Summer camp is an adventure that many kids participate in yearly.  Whether it is a day camp or a sleepover camp, these are days spent learning new skills, making new friends and creating great memories.

This year, camp may look a little different.  In many places across the country, “in-person” camps have been cancelled or there is a restriction on the number of children that can attend, leaving many parents and children wondering what to do for the summer.

This is where Virtual Summer Camps come into play, literally and figuratively.  With both free and paid camp options available, you can find virtual summer camps all over Canada offering a variety of different activities and learning experiences for your child(ren).

So check out your local camps or the links below and find the perfect summer camp for your child(ren):

Virtual Summer Camps for Kids

Virtual Programs in Canada

Stem Camp

Although summer hasn’t officially arrived, the warm weather definitely has us being outside and looking to be more active.  As the different parts of our country start to open up, we still need to ensure we are practicing healthy habits, such as physical distancing.

Boating is a great summer activity that you can do with your family that can allow for physical distancing.  And there are many different options that you can choose from, if you don’t have or want a motor boat.  “Human Powered Boats”, are a great entry point into water activities.  These include kayaks, canoes and standup paddle boards (SUP). Not only do these offer a form of exercise, they are less expensive to purchase or rent and they are environmentally friendly (as no gas is used). Check out your local marine stores, outdoors stores or certain big-chain retailers for their selection to purchase or go to your local boat rental.  And don’t forget to pick up all the equipment, both standard and safety, you will need for your new or rental watercraft.

One of the best things about these types of watercraft is that they allow you to explore waterways that a motor boat is not always able to get into.  Being able to go into shallower water, checking out the fish and other water animals swimming by you as they are not frightened by a motor, getting closer to shore to see the animals that have come to the shore for a drink, listening to the sounds of nature are all favourite parts of the experience when you are out paddling.

While we may not be able to take physical classes at this time, there are resources and videos online that can assist you in gathering knowledge about paddling. Check out:

StartBoating this summer

 

Feeling more adventurous and want to explore Canada in a more unique, back-to-nature way, then look into a paddling vacation. Check out these top spots in Canada.

Top Kayaking Destinations in Canada

Top Canoe Trip Ideas

 

Or explore the local lakes, rivers and canal systems in a House Boat. These offer a unique vacation alternative to renting a cottage.

House Boat Rental

July 1st…Canada Day…this is one of the biggest days Canadians celebrate each year.  Fireworks, parades, music concerts, barbeques, picnics, festivals, this is the day as families and communities we gather together and celebrate.

This year our celebration will look a bit different as many cities are moving their celebrations online into a virtual format.  Canadian Heritage is promoting not 1 but 2 virtual online celebrations for July 1st.  The daytime show “Canada Day Across the Country” will offer a 1-hour virtual tour of celebrations across the country.  The evening show “Canada Day Together” is a 2-hour special, virtual edition of our annual iconic celebration that will include performances by great Canadian artists

Check out more details at:

Online Celebrations in Canada

While you are there, check out the different interactive activity packs that explore history, arts & culture, culinary and outdoor activities.  Make a traditional Canadian dish for the family meal, quiz your friends on Canadian history, train like a Canadian Olympic and Paralympic or create your own Coat of Arms with the kids.

Many communities are joining in and creating their own virtual celebrations as well.  Some communities are listed here or you can check with your local community

Celebrations Across the Country

 

We have such a rich history here in Canada and there are many museums available to share this history with us. Most summers, we get the opportunity to explore these different museums across Canada and learn new pieces of our history.  This summer may be different with virtual tours taking over in place of physical tours.

The National Air Force Museum of Canada in the Quinte area of Ontario is dedicated to telling the history and preserving the pieces of Canadian military aviation.  This museum offers over 75,000 square feet of display space and is attached to a sprawling 16-acre air park.  There are over 35 aircraft on-site for visitors to see, including an early 1900’s airplane, WW1 and WW2 aircraft, post-war aircraft and current day military aircraft.  This museum also has the distinction of possessing the only Halifax Bomber aircraft in North America in its collection.

For anyone who is not aware, the Halifax Bomber was a vital component of the RAF/RCAF Bomber Command’s air offensive over German-occupied Europe during the Second World War. The Halifax was a multi-purpose aircraft, where it participated in missions like bombing and supply drops, as well as in weather and maritime reconnaissance.

Join us on a virtual tour to learn more about the Halifax NA337, what happened on its final mission and the story on how it was restored to its original wartime condition.

The Halifax Bomber Learning Video

To learn more about our rich Air Force history and other air craft in their collection, visit the National Air Force Museum of Canada

Before you decide what is the best way to enjoy dinner with friends and family, you must decide the online communication format that works best for you to call everyone to dinner. Whether it be Skype, Zoom, Google Hang-outs, Facebook Messenger Rooms, or any other favorite app that you might want to use, make sure that everyone is on the ‘same page’, or in this case, the same App.

Once that is established, it is time to decide how the dinner will go, keeping in mind physical distancing for social events like this and ensuring the use of proper protocols to keep everyone safe. Some of these involve travel out of home and the same physical distancing measures apply if you are delivering on your promise of dinner.

Here are some ideas.

1 – Everyone Exercises their Culinary Chops!

Decide the guest list in advance and what the meal should be. Circulate the recipes to your guests along with suggested wine pairing and whatever other things that you might like to include. Invite your guests with plenty of time to allow them to pick up the necessary ingredients during their regular weekly shopping outings. The day before your dinner, send out a reminder and suggested time for your guests to start cooking your chosen recipes in their own home so everyone will be ready to sit down for dinner at the same time. Connect with your guests and let the meal begin. This might be something new for everyone so it is up to you to break the ice, start up the small talk and get the party started!!

 

2 – The Host with the Most (cooks!)

This idea is more in keeping with traditional dinner parties in which the host not only is the most, they DO the most!! First decide on a date, a meal, and the guests to invite. A good idea is to choose guests close by. Think in the immediate neighbourhood. As the host, you have the fun job of doing all the cooking. It could be just the main, or the whole enchilada – so to speak!! This is your dinner party and you get to choose! Start to cook, keeping in mind proper food handling protocol as outlined by the CDC and when your meal is done, package it up and deliver to your guests. A good idea is to deliver it in containers suitable for heating up which will help contain any contamination or use containers that are easily allows your guests to transfer the food for warming in their own warming dishes without container to container contact. Gather friends together early for pre-dinner cocktails and let them know of any last-minute instructions on rewarming so that everyone will be READY and SET to GO to dinner together, apart.

 

3 – Everyone Sends their Best

This is not for someone new to hosting a physically distanced dinner. It is the COVID-19 version of a progressive dinner in which everyone whips up their specialty and delivers it around to all those invited to dinner. For example, one takes care of the cocktails before dinner with a favourite wine selection, another does the hot appetizers, someone volunteers to create the meal with another taking care of dessert. Now, with things loosening up somewhat and travel not quite as restricted, this type of dinner can be possible, and it is a lot of fun with everyone participating. Keep in mind containment in prep and cooking and it is good idea to keep the travel local… very local.

 

4 – Dinner Where Everyone is a Winner

This is HomeWurx absolutely favorite idea and it is so simple. What restaurants are open in your neighbourhood? Check them all out, pick whichever one tickles your fancy and grab an online copy of the menu. Invite some local guests and send the menu along with the invite. It need not be too crazy. Even a simple pizza party will be fun! Everyone is to choose their appy, main, sides and dessert and send it back to you. You set the time, arrange the order and provide packing or delivery instructions for each person’s meal with the restaurant. This is an event where your friends get a great meal delivered, each others’ company to be shared online and some tangible support for your local restaurant. It is an event where everyone wins even the ‘paying’ host, as long as it is stipulated that everyone takes turns. Because it’s only fair that what goes around comes around.

 

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, wouldn’t it be nice to send that special person your message without having to go to your local card shop or pharmacy to find that special piece of cardboard? Wait!! You don’t have to. There are many online options available to get that special message out there. From basic cards, to personalized messages, you can search and create from the comfort of your own home. So no waiting in lines or crowds to try to push your way through to pick out that folded message. And best part is, if you happen to leave this to the last minute, you can still find that perfect card and when you’re ready, just ‘Click’ send!! Show your Mom how much she means to you, especially during these trying times, by sending her some e-love.

Hallmark E-Cards

Blue Mountain E-Cards

Jacquie Lawson E-Cards

Jib Jab E-Cards

We are always looking for different ways to stay busy with different activities.  While there are many options with the traditional board games and card games, sometimes you want something different.  This is where puzzles and dominos are great.  They are activities that will keep you and/or your child(ren) busy for a while.

Maybe you are looking to try something different for you next family video call or gathering.  Play Bingo (where one house is assigned as the Caller for the numbers).  This is a great game for all ages. You can print the cards or play online if you do not have the game at home.

Or play a game of Tenzi. If you have never played Tenzi, you have to try it. This game comes with 4 sets of dice, each a different colour and ANY age can play.  It is a simple game to follow and play, but can be fast paced.  The original set comes with a few game card ideas and there is a 77pc card set with different game ideas you can buy.  To prepare for this game, ensure that all the households have a set of Tenzi dice.

Looking to buy any of these games?  Or want to build on to your collection of games? You can purchase these and many others online:

Amazon

WalMart

Toys R Us

Mastermind Toys

Boardgame Bliss

One of my fondest memories of summer vacation is the card games my family would play at night.  As we got older, the competitiveness of the card games would increase.  Now when we get together for family vacations, the next generation is joining us with the nightly card games, bringing in new competitive partnerships.

Card games are a great way to spend a rainy afternoon, help with number recognition and counting or as a way to learn how to do an activity by yourself (with all the variations of solitaire)

Here are a few of the classic card games that my family loves to play:

  1. Uno and all the new variations – Uno Spin is definitely a new favourite for my family.
  2. Skipbo
  3. Ratuki
  4. Rummy
  5. Go Fish
  6. Crazy Eights
  7. Old Maid
  8. War
  9. Concentration / Memory games
  10. SlapJack
  11. Snap
  12. Solitaire and all the different variations
  13. Cheat
  14. Spit

If you are looking for a refresher on some of the card game rules, here are a few links to help:

Bicycle Cards

10 Kid Friendly Card Games/

 

Or if you are looking for online playing options where you can play against “the computer” or other online players check out:

Cardz Mania

Card Games

World of Card Games

The warm spring weather is returning, allowing us many opportunities to get outside and be active while enjoying the sun. However, there are also many rainy days where we are stuck inside. Here are a few different ideas that you can do with your child(ren) on these rainy days to stay active:

1. Indoor Scavenger Hunt – get creative and use age-appropriate clues. Try an Alphabet hunt, where you “hide” letters around the house and your children have to find them and match them to the game board. For older kids, give cryptic clues for regular household items.
2. Board games or Card games – see our Games list for classic ideas and additional links
3. Forts/inside camping adventure
4. Puzzles
5. Dance Party
6. Sock Toss Game
7. Keep the Balloon up
8. Exercise Videos
9. Crafts – see our Craft section for different craft ideas and additional links

Here are a few websites with other indoor activity ideas:
15 Ways to Keep Kids Active Indoors

Indoor Activities for Kids

Best Ideas for Kids – Indoor Activities

One of the challenges parents face when home all day, is keeping their child(ren) and themselves busy.  And busy with a variety of different activities.  We all like variety, and doing the same thing each day can become  monotonous.

 

If you are struggling with new ideas, here are a few good websites that have a wide variety of different activities for different age groups that will keep your kids engaged.

 

TVO Kids

More than just television programs for kids, this website has many different activities from games, videos, live streaming TV shows to “Learning from Home” to keep kids busy.  They offer “Learning at Home”, where they have partnered with teachers to put together engaging resources to help kids with their learning at home.  This is a great tool to have for preschoolers, as well as your elementary school kids.

TVOkids

 

CBC Kids

Another great website for kids with a variety of videos, games, quizzes and fun learning facts.

CBC Kids