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 the Teddy Bear Picnic at The Royal Botanical Gardens’ Laking Garden, August 29-30 at 11 am
Why? Because a Teddy Bear Picnic is always a good time for small ones—and their furry friends—and this one couldn’t be in a prettier setting. Located between Burlington and Hamilton, even east enders will find it’s worth the drive. Your kiddo will enjoy a day of teddy bear-themed crafts, activities and stories, go on a scavenger hunt and enjoy a delicious picnic in what promises to be a fun-filled day.
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.
Raise money for the Trace Manes playground rejuvenation project by attending the first annual Georgia Walsh Memorial All-Star Games on August 29 at Trace Manes Park
Why? The new $1 million dollar state-of-the-art playground and splash pad will be made safer with the addition of rubberized tile and specially designed swings and saucers—making it accessible to special needs children and more play-friendly for all. Plus, the event promises to be sensational. Enjoy an All Star Baseball Tournament (featuring top minor league players), skills competitions, face painting, tattoos, inflatable slides, food, raffles, games, an appearance by everyone’s favourite sports dad, Walter Gretzky and a surprise appearance by one of the Toronto Blue Jays.