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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Schedule a haircut at Styles & Smiles 4 Kids

For those of you that like the idea of trying Melonheads for a first haircut, the Styles & Smiles 4 Kids salon in Pickering has similar features without the high price. This salon location was previously the Little Tots Hair Shop which had been in the area for over 20 years, specializing in kids cuts. Since Little Tots chose not to renew their lease for this location, some of the stylists that previously worked with them have taken over the lease and are re-opening as a new business – Styles & Smiles 4 Kids.

I visited the salon while it was undergoing renovation and their look is more modern than what you may have seen before if you visited this location in the past. From my experience trying different salons in the area, what stands out about this one is how clean and fresh it feels. The salon is colourful, yet modern. And similar to Melonheads, little ones can sit in themed chairs while they get their haircuts. There’s also lots of toys available in the waiting area for kids waiting their turn – there’s a foam mat play area stocked with toys and a new ball room (ball pit) to be installed. This setup is perfect if you have to bring along an older child for your baby’s first haircut.

A poster advertising the grand opening of the Styles and Smiles salon in Pickering

Operating in the location that was previously the Little Tots Hair Shop – Styles & Smiles 4 Kids is owned by a group of stylists who previously worked at Little Tots.

Despite not knowing the long history of this salon, the expertise of the staff shows from watching them work with the other children that come in. When I visited I met Sofi, one of the new owners of Styles & Smiles, while she was talking to a six year old about having his haircut. He was scared and didn’t feel like trying a haircut today. I watched as Sofi talked with him to explain what would happen and made sure that was what he wanted. The little boy left and Sofi let him know she would be there when he was ready. No pressure at all! I was impressed. Which brings me to my next point – It’s best to walk in for an appointment. I only waited less than five minutes because the child that came in at the same time as me decided not to go ahead with their cut. It’s really depends on the day, so come at a time when you know your little one is fed and rested.

This Wednesday, April 1st, Styles and Smiles 4 Kids (1725 Kingston Rd, Pickering) will be hosting their grand opening. Their salon is open 10am-6pm weekdays, 9am-5pm Saturday and 11am-5pm Sunday.

Cost: Kids cuts start at $16 (+ tax and tip).

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.

 

Have a playdate at Joeys World Playground

One of the best locations for a moms in Bowmanville to meet for a playdate is Joey’s World Playground. While mostly catered to older kids, there is a basic play space setup for infants. The variety of foam play structures available are best suited for little ones that can crawl, stand and toddle.

A view of the infant play space at Joeys World Playground

You can easily spend a few hours here between naps – There’s a cafeteria-style sitting area with high chairs and seats for both you and baby to have something to eat while you’re there. Joey’s World also sell a variety of adult and kid-friendly snacks and make coffee on site. Now here’s the best part: This place is open until 8pm every day of the week except Monday. These opening hours are longer than most of the indoor play places I’ve visited locally, so it’s earned a special place in my top places to go in Durham.

Joey’s World Playground is located at 380 Lake Road, Bowmanville, and is open everyday from 10am-8pm except Mondays.

Cost: A single play pass is $6.45 for children that are crawling and $9.45 for children that can walk. Adults are free, provided there are only a max of two per group.