Monday, August 30, 2010

Family Campout at Royal Botanical Gardens

As first timers in Camping, I'm really glad to find someone to organise our first campout.! I've searched the internet and was lucky to get to know about RBG's educational activities for family and their family campout night.

 It was hassle free and stress free as RBG had tents pitched for us, prepared the camp food for us to cook ourselves, set the fire and arranged activities such as canoeing, storytelling, songs and making smores (snack made of slightly heated marshmallows over the campfire and sandwiched with cookies)! YUM treat!

Glad to retire to our tents as all 4 of us tried to cozy up in the cold. The kids slept really well as they were clothed well for the cold but me and hubby, thought we could withstand the summer night didn't bring warm enough clothings. We only had our fleece coats and fleece blankets but those just weren't enough to keep our bums and legs warm when the temperature dropped late into night ! It was BRrrrr all night long for me and think I hardly slept a wink!!......
Despite the cold ordeal, waking up to the cool morning air in the natural environment is unbeatable! After a nice prepared breakfast amongst the lushes greens and nice spotting of chipmunks, the co-ordinators briefed us on our hiking adventure. We then went off ourselves with a trail map and a pack of sunflower seeds. It was definitely a refreshing morning walk and we had so much fun feeding the chipmunks and chickadees.

A little more about this campout. There was a building next to the camp site hence we can find proper toilets and even kettle to boil hot water when i needed some to make my girl's milk. For the young early risers, the building also has a room with books about the nature and animals. Parents can do some reading with the kids.

Compliments to the program co-ordinators too (Josh, nancy, steve, britney)! They were fantastic lot, took care of our needs and they were always fun and enthusiastic!

Our 7 days travel trip on a Bus With Kids!

We recently finished a 7 days bus tour to eastern Canada with Taipan and I'm glad it was a pleasant one. I never thought I would be going on such trips with my 2 kids aged 4 and 20mths then. But my hubby and I decided to heck it.

Throughout the journey, most tour members in the bus complimented our kids for being good and well behaved. (In my heart, I know my hubby and I at times have difficulty taming the 2 monkeys, have to SHhh them umpteen times, they get so loud when they are excited). Anyway, phew.. how glad I was that my kids did not become a nuisance. Before going on the trip, I had actually searched the internet for ways to keep the kids entertained in the bus. Here are some of the tips to share which I found useful.  Some are my impromtu ideas which I came up with on the bus. These are more for small children who doesn't play electronics games. :-

1)  Have an entertainment bag just for the kids:-

**It can include colouring books, notebooks and drawing/colouring materials. My girl 4 did her own drawing, the 20 mths did her doodling. Otherwise, parents can do a draw and kids guess game. It's can be good fun!

** Small presents which you can buy and that you think can keep them occupied for a while. I bought some stamping materials, a small puzzle (no table? I brought along a clipboard).

**Stickers (picture stickers, foam letter/shapes stickers all sorts). Got both my girls to decorate a book that is supposed for them to draw whatever they like, see or do during the trip. Guide them if necessary.

**Couple of their own books and toys which can engage them. You know best which are the ones.

2) Favourite snacks. Think of healthy ones so as to supplement the kids' meal if they are picky to what are catered by the tour.

3) Bring along a portable DVD player. Otherwise, if you have a small laptop or netbook, download some of the kids favourite cartoon episodes from youtube. Mind the volume as it may disturb other passengers.

The food, reading of books and watching of shows shoud be done moderately. Beware of motion sickness. Encourage your kids to look out of the window occasionally. My elder one had too much croissants and was watching the cartoons for too long and had vommited on the bus. Lesson learnt for me!! Luckily I've packed extra clothings in my backpack.

4) Can play some games with older kids. Eg. I spy, Charades or scavenger hunt from a magazine you brought for yourself. For my 20mths, I asked her to look out of window and asked her where are the birds, the cars, the trees etc, things that she knows. You can teach her new things too from the window.  Also, a game of which hand has the object can keep  the small child guessing for some time too!

5) Sing some songs. We sang alot of the "wheels on the bus".

6) If there are any other kids around your seats, encourage your kids to play with them. It helps. My 20mths simply enjoyed observing, smiling and hi-fiving the kids behind our seats!! It gave me a breather.

7) Whenever there are breaks, get the kids down. If there are open space, get the kids to run, or play frisbee! This can make time get tired and sleep better on the bus.

Some of the above ideas can be used for long travelling on the car, train or plane. Have fun on your trip, we survived, so can you! Feel free to let me know if you have more ideas. I'll be taking another bus tour to New York City soon and then soon again take another over 20hrs flight back to my home country. I welcome more ideas that can help to kill time with my kids!!

Here are some links which I found with printable activities:
The book the kids did for the trip. We bound them up when we were back home.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Leaves pressing for keepsake

We left about a month in Toronto and over the time of spring and summer, we have picked some leaves either on our walk to the gardens or along the streets.  Our collection include different types of maple leaves and some other interestingly shaped ones. They were pressed in thick books for several days. Then Kay and I decided to start our 1st book collection on leaves printing.  I cut up the Cereal Box to make the hardcovers for the book and kay had fun decorating them. I'm glad I did some recycling too!! We used tapes to stick the leaves on the pages. Then I went to google to identify some of the leaves.

Kay  had previously did a Torn Paper Collage of an apple tree so I thought it would be so appropriate to put it as her 1st page of her book. :)