What’s On: 2015 Canada Day in Durham

Whether you’re a family that likes to enjoy the day out celebrating with the community, or a more quiet celebration at home, I’ve got you covered with these patriotic activities for 2015 Canada Day in Durham:

A child dressed in a shirt with a Canadian flag holds on to his fathers hands

Have a Canada Day picnic with the family and serve maple leaf shaped watermelon pieces.

Host a play date and dress your little ones in their cutest red and white themed outfits. If you’re looking for inspiration, Carters has a cute Canada Day Collection for girls and boys.

Check out any one of the community events in hosted by the City of Ajax, City of PickeringCity of Oshawa, Township of Scugog, Township of Uxbridge or Town of Whitby.

Make a special Canada Day handprint keepsake.

 

 

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What’s on this Mother’s Day in Durham

I’ve left the planning of my own Mother’s Day to the very last minute. I know I can’t be the only one – Mother’s Day can be a struggle because we’re so busy putting our families first, even before ourselves. Here’s my challenge for you this weekend. Make this Mother’s Day about recognizing all that you do for your family and enjoy yourself. If you’re struggling for ideas for things to do, I’ve got you covered:A mother and child hold a paper heart together

Things to do to treat yourself:
– Enjoy a gentle yoga class and free cupcake at Rejuvenation Point studio.
– Forget the diet and enjoy a meal at Baldwin Street Burger.
– Window shop at your own pace at the Oshawa Centre and the Pickering Town Centre.
– Splurge on a bottle of wine at the LCBO and enjoy a glass on your deck.

Things to do with your family:
– Pack the stroller and walk along the waterfront at the Kiwanis Heydenshore Park.
– Visit the Bowmanville Zoo and watch the animals.
– Create a mom and baby handprint keepsake at home.
– Enjoy the sun and new flavours at the Gourmet Food Truck Frenzy.

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Join the Food ‘4’ Thought drop-in program.

If you meet the criteria to join, the Food ‘4’ Thought program is an opportunity to ease your transition into motherhood fully-equipped with a network of moms and local resources on standby. What makes this program unique is that it is available to moms in the period of most change – both before and after birth, all the way up until baby is 6 months of age. Many programs for new moms in Durham typically run for much less than that – Babyville, for example, is only 4 weeks.

A pregnant woman chops vegetables for a salad

The Food ‘4’ Thought program is a publicly funded initiative available to anyone who is pregnant and aged 26 or younger. Weekly sessions are moderated by a Program Support Worker who is responsible for creating an inclusive, safe and friendly environment for moms to support each other, learn about community resources, obtain advice from healthcare providers and receive fresh fruit and vegetables, milk and prenatal vitamins. There are seven drop-in sites in the Durham Region, including Ajax, Oshawa, Uxbridge, Cannington and Beaverton. At each weekly session an Early Childhood Educator is available to assist, so any moms interested in attending with their older children are welcome to join.

To register for the Food ‘4’ Thought program, you must be pregnant at the time of registration. More information about the program is available on the Girls Incorporated of Durham website.

Cost: Free!

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Free pizza for you and a morning out with baby

You might not even notice March break if you’re on mat leave without school aged kids, but if you have them, you’ll know it will be some work to keep them entertained alongside your baby for the week.

A side shot of pizza

Yet, I have managed to find one great event for mom, baby and older kids for the Friday at Ajax Public Library! As part of their ‘Read Like a Ninja’ program for this March break, library staff will be hosting ninja-themed activities all week. Best of all, the All Ages events mean you can bring along baby with any older kids you have too.

One event that you cannot miss is the Friday Movie Morning session at 10.30am. Boston Pizza Ajax will be providing free pizza for all who attend! You can grab a bite for yourself and get the little ones out of the house too.

The Friday Movie Morning screening of Teenage Mutant NinjaTurtles will be held on Friday, March 20th at 10.30am in the Rotary Room at the Main branch (55 Harwood Avenue South, Ajax).

Cost: Both the movie and pizza are free!

 

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Burn off some energy at Boomers Play Place

Boomers could easily pass for a well-equipped, basement playroom. You can find all the things here that you’d expect to see in someone’s home – jigsaw puzzle foam flooring, recliners, sofas and an assortment of toys you can find at any Toys R Us. The staff are warm and made me feel like I was being greeted by a friend. I received no introductory speech about indoor play space rules or rates. I was welcomed as if I was visiting a home.

Two photos of the area inside Boomers Play Place. One view of the couches and infant toys, one view of the small indoor trampoline

This location is perfect for a mom looking to entertain multiple preschool age kids because of the wide variety of toys on offer from costume dress-ups, a play structure for more mobile kids, two slides, a small see-saw, a rocking horse, Exersaucers and playmats for baby. Unfortunately, these toys don’t seem to have a ‘place’ and are left to lay haphazardly on the floor. This makes it tough to navigate with an infant that’s learning to walk. There isn’t a sectioned off area for infants like you can expect at an Early Years Centre, so you will have to clear an area for your baby and hope that the kids that can run around give you some space.

Now on to the best and worst thing about Boomers: They have one of the softest foam floors I’ve ever come across! It stretches throughout the whole play space. This is great for keeping infants safe from any tumbles, but it’s not so well maintained. My only disclaimer is this: I wouldn’t recommend this location for any moms who have germaphobic tendencies. I count myself among them, so no judgement here! Many of the toys and foam flooring looked like they needed a good scrub so this place wasn’t for me.

Boomers Play Place (Unit 2 / 111 Industrial Drive, Whitby) is open every day from 9:30am to 3pm, with the exception of Mondays and Saturdays.

Cost: The rates are among the cheapest for an indoor play space in Durham. Infants aged 0-9 months visit free and children aged 9-24 months are $5. Additional siblings are 20% off and adults are free.

 

Tour the Montessori Learning Centre in Pickering

If you find yourself curious about what a Montessori-based daycare could offer your child when you go back to work, make some time in your calendar this Saturday to attend the Montessori Learning Centre of Pickering‘s Open House event. This centre is open to children as young as 6 months old – a great option if you are interested in care that is Montessori-based.

A baby plays with a toy on the floor

The Montessori Learning Centre of Pickering Open House event will be held Saturday, February 28th, from 10.30am-12pm at 401 Kingston Road, Pickering. If you’re unable to make this event for the open house, you can check out this video for a quick preview of the facility.

Cost: Entry to the open house event is free.

Edit: I’m updating this post after hearing from one of my readers who reminded me to mention that not all Montessori schools are equal in terms of accreditation and training. A Montessori education can be expensive, so it’s important to understand what you are paying for. At the time of writing, no information was found to indicate that this location was AMI Certified.

Nicola from the Montessori Learning Centre of Pickering was kind enough to provide me with more information to best understand how accreditation works: “Montessori schools can choose to be accredited through CCMA – Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators – receiving acknowledgement for meeting the required  Montessori standards in all areas of the programme.  AMI is one of the Montessori teacher training institutes recognized by CCMA. So, while there may be a couple of schools under the AMI acknowledgement,  the accredited schools in Ontario can be recognized by CCMA certification”.

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Take advantage of the First Choice First Haircut Free promotion

I’m not sure when the ‘First Choice Haircutters First Haircut Free’ promotion began but it’s something that I learned about from a few local moms. I couldn’t find anything official on the First Choice website, so I knew I had to investigate to find out more. The official word from the company Facebook page says that this promotion varies by location, but after speaking with upwards of 10 salons in the Durham region they all had the same response: All First Choice locations offer this promotion. Wohoo!

A little boy having his haircut

If I’d known about this a few months ago I would have booked my little one in for a visit here. What’s on offer is similar to what you would get at Melonhead – A lock of your little one’s hair and a certificate, minus a printed photo of the occasion. This is a small consolation considering that you can save yourself upwards of $20 just by visiting any one of these First Choice Haircutters locations locally:

Ajax
65 Kingston Rd East (Harwood and Kingston)
15 Westney Rd North (Westney and Kingston)
105 Bayly St West (Bayly and Harwood)

Bowmanville
87 King St East (Liberty and King)

Pickering
1340 Kingston Rd (Liverpool and Kingston)
705 Kingston Rd (Kingston and Whites)

Oshawa
1051 Simcoe St North (Beatrice and Simcoe)
300 Taunton Rd (Riston and Taunton)
595 King St East (Wilson and King)
1445 Harmony Rd North (Taunton and Harmony)

Uxbridge
282 Toronto St (Cemetery and Toronto)

Whitby
3975 Garden St North (Taunton and Garden)
4091 Thickson Rd North (Taunton and Thickson)
617 Victoria St West (Gordon and Victoria)

Cost: While baby’s first haircut is free at First Choice Haircutters salons, I recommend tipping your hairdresser as if you were paying the full cost of a kid’s cut ($9.50 a visit).

 

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Enjoy a free coffee at Mom’s Morning Out

Finding inexpensive ways to get out of the house can require some creativity, especially if you find yourself with a little one that is learning to walk in the middle of winter. Mom’s Morning Out is a meetup group organized by moms, for moms, to make new friends and find support in each other.

Mom's Morning Out is a meetup for moms at the Whitby Free Methodist Church

This group regularly hosts guest speakers and organizes special events which range from baby wearing demonstrations to Halloween costume parties. Best of all, coffee and tea are provided at no cost while your little one has room to explore. This event is perfect for moms with more than one child – preschoolers are also encouraged to attend!

Mom’s Morning Out is held every Wednesday morning from 10-11.30am at the Whitby Free Methodist Church (1916 Rossland Street East, Whitby).

Cost: There is no cost to join Mom’s Morning Out however, moms are encouraged to bring a long a nut-free snack to share.

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2015 Family Day in Durham: Baby-friendly community events

A mom and baby play together in a pool

Ah, long weekends! While it’s never really time off for mom, the change in pace that a long weekend can bring is always a refreshing change of routine. This Family Day in Durham there are lots of inexpensive activities on offer for you to enjoy with your family:

Ajax
Watch a live children’s show at Winterfest in Ajax.
Pick up a cup of free hot chocolate while you’re at the Winterfest family event. The children’s live show starts at 2pm, so if baby has just finished their nap, bring them along to watch.
Cost: Free


Bowmanville
Take a tour of the Bowmanville Museum.
This building is a restored period home full of information about local history. Perhaps all the walking around you’ll do on your tour will rock baby to sleep?
Cost: Free

Learn about the universe in a planetarium show.
The Ontario Planetarium will be visiting the Bowmanville library branch with their mobile planetarium. Bring along baby for a show of the stars, planets, comets, meteor showers and even, the Northern Lights!
Cost: Free.


Oshawa
To celebrate Family Day, the YMCA in Oshawa will be open.
This location has a heated pool for you to take your little one for a swim. Ask any parent – Babies will always have the deepest naps after playtime in the pool! Well worth the planning to make it there.
Cost: Free. Sign up for the free five visit pass online before you go to save time when you arrive.

Check out the playful, Family Day, science experiments at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery.
The gallery spaces will be converted into a science lab for Family Day so, that means lots of colorful and interesting objects for baby to see.
Cost: Pay by donation. The gallery suggests $5 per family.


Pickering
Watch the ice skating at the RBC Family Free Skate. 
Better yet, take turns ice skating with a family member. Your baby can watch you skate from the sidelines while in a family member’s arms!
Cost: Free.


Whitby
Take the family for a free swim at the Anne Ottenbrite Pool. 
A swim in the pool doesn’t just have to be relaxing for baby, it can be for you too. The pool will be open for two hours so you’ll have plenty of time to arrive and get ready.
Cost: Free.

Contribute to a cooperative art project at the Station Gallery. 
After you’ve contributed to the art project, there is lots left in this gallery for baby to look around and see. I like to think that the calm atmosphere at the gallery will also soothe baby!
Cost: Free.

 

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