, mining, geology, mapping, astronomy and agriculture.

Science FunFest

As Funfest veterans, my kids (ages 4 and 8) recommend:

• Bringing in your favourite rocks and fossils for identification
• Mining chocolate chip “ore” from a cookie “mine” (HINT: choose your tools wisely and clean up the mine site for biggest profits!)
• Creating colourful spin art using solar energy
• Seeing glaciers shrink over time in satellite pictures from space
• Getting up close and personal with snakes, bugs, and spiders – (parents may be interested in meeting the Emerald Ash Borer; the invasive insect ravaging Ottawa’s ash trees)
• Jumping up and down to make an earthquake that can be measured by a seismometer
• Spinning the wheel for a skill-testing question in the food safety quiz (…how safe is the food in your lunch box by noon?)
• Trying your hand – and eyes! – at land surveying and star-gazing
• Starting a chemical reaction to make custom-coloured slime to take home

There are plenty of free giveaways at Science Funfest, so make sure you pick up a complementary “swag bag”. Balloons, face-painting, and Natural Resources Canada’s huge green mascot “NRCat” make it fun for even the littlest ones!

Science Funfest takes place rain or shine on Sunday, October 19 from 11am-4pm at Natural Resources Canada’s Booth Street Complex (on the corner of Booth Street and Carling Avenue across from Dow’s Lake). Dress warmly as some activities are outdoors in tents. Parking is free, and there are a few concessions on site.

Have you been to Science Funfest? What’s your favourite activity? Let me know in the comments.

Wendy is a freelance copywriter in Ottawa and a totally unbiased employee of the Earth Sciences Sector at Natural Resources Canada. 

Thanksgiving Weekend Round-Up

Phew, what a week! The blog’s been quiet while I was away at the Birth and Beyond Conference in London, Ontario. I’m back now, and dealing with all the email and work that’s piled up in my absence :)

One thing on my mind this past week was Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has always been a special time for my family. As a child, I spent the weekend up in Haliburton, Ontario at my grandfather’s cottage. Cold nights by the fire, marshmallows, canoe trips on the lake, and going for wheelbarrow rides (which ended by getting dumped in a pile of leaves at the bottom of the drive).

cottage

We’re far from Haliburton here in Ottawa, but we share the vibrant colours and crisp sunny days with cottage country. I’m motivated to plan fun activities for my family to do while I’ve got three days off. Here’s a list of the ideas I’ve gathered:

1) For families with older kids – a Haunted Village at Cumberland Heritage Village Museum.

2) A hike in Gatineau Park to see the Fall colours.

3) If you’re up for a full day, you could pair your hike with a trip to a Quebec cranberry farm.

4) A walk along the Mer Bleu Bog Trail.

5) If you have a babysitter or are kid-free, you may want to get that last round of golf in!

6) The Ottawa Farmer’s Market is still open and it’s hopping! I’m planning on heading there on Sunday to stock up on veggies for soups and stews.

7) A country fair is perfect for this time of year! The Pontiac Country Fair is taking place in Gatineau Park this weekend.

8) Pumpkin patch! Saunders Farm, Millers Farm, and Cannamore Orchard are a few popular places.

9) Thanksgiving Weekend activities at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum.

10) Help others in need by making a donation to your local food bank!

What do you do Thanksgiving weekend?

 

 

Flashback: Apple Picking at Mountain Orchard

photo (8)

Apparently this is THE place to be for apple picking every year! Ali wrote this post several years ago….have you been to Mountain lately?

It’s that time of year again. The air is getting crisper and the kids are settling into their school routine. For me, fall always means apple picking. Every fall for the past several years, my girls gather a bunch of friends and we go apple picking.

Mountain Orchard has always been our orchard of choice. It’s a great place for families, it’s close to Ottawa (only a short 40 minute drive on the 416 toward Kempville) and the majority of the trees there are actually the direct descendants of the original McIntosh tree, first discovered by John McIntosh in Dundela, Ontario, in 1829. I think that’s pretty cool.

donut5Mountain Orchard is about more then just apple picking. There are corn maizes, wagon rides, a hay jump and (best of all) the hot fresh apple cider donuts that are made right in front of you. They are the real reason we go back every year. Well, that and the fresh apple cider.

16My girls love climbing into the apple trees to get the apples and there are trees for kids of all ages – with ladders for the older kids to climb and low hanging branches for the little ones.

No matter where you go apple picking, it’s a great way to spend time with your family and friends and get outside to enjoy the fall weather. All the apple orchard near Ottawa are open now and many, like Mountain Orchard, are open every day until the apple picking season is done (usually by the end of September).

Have you been apple picking yet? We’re going again this weekend!