Welcome to the Children’s Museum and Bob the Builder!

I have a secret to tell you. I’ve lived in Ottawa for 8 years now, and (until the other week) I’d never been to the Children’s Museum at the Canadian Museum of History.

I KNOW, right!? How could I have neglected this gem?

I finally got a chance to check it out with my 5 year-old the other week – the Canadian Museum of History is our new sponsor on the blog, and I was lucky enough to score passes to the Bob the Builder exhibit that’s on now until March 22, 2015.

My oldest has always loved Bob the Builder. Her Daddy is an excellent handyman, and she joins him in his workshop, pounding away on wood with a hammer or helping him with his projects. So her and her little friend we brought with us were SO excited when Bob the Builder himself made an appearance when we arrived!

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Some of the other Bob the Builder characters were there, and the kids had a great time climbing in and “driving.”

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Probably the coolest part of the exhibit was this ball machine – kids could grab big buckets of balls, and a machine would suck them up through a tube. It was the busiest toy :)

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As we explored the rest of the Children’s museum, the kids completed an activity – finding Bob’s “lost” tools. If you find them all, there’s a little prize (stickers) at the end (most younger kids will need Mom or Dad’s help with finding these tools!)

Although Bob was the highlight, I was SO impressed with the rest of the museum. My daughter spent a lot of time playing pretend in the post office, using the crane to move shipments on a boat, and “shopping” in the bazaar. It’s definitely one of the most interactive museums in Ottawa!

After the whole afternoon, my only thought was, “why did we wait so long!?” Can’t wait to go back!

Checking out the Diefenbunker with kids

Diefenbunker with kidsI wasn’t sure if the Diefenbunker would be a great place to bring my kids (5 and 8), but after a few of my friends had taken their children and assured me there was lots for them to do, we headed out to Carp to check it out for ourselves.

The kids had a blast and my only complaint is that there is so much awesome information to be read and learned and 5 and 8 year-olds don’t want to stop and read everything. I’ll need to head back one day without them.

The more I learn about the Diefenbunker, the more amazed I am at all the cool stuff they have there and the fun activities they plan within the museum.

I made a short video (my first of this kind) on our trip out there.  Have a look and let me know what you think.  And leave a comment letting my know if you’ve been to the Diefenbunker with your kids and how they liked it!

The ‘Boro House (Art Table): Creativity for Kids

by Alanna

I came across a gem. You know how friends like pages on FB and you sometimes check them out? Well I did just that. “The ‘Boro House – what could that be,” I wondered. Low and behold it is a creative program for children and adults.

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DING! DING! JUST what I was looking for. My incredibly creative 7 year-old had been looking for a summer camp to go to. I wasn’t looking for a cookie cutter program that would actually stifle her creativity with their rules. I wanted a place where I knew she could experiment, play and create. I signed her up immediately.

I knew I was in for a “Mama, please stay” when we got there. We were greeted by the owner Kelly who instantly won over my daughter. My little girl quickly shooed me off on my way. (Insert stunned look here) When I returned to pick her up 7 hours later, there she was – as happy as a clam. She pulled me over to see all that she had created, in the same breath asking if she could come back. I needed to know more about this program!

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The ‘Boro House AKA The Art table has been in existence for 10years. Nestled at 560 Churchill Ave. in the heart of Westboro, the program is run by Kelly Hotte – professional photographer with a background in ECE. According to Kelly, “we believe that creativity is brought to life through the expression of our unique and hidden talents.”

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My daughter and I would agree. Each child is given a high quality drawing book to use as they wish. Kelly provides the materials and the encouragement. Experts are brought in from the community. Everything from cooking with a real chef to doing yoga with a yoga teacher.

Kelly explains that “our program draws on the creativity of local artists as leaders who add knowledge and excitement to our workshops and regular programming. This practice creates a wonderful sense of meaningful community with the children and staff.”

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As an Early childhood Specialist I could not agree more. This type of education will inspire children and support their learning. The positive self-esteem that grows from being provided with real life experiences and opportunities is priceless. This is more than your average everyday creative experience. This is a lifelong learning opportunity. Oh, and did I mention she does Adult classes as well?

Alanna lives in Richmond with her husband, two children and four cats. She is an Early Childhood Educator and Algonquin College Professor.