10 March Break Activities in Ottawa

March Break is just around the corner! If you plan on sticking around the National Capital Region this March Break, then you’re probably wondering what there is to do to keep the kids busy, entertained and happy.

With that in mind, here are 10 March Break Activities in Ottawa:

March break Activities in Ottawa

1)   Visit a Sugar Bush

Over the March Break, you won't have to wait until the weekend to visit a Sugar Bush. The Log Farm in Nepean is open March 12th to the 16th from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and includes a bonfire and wagon rides! Visitors will not only see how the pioneers would have collected maple syrup, but also learn how maple syrup is made using modern wood fired equipment.

2)   Try Downhill Skiing, Winter Tubing or Snowshoeing! 

March break is a prime time to take the kids downhill skiing or enrol them in downhill ski lessons. But if you aren’t skiers, hills such as Mount PakenhamEdelweiss and Domaine de l’Anne-Gardien offer winter tubing too! And ski hills, such as Calabogie also offer snowshoeing (including rentals). Fun in the snow for all ages and abilities!

Downhill skiing

3)   Visit a Museum

Ottawa has many great museums that appeal to a a variety of interests. Whether you want to teach kids about farming and agriculture at the Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum or learn about dinosaurs or Canada's Arctic at the Canadian Museum of Nature, there are plenty of things for kids of all ages to see and do at a local museum.

This year the Canadian Museum of Nature has a special Butterflies in Flight exhibit that is only on until April 28th. March Break is a great time to go check it out (tip: it's really busy, so make sure you book your time slot ahead of time).

For younger kids the Children’s Museum at the Museum of History is always a hit! 

From March 2nd to the 17th, the Canadian Space and Aviation Museum is offering programming where kids will learn all about “Your Place in Aerospace!” Each day, the museum will focus on different careers in the aviation and space industry. See many of the behind-the-scenes jobs that ensure the aerospace industry runs smoothly - all available for children of any age!

And we can't forget - the Canadian Science and Technology Museum’s March Break has a plethora of fun-filled activities, experiments, and demonstrations that are sure to keep visitors of all ages engaged. Visit their top-notch interactive exhibitions, get up close with demonstrations in the galleries, or head to the big demo stage for supercool experiments. Don’t forget to try the special engineering challenge in Exploratek!

Exploring a museum is a great way to spend a couple of hours or an entire day!

4)   Take a Haunted Walk (for older kids)

Older kids, who are also fans of a good ghost story, may appreciate the fun and mystery of Ottawa’s Haunted Walk. They run every night from downtown Ottawa and are definitely a memorable way to spend an evening as a family. There are usually a couple of different tour types to choose from and each offer a unique way of seeing our city!

5)   Go Cross Country Skiing

 March Break is usually a goot time to check out the groomed cross country ski trails in Gatineau Park or the new multi-use Sir John A. MacDonald trail. If you don’t own skis you can usually rent them from places such as Mountain Equipment Co-op and Fresh Air Experience. 

Cross Country skiing

6)   Skate as a family at the Sens Rink of Dreams and Rideau Hall

Weather-permitting, the Sens Rink of Dreams at Ottawa City Hall is open daily from 6 am to 11 pm and unlike many other public skating rinks there is also a heated changing facility. If you don’t own skates (or you just discovered your kids have outgrown theirs) you can rent skates right on site (during designated times).

Rideau Hall also has a public outdoor skating rink which is open until March 25th, weather-permitting. 

7)   Slide or Dive into a City of Ottawa pool

The City of Ottawa offers a wide range of public swimming schedules during the March Break and have locations all over the city that offer everything from standard swimming, to slides to waves! The great news is that it isn’t expensive, in fact kids 2 and under are free!

8)   Sign up for a program at the Ottawa Public Library

Every year the Ottawa Public Library offers free programs for school age children and teens as part of their March Break. Program themes and length vary depending on the library, but past programs have included programs about science, technology, arts and more!

9)   Paint Pottery

If your kids love to be creative bring them to a ceramic painting place in Ottawa. There are several including Pottery Playhouse in Stittsville and The Mud Oven on Bank Street. Kids can paint something as simple as a plate or mug and make it their own – or get a head start on birthday gifts for family and friends. It’s a lot of fun and the mess is left behind!

Painting Pottery

10)  Try Bowling

If you’re anything like me the last time you went bowling was on the Nintendo Wii. Bowling is great exercise and a fun way to play together as family. Ottawa has several bowling lanes to choose from including Walkley Bowling Lanes and Orleans Bowling Centre. Merivale Bowling Lanes even has glow in the dark bowling!

How do you plan on spending your March Break this year? What are some of your favourite family acitivities? 

 

 

More than Taekwon-Do with Masterful Master Phil

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 World. This blog post originally appeared on her website: antoniacetin.com.

When I signed up my 13 year old son for Taekwon-Do lessons at Black Belt Excellence Martial Arts Academy in Kanata, I did not realize that I was signing us up for life and parent coaching, too. Not only is Master Phil a seventh degree Black Belt, who passes on the passion for his discipline to his students, he is also a master teacher. He teaches students respect, motivation and belief in themselves and he teaches parents and teachers how to relate to their children.

When Master Phil meets his students, he doesn’t try to make friends and to be like them. He is authentic and he is very clear about his role and the student role, very politely demonstrating respect. Right from the start, he looks students in the eye, introduces himself, and asks questions. At first, his questions are closed questions so the student has to answer yes or no. When the student responds, Master Phil instructs them to answer with a “Yes, Sir.” or a “No, Sir.” He welcomes them to his dojang (martial arts academy), and talks about the importance of respect verifying the student has understood by simply asking, “Do you understand?” Another closed question. When the student answers, Master Phil reminds the student to answer with “Sir.” With the third question, Master Phil assumes the student knows, and just waits for the appropriate response. From the start, with a few very simple questions, without any fuss, he has established expectations for respect and discipline.

Master Phil also understands the importance of creating rapport with parents and demonstrates respect towards the parents to his students. From the start, students get the message that everybody is there for the same goals: supporting that student. And everybody  understands that they need to work together to achieve those goals. Greeting students and parents alike when they arrive, Master Phil creates community. He thanks the parents for taking the time to drive their kids to the lesson, and commends the students on their dedication to practicing. With a few simple comments, he creates a bond and demonstrates to his students how to be respectful as well as boosting their confidence and motivating them.

When Master Phil gives feedback to his students, he goes beyond the generic and questionable “Good job.” He seeks to acknowledge who they are and what they can do: You listened well; You were focused; You worked hard; I can see how dedicated you are; Your practice is paying off. This specific feedback focusing on what they do, motivates students because they know someone has noticed what they can do and, as a result, they want to improve. Then, when Master Phil tells them what they need to work on, they know they are getting honest and helpful advice and not criticism. When he addresses his students as “Future yellow belt”, or “Future green stripe” he is telling them that they can achieve the next step, that they are on the right track, and that he sees it. They want to work harder because Master Phil believes in them and knows they are capable.

If you decide to sign up your children for Taekwon-Do lessons with Master Phil at Black Belt Excellence Martial Arts Academy in Kanata, know that you are signing up for so much more.  Master Phil demonstrates and teaches students respect, dedication, and authenticity. And, he teaches the observant parent how to achieve compliance from children and young adults, how to foster a respectful relationship while staying in the teacher/parent/adult role and how to motivate and encourage them. Masterful, Master Phil!

A day trip to Prehistoric World

KITC would like to welcome Naomi Bianca to the blog. Naomi Bianca is the proud mom of Jax who is 3 1/2 and his little brother Hudson who is 17 months. The below post was originally posted on Naomi's blog. Check it out here. 


Just a 90 minute drive from Ottawa, Prehistoric World is a little gem in the country located near Morrisburg, Ontario. A magical land of full size dinosaur replicas throughout a beautiful 1 km wooded nature walk. A true site to be seen, these huge dinosaur replicas are all handmade by the owners who live right on site. Originally built as a hobby, it was turned into a tourist attraction for thousands of visitors to enjoy every year. We couldn’t wait to see it!

Jax and Hudson were super excited to see all the dinosaurs and when we got there, they literally couldn’t contain their excitement as they ran with their friends from dinosaur to dinosaur. Each and every one had a sign to explain what species it was and give more information.

Hudson was too funny, pointing and roaring throughout the trails.  Check out the video on my instagram (@naomibianca613).

It was another beautiful summer day, and we were all sweating as we ran around exploring the site. No problem if you miss anything because you can walk the path as many times as you like! The kids (and parents) were all so excited, it’s almost like Jurassic Park! Once you complete the nature walk, there is a good-sized sand pit where you can dig for fossils… how perfect for the kids to explore… and we spent a good hour there playing and digging around.

Prehistoric World Ontario

On our way out we spoke to one of the owners and the kids were fascinated when they found out that he was the man that actually built all those replicas with his own hands. You just had to have seen their faces! I HIGHLY recommend visiting this little attraction. We will probably go back once more this summer but it’s for sure a once a year thing at the very least.

They are open from late May to Labour Day in September, from 10 am to 4 pm and accept last visitors at 3:15 pm. Very important to note is that they only accept cash. The entrance fee is $10 for adults and $4 for children, free for kids 4 and under. It’s kind of nice that they are old school, hence cash and no website. But if you want to learn more, here is a link to their online brochure:

http://www.westislandkids.com/pdf/Prehistoric-World-Brochure.pdf

Handy tips: Bring bug spray since you’re walking through a wooded area and there are most definitely mosquitoes. If you happen to forget, no problem, they have some to purchase. There is also no food to purchase on site but lots of picnic tables for you to bring your own lunches. About 5 minutes down the road, there is an ice cream stand that sells food.

Have you guys ever heard of Prehistoric World? Funny to note, I went when I was a kid and not since, but so fun to live it all over again with my kids! Any questions about anything let me know. Also, anything you want me to cover or visit, let me know! We’re always on the hunt for our next adventure!

Let's get N.U.T.S!!

We all know that kids need more physical activity. The 2016 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth shows that only 9% of Canadian kids ages 5 - 17 are getting 60 minutes of heart-pumping activity they need each day (did that statistic shock you? It shocked me!!)

NUTS.jpg

When recess and phys ed are so restricted in public schools these days, how can parents take initiative to get their kids moving? I know for me, it's hard to find the motivation to get the kiddos out after a long day at school, especially when we have to get dinner made and bedtime routine started early (we prioritize an early bedtime in our house!) In the warmer months we always get out for a post-dinner walk or bike ride....but the winter months are HARD!!

obstacle.jpg

Just when I was despairing that winter would never end, I got a cool invitation from a new activity in Ottawa called N.U.T.S. The name stands for "Neuron Upgrade and Training Station." The facility is located near St. Laurent and Industrial Rd, and last week the Kids in the Capital team and friends got to check out this obstacle course where both your mind and body are challenged.

20180323_184959_Burst05.jpg

When we arrived we walked into a huge dark room with glowing black lights and upbeat music. Friday and Saturday nights at N.U.T.S are glow-in-the-dark, courtesy of Glow Sport.

The first order of business is the waiver form. You then get to choose which type of trivia you would like, and I mistakenly chose Rock 'n Roll (mental note: I do not know ANYTHING about rock 'n roll.) When you give the staff your email address, all of your scores on the trivia portion of the obstacle are averaged out and you're emailed a score  - so you can go back and try to beat your last score!

obstacle1.jpg

The premise of N.U.T.S is to run through an obstacle course, while stopping along the way to challenge your brain with trivia. The instructors showed us the entire course once, and explained how to move through it. The trivia is on small screens, and the passcode you have on your bracelet is entered into the computer so that your specific trivia questions pop up (my daughter chose Canadian History, which was a fun one to do together!)

obstacle3.jpg

The obstacle course is not a race, but of course, some kids loved to see how fast they could do it! There is a lot of jumping, crawling and climbing. Most of the challenges along the way can be modified, so that older/stronger kids can choose the harder options on the obstacle, while younger kids can do something a bit easier. Anytime an obstacle is too much, we were instructed to do 10 jumping jacks instead!

obstacle4.jpg

Have you ever gone for a walk and then had some brilliant breakthrough in your work or at school? Well, that's because physical activity is good for our brains! It gets all those fancy synapses firing in there, and answering the trivia questions was super fun.

IMG_3069 (1).JPG

N.U.T.S is not just for kids. The idea is to run through the obstacle course three times, and I made it through it once. It was TOUGH (but of course, you can make it easier on yourself!!) I joked that this was clearly a mommy boot camp activity (and funny enough, N.U.T.S just introduced a mom and child fitness class!!)

20180323_185518.jpg

All the kids in our group declared it an amazing success, and were sad to have finished after three rounds. My daughter has already planned to hold her ninth birthday party there (and I got word that they supply a completely vegan cake, which is apparently out of this world!)

N.U.T.S is available for specific drop-in times, and they also tour all around the city visiting schools and having children take part in the obstacle course. They regularly host groups in their space, ranging from school-aged kids to workplace team building activities with adults.

This place is on our "must-return" list, and I can't wait to challenge myself again.

Exploring the Outaouais with kids: Eco Odysee

We love to explore the greater Ottawa area in the summer ,and sometimes we come across a gem! Eco-Odysée is one of those places. Beautiful scenery, boats, maps, clues, and puzzle solving! It can't get much better in my children's opinion.

My oldest son made a video about our trip there last summer - take a quick peek before I tell you more about it.

 

Water maze adventures

Hop in a paddle boat or canoe and spend a couple of hours going through the swamp maze hunting for animals!

All throughout the maze there are plastic statues of animals. Depending on which adventure you take, you can can move through the maze in a different direction (I love this because there are adventures for different skill levels, but you can continue to do the same level without getting bored).

If you'd rather not paddle or you're just pair, you can get a canoe (it's also a bit cheaper). We managed to get all five of us into one paddle boat, even though it said that the max was two adults and two kids. If your kids aren't too big they're happy to let all five of you in the same boat.

Beyond the maze

Once you're done in the water maze you get to solve puzzles and search for a final answer, which you can bring to reception at the end for a (very) small prize. The kids were really proud of themselves for having solved the entire adventure!

There is also a walking maze and a nice area to picnic.

If you're looking for something fun and a bit different to do this summer, make sure to check out Eco-Odysée!

Small word of warning: we were there on a day that wasn't too hot. I have heard that it can get really hot on the water, so make sure to stay hydrated and use good sun protection.