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Where are the tots gyms this fall?

Children need to climb and run and jump and did I say run… Sometimes Vancouver rain keeps us from being able to be outside for a longer period of time.  The community centres are a parents saving grace when the November rains hit.  What to do? What to do?

Most of you know I have moderate a facebook group called Families Against Boredom   I started the group to invite anyone to post family events in and around Vancouver.  Tonight I sat down and went through all the local community centres to find out when they had Tots Gyms (open playtime for children under 5)

So here is the list  of Community Centres that have tots playgyms  and a great consolidated document from VSOCC:

Champlain Heights Community centre has Sunday playgym ages 0-5 9:30-11:30

Coal Harbour has a variety of playgym times every day (9:30-11:30, 12:00-1:30, 3:30-5:30)

Creekside Community Centre (Olympic Village ) has playgym on every day of the week see link for times. (either 9:30-12:30 or 2:30-5:30)

Trout Lake Community Centre has a play gym on Sunday mornings from 9:30 am to 11:30 am.

Dunbar Community Centre has Tots gym Mon- Fri 11:00-12:30

False Creek Community Centrehas tots gym morning of Mon, Wed. Fri. Sun.

Hasting Community Centre has tots gym Tues, Fri. Sat. 11-1:15

Hillcrest Centre has tots gym Mon-Fri 10:45-12:15 and one on Sunday

Killarney has tots gym Tues. Fri, Sun mornings

Marpole-Oakridge has a Tues. Midday and Sat am tots gym

Mount Pleasant Community Centre Mon-Sat. tots gym 10:15-12:15

Renfrew Park Community Centre Monday family gym 9:40-11:30

Roundhouse Community Centre Tots gyms Mon-Thur and Sat. various times

Sunset Community Centre Playgym Mon, Wed-Fri 10-11:30

Trout Lake Community Community Centre Tots gym Mon-Fri 10:00-12:00

West Point Grey Community Centre Family playtime Sat. and Sun 10:30-12:00

West End Community Centre Playtime Mon-Sat various time

there’s a FREE drop-in for kids 0-5 at Kimount Boys & Girls Club at 395 East 6th Ave (at Prince Edward), Mondays & Tuesdays from 9.30 to 11.30am every week

VSOCC list of Services for Families in the Downtown Core

I hope this helps any reader when the rain makes us all a bit stir crazy.  Sometimes there’s even bouncy castles = Heaven to two year olds

Little A – last November (working mom doesn’t get much of a chance to enjoy the tots gyms these days)

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My First Craft Post…Pumpkins, Letters and Learning

I am not crafty.  I so want to be but when I try things they look like a 2 year old did them.  Which right now is great because Little A (my daughter) is 2.5 yrs.  So there’s a bit less pressure to get it perfect.  Her imagination more than makes up for my lack of talent.  My chalk markings become dinosaurs and giraffes- bless her little soul!

But having a two year old means you need to do crafts and projects.  So I try to let go of my need for perfection the first time and off I go to find something easy, crafty and Halloweenish.

My first craft attempt was a bust.  I wanted to make hand spiders like these I found on Pinterest-

Finger Spider Craft

How hard can they be, really, it is a hand print and some google eyes.

First lesson about Craft Club

1.  Crafts only work if your child wants to do them

That day she wanted to use a brush on the paper, NO FINGER Painting.  Ahhh well.  I’m not craft savvy to think on my feet so a regular painting session it was to be and back to the itnerwebs I would go later.  (Ha ha punnny, spiders, interwebs haha)

During the week Little A received a parcel from Nana… some felt letter stickers. And The Imagination Tree  (fantastic blog) had a great halloween pumpkin craft so I dove in to try it.

The Great Alphabet Pumkin

You need:

1 pumpkin                      check                 We had our pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, Little A picked it out on her own this year

1 pack of felt letters      check                Thanks Nana

Little A chose her own pumpkin and was so proud of it

We sat down on the floor with our Great Pumpkin and the letters.  I explained we were going to look at each letter, sound the letter out , pick words that started with that letter and then put them on the pumpkin.  Both of us were very excited.

I pulled out the first letter ” B”

Me: “This is the letter B… It has a long line and two little bumps on it.  It sounds like ..b..b..b..   What words start with the letter B..b..b…b…?”

Little A :  “I don’t know.” (smiling and tilting her head in interest)

Me:  “B..b…b…b.. BEAR”

Little A:  “Bear!  Ahhhahhahha”   (note: said with a 2 yr old “accent” like she was from Boston)

She thought this was pretty funny.  I handed the letter to her to peal the backing off and put anywhere on the pumpkin.

We continued picking up letters, looking at how they were shaped, sounding them out and then picking a word to go with the letter

“H- two lines and one little line half way to connect them.. h…h…h…. HIPPO, HORSE ” – Giggles and guffawing

“V- one line on an angle going down and one line going up…v…v…v ….VACCUUM”  – Again loads of laughter.

There was much thought put into the placement of each letter.  She rolled the pumpkin around finding the best spot for each letter, some she wanted close to other letters, some she wanted to stand alone some she chose to put on upside down.

B - b..b...b.. BEAR!

We did this project earlier in the week and the letter obsession is now in full swing.  She is often asking what does this or that start with. We have letters on the fridge and she is naming the letters and asking to replicate the sound.  The animal magnets have now become part of the learning.  “What does zebra start with?”  and so on.

By the time Halloween rolls around I’m hoping the pumpkin will be loaded with letters, its a fun activity to come back to every couple days. Depending on attention span this could be done on the kitchen floor while you are prepping for dinner too.

Its very exciting to see her recognize the alphabet and new synapse sparks happening.  Little brains are amazing.

The  Great Lettered Pumpkin now sits beside  Captain Turkey she made at daycare.

Pumpkin Time: make hay while the sun shines


Wasn’t the the start of Fall fantastic!  We had warm temperatures and sunny days.  Perfect for the pumpkin patch.

This year we chose the closest pumpkin patch possible, because we are still in potty training mode and I didn’t want to venture too far in the car and risk an accident.

We went to Southlands Heritage Farm

So much to see at Southlands Heritage Farm

With four kids under 4 years Southlands it was not too big, not too small but juuusssst right for our mid morning adventure. We gathered our troops and ventured over to the barn to visit the horses.

This horse was so friendly…”A” was giddy meeting him

The girls loved the horses, they talked about their colours,  if the horses were hungry, and which horses were happy and which were not.  I’m rather nervous around horses so I did’t let them get to close to A, but one of the horses was gentle and friendly so I took a step back and watched.

It was time to go to the apple orchard to find the perfect pumpkin.  A and her little pals Isla, Sydney skipped along thru a path finding the loose chickens and looking for bunnies.  Brixton stayed close to his mommy, being a little shy at first.

Brixton watched the girls play but soon enough warmed up and joined in the fun

Isla and A have been friends since A was born.  This was the first time they truly played and interacted. I loved the way Isla would call for Roara (adorable).  They took turns climbing the trees and playing games like jump off the stump, twirl the sign and other adventure games I couldn’t quite hear.  We adults had actual conversations that is when I wasn’t chasing the kids with my camera.

My turn to jump this fancy move

And then we win ! That’s what it says

Climbing Trees

So many cute moments in this quiet little apple orchard.  We were the only ones there.  The girls decided to make a pile of broken “celery” for the bunnies (do they even have bunnies there, I’m not sure but I wasn’t about to ruin their fun).  One by one they broke the weeds up and left a pile so the bunnies could eat.   They were concerned for little animals they didn’t even see that day, nature lovers.

This is for the bunnies

The kids got to hunt for their own best pumpkin to take home.  The little explorers examined pumpkins: some were too big, some weren’t round enough and some were just not right. This was serious business.

Pumkin Hunting

Isla, Sydney and A proudly posed with their new perfect treasure, each happy with their choices.

Queens of Pumpkin Land

We finished our trip to Southlands Heritage Farm with some playtime in the Straw Pile.  Everyone got into the act of throwing hay high in the air and letting it fall down all over them.  I could do a flip book I took so many quick shutter shots.  Being still new to blogging I’m not sure how to do a collage of photos so I can only post a couple.

Brixton figured out how to get in the straw game

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

The day was fantastic.  They all shared and played well together, had imaginary adventures and the sun shone down on us in more ways than one.

This gallery contains 21 photos

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Being Thankful…remembering my roots…sharing my roots

It’s been a whirlwind summer and I can’t believe it is fall already.  I find myself alone tonight and thinking about what I was thankful for this year.  An evening along gives me some time to think about what I’m thankful of – Thanksgiving was yesterday after all.

I can answer that with one word : FAMILY

This summer my husband, daughter and my parents went back to the fishing camp where I grew up.  Missing was my brother and his wife but at the time she was too pregnant to travel too far. Hopefully we can all do a long weekend away next year as a BIG family with two little ones running around.

Living at Roche Lake  provided an amazing childhood for me.  My brother was an expert frogger.  I found my love for rowing; although it was in a run down one man rowboat not like the skulls I rowed in university.  We’d play outside all day long – jumping off the dock seeing who had the better splash, exploring the streams for frogs and other creatures, or sitting quietly waiting for just one brave marmot to come eat of my hands.  We’d get snowed in and spend the day tobogganing with our dog Amber chasing after us and snagging our hats as we flew by.  It was a time when our family was as close as they could ever be.

I wanted to give my daughter some of the same experiences my brother and I had. I want her to love a simple day as much as I do.  Don’t laugh I really do.

When I was small I’d wake up early to be able to go fishing with my dad before his work day started.  It was peaceful and we would be content to quietly sit, jigging our rods waiting for a fish to bite. My daughter experienced her first boat ride, I sat back and watched her sit still getting a feel for the little waves, then wanting bigger ones to rock the boat.   My daughter was as relaxed as I was when I was little. She was so happy.  I took in the moment – proud momma moment.

First Boat Ride, Isn’t Djudji (grandpa) proud

My mom brought an old family album up with her  filled with photos of my brother, my dad and of course fish.  Found this great photo my brother relaxing in a boat.

Somedays fishing is hard work

Roche Lake also means music.  As a teen if my dad would pull out the harmonica I’d cringe with embarrassment but other say he’s pretty good.  And a dad will always embarrass his daughter somehow, some way.  Now as an adult I think it is very sweet that he gave my daughter a harmonica of her own and they perform together on skype.  The weekend at the lake the two of them got to perform side by side.

Duet .. who’s more proud

Another memory I have of living at the lake is “frogging”, while my brother was the grand champion,  I still tried to catch frogs and shrimp and kill leaches but he was the KING.  So we spent the weekend searching for frogs.  We hiked up a ways to the creek with my daughter only found shrimpies… We will have to wait for uncle/brother to show us how its done.

found a shrimp, but where is the frog?

Living at the lake, there’s no real time (when your a kid) and no crazy city distractions -there is quiet time – ohhh so quiet.

That calls for some time with nana and play-doe

Little craft time is good for the soul

The quiet lake is great for napping, which we all partook in.  Long long naps – no sirens to wake us up.

Even stuffies need some quiet time

My poor husband had to listen to us reminisce all day and all night.  We were even “lucky” enough to have a visit from a bat – inside the cabin – just like the “old days”.  It went by too quickly.  The whole weekend I quietly took moments in and realized how great my family is, that I enjoy their company, and we like each other.  That’s what I”m thankful for.

While we didn’t catch any fish this time around, I did catch a few when I was little

life was simple and plenty when we were small