Pool games just got sweeter with the Watermelon Ball JR!

We have had a great summer to spend time in a pool. It’s been hot and mainly dry, which means my daughter and many of her neighbourhood friends are water logged from spending so much time in the pool! We love having fun and safe water toys for the kids (and adults) to play with in the pool. Some of our favourite pool toys include:

1) Smart Noodles® Link’Ems™

Smart Noodles® Link’Ems™ are just like real pool noodles but you can link them together to create mini rafts and fun objects. If your kids love to use their imaginations, they will create tons of fun things for these smart noodles – we have seen mini cars on ours, as well as frogs using them as safety rafts until they get close enough to the side of the pool to escape. And, of course, they are handy to hold onto to just float around the pool.

Smart Noodles Link’Ems

2) Inflatable Flamingo

Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned floaty toy - but made more fun? Admittedly, this inflatable flamingo belongs to me. I bought it three summers ago at Tag Along Toys and unlike some of the discount store brands, this one is made from durable plastic that has survived many kids twisting its neck as they try to climb on. My pool time always includes my flamingo!

Inflatable Flamingo

3) Pool Toypedos

Toypedos move super fast underwater and then they sink. It’s the perfect "sinky toy" for advanced simmers who love the challenge of swimming fast to catch things before they sink. You can get them at many local toy stores.

Toypedo

4) Original Watermelon Ball®

This ball looks, feels and behaves like a watermelon in water. Really! We tested it last summer and a real watermelon sinks to the bottom and then floats back up to the surface just like this ball (I don't recommend trying it at home). The Watermelon Ball® is simply safer, cleaner and a lot more fun to play with. You simply fill the ball with water and you’re ready to go! We love playing underwater pass with the ball (it travels super fast under water). It is heavy though, so we have a “no throwing it up in the air” policy to avoid it accidentally coming down on someone’s head.

Watermelon ball

5) Watermelon Ball JR®

Warning - you and everyone who plays with this will love this pool toy!!! Just like the original, but easier for little hands to hold, the Watermelon Ball JR® is new this year and is smaller and lighter. It is also much more colourful, making it easier to spot in the water. My daughter and her friends love dribbling, kicking, passing and intercepting the ball under water. This is by far one of her new favourite toys to play with in the pool. It is also very durable, which comes in handy when someone accidentally tosses it out of the pool and onto concrete.

Similar to the original, you simply fill the ball with water and it’s ready for play! As noted on their website, you can pass the Watermelon Ball Jr.® “up to 10 feet underwater and even bounce the Watermelon Ball JR off pool walls for trick passes and winning moves!” It’s a water toy the entire family will love year after year (recommended age is 6+)!

We love playing underwater soccer with the Watermelon Ball JR® - we section off "goal nets" using whatever is near by that can easily sit on the concrete around the pool and the opponent has to try and get the ball past the goalie. Our rules include - no above water passes and we make an "invisible line" that the person with the ball cannot pass. It's a lot of fun for swimmers of all ages and abilities. It's a lot of fun (and a good workout too). ;)

Watermelon Ball JR
Playing with the Watermelon Ball JR

 


For more information on the Watermelon Ball JR, including where to get one, visit the PlaSmart website, follow PlaSmart toys on Twitter or like their Facebook Page!

Disclaimer: PlaSmart provided us with a Watermelon Ball JR® for the purpose of review, but the countless hours of fun are all ours!

Family Travel: A Trip to Washington DC

KITC would like to welcome back guest blogger, Stephen Johnson.. Stephen Johnson is an Ottawa writer who loves to write about family travel.  During the summer, you will most likely find him and his family at a local fair or festival.  During the winter, a beach in Mexico is a likely bet.  

 National Air and Space Museum

National Air and Space Museum

It is impossible to see everything that Washington DC has to offer in one, two or even three trips. The number of museums and historical monuments is simply overwhelming. Our family recently took a trip to DC and here are a few of our tips and highlights to maximize your time.

The best way to get around DC is by metro or bus. The first thing you will want to do is buy a SmarTrip card which you can load up for rides on the Metro or bus. A great way to get around the national mall is by city bus known as the DC circulator. For one dollar, the bus will take you to most of the major sites including the Smithsonian museums and monuments.

For a more in-depth visit to the city, our family would recommend taking the BigBus Washington DC It is a hop-on hop-off bus service that has three routes. We took all three routes and felt we had a much better appreciation of the city. The bus routes are enhanced by audio guides that give an explanation of the sites.

 National Air and Space Museum

National Air and Space Museum

Most people visit DC for all the great museums. All of the Smithsonian museums are free and most do not need any advance reservations. We made it to the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History. Both museums could warrant an entire day on their own.

We decided to also visit two museums that had an admission fee since they looked so interesting. We started at the Spy Museum which aptly covers all things about spies. The museum presented the material in a fun and hands-on manner making it accessible for all ages. By the end of the visit, I didn’t know who might be watching me!

The second museum we checked out was the Newseum. As you might imagine, the Newseum is all about all things news and how the news is reported. Outside the museum, a visitor is greeted by cover stories from newspapers around the United States and the world. We started our visit by checking out the Berlin Wall display. The exhibit has the largest unaltered portion of the wall outside of Germany. It was a great introduction for our son, David, to history before he was born.

 Photo of Berlin Wall at Newseum

Photo of Berlin Wall at Newseum

We then moved on to the terrace that gave a stunning view of Pennsylvania Avenue and the Capital building. The day we visited, there was a vibrant bbq festival taking place on the Avenue reminding us that DC is a city outside of just museums and politics.

 Terrace at Newseum

Terrace at Newseum

Other highlights of the Newseum included the Pulitizer Prize Photographs Gallery and the News Corporation News History gallery that gave a chronological overview of how we have collected and shared the news through the centuries.

I would recommend the museum for adults and older children who are interested in current events. David is interested in history and politics thus the Newseum was a perfect fit.

One last tip I will share is eating in the U.S. capital. Near the national mall and the Smithsonian museums, it can be difficult to find an abundance of restaurants. Most museums do have food options but we did not try any. We really liked going to Union Station which is a completely remodelled train station. It has many food and shopping choices plus, it has the splendour of a turn-of-the-century train station.

A great place to start any trip-planning for Washington DC is at Destination DC: www.washington.org

David received assistance from Destination DC for the purpose of this article; all views are his own.

Summer Vacation Reads from the Ottawa Public Library

The Ottawa Public Library is back to share some of their favourite books for children with us. This month’s post is by Kristina Roudiy, Children’s Program Assistant at the Ottawa Public Library.

Clicking on the title will hyperlink you to the OPL Catalogue page where you can see if the book is available at your local branch, or you can put it on hold and then pick it up at your home branch when it is ready for you!

Picture book : And then Then comes Comes Summer / Tom Brenner 

For the whole family. This picture book, with colourful acrylic paint illustrations and great vocabulary, is a celebration of the Summer summer season and of all its outdoor fun : biking, trips to the lake, ice cream treats, games of hide-and-seek, lemonade stand, bugs, fireworks, and more!

 

Picture book : How to code a sandcastle / Josh Funk

For ages 4-6. Pearl is spending her Summer summer at the beach. Her attempts to build a sandcastle have, so far, been unsuccessful, so she decides to involve her robot Pascal, giving him step-by-step instructions. Unfortunately, the incoming tide gets in the way of their perfect castle... but all the better chance for the pair to repeat the sequences and to end up building a whole kingdom instead! A smart introduction to coding and programming basics, through a funny story.

Chapter book : Amelia Bedelia Makes a Splash / Herman Parish

For ages 6-9. In this 11th book in the series, Amelia finds herself attending an all-girls camp that her mother also used to go to. Even though the camp is old-fashioned and can't compete with the computer camp that her cousin Jason is attending on the other side of the lake, Amelia is determined to have a good time. She will take on the challenge of swimming in freezing water and learn survival skills! Amelia Bedelia's adventures will surely appeal to fans of "Judy Moody" and "Ivy & Bean.".

 

Graphic novel : Mighty Jack / Ben Hatke

For ages 9-12. This is volume 1... theThe sequel is called "Mighty Jack and the Goblin King." In this modern-day reimagining of "Jack and the Beanstalk,", Jack is the oldest child of a divorced single mom doing her best to keep the family fed. Contrary to most children, Jack does not look forward to Summer summertime, because that's when he has to look after his autistic sister, Maddy, while their mother juggles two jobs. Maddy never speaks...that is, until the day they visit a flea market and she insists on buying some mysterious seeds. What starts as a normal garden behind the house quickly grows into a wild, magical jungle with biting pumpkins and... a dragon! Soon, Jack has to involve their home-schooled neighbour Lilly, whose sword-wielding hobby might come in handy.

Chapter book : Dingus / Andrew Larson

For middle-grade readers. Soon-to-be-6th-grader Henry lives with his stay-at-home father and his toddler brother Sam. When school ends, Henry's best friend Max goes away to chess camp, while Henry stays home for a "staycation.". Henry thinks his Summer summer vacation will be quite boring, until he finds out that he gets to dog-sit his grandfather's dog daily. But will Henry manage not to make a fool (or dingus) of himself? A believable story about growing up and becoming responsible... a fun Summer summer read.

Graphic novel : The Time Museum / Matthew Loux

For ages 10-13. In this graphic novel packed with time-travel adventures and goofiness, we meet Delia Bean, a girl who loves science and history. When Uncle Lyndon invites Delia's family over for a Summer summer visit, she discovers that he's actually a curator at the Earth Time Museum and that she could apply for a prestigious Summer job there if she wins the internship competition. Little does she know that she will get to meet to young people from all of human history, including a girl from 23rd-century Japan and a boy from the Roman era, and will have to defend the Time Museum itself!

Summer Fairs in the Ottawa Area

One thing my family looks forward to during the summer are all the community and small town fairs that happen each year in Ottawa and the surrounding areas. With that in mind here is a list of where and when you can plan on heading out for some cotton candy, demolition derbies, carousels, concerts, live entertainment, and more!

Summer Fairs in the Ottawa area.png

July 13-15: Almonte Fair
Highlights include: Chili cook off, Zip-E the clown and Team T&J

July 27-29: Beachburg Fair
Demolition Derby, DJ Dancy Party, Buck-a-Roo Breakfast, and an ATV Poker Run

August 9-12: Navan Fair
Concerts with George Canyon, Chad Brownlee and more, PC Superdogs, Little Ray’s Reptiles and more!

August 9-12: Arnprior Fair
Miniature horse show, agricultural showcases, midway and more!

August 17-26: The Capital Fair
Monster Truck Show, Youth Talent search, birds of prey show, Soper Creek Wildlife

August 24-26: Chesterville Fair 
Homecrafts, Agiculture and Family Fun!

September 6-9: Russell Fair
Classic Auto & Bike Show, Craft and Merchant Market, Strongman Competition, Sheep shoes

September 12-16: Richmond Fair 
Emerson Drive concert, demolition derby, agricultural showcase

September 20-23: Carp Fair 
Superdogs “Canadogs,” agriculture shows, family circle tent, antiques area

September 27-30: Metcalfe Fair
Agriculture exhibitions, heavy horse pull, demolition derby, truck pull

 

Canada Day 2018 in Canada’s Capital Region

Looking for information on the official Canada Day 2018 festivities? Canada Day celebrations start June 30th at Major’s Hill Park and on July 1st at three official sites: Parliament Hill and Major’s Hill Park in Ottawa, and the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau.

Canada Day_9.jpg

Parliament Hill

Known as the place to see on Canada Day, this year won’t disappoint with Canadian musical performances, a musical workshop, fun-filled activities, and more! Guests can enjoy Canada day on the Hill starting at 8 a.m.

Canada Day_1.jpg

Hosted by Lisa Charleyboy and Marième, the Canada Day Noon Show will include remarks from dignitaries, a fly past by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and performances by Canadian artists: Arkells, Lights, Brigitte Boisjoli, Iskwé, Jean-Marc Couture, Rose Cousins, Martina Ortiz Luis and Queen Ka.

At 5:30 p.m., there will be an aerial show by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.

The Canada Day Evening Show will feature artists: Arkells, Lights, Brigitte Boisjoli, Iskwé, Jean-Marc Couture, Ruth B, Klô Pelgag, The Dead South, Rose Cousins, Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, DJ Shub and Boogát.

Canada Day_12.jpg

The evening will end with a dazzling 15-minute President’s Choice pyro-musical show at 10 p.m.

New this year on the Hill: the main entrance to the Hill is at the Supreme Court of Canada (corner of Wellington and Kent). To ensure a quick security screening process, only pack light and bring your Canada Day essentials, such as a hat, sunscreen and a reusable water bottle.

Major’s Hill Park

Canada Day celebrations start Saturday, June 30th on Major's Hill Park with all day activities for the whole family, including circus performances, games and a community culinary experience.

Kids can enjoy a ride around the park aboard a VIA Rail Miniature Train or get a unique musical ride aboard a bicycle made out of recycled material. 

You can also cheer on top Canadian artists at the Art Battle Canada live painting tournament (11 to 11:30 am) that celebrates creativity, courage and community in the visual arts. Their masterpiece is created before your eyes in only 20 minutes as you vote to help decide the winner!

Then enjoy local musical talent, including: Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine; MEGAPHONO Showcase featuring LeFLOFRANCO, SeiiizMikk and Jah’kota; and in the evening, Andréanne A. Malette and River Town Saints.

Canada Day_4.jpg

Then, on Canada Day itself, the activities and performances continue!

Jump up to 30 feet in the air on the Jumpaï (“jump high”). It's made up of four separate trampolines. Adults and kids over 36 inches tall can do an unlimited number of jumps—a mix of trapeze, bungee and acrobatics with a guaranteed wow factor!

There will also be performances by Charlotte Cardin, the Noubi Trio, The Beaches, Logan Staats, Jacobus and La Bronze, and so much more!

Canadian Museum of History

Head to the Canadian Museum of History on July 1st and enjoy free family-friendly programming and activities and then stay well into the evening to watch the pyro-musical show as it lights up the night sky over Ottawa–Gatineau.

Canada Day Fireworks

During the day, activities include Hinterland's Who's Who where guests can find out about Canadian wildlife and meet a few wild critters in person; a nature-art workshop with Mélodie Coutou, La Ressourcière, where guests are invited to co-create a forest made from the interbreeding of different tree species; free airbrush tattoos, games and much more!

Canada Day celebrations in Canada’s Capital Region are made possible thanks to official sponsors President’s Choice, Manulife and Tim Hortons, as well as the valuable support of more than 500 dedicated volunteers.

To stay up to date regarding any changes or cancellations to the Canada Day schedule, click here.

This Canada Day post was sponsored by Canadian Heritage/Patrimoine canadien.