We’ve moved!

Kids in the Capital has a new home! We are officially hosted at www.kidsinthecapital.com now!

Come over and see us and admire our new shiny look!  And make sure to change your RSS readers, your bookmarks, and your blog buttons to reflect the change to www.kidsinthecapital.com!

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McLaurin Bay

by Annie

Last summer, the kids and I stopped briefly at the the playground at Parc Martin Larouche in Gatineau (rue Notre Dame at rue Joseph Roy). Julian was 5 and Emma was 2. We didn’t stay for very long because it really was a “big kids” park and Emma wasn’t able to climb up to go down the slides. We noticed that there was a nature trail starting at the playground, but there were too many mosquitoes to venture into the marshy woods at that time of year.

With all of the rain we’ve been getting lately, we were anxious to get out and enjoy the outdoors this weekend. Since Emma is a year older and the mosquito season is over, we thought it would be fun to check out this park and trail again. So we packed a picnic lunch and headed out.

When we arrived, the kids checked out the playground. There are large rock climbing walls that you have to scale to get to the top to access the big windy slides. There are also lots of things to hang from (like monkey bars) and balance on, making it a great park for kids to test their abilities. There are a few swings too (two baby swings, two regular swings), but the highlight really is the play structure.

Once the kids had played for a while, we decided to check out the trail. The trail is 1.6km one-way or 3.2km round trip. It starts from the playground and goes through the woods and across wetlands of McLaurin Bay (Baie McLaurin) before coming out at the Ottawa River. At the start of the trail, there is a sign indicating the number of different species of flora and fauna that can be found along the trail. There are hundreds of different species of birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, insects and plants. As I read off the statistics to the kids, they became a little bit anxious that we might run into lots of scary animals along the trail.

The first part of the trail winds through the woods and the colours were brilliant. The next segment is a bridge across the marsh at the edge of McLaurin Bay. The bridge is a series of floating docks with railings held together by a cable, so the bridge moves up and down in the water as you step from one piece of the bridge onto the next. The next part of the trail goes by several lookouts. One of them is a deck overlooking an area populated by beavers (no lodges/dams to be seen today) and the other is a tower with a view of the whole bay. The final segment goes through the woods again and comes out between a few homes in a residential area by the Ottawa River.

I had briefly considered taking our picnic lunch with us on the trail and eating it when we got to the Ottawa River. I’m glad we didn’t though, because the end of the trail at the Ottawa River is all private property except for the very narrow exit of the trail onto the river-side road (Boul. Hurtubise), so there isn’t really anywhere to sit and have a picnic.

All along the trail there is signage indicating the types of birds, fish, trees, and other things that you can find in the nature reserve. The kids enjoyed looking at the pictures and also pointing out the things they spotted along the trail, including different types of squirrels, a dead mouse, a fuzzy caterpillar, interesting mushrooms growing in a tree and plenty of red “Canada” leaves.

Once we got back to the playground, we took out our picnic lunch and ate at one of the picnic tables right next to the play structure. The kids came and went from the table, taking a few bites and then heading off to go down the slide again, and then coming back for more.

The one downside, and perhaps the reason we didn’t stay any longer, is that there are no washrooms at the park. So when nature called, we went on our way…

Annie is an Ottawa-area mom of 2 kids. She blogs about the art and science of parenting at the PhD in Parenting blog.

My Kids Funky Closet
Sunday October 17th 10am- 3pm
The Glebe Community Center
175 Third Ave @ Lyon St in The Glebe

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Filed under Activities for kids, Free, Out of town ideas, Outings, Parks

Costume Swapping for Halloween

by Laura

October 9th is National Costume Swap Day in the United States.  This green event is promoted by Kiwi Magazine, Green Halloween, and Swap.com.  It is a simple idea to save money and the environment too.  Children are encouraged to swap costumes and keep old ones out of the landfill. 

Some children lose interest in dressing like Luke Skywalker or Cinderella.   My kids are happy to reuse costumes but this year they have both outgrown their outfits.  I am not handy with a sewing machine or a glue gun and have purchased costumes in the past.  Instead of spending money or trying to create something in the wee hours of October 30th, simply trade/borrow costumes with fellow trick-or-treaters.  
 
According to the National Costume Swap website, “swapping half the costumes kids wear on Halloween would reduce the annual landfill waste by 6,250 tons, equal to the weight of 2500 mid-sized cars”.   In addition, swapping reduces packaging, transportation, and manufacturing impacts too.  
 
A costume swap can be as simple as sending an email to friends/classmates, or organizing something larger at a brownie/cubs meeting, local library or recreation facility.  I imagine that even folks with little interest in eco-friendly ideas might be keen to save a few dollars.  It is a win/win idea. 
 
Why limit it to children’s costumes?  Adults attend Halloween parties and dress up to hand out treats at the door.  I wonder if my pal Kelly is growing tired of her pink pig costume and would like to dress this year as a defeated Leafs fan?  Perhaps our neighbour Steve wants to swap his vampire cape with my husband and dress as scary mask guy.   Oh, the possibilities are endless.

Although it is not a national event in Canada, a costume swap puts a fresh spin on an old tradition.   It is an opportunity to make a difference, save money and enjoy some holiday fun.   Happy Halloween!

Laura is a wife and Mother to beautiful 8 and 10 year old girls.  She describes herself as an eco-advocate and moderate neat freak with a recessive frugal gene.  Laura provides light-hearted commentary for every day, practical green living on her blog the Mindful Merchant.

My Kids Funky Closet
Sunday October 17th 10am- 3pm
The Glebe Community Center
175 Third Ave @ Lyon St in The Glebe

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October Moms Meetup

We have had some great family meetups lately, but it has been much too long since we have had a moms only meetup! We figured it was definitely time to change that.

Given the busyness of Fall we wanted to plan a meetup that would help us all relax. And nothing says relaxation like a trip to Le Nordik!

So write this in your calendars: A Kids in the Capital meetup at Le Nordik on October 14th. We will plan to meet in the lobby around 7:30 pm. Don’t worry if you are late. Just wander around and look for some very relaxed looking moms. That will be us.

Nervous about coming because you won’t know anyone? Don’t be! We are all very friendly. We promise a great time with Kids in the Capital bloggers and readers.

Will we see you there? Leave us a comment  if we can expect you.

My Kids Funky Closet
Sunday October 17th 10am- 3pm
The Glebe Community Center
175 Third Ave @ Lyon St in The Glebe

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The Butterfly Show at Carleton University

by Tiana

Last Sunday my mom and I brought my 2 year old son to the Butterfly Show in the Nesbitt Building of Carleton University. He really likes butterflies and we thought he would have a blast. We were correct!

Bobby becomes a Butterfly

For those not in the know, the show runs from Oct 2-11th inclusively and is absolutely free (although donations are recommended). You can find free parking on campus on weekends and the O-Train stop is a 2 minute walk from the show. Did I mention this is FREE? I love free activities for kids!

The show takes place inside the greenhouse. It is very warm and humid so wear layers that you can remove because it doesn’t take long to get too hot in there. The butterflies are loose in the greenhouse and are fluttering about, mating (!) and sometimes will even land on you. Visitors can bring slices of oranges to encourage butterflies to come have a sip of OJ. When we walked into the smaller greenhouse, a little boy with a butterfly on his sweater handed Bobby a slice of orange already hosting a butterfly. It happily sat there sipping away as it got passed from child to child.

Butterfly on Orange

We stayed for about 45 minutes total. In that time we went through 2 greenhouses, had butterflies crawl on our hands and even got to see two emerge from their chrysalises.

This is a must attend event for anyone who isn’t absolutely terrified of butterflies.

Tiana is mother to Bobby Hurricane. You can catch her being generally awesome over at Sassy Red Head.

My Kids Funky Closet
Sunday October 17th 10am- 3pm
The Glebe Community Center
175 Third Ave @ Lyon St in The Glebe

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Filed under Activities for kids, Attractions, Events, Free

Noodle Box

by Sara

On February 14, 2008 I bought a Rubbermaid container and 4 bags of alphabet pasta.  It was our Valentine’s day present for the, then almost-two-year-old, firefighter.  We filled the container with the noodles and several of his favourite construction vehicles and voila, our very own construction site!  Two years ago the total cost for everything was less than $20.

The firefighter, on Valentine’s day, loving the  noodle box.

Two years later we still have the same box and the same noodles.  Although many have been sacrificed to the dog and vacuum. 

The noodle box is a toy that is kept behind closed doors.  I bring it out for the firefighter when I am working.  He will put the lid beside him and take out all the toys he doesn’t want to use.  He will play happily for 30-45 minutes.

The monkey also loves the noodle box but he needs be supervised as noodles usually end up spread far and wide.  I find the fewer toys I leave in the box, the more creative (and less disastrously messy) the play is.

It makes for a great rainy day or “I need 15 minutes to get dinner ready” activity).  We also have a rubbermaid container filled with Moon sand and assorted scooping and digging toys.

Do you have any sensory box activities at your house?

Sara is mom to 4-year-old ” firefighter” and 2-year-old “monkey”.  You can find her at her blog, My Points of View.

Trick or Treat to a Wicked Beat

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Kids in Cowtown

As the song says, Go West!

We are very excited/ thrilled/ giddy to be launching Kids in Cowtown with a fabulous Calgary mom! Danielle loved the great ideas and parenting community she saw here at Kids in the Capital and wanted to see the same resource in her own city. So working together, Kids in Cowtown was born!

Danielle has already started sharing some of the great ideas she has for kids and parents at Kids in Cowtown.  Just like at Kids in the Capital, Kids in Cowtown will be drawing on the great parent blogging community in Calgary.

We hope you will let any friends and family living in Calgary know about this awesome new blog. And don’t forget to visit yourself or follow Kids in Cowtown on Facebook and Twitter!

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