Summer is almost here! We have about a month left until summer break starts and I’m trying to come up with a nice balance of activities to keep us busy and having fun without getting stuck in the same sort of routine that we have the rest of the year. My goal is to try and do one ‘special’ activity each week, with lots of down time, play dates and backyard fun thrown in. I thought about splitting my list into ‘free’ and ‘pay’ activities, but it made more sense to me to divide them based on things that I can do at home and things we need to travel a significant distance to get to. I’ve got some ideas that don’t cost a penny and others that are more of a splurge. Please let me know if I’ve missed one of your favourites, either by leaving a comment here, on my Facebook page or on Twitter at @NotJstBabyBrain!
- Bike riding! Both Ashlyn and Rowan are on two wheelers without training wheels and they’re able to go pretty far, so I plan to take them to lots of different parks in our end of town that we wouldn’t usually go to.
- We are so lucky to have so many splash pads all over the city! It’s a fun way for the kids to cool off and then they can play at the park after.
- The beach! We had so much fun going to the beach last summer while my husband was away, so we’re really looking forward to taking him this year. I like to go in the morning and come home around lunch, when it starts getting busier.
- Museums, like the Museum of Nature and the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum which we have passes for. The Museum of Nature is perfect on days when it’s too hot or rainy to be outside, and the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum has a great play structure in addition to all of the exhibits and animals.
- Nature hike at Hog’s Back Park. This is pretty close to where we live and yet we still haven’t been to see the waterfall!
- Ottawa Public Library programs. OPL offers free programs for all children from infants through high school and they can be a nice change of pace, particularly the afternoon activities when everyone needs to cool off inside for a while. Check the website to see if you need to preregister your child (they’ll need their own library card, which is free and very easy to get online or at your closest branch) or if it is drop-in.
- It hardly counts as travel because of where we live, but the girls always have fun when we go to Watson’s Mill in Manotick to feed the ducks (the picture on the left was taken 4 years ago when we went one morning).
- Bonnechere Caves in Eganville (about 1.5 hours from Ottawa) sounds amazing. Caves, fossils, waterfalls…we’ll pack a picnic and make a day of it!
- I just learned about Prehistoric World in Morrisburg (about 1 hour from Ottawa) and I can’t wait to go. It’s a giant nature trail that just happens to have full-sized dinosaur replicas all along it!
- In the same area, there is Upper Canada Village which we have never visited. I think the girls will get a kick out if seeing a pioneer village and it would make sense to do both this and Prehistoric World in the same trip.
- Calypso Waterpark in Limoges, ON (about 45 minutes from Ottawa) has been on our list for a few years now, but this is the first year that both of our daughters have been old enough to do a full day of water park fun AND they listen and are safe enough that one parent can supervise them while the other takes a turn going down a water slide or two.
I’d love to know what you have planned for your summer!