Here’s how to rock the second half of summer while (slowly) making the shift to back-to-school season.
Host a summit of extra-curriculars
Why? The only way to keep your schedule from spiralling out of control once the school year is underway is to be mindful about how much you sign up for. Now’s a great time to have a family meeting where the kids weigh in on what they want to do come fall. Or, if they’re too little to know, skip right to the part where you ask yourself how many weeknights you want to spend in the car. Now subtract one for all the X factors you can’t think of right now. You won’t regret leaving time for family dinners and Connect Four marathons.
To Storytime at Rideau Hall, every Friday and Saturday, from 1-3 pm until August 22.
Why? We want to keep ‘em reading any way we can, and the volunteers at Frontier College are pros at making storytime incredibly fun. They invite families to settle in under the Reading Tent to be read to and to read together, and to enjoy some fun literacy activities. Kick back on the shady grass and enjoy, and afterwards, take the kids on a tour of Rideau Hall and catch the pageantry and colour of the Ceremonial Guard during the hourly Relief of the Sentries, or just hang out, have a picnic, and enjoy the lawn and play structure.
Why? Because this is going to seriously simplify your life. Take out the old, regular shoelaces from the wee one’s footwear and weave Laceez through the holes in your kiddo’s shoes—the elastic lace turns any pair of running or lace-up shoes into slip-ons. Hallelujah.
Swimming pool games
Why? Your trips to the backyard or local pool will be so much more fun if you play games like Ping Pong, Octopus, or 500. Revisit some old faves like Marco Polo and find cool ideas you’d never think of yourself, like the Watermelon Push Relay. No one will notice their swimming skills are improving, too.
Why? Because you may be running out of ways to entertain the kids at home by this point in the school break. This site is packed with ideas for crafts, projects, science experiments, games—even jokes and trivia.
Ride The Big Machines Across Canada, by Carmen Mok
Why? This beautifully-illustrated book is a playful and fun way to teach little ones about Canada. Ride the RV for a family drive across Canada and explore our provinces and territories to learn what makes each one unique, like local landmarks and provincial flags (try and find one on each page). Train, bus, and tractor enthusiasts (in our experience, that’s most toddlers) will love seeing all the ‘things that go’ in each province—from streetcars in Toronto to trains across the prairies to a ferry in the Strait of Belle Isle.
Why? Because it’s the same program you watched as a kid, just reinvented for tablet, and is a great way to keep them reading over the summer. This app puts a library of more than 400 books at your kid’s fingertips, with fun animations in each. There are two different mode—’Read to Me’ or ‘Read by Myself’—plus 100 educational video ‘field trips’ for kids to explore on rainy afternoons. A subscription can be used by up to five children.
By hosting a clothing and gear swap with other parents in your neighbourhood
Why? Because your child doesn’t need brand-new everything for the return to school. A new-to-him big-boy backpack that a neighbour’s kid has outgrown could do the trick, and that dress your daughter outgrew after just a couple of wears might delight the little girl down the block.
Why? Because it’s a dippable, gooey, ooey, chocolatey, quintessentially summer dessert that you can make in the oven and on rainy days. Save this idea for adult parties as well—it’s a hit, we promise—and for a treat when *sniff* summer’s over.
One of the 4,900 children who visit a Children’s Miracle Network hospital for treatment each day by buying a Dairy Queen Blizzard on Thursday, August 13
Why? Because even though your kids will think you’re a hero for buying them a sweet treat, more importantly, all proceeds from Blizzards sold that day benefit children’s hospitals and kids’ healthcare, and the proceeds stay local—money raised in Ottawa goes to CHEO. To date, more than $100 million has been raised by DQ for hospitals in the Miracle Network—let’s keep the momentum going.