Anytime is #GameTime with Mattel

Game on! Mattel challenged Kids in the Capital to surprise friends and family with a game time moment. They provided me with some new games and a Game On buzzer and encouraged me to play. I am so excited about this promotion - promoting games and playing is perfect for me and my family. My kids are 5 and 3.5 and games provide the opportunity not just to play, but to learn.

The day I received the games I eagerly opened the box, thinking of all the fun we could have. Could I invite friends over to play a game of Apples to Apples? What about bringing Uno with me to my parent's house? Unfortunately our whole house has been sick since we've had the games, so my game time moments haven't been very creative.  But you really should check out what Mattel did in a Canadian mall - playing Pictionary and surprising shoppers with prizes! (Check it out on YouTube)

Over here, us sickies have been playing our new games pretty much non stop. The games from Mattel are all rated for 7+ years but I can assure you that my kids were able to play along with most of them.

Bounce Off

Our absolute favourite has been Bounce Off. This game reminds me of a drinking game we used to play at the bar where you try and bounce a coin into your friend's beer. Basically there are two colours of balls and you have to bounce them onto the playing field and be the first to make a pattern. There are easy patterns and harder patterns. The kids had fun bouncing the balls all over the place. It's deceptively hard to create the patterns!

Bounce Off!

The other favourite around here is Uno.

Uno

I remember playing this with my family as a kid, and what I never considered back then, was how good this game was for teaching colours and number recognition. It also teaches taking turns, which isn't so easy when you're 3. With some gentle coaching we can have competitive games.

Uno

Apples to Apples and Mad Gab are a little beyond my kids at this point but I'll be sure to bring them out the next time we have friends over.

Apples to ApplesMad Gab

A big thank you to Mattel for our new games and for encouraging play. Anytime really is game time!

Game on!

The Magic of a Cardboard Box

by Amy The kid and I have been looking for activities during our days when I want to get a little work done and she wants some play time. Last night I was unpacking some things from our recent move and I ended up with five cardboard boxes of varying sizes.

So this morning, when she was asking for something to do, I brought them upstairs. I got the idea from Stella and Sam, when Sam's friend Owen brings over boxes in boxes in boxes and he and Sam imagine all sorts of things with them.

Today, for a while this morning and again this evening, these boxes have been great toys. These boxes have been houses, hiding places, spaceships and several times towers that she can then knock over.

Get out the crayons and we can draw on them and make them an arts and crafts project.

I thought she might get some fun out of them, I didn't expect hours of entertainment. Now I'm going to have a hard time recycling them.

Amy is mom to two year old Maggie and a 6 year old schnauzer named Henry. You can read her blog at amyboughner.ca where she writes about motherhood and anything else that’s on her mind. She also shares a blog with her husband at boughner.ca where they talk together about parenting a daughter.

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Nature within City Bounds: Andrew Haydon Park

by Natasha Spending a day at the park with my family seems like the best use of a nice and sunny summer day. My favourite park has always been the Andrew Haydon Park, located in Ottawa’s west end. It sits along the river and is neighboured by a marina, so you see ducks coming in from one end, and sail boats moving in the back.

For the avid park-goer, this park has all the amenities you need to take advantage of fantastic scenery, walking trails and bike paths right inside the city itself. The park, with its mini islands and bridges, is large enough to house the ever increasing crowds that dwell in the city.

If you’re after a small picnic, the tables scattered all along the park give you ample room to lay out a spread and enjoy a bite outside. The park also has barbecue pits if you prefer to cook your meal on site. If you do bring your own BBQ pits though, make sure you obtain a permit from the City of Ottawa, otherwise there’s a hefty fine for those that don’t obtain the necessary approvals.

Andrew Haydon park has several play structures that have sand brought in straight from the beach. My son absolutely loves spending time in the sand boxes with his toys and horsing around on the swinging structures designed for child use. A large and intricate play structure is also located on site to keep children a little older busy and active.

The park, due to its proximity to the beach, also has room to accommodate the sun worshipers that lay by the trees for a tan with a book in their hand. And don’t worry if you need to change your clothes or clean up your little ruffians, there are washroom facilities with changing stations open to the public at any time.

If you can’t walk or bike to the park, drive down and enjoy the spacious parking over several lots provided across the length of the park. A word of caution though: the best spots and picnic tables tend to get occupied rather quickly on nice days, plan an early trip to the park to enjoy most of its amenities.

If this beautiful weather holds throughout the summer, you can be sure to find me and the family picnicking at this park.

Andrew Haydon Park 3169 Carling Ave Ottawa, Ontario

Natasha is a new mommy to her first born, Baby H. She runs ShopHaven, a blog that reviews products and profiles local businesses and individuals from the Ottawa area. Natasha is also the creative force behind ShopHaven Baskets; a highly customized gift baskets service.

Kids in the Capital playdates

With Spring finally here we thought it was time for us to  finally get organized and restart our weekly Kids in the Capital playdates! Yay for Spring! From now until the Fall we will be hosting weekly playdates every Friday morning from 9:30am to 11:30am at St.Luke's park in Centretown. It's a chance for readers to hang out, watch the kids and chat. St. Luke's is just off of Elgin which means coffee is close by, as are bathrooms. Don't forget to bring swim suits in July and August because the wading pool opens at 11:30am!

Playdates will be cancelled if it is raining!

We hope that you and your kids will join us!