Keeping Kids Busy: Blocks of Ice

iceblock

Now that the weather is finally starting to warm up, we have a great summer activity to keep kids busy on a hot, sunny day. It’s simple, easy, FREE, and will keep kids of all ages occupied. Give them a large block of ice with some toys frozen into it and let them try to help their toys escape.

WHAT TO DO

Round up a bunch of hard plastic toys.

Get a large plastic container or small bin and put the toys in it. Make sure the container will fit in your freezer!

Add water until the bin is just about filled (allow room for it to expand in the freezer).

Put the container in your freezer overnight or longer.

When it’s frozen solid, hand it over to the kids with some spoons and winter mitts (or socks for their hands if they’re all boxed up somewhere).

OUR TIPS

Do this outside! The hot sun will help melt the block of ice, making it easier to rescue the toys without frustration.

Use old toys – bits and pieces leftover that have no home or are not used. There is a chance that some of the toys could get broken.

Make a game of it: freeze a small container for each child with the same number of items in each. Have them race to free their toys first.

Put this in the freezer NOW so that it’s ready whenever you have time to play. It can sit there all summer, so long as you have the space.

 

 

FREE Summer Fun: The Library

freesummer

It’s summertime, the kids are off, and whether you’re at home with them full time or part time, you may be looking for ways to keep them occupied – without breaking the bank! We are going to be bringing you some fun summer activities and adventures over the next few weeks that are FREE or nearly free. For more ideas, search FREE SUMMER in the search bar at the top right. 

We talk about the London Public Library a lot and that’s because it is so full of wonderful, FREE activities for your kids, year round. Summer is no exception. Each branch currently has a flyer that you can take home outlining all of the special days and events running, along with the age range and whether advanced registration is required. Drop in at your closest or most preferred library and pick one up.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

The obvious things you can do are find books to read and read them! There are also toys, puzzles, train tables, and computers to play, and often crafts or learning activity stations. You can also read or rent magazines, rent movies, music, audio books, and comics/graphic novels. Summer activities include: Story Times, Family Movie Nights,Books for Babies, TD Summer Reading Club, Mad Science, Sparky the Fire Dog, insects, puppets, magic, coding, origami and so much more! Activities vary by branch.

HIDDEN COSTS

If you’ve lost your library card, there will be a $2.00 replacement charge. There is also the risk (a very real risk in my house, unfortunately!) that you’ll forget a book or two and have to pay the late fees. Remember: books and CD’s are 21 days, DVD’s and Quick Picks are 7 days.

MORE INFORMATION

For locations and branch hours, see HERE.

For branch programs, see HERE.

 

Summer Reading Club

summerreading

The TD Summer Reading Club is up and running at all London Public Libraries. This program is open to all school-aged children in London. Whether you have an avid reader at home or one that struggles to read, this program is perfect to prevent that summer slump and keep kids turning the pages in the sunshine.

SUMMER READING CLUB

The program runs at each public library from now until August 22, 2015. Kids must visit a library to register. Upon registration, they will receive a small package with stickers, a passport, and all of the things they’ll need to participate.

Once registered, start reading! Every book your kid reads can be recorded in their Read to Play notebook. Everything counts! Books, novels, short stories, magazines, comics, just start reading. Visit any library during regular library hours and tell a librarian about what you read to earn stamps. Once your card has five stamps, drop it in the ballot box for a chance to win some cool prizes! You may only collect five stamps per day, per kid. Spending too much time by the pool? Submit your book report online HERE to earn ballots as well.

Want to earn more stamps? Do a few of the activities presented: Draw a map of where you live, Visit a grocery store and make a list, Play a game or Do a puzzle.

BOOK SUGGESTIONS

Not sure where to get started? The library website is full of great ideas for books and reading material that kids love. Have a look HERE.

If you have younger kids, grab one of the bags-to-go at either the front of the library or the kids section. A selection of books have been put together by the librarians for when you don’t have time to search and are open to reading something new.

Most libraries also have a number of books on display for all ages, there are reviews online of things that other kids have read, and you can always spend some time at the library browsing the shelves. Set a goal with your kids or for yourself and get reading!

Spring Plant Exchange

library2

Each Saturday in May, the London Public Library is hosting a Spring Plant Exchange.

This FREE event happens at different locations, at different times. To participate, bring your extra cuttings, bulbs, and plants to the library location at the specified time and exchange them with other gardeners to plants that you need or want. Please bring all plants in leak-proof containers with clearly written labels on them.

A Master Gardener may be on hand at the events to answer any questions.

LOCATIONS AND TIMES

Saturday, May 9

2:00-4:00pm Beacock

Saturday, May 16

9:00-noon Westmount

Saturday, May 23

9:30-11:30 Landon

10:00-noon Byron

10:00-noon East London

10:00-noon Jalna

10:00-noon Stoney Creek

1:00-3:00 Crouch

Saturday, May 30

9:30-11:00 Lambeth

9:30-11:30 Sherwood

10:00-noon Masonville

2:00-4:00 Cherryhill

This Weekend in London

may

We’ve had enough of those April showers (and SNOW!) and we are ready to welcome in the May flowers. This weekend will be gorgeous and it’s time to break out of the house and have some fun in the city. Here is what you can do:

THE BRUSH OFF

Start the weekend off early tonight with The London Children’s Museum’s fundraising event The Brush Off. Sixteen artists will be competing in this live painting competition over four rounds until the winner is determined. You will help determine who the ultimate winner is and even have the chance to bid on the artwork. Proceeds from the event and silent auction will go toward the London Children’s Museum’s Priority School Subsidy Program. For tickets, see HERE.

CHAINSAW CARVING

This three and a half day event is sure to entertain and enthrall your kids while raising money for a great cause! The Easter Seals Camp Woodeden is hosting a Chainsaw Carving event beginning today, April 30 until Sunday, May 3. Come and see as 12 chainsaw carvers create art sculptures around Camp Woodeden as well as carvings for sale for you to take home. Camp Woodeden is a camp for children with physical disabilities that allows them and their families to participate in all of the joys of summer camp. For more information including the line up of carvers and the event hours, see HERE.

COMPOST VALUE DAY

Saturday, May 2 is Compost Value Day. For locations and times of where you can pick up a large bin of compost for only $3, see HERE.

REFOREST LONDON TREE SALE

Reforest London is having a tree sale this Saturday, May 2 from 8:30am to 11:30am at St. Marguerite d’Youville Catholic School in northwest London. These low cost, native trees are available as a part of the One Million Tree Challenge.

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY

The first Saturday in May is known as Free Comic Book Day! Anyone who visits one of the participating comic book stores this Saturday will receive a free comic book. There are five participating stores in London and one in St. Thomas. For stores and more information, see HERE.

LUKE BRYAN

If you were one of the lucky ones to get tickets for Luke Bryan at the Budweiser Gardens, you’re in for a good show! The concert starts at 7:30pm this Sunday, May 3.

 

 

Kids 1st Day

Kids-First-Day

Today is Kids 1st Day which is a chance to get out there with your little (or big!) ones and do some really fun things together all around the city for little to no cost! There are over 50 locations participating in Kids 1st Day with activities all across the city ranging from discounts on froyo at Kiwi Kraze and family swims at the YMCA to free mini golf at East Park and a treasure hunt through Eldon House. This is a GREAT opportunity to try out something new or different with your kids. Try some dance lessons, aikido, crafts or a new play space for free!

Activities are ongoing throughout the day, but not all activities run all day! Please check the time BEFORE you go to avoid disappointment! 

HOW IT WORKS

Have a look at the MAP or list of activities by area in the city: NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, WEST or CENTRAL to plan where you want to go!

At your first location, pick up a Kids 1st Day Passport for each kid and have them get it signed at every stop you make.

Submit your passport after your THIRD stop (make sure it’s signed!) for a chance to win some really cool PRIZES.

When the day is done and you’re crashing at home, go online and fill out the SURVEY for another chance to win.

WHERE TO GO

Here are the locations participating this year! For more details on their activities, see HERE.

Adventures on Wonderland – FREE

Aikido Network – FREE

ArtVenture Art Studio – FREE

Banting House National Historic Site – FREE

Bowlarama

Boys and Girls Club of London – FREE

Chapters – FREE

Childreach – FREE

Covent Garden Market – FREE

East Park Golf Gardens – FREE

Eldon House – FREE

Family Centre Carling Thames/Northbrae P.S. – FREE

Fanshawe Pioneer Village – FREE

Home Depot (Clarke Rd) – FREE

Indigo – FREE

Islamic Centre ofSouthwest Ontario – FREE

Kiwi Kraze (north) – FREE (limitations)

La Ribambelle – FREE

Laser Quest

London Children’s Museum – FREE

London Public Library (all branches) – FREE

Mad Science of London – FREE

Michaels Arts and Crafts (south)

Museum London – FREE

Museum of Ontario Archaeology – FREE

North London Dance Centre

O.N.E. Hip Hop Dance Studio – FREE

Ontario Early Years – London West – FREE

PC Cooking School (RCSS – east) – FREE

Scholar’s Choice – FREE

Scouts Canada – FREE

Sifton Properties Limited/Berkshire Club (Ricky Magic) – FREE

Ska-Nah-Doht Village & Museum

SLNRC Families First CAPC (Dotsy the Clown) – FREE

South London Community Pool

Stoney Creek Community Centre & YMCA – FREE

Storybook Gardens

U C MAS London – FREE

Whitehills Childcare – FREE

YMCA Bob Hayward – FREE

YMCA Centre Branch – FREE

 

PA Day Fun for January 16

PA DAY

This Friday is a PA Day for both the TVDSB and the LDCSB. If you are looking for activities to keep your children busy, here are a few things happening in London:

WHITE OAKS MALL

Mascot Mania is happening at White Oaks Mall from 12noon until 2:00pm this Friday. Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Jake the Neverland Pirate, Tinkerbell, one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Darth Vadar will be hanging out taking pictures and signing autographs at three separate locations throughout the mall.  Parents should visit the Information booth and fill out a ballot to win a private party with your favourite character courtesy of Magical Princess Parties.

LONDON CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

Pre-registration is required for the PA Day camp at the London Children’s Museum this Friday. The camp runs from 8:30am to 5:30am. This Friday’s theme is Boggling Optical Illusions! Let your kids challenge and trick their eyes through optical illusion activities and create their own optical illusion artwork. Programs are designed for children 3-12 years old. To register, call 519-434-5726.

SKATING

If you’re looking for a free activity to burn off some of that crazy energy kids seem to accumulate through the day, head downtown to the Covent Garden Market from 8:00am to 7:00pm or to Victoria Park from 10:00am to 10:00pm with your skates!

MUSEUM LONDON

Museum London is also hosting a day camp from 8:30am to 4:30pm. If you have an aspiring artist in your family, this is the place for them to be! After learning about the history of Nature London and viewing unusual specimens, participants will make armatures upon which to build abstract figures or animals. They will also construct 3D animals out of sheets of corrugated cardboard. Register online HERE.

LONDON PUBLIC LIBRARIES

Byron Library (auditorium), 2:30pm to 4:00pm: Family Movie, drop-in for families

Carson Library (meeting room), 2:00pm to 4:00pm: Button Making, ages 5+

Central Library (children’s section), 9:00am to 6:00pm: PA Day Craft, drop-in for families

Central Library (TDCT children’s program room), 2:30pm to 3:00pm (English), 3:00 to 3:30pm (French) NFB of Canada’s short films for children, drop-in for families

Cherryhill Library (Meeting Room), 2:00pm to 4:00pm: Shaping and Patterning Art Workshop, 9-12yrs. register HERE.

Crouch Library, 2:00pm to 5:00pm: Get Your Game On, drop-in, ages 7+

Jalna Library, 2:30pm to 3:30pm: PA Day Craft, drop-in, family

Landon Library, 2:30pm to 4:30pm: Family Movie, drop-in for families

Masonville Library, 2:30pm to 4:00pm: Family Movie, drop-in for families

Sherwood Library, 2:30pm to 3:30pm: Captain Underpants Lots o’ Laffs at the Library, Register HERE.

Stoney Creek Library, 2:00pm to 3:30pm: Family Movie, drop-in for families

Westmount Library, 2:00pm to 3:30pm: Family Movie, drop-in for families

** See branches for more information

This Weekend in London

Dec 18

It’s finally here! The holidays are upon us, the kids are out of school and it’s time to kick back and relax! Time for family, friends, and good cheer.

FROZEN HOLIDAY ON ICE

The Middlesex-London Competitive Skating Association is holding a fundraiser this Saturday, December 20 beginning at 6:30pm. Come to meet the stars of Frozen, watch a Frozen-inspired skating performance, do a little shopping at the vendors, bid on the silent auction items, go for a skate, and so much more! See their Facebook Event for more information.

BUDWEISER GARDENS ANNUAL OPEN HOUSE SKATE

Budweiser Gardens is holding it’s annual Open House Skate and Toy Drive this Sunday, December 21 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Come to the Bud with your toy or cash donations and enjoy skating on the big ice where the professionals skate! All cash and toy donations will go to the London Children’s Aid Society. Children under 12 must wear a helmet.

TIM HORTONS FREE SKATES

Tim Hortons first free skates are this weekend! For a complete schedule and list of locations, see HERE.

NUTCRACKER BALLET

Canada’s Ballet Jorgen is performing the classic Christmas tale of The Nutcracker this Sunday, December 21 at Centennial Hall. This is a rare opportunity to see these celebrated dancers right on our own city!

CANADIAN CELTIC CHOIR – AN ENGLISH CHRISTMAS

The Canadian Celtic Choir is performing their Christmas concert at the Aeolian Hall this Saturday, December 20 at both 2:00pm and 7:00pm. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $25 or at the door for $30.

SHREK THE MUSICAL

Shrek The Musical is still on stage at the Grand Theatre. The show has received such high praise that it’s been extended through the New Year to January 3. Tickets are still available in the balcony for this weekend’s performances. Don’t be afraid of sitting in the balcony – they are still great seats and you’ll be able to see everything perfectly! The shows happen Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 1:00pm and 7:30pm, and Sunday at 1:00pm. Enjoy the show!

Tim Hortons Free Skates

free_skate_timhortons_creative

Just in case their coffee, donuts, lattes, muffins, and all the other deliciousness that comes over the counters at Tim Hortons isn’t enough to love them, Tim Hortons is bringing FREE public skating at local skating arenas this holiday season. Just in time for Christmas break! Grab your skates (and a helmet – the same rules apply as at regular public skating times) and get to the rink. Really, Tim Hortons + Skating, could things get more Canadian?

There is at least one free skate every day from December 19th to 24th, from December 27th to 30th, and from January 1st to 4th. With 30 skating times to choose from, your family could spend most of the holidays on the ice! There are even a few night time skates in case you want to get a babysitter and make it a cheap date night. Maybe even stop in for a Timmies on the way. ;)

Here is the full schedule of Tim Hortons free skates:

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London Santa Claus Parade

Parade

It’s that time of year again! It may only be the beginning of November, but according to the retail world, the Christmas season is upon us. As a wholehearted lover of Christmas, I embrace the early start! And what better way to kick it off than with the annual London Santa Claus Parade?

While many things change, the London Santa Claus Parade is not one of them. The parade I take my children to every year is in fact very similar to the parade that I went to as a child – the same marching bands, the same kitschy-fabulous floats, the same clowns, and even the same Ghostbusters Ecto-1! The charm of the old parade is, for me, the nostalgia of a simpler time when the pure excitement of that first glance of Santa Claus was enough to make the night a flawless success. Will you be there? I sure will be!

WHAT: This year’s theme is Eh Canadian Christmas!

WHEN: This Saturday, November 8. The parade begins at 6:00pm heading down Dundas Street from Egerton.

WHERE: Whether you are going or not, you will want to be aware of the PARADE ROUTE down QUEENS AVE from Quebec Street to Ridout Street** for Saturday evening. The route is often blocked off in advance of the parade due to the volume of pedestrians on the streets. Please plan your travel/parking in advance to keep everyone safe! **Note that the route has changed this year!

WHAT TO BRING

As in previous years, the London Santa Claus Parade will be collecting for various charities and causes. Please watch for the official Santa Claus Parade collectors!

TOONIE TOSS: The Beta Sigma Phi Sorority will be collecting toonies (or any other cash,change, etc) to be put towards the cost of running the parade. Donations ensure that the parade comes back every year!

TEDDY BEAR TOSS: Bring a brand new teddy bear to be donated to the London Salvation Army

FOOD BANK DONATIONS: Non-perishable food items will be collected during the parade and donated to the London Food Bank. Last year over 14 000 lbs of food was donated during the parade!

AND FOR YOURSELF… there are often organizations or coffee shops open along route selling hot chocolate, coffee, and treats, but if you have any Halloween candy lying around still, it might be a good idea to grab a handful or two (or a healthy snack!) to keep the kids happy. Pace yourself with the drinks though, toilets are hard to come by. ;)

Please remember to make space for the children. Be mindful of where you are sitting and be aware of blocking other people’s view or taking up too much of that precious curb real estate. Get cozy! Start spreading that Holiday cheer early and be kind to others. The Parade Officials are also asking that you bring rain gear instead of umbrellas if necessary, do not smoke along the parade route, and respect the officials.

Dress very warmly, bring blankets and/or fold-able chairs to sit on, and your camera! These are memories your children will treasure.