Easter Weekend Roundup

I've been hearing about several great events coming up for both Easter and Earth Day, so I thought I'd share them here! Easter and Earth Day go together quite well, don't you think? Spring is here, the bunnies are multiplying, and the Earth is....well...a bit muddy. Place D'Orleans Easter activities - photo spots with the Easter bunny are all booked up, but there will be free face painting and crafts! Thursday April 17th, 10am - 2pm

Proulx Sugar Bush and Berry Farm: Good Friday and Easter Sunday, 11am - 2pm. An egg hunt, face painting and clue hunt!

Earth Day at Terra20: Saturday April 19th, 12 - 4pm. Lots of kid-friendly activities!

The Canada Agriculture Museum is open every single day this weekend!

The Cumberland Heritage Village Museum has an Easter egg hunt with Curious Cottontail!

Fulton's Pancake House and Sugar Bush - maple syrup...pancakes....say no more!

Stay tuned later this week for some super yummy craft/snack ideas for Easter!



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Full day learning in junior kindergarten

by Amanda My son J is turning 5 this month.  This past September brought about a huge change in his life.  He started junior kindergarten (JK).  His school was one of the first to introduce Full Day Learning in JK.  I was concerned at first that this would be too much for such a little person.  I was worried that the afternoon might essentially be a waste because he would be too tired to learn anything since he was used to napping for at least 2 hours in the PMs.  I have been pleasantly surprised.  Maybe for the first month this was the case.  Most of the kids seemed to be falling asleep on the floor during quiet time and so was he, until about mid-October.  Around this time, he stopped napping altogether.  Instead, he was falling asleep in his dinner!  This lasted maybe for a couple of weeks and then it was done.  The nap was gone and he was fully adjusted to going to school full time.

He has come a long way in his learning since starting school.  It has been a really good experience for him.  He had good skills going in, he could identify most of the letters, could count at least to 15, and had no issues with speech and language as a preschooler.  His language developed, in my opinion, normally, once he started talking, there was no way to make him stop!

The curriculum has been very appropriate for him.

They have covered the different seasons:

They have learned the days of the week, months of the year and all major holidays.

They learned about animals and hibernation, migration, and adaptation.

His class learned about a foreign country - Guyana, and students were asked to bring in socks and shoes to donate since those items are not easily accessed in that country.

He is also really enjoying French time.  His articulation is really good and he has an amazing memory, so he is retaining many of the words he has learned.  We have two cats so he is quite fond of the words "chat et lion".

Mon gars, il adore les chansons en français ie."Tête, épaules, genoux, orteilles", et aussi il a bien aimé l'histoire "Petit poulet" que l'éducatrice a racontée.  Their most recent unit was all about fairy tales.  They watched the movie Rapunzel and J particularly enjoyed The Three Little Pigs.  From a science perspective, the kids had a presentation from "Scientists in Schools".  They did their own dinosaur dig, and got to see some experiments done in their classroom.  They watched things change colour and change states of matter.  J was super excited to tell me all about it when he came home that day.

On the social side of things, he has made some friends, loves to play Transformers with his two buddies during recess, he attended one birthday party and will soon be having one of his own.  At this point in time he is an only child, so I am thrilled that he is getting the hang of being around lots of kids and learning to communicate with them and problem-solve their day to day issues.  They have learned about Kelso's Choices, a problem-solving strategy for kids to use.  His teachers are telling me that he is using these strategies when a conflict arises, so I am quite happy about that.

As the end of the school year approaches he is now able to read Level 1 books with only some minor difficulties.  He can write his name not too badly, and is interested now more than ever in making crafts.  Before starting school he definitely did not have the attention span for those kinds of things.

Overall, as a parent, I really think the full day learning has been really good for my son. He was ready to go to school.  He is a like a little sponge and he just takes things and runs with them.  And he remembers what he has learned.  Like any other kid he needs some help and some prompts, but I am really glad to see that he has progressed this far and am very hopeful that SK will bring a similar experience.


Amanda was born and raised in Ottawa where she continues to live with her husband and son “J”. Amanda is bilingual and interests include reading, blogging, socializing, and advocacy on children and teen issues.

Mother’s day in and around the Capital

by Jenny After spending a lovely morning at the Billings Estate museum Easter weekend, we knew, as a family, that it was a place we wanted to visit again. Centrally located on a gorgeous property, the museum was a perfect venue for my kids, 3 and 5. The staff was welcoming, friendly and had really thought of everything. There was a chocolate Easter egg hunt (complete with a nut-free option for my eldest), face painting, a giant hopscotch board, an egg basket sewing session and all-natural egg dyeing. We went around from station to station, my kids keeping track to make sure we didn’t miss a one. The Easter Bunny was also on hand for pictures and encouragement on the egg hunt.

While this Sunday is my day (to sleep in a bit, I hope), I can’t wait to get out and explore another one of the great museums in Ottawa. Here are some of the special Mother’s day events they have going on this Sunday, May 13. Take note of the mini-manis & chocolate offerings at the Deifenbunker! Mother’s Day Tea at Billings Estate What better place to celebrate Mother’s Day than on the idyllic lawns of Billings Estate National Historic Site? Enjoy a Victorian tea service in the garden, stroll through the grounds, and explore the new Victorian medicine exhibit in Ottawa’s oldest wood-framed building. Tours, crafts and live music will take place from 10a.m to 4p.m. There will also be a flower and plant exchange from 11a.m. to 1p.m. Mother’s Day at the Diefenbunker :  A celebration of the women who served in the Diefenbunker.  A special women's history tour will be given every hour in English, featuring clips from the Diefenbunker's oral history project. Mothers can relax at the mini-manicure station as children craft. Mini-manicures will be offered to mothers and children from 12-3. A colourful display by Ottawa’s own Cold War artist, Marcia Lea, will surely be a thing to see! And what’s a women’s day out without chocolate? Of course, the Diefenbunker will be partnering up with local and surrounding chocolatiers and bakers to offer fabulously themed desserts. Program runs from 11am-2pm.

Cumberland Heritage Village Museum - Famous Funnies-Family Cartooning Workshop It’s the good guys versus the bad guys as the super heroes take over a family cartooning lesson led by our professional artist! Families can discover early cartoon super heroes like Superman and characters like Little Orphan Annie. Young visitors can dress in their favourite character costumes. Program runs from 1pm to 3pm. Cost: Regular admission applies plus $10 workshop fee.

What are your plans this Mother’s day? Any special requests or are you just looking forward to a day with your family?

Jenny is mom to 5 (and ¾) year old Ryan and 3 year old Jaime. A communications specialist with a love for food, wine and outdoor fun, you can find Jenny on twitter @jblatts or in the Kids in the Capital Facebook group.

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Walk and talk like an animal

by Mike Even as an adult, the idea of a giant sized rabbit that hops all over the world dropping eggs from its butt, intimidates me.

But, also as an adult, I realize there’s a responsibility I have to my kids to keep the secret of the Easter Bunny alive. So no matter how scared I thought I might be by the sight of a giant bunny dancing around a bunch of kids throwing eggs at them, we packed up both the kids and made our way to the McMaze Great Easter Egg Hunt in St. Andrew’s.

The drive itself has become, for our family at least, part of the adventure, much as it was when I was a kid. ‘Back in the day’ me and my two brothers would pile in the back of our two-door Toyota Tercel. This in itself may not have been a problem had we been okay with being touched by one another. But since just the thought of a siblings leg touching your leg sent us into disarray, to say we had our battles in that car would be understating it.

Leah and Charlotte are no different, but since they’re secured in their safety seats, and not able to bother one another through touching, they compete with yells. On this occasion Charlotte was the clear winner and Leah settled herself in after a few minutes to enjoy the screaming for the rest of the hour-long drive.

We arrived at noon just as the very well hidden farm opened. Watching the line of cars stream into the grass parking lot gave us hope that this place, although foreign to us, might actually be a worthwhile trip.

At $10 for those of us over two (although we were using a Groupon coupon this time around), we had some big expectations.

Within thirteen steps, we knew it was going to be. Leah started walking like a chicken towards a chicken coop and then began talking to them.

“Hello chicken.”

“Bock, bock,” (is that how chickens sound?)

“You have a red face.”

“Bock, bock.”

Then she started walking like a donkey towards a donkey and started to talking to it.

“Hee haw, hee haw,” she said to the donkey.

Who looked right back at her but said nothing. Then it was to the barn cates, then to the doggies, then to the pigs, and then to a few cuddly rabbits who were, as expected, on prominent display.

“Would you like to pet the rabbit,” a nice girl asked Leah, holding out the white bunny for inspection.

Leah moved in close to give pets but was first met with more instructions.

“Why don’t you put the rocks on the ground before petting her,” she was asked politely but seriously.

And sure enough, in both balled up fists, Leah was carrying rocks, as if to brain the poor creature.

Of course, with the prospect of being able to touch something so soft, Leah dropped them and planted a big kiss on the fluffy bunny’s nose before, of course, talking to it as well.

“I love you bunny.”

Then we were off to the wagon ride that would take us to the Easter Egg Hunt---the real reason we had made the trek out to the woods in the first place. They have two wagons that take 20 or so people back and forth from the Easter Egg Hunt woods. One of them was pulled by a tractor and the other by two horses. We of course picked the horses.

To our great amusement, one of the big male horses was named Charlie, the same name we gave to our tiny female daughter. Ironically, on this day, it was our tiny female Charlie who outpooped the larger male horse Charlie.

At the end of our three minute ride, we were dropped off at a beautiful outdoor space that boasted multiple fire pits, a canteen and importantly the start of the Easter Egg Hunt trail. We awaited instructions, were handed a basket and a list of eggs we needed to collect in order to collect our chocolatey prize and set down the path. Leah popped from egg to egg, throwing the dirty ones away (making collecting more difficult since they were all resting on dirt) and putting the most colourful ones in her basket. Paying no attention to anyone else around her, she took about five minutes to collect the eggs she needed. During the hunt we did see, as promised, the Easter Bunny bouncing around the heavily egged areas giving high fives to kids and generally being Easter Bunny-ish. Leah thankfully, never showed interest in visiting though, so I was spared the indignity of hiding behind my wife as my young daughter chatted with a large rabbit.

We cashed in her eggs, collected our chocolate and waited once again for the horses. Leah was not nearly as interested on the ride back as she was focussing more seriously on popping her chocolate into her mouth than anything else. On the way out of the place she did find time to say goodbye to the animals in between bites. And while there were plenty of other things to entertain us---livestock games, swing sets, animal petting and a fresh food market, it was time for us to hit the road with two tired girls.

“Oink, oink, fat pig,” Leah said to the fat pig.

“Hee haw, hee haw small donkey,” Leah said to the small donkey.

“Bock, bock red faced chicken,” she said to the red faced chicken.

And like that, our day at the farm was over. We had a great time and the hour journey was well worth it. We notice too that they run special events throughout the year that match up with the seasons---the Hallowe’en set-up looked particularly impressive so another visit may be needed in October.

But for now, Leah had all the chocolate she needed in the back of the car. And that made the ride home a little quieter.

Mike Reynolds (blog/Twitter) is an Ottawa born-and-raised husband and father to two beautiful girls. He’s obsessed with making sure his daughter says ‘daddy and mommy’ and not ‘mommy and daddy’ and with finding junk he thinks will one day be considered an antique. He also blogs about his admitted cluelessness when it comes to raising children.

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Question of the Month: Easter traditions

Kids in the Capital is all about parents in Ottawa helping each other out by sharing tips and advice. Each month we ask a parenting question and we want to hear all the gems of advice you have to share. Just leave your answers in the comments! And if you have a question you’d like to see be a future question, leave it in the comments too! Happy Easter from Kids in the Capital!

Question of the month# 6: Easter traditions

The Easter Bunny, like Santa, tends to have different plans of action for different families.  We want to know what happens at your house at Easter!

Are there Easter egg hunts (indoors? outdoors)? Special gifts left on the kitchen table? Does he bring toys or food treats? Do you decorate for him?

Do you have other Easter traditions not related to the famous bunny?

How do you celebrate Easter?

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