The "New" Adventureland in Ottawa

We have been informed that, sadly, Adventureland has permanently closed :(

***********************************************************************************************

I’ve taken the kids to Midway before, both for fun and for a birthday party and they loved it. This past Friday we had the opportunity to visit the new Midway Adventureland (same location, added activities) and they loved it again! So, what’s new and what’s the same?

rock-climbing

What’s new:

  • Batting cages

  • Balladium

  • Mini zone (for the little ones!)

What’s the same:

  • Arcade games

  • Jungle gym

  • Mini golf

  • Kids train

  • Bumper cars

  • Rock climbing

glow-dark-mini-putt

We had a great visit and were lucky that it wasn’t too busy for a PD day. Here are some highlights from our day!

Security

You have to be buzzed in and out and have a stamp that matches your child to be able to leave with them. When it comes to our kids, parents love security!

Super friendly staff

Every single staff that we had interactions with were friendly, helpful and great with the kids!

Arcade games

Who doesn’t love arcade games? The kids love them, parents love them and they had a great variety. Any arcade game can quickly eat your tokens, but there were many packages to choose from that include game tokens. Midway Adventureland has a token/ticket system, which the kids love (especially the “ticket eater” at the end that counts your tickets). Parents may prefer the card type systems, but kids love having a little brown bag bursting full of tickets!

arcade

Mini golf

The kids loved the mini golf here. It was all glow in the dark and challenging without being too hard for my youngest.

Rock climbing

Both kids found it a bit challenging, but both enjoyed it. There are lots of activities for young kids (train, new mini zone, jungle gym) so my oldest was happy to try this activity.

Jungle Gym

Always a hit.

jungle-gym

One of the disappointments of the trip was that not many of the ball guns worked in the balladium, so the kids were just throwing balls at each other and it became quite chaotic. That said, if the ball guns were working, I think this would be an awesome activity. The kids were excited to try it. And remember that the bouncy castle, batting cages and cafe are all closed on weekdays.

batting-cage

Overall we had a great visit and would happily come back - especially on a weekend when all activities are open.

5 Ways Get Your Kids in the Giving Groove on "Giving Tuesday”

By Wendy

Did you notice it, too? Some toy catalogues now come with tear-out wish lists with spaces to write down page numbers so you can easily find the object of your child’s desire.  … or should I say the 10-12 objects of your child’s desire, given the number of spaces on the list? 

Frankly, making it easier for my kids to draw up their “buy for me” lists makes it harder to drive home the message that “it’s better to give than to receive”. 

Gift the world2.png

Thankfully – even though we’re inundated with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales flyers at this time of year – there’s another type of catalogue that finds its way into our mailbox; one that includes lists of gifts to give, not to get. 

2018-giving-tuesday.jpg

Last year my KITC “Giving Tuesday” blog post shared a fun way to use charity gift guides to kick off the giving season with your kids by getting their help to choose fun, meaningful gifts to give that also help meet the basic needs of people around the world for food, water and education.

Here are 6 more ways to get your kids’ attention off their wish lists and get into the giving groove this Giving Tuesday, November 27:

1. Give Where You Live

Remember the Sesame Street song, “The people in your neighbourhood”? The one where Bob introduced the baker, the barber, and the firefighter? 

Now you can introduce your children to the charities in your neighbourhood by exploring the interactive Giving Tuesday Partner Map.  Zoom in on your area to find out who your neighbours in charitable giving are. 

Giving Tuesday2

Discover the local food cupboards and the causes your neighbours hold close to their heart. You might find a charity in need of your donation or volunteers – just around the corner! 

Start Giving Tuesday with a lesson in local geography and get to know “the people that you meet each day!” 

2. Have a Pyjama Day

Everyone loves the feel of snuggly PJs on a cold night. But many children in the Ottawa area don’t have that simple luxury. 

Sponsored by Family Radio CHRI and JD Swallow Heating and Cooling Contractors, Ottawa’s 5th Annual Pyjama Drive collects donations of new kids’ jammies for distribution to local and rural food cupboards and shelters; helping families struggling with poverty, domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health issues.  

chri_18_pajama_square.jpg

Take your little ones on a shopping spree for a complete set of flannels or fleecies – with or without footies! Have them choose a pair a child their age might enjoy, and drop them off at one of the locations listed on the Pyjama Drive website.

To date, more than 10,800 children have been able to sleep well in warm cozy PJs – let’s see if we can help even more kids “cozy up” in warm pyjamas this Christmas!     

3. Make Giving a Snap! (Crackle! and Pop!)

Break out the butter, the ‘krispies and the marshmallows – and get your bake on!  Recreate your favourite toy as a Rice Krispies© treat, then “snap” a photo and upload it to www.TreatsForToys.ca or post it on your public Facebook page with the hashtag #TreatsforToys! 

Treats for Toys

For every original photo of a krispie creation you post, Rice Krispies © and the Salvation Army will donate a new toy to a child in need.  Visit the web site for recipes, how-to videos and a photo gallery of treats that have made children’s Christmas dreams come true.  

4. Go on a Rampage … with Random Acts of Kindness 

Ever wanted to be deviously … kind?

Start your own “kindness crusade” by brainstorming with your children how you can shower kindness on friends, neighbours – even strangers – on Giving Tuesday.

Take the kids to Timmies and buy coffee for the next person in line in the store or at the drive-through. Is Tuesday garbage day in your neighbourhood? Run out and surprise the garbage or recycling crew with a “thanks for what you do card” and some cookies. Smile at EVERYONE! 

For more great ideas – many that won’t cost you a dime or much time– visit The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation web site.    

5. Get Started on Next Year’s Giving

If your piggy bank is empty come Tuesday, it’s never too early to plan next year’s giving. 
Remember those charity catalogues? Flip through them with your kids on Giving Tuesday and clip pictures of the gifts they’d like to save up for. Post them on your fridge, bulletin board, or by the loose change jar to keep goals in sight and in mind.  

Then help your children make a plan to save throughout the year: by setting aside one third of their weekly allowance; asking for donations instead of birthday gifts; or having a lemonade stand or garage sale with proceeds going towards their gift goal. Little by little they’ll be able to watch their giving nest egg grow!   

Didn’t get the catalogues in the mail?  You can check out the 2018 gift guides on-line at Food for the Hungry CanadaPlan Canada or ME to WE (your donations on Giving Tuesday with WE will have 5x the impact!!)

How do you plan to get your kids into the giving groove this Giving Tuesday?  Let me know in the comments.

Wendy Ripmeester is a freelance copywriter who writes for green and socially conscious businesses and non-profits.  Wendy has a background in forestry and communications, 20 years experience in natural resources, and two awesome kids. To keep in touch or see her work, check out www.wendyripmeester.com. or follow Wendy on Twitter.

Nature Sleepovers - Museum Memories for the win!

Kids in the Capital is pleased to welcome back Antonia Cetin to the blog. Antonia is an educator and the author of You’ve Got This, Mom! A Mother’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving in Today’s Modern. She returns with a special post about the new Nature Sleepovers program offered by the Canadian Museum of Nature.

How do you spend quality time with family? Our family lives can easily become a race from one organized activity to another, a series of ticks on a list of things to do. We won’t remember the activities as much as the effort it took to get there. That’s why it’s so important to have family time to do simple ordinary things: reading together, playing a board game together, cooking, making a snowman, relaxing at home. Those are the times that will leave a lasting impression of what home feels like cozy, warm and comfortable.

We also want to create special memories that we can look back on as adventures or markers of special events. Those will be the instances we talk about as, “remember the time...” conversations.

The Canadian Museum of Nature now offers families a memorable evening that we can reminisce about with our kids: a sleepover with the dinosaurs!  

Gotta say when I suggested this activity to my family, I was surprised at the enthusiasm: WE GET TO SLEEP WITH THE DINOSAURS? And, that was just the co-parent! I was actually afraid that the program wouldn’t live up to our expectations because they were so high. However, there was nothing to worry about: the museum did not disappoint. The whole evening was so well organized everything went off without a hitch.

Nature Sleepovers at the Canadian Museum of Nature

There were people welcoming us, guiding us, and even staying over in case we needed them during the night. We enjoyed a guided flashlight tour of the dinosaurs in the dark - who knew they were even more fascinating in the dark! We got to examine and hold some pretty cool insects including stick insects who walked across our hands. I drew the line at the huge cockroach, but you know, that’s just me. We also did scavenger hunts in the mammal area that got us moving around before we got a private viewing of a 3D movie about a night at the museum! So cool. By the way, when your name is Kaz, falling asleep in your sleeping bag with a view of the Kazmasaurus can’t be beat! And, when your name isn’t Kaz, it’s fun to look up and see the dinosaur watching over you as you drift off.

Nature Sleepovers at the Canadian Museum of Nature - Dinosaurs

The whole experience was amazing and super well orchestrated by the friendly and informative staff. They really had everything covered - even snack time and breakfast. And, thank goodness for coffee in the morning at the museum because when the museum doors opened to the public, we had time to explore on our own.  

When I asked my family members how they enjoyed the visit, they each had a special memory to share. And, then they asked if we could do it again next month! Memorable moment success! Thanks Canadian Museum of Nature.

Nature Sleepovers at the Canadian Museum of Nature - Sleeping with Dinosaurs

Check out the Canadian Museum of Nature website for other memorable experiences including their sleepovers, themed birthdays and special events such as Butterflies in Flight and Survival of the Slowest. If you’re looking for an adult getaway activity, they have Nature Nocturne (a night of science and dancing), Nature tastes (cider and whiskey) and an Escape room. Go and create some great memories!

10 Gifts That Don’t Involve More ‘Stuff’

I don’t know about you but I’m already getting a bit anxious about all the ‘stuff’ that is about to come into my home in a little over a month’s time.  You know what I’m talking about:  toys.  Plastic toys that emit random, repetitive, rage-inducing noises, toys that will break approximately one week after they are removed from their packaging, toys that will lay forgotten in the playroom corner by February, toys, toys, toys.

We know how overwhelming it is for our families to find just the right gift for our kids (heck…it’s hard enough for us to know what to get them) so this year we will encourage family members to offer gifts of experience rather than stuff.  Here are a few ideas that might work for your family:

Time

An afternoon with the gift giver – movie, mini-golf, bowling, skating, skiing, museum, pedicure, afternoon tea at the Chateau Laurier, etc.

Lessons

My boys have been asking for karate lessons for months now (I suspect this has something to do with Power Rangers).  This seemed like a good idea until I researched some options.  Turns out karate is quite an expensive sport, as most sports are.  Why not get family members to contribute to lessons?  Other options:  skiing, snowboarding, musical instrument, cooking, etc.

Museum Memberships

Skiing/snowboarding lift passes

There are many great hills in and around Ottawa, such as:

Mont Cascades

Vorlage

Camp Fortune

Edelweiss

Recreation

Recreation gift certificates from the City of Ottawa : Can be used towards literally hundreds of activities across the city (including March Break camps).

Sports Equipment

Even better than new, try Play It Again Sports or ask in your Buy Nothing group!

Entertainment tickets

Ottawa Senators 

Ottawa 67s 

NAC 

Shenkman Arts Centre,Centrepointe Theatre 

Ottawa Little Theatre

Movie gift certificates

Art lessons

Nepean Creative Arts Centre

4 cats 

Mud Oven 

Monart Art School of Ottawa

Ottawa School of Art

Their very own star

Buy them a star and name it after them: https://www.starregistry.ca/ (my oldest son would think this is the coolest thing ever!)

Toy Rentals

A toy rental from PlaneteFun. Host a sleepover or fun party for a group of your child’s friends, and rent something really fantastic!

Hockey Mom: Empowering Life Lessons

Kids in the Capital is pleased to welcome back Antonia Cetin to the blog. Antonia is an educator and the author of You’ve Got This, Mom! A Mother’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving in Today’s Modern WorldThis post originally appeared here.

HOCKEY-MOM-1-600x600.png

Having woken my son at 5am on a Saturday morning, I’ve fed him and got him out the door to sit in a cold rink where I wait for his hockey practice to begin with the mug of coffee that I cling to for warmth and solace. I joke with the other parents, “Who thought this was a good idea?” Yet, we’ve been coming back for 7 years.

Over the course of the 7 years my son has participated in NMHA activities and teams, Matthieu, has grown and learned so much. When he first started playing at the age of 5 as a little Timbit, he could barely skate and after 3 months of the early wake-ups, the complaining that this was too hard and the helmet was heavy and itchy, and watching him flop on the ice and finish all of the drills last, that protective parent doubt began to creep in and I was beginning to think that maybe this was not such a great idea. Then, miraculously, in what seemed like the space of a week, he went from barely standing to flying across the ice. He was sliding, gliding, and having fun. He was hooked!

As a parent, I was happy for him that he was enjoying his new skills which I knew could provide him with a lifetime of opportunity for physical activity and comradery but even more so, I was thrilled that he was learning a very important life lesson. Without knowing it, he was learning so much more than how to skate: he was learning that even when something isn’t easy, you stick with it until you succeed. He was learning to be resilient. And, you know what? I was learning something, too. I was learning the importance of letting him struggle so that he could become resilient. I was learning that my role of Mom wasn’t just to protect him, but to provide him opportunities where he could learn to be resilient in a safe space.

Since these first beginnings, our learning has continued and Matthieu has blossomed. He has learned the satisfaction of belonging to a team and arriving at practice to welcoming cheers of, “Yeah, Matthieu is here!” and I have learned to be grateful that he has a space where he belongs. He is learning that you don’t always win your games, but that it sure is fun to play, and I have learned that it’s ok to let him be disappointed in his losses and to cheer him on anyways. He has learned the value of seeing the bigger picture (what all is going on around me on the ice); of collaborating on plays and of sharing (the puck, the defeat, and the glory), and I have learned to step back and let him have the space to try, to fail and to succeed.

Hockey has brought Matthieu a common ground for conversation with people of all ages, an excellent way to stay fit and healthy, and perhaps most importantly, a lot of joy. As a parent, aside from watching my son grow and learn about hockey and about life, and being happy that he has found an activity that makes him happy, I appreciate that the NMHA has brought us the opportunity to meet and chat with other wonderful hockey families. Hope to see you at the rink sometime, too!