Weekend Road Trip to London, Ontario

Gibbons Park, London, Ontario

Gibbons Park, London, Ontario

London, Ontario may not be an ideal weekend road trip destination from Ottawa (after all it’s about six hours away by car and that is providing Toronto traffic is light), but when you have in-laws and a new baby niece to visit, it becomes the perfect road trip. :)

I enjoy our visits to London, Ontario and there are certain spots we make a point of visiting with the kids; so I thought I would share them in case you ever find yourself in this delightful Southern Ontario city.

Gibbons Park

If you brought your bikes make your way to Gibbons Park to enjoy the paved paths along the scenic Thames river. The trail system goes to other parks, including Harris Park and all the way to the larger Springbank Park. In addition to the paths there is also a playground, public pool, mature trees and a splash pad. There is also plenty of parking and shade-covered spots for picnicking. If you love wide-open parks with mature trees then you will love this park! There is always something going on: kids flying kites, a soccer game or just lots of families enjoying the area's natural beauty.

Storybook Gardens

Jumping Pillow at Storybook Gardens

Jumping Pillow at Storybook Gardens

Storybook Gardens has been a family attraction in London for decades (since 1958), but they recently renovated and improved the park by removing the animals and zoo and replacing it with an amazing playground, large splash pad and fun playhouses. Storybook Gardens centers around popular fairytales and nursery rhymes and there are traces of those around the park, but more so there are rides, slides and a giant jumping pillow that is perfect for kids preschool aged and up. My daughter loves the giant slides and playground. It’s a fun-filled way to spend a day in London!

Playhouses at Storybook Gardens

Playhouses at Storybook Gardens

London’s Children’s Museum

For over three decades, the London Children’s Museum has been a popular destination for children. They have interactive exhibits and encourage children to learn by playing and touching. Admittedly some of the displays are worn out, but there is still plenty to see and do – especially on those rainy days when the kids are itching to run and get some energy out.

Fanshawe Pioneer Village

If you have ever gone to Upper Canada Village with your family and had a good time, then you will probably enjoy Fanshawe Pioneer Village as well. There is always interesting period-related activities going on in the historic buildings as well as throughout the village grounds. As with most pioneer villages, this interactive museum tells the story of rural communities, this one related to London and nearby counties from 1820 to 1920. It’s a great way for children to experience life in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Victoria Park

Turtle in Springbank Park, London

Turtle in Springbank Park, London

Located in the heart of the city, Victoria Park is usually the hub of activity with festivals and musical entertainment. If there is an event going on in the City of London – it will be at this park. It’s also full of history and there is a memorial to the Boer War, which may be interesting if you are travelling with a history buff.

Above all, I recommend visiting the many scenic parks in London. The massive mature trees are stunning and the wide-open space is perfect to let little ones run free (especially after a six hour drive).

Have you travelled to London, Ontario? Where is your favourite spot to visit with the family?

5 Things To Do Before Summer Ends

Summer is just flying by. Given that my daughter is in the French-Catholic Board, she'll be back to school on August 26th! Which means I'm starting to think about what we still need to do before summer ends, so that I don't wake up in October kicking myself for letting the sun and sand pass me by: 1) BEACH DAY. I just can't bring myself to go to a city beach for "beach day." I love Petrie Island (given that I live in Orleans), and support my city as much as I can, but until the Province and City of Ottawa clean up our water, I'm totally grossed out. Instead, we will be enjoying the clean and sandy waters out in Bon Echo provincial park!

2) FAIR. There are so many great Ottawa-area fairs, and we are definitely going to check out the Navan Fair on August 9/10th! Although my girls don't really enjoy crowds, I love that there are many different activities that don't involve the noisy midway :)

3) FARM. Although our vegetable garden is huge, it certainly doesn't compare to the greenery at Eco Honey Bee Spa and Gardens. It's my favourite eco-spa in the Ottawa area, and Deborah welcomes families to come check out her beautiful gardens, doves, chickens and rabbits. And as a bonus, we can take a walk through Kemptville and stop at The Branch for lunch!

4) MOSAIKA. We still need to get my oldest out for the evening sound and light show on Parliament Hill. I think she'll love it!!

5) POOL. I grew up with a pool, so it's slightly sad that my kids don't get to experience daily swimming in the backyard (although I'm not regretting the incredible costs and work associated with a pool!!). So before the summer is over, we plan to crash my friend's backyard and use their pool to cool off :)

What do you hope to do before summer ends?

A Summer Journal for Kids

Slide01 For the past few years I have created a summer journal for my children to document their days off.

It all started as a way to entertain them on a long flight out west and three weeks of visiting family. I thought it would be a great way to keep them entertained drawing and writing about the things they did and saw. I provided them with stickers and other supplies to help them describe their experiences. They were young, 5 and 3, when we started. On the flight they taped their boarding passes in the journals. They collected flowers and other treasures in small bead bags to tape in their journals. With assistance my 5 year old wrote words to describe his summer vacation.

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Now at 8 and 6, the journals are more focused on reading, writing, and cursive. This year our journals are full of writing prompts. There is still lots of space for drawing and pasting. In preparation for the last day of school I will print our journals, gather some art supplies (makers, pencils, doubled sided tape, glue, stickers, etc.) and store it all in a folder for each child. On our first day of summer vacation we will write our bucket list.

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Click on the link below to download the full journal (39 pages) here for free!

summer journal KITC

It will print in black and white on 8.5 X 11 paper. I printed the journal at our local print store for about $12.00, including a clear cover page, a blank back page and coil binding.

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What summer activities do you plan with your children?

Jayda Siggers is a Mom of 2 ( JWS, 6 and LLS, 4), a nutritionist, a coach at Clean Plate Cleanse, a master mediator living under a co-dictatorship, whole food advocate, trying to live a little greener everyday.