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Father's Day Weekend Guide

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By: Julia Drysdale There are many local activities and events happening for families over the Father's Day weekend here in Guelph. Below are just a few of them (for full activities and events listings please go to our website www.guelphkidsguide.ca). Before the big day you can make a beautiful card or craft for dad Guelph Kids Guide's Pinterest page is full of great ideas. If you want to read a special book with dad, here is our Father's Day recommended book list blog. You can kick off Father's Day weekend by attending HOPE in the Street from 4-11pm on Friday, June 17th. Cork street will be pedestrian traffic only for this street party event. Food trucks, children's activities, music and more in support of Lakeside HOPE House. If dad or the kids like trucks you might want to attend the Take a ride for MacKids event on Saturday, June 18th in Cambridge. This event will have midway rides, lots of trucks, face painting. Magic shows, food trucks and more. All proceeds to the Caring for Little Kidneys Campaign. Over both Saturday and Sunday Springridge Farm is holding their 3rd annual food truck festival. Spend the day outside in one of Guelph's many parks. If dad likes to hike here is a blog on the best hiking trails in Guelph. On Sunday, the Waterloo Region Museum is holding a Father's Day Craft Beer Festival. They are advertising it as family friendly. Please be sure to have a non-drinking designated driver if you attend this event. Local food is the best so why not go to Wellington Country Market, the Guelph Farmer's Market or the St. Jacobs Farmer's Market to buy ingredients for a delicious bbq in celebration of dad. The Halton County Radial Railway is having a special Father's Day event on June 19th. Dads are free with the purchase of one youth admission. http://www.hcry.org/specialEvents.html If dad enjoys yoga, Sukha Yoga Centre is having a Father's Day Fun yoga session. Enjoy a cool drink or an ice cream at The Boathouse downtown with your dad. Happy Father's Day Guelph dads!

Date Ideas in Guelph

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By Julia Drysdale There are many excellent places to take a date out in Guelph. Dinner out and watching a movie is okay, but for something new and interesting try one of the following date ideas. 1. If the weather is nice you could have a picnic outside. The Arboretum and Riverside Park are both ideal locations. 2. See a live performance together at the River Run Centre downtown. The River Run Centre is a perfe t venue to see plays, comedians, orchestras, and ballets. 3. Guelph has many brewery tours. Just make sure that you cab it or one of you is the designated driver! Some of Guelph's breweries include: Royal City Brewery Sleemans Brewery Stonehammer Brewery Wellington Brewery 4. If you prefer coffee over beer you could spend a morning or afternoon chatting over coffee. Some of Guelph's many wonderful coffee shops include the Red Brick cafe, Balzac's Guelph, Planet Bean, and the Joint Cafe. 5. Go to a book store and choose a book for your partner. I like the Bookshelf downtown and Chapters. 6. Take a class together. You could sign up together for an art class or workshop through the Guelph School of Art; they offer classes in painting, sculpting, printmaking and more. Dance lessons together might be fun. The City of Guelph (regexpress) and Continuing Education also offer adult classes in a variety of categories. Learning something new together could be a great way to bond. 7. Admire art together at the Art Gallery of Guelph (formerly the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre). 8. Instead of dinner, you could go out for brunch. Two of my personal favourite brunch spots are With the Grain and Cornerstone. 9. Re-create your first or most memorable date. (I'd have to go all the way to Seoul, South Korea to do that so this one won't work for me!) 10. Play board games against each other at the Round Table, Guelph's board game cafe. They have old favourites from your childhood and the latest board games. Or dust off a board game and play at home after your children are sleeping. 11. Play With Clay downtown is a fun date idea. You can each chose your own mug, plate or decoration or you can work on one as a couple. My husband and I went to Play With Clay for Valentine's Day a few years ago and we had a great time. 12. If it's warm outside, try canoeing or kayaking. There are rentals at the Boathouse downtown. 13. Again if the weather is nice outside go for a bike ride together. 14. Sign up for a fun run together. You can train together beforehand. There are many 5k and 10k races in the area and if you want something other then a regular run there are mud runs with obstacles or colour runs to enjoy.

Mother's Day Books

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By: Julia Drysdale My little guy loves to read books with his dad or I. Here are some of our favourite books about mums that are perfect for Mother's Day. “I love you stinky face” by Lisa Mccourt. The stinky face series is one of J's favourites. “Are you my mother?” by Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss is always fun. I've seen cute pregnancy photos with this book as a prop too. “Love ou forever” by local Guelph author Robert Munsch. “I love my mom” by Anne Walker. “Does a kangaroo have a mother, too?” by Eric Carle. Eric Carle's amazing pictures make him one of our favourite children's authors. “I love my mommy because...” by Laural Porter-Gaylord. See if your toddler or child can add their own reasons why they love their mum. Their replies might be cute. “Someday” by Alison McGhee. “The night before Mother's Day” by Natasha Wing.    

Mother's Day Weekend Guide

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By: Julia Drysdale There are many local activities and events happening for families over the Mother's Day weekend here in Guelph. Below are just a few of them (for full activities and events listings please go to our website www.guelphkidsguide.ca). Before the big day you can make a beautiful card or craft for mum Guelph Kids Guide's Pinterest page is full of great ideas. Next week we'll be posting a special Mother's Day craft idea blog as well. Guelph Moms and Co are throwing a free Mother's Day tea party at Dragonfly Park from 10 to 11:30am on Friday, May 6th. Treat your mum to brunch. You can make a great breakfast at home or if you are more interested in going out the following places are having special Mother's Day brunches: Guelph Country Club Holiday Inn, on Scottsdale Drive across from Stone Road Mall Borealis Ariss Valley Golf and Country Club Spend the day outside in one of Guelph's many parks. If mum likes to hike here is a blog on the best hiking trails in Guelph. The Halton County Radial Railway is having a special Mother's Day event on May 8th. Mums are free with the purchase of one youth admission. http://www.hcry.org/specialEvents.html Enjoy tea or ice cream at The Boathouse downtown with your mum. If you book in advance, you can enjoy Mother's Day tea at either 1pm or 3pm at the Guelph Civic Musuem. The cost is $15 plus taxes per person. “Treat mom to a wonderful afternoon at the Civic Museum. There will be two seatings: 1PM and 3PM - Please ensure you select the tickets for the specific seating time you require. Come enjoy McCrae House Private Blend Tea, scones with cream and jam, berries and sweet treats.” https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/mothers-day-tea-at-the-guelph-civic-museum-tickets-22800902112 Happy Mother's Day mums!

Guelph Hiking Trails

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By: Julia Drysdale Guelph has MANY great, groomed hiking trails. One of my favourite things about living in Guelph, Ontario is the abundance of trails all over the city. My family and I love to spend time outdoors walking trails. Below is a list of my favourite local spots to go hiking. 1. Eramosa River Trail is a wonderful 4.1 km long trail along the river. It goes from the covered bridge to Stone Road via Victoria Road South. This trail is flat, gravel and in nice weather always full of people walking, jogging, and bike riding. Near the river - roughly between the streets Hayes Ave and Audrey Ave – there are fairy doors; these tiny colourful doors are adorable and little ones will especially enjoy trying to locate them. 2. Guelph Lake Trail is a nice path through the forest in the north end of Guelph. This 2.8 km trail is maintained by the Guelph Off-Road Bicycling Association (GORBA). This path can be quite busy with bike riders, dog walkers and other walkers. You can access this trail at the gravel shoulder of Victoria Road North and the Speed River. There is a main track and smaller side tracks with some purposefully built ramps. 3. The University of Guelph Arboretum Trails is a city gem. There are 11.5 km of trails, tree collections, gardens and wooded areas here. My personal favourite is the small Japanese garden area. There is a disc (frisbee) golf course here as well. The entrance to the Arboretum is off of College Road close to Victoria Road. 4. Starkey Hill Conservation Area is another family favourite. This 4 km hike is located just outside of Guelph in Arkell. This trail is full of hills and goes through forests and wetlands. To get to this track head east out of Guelph on Arkell Road. After you pass the small village of Arkell, the head of the trail and parking lot are located a minute down the road on the left. 5. Rockwood Conservation Area is beautiful. You can walk through the forest, and see the towering limestone cliffs, caves and glacial potholes. Canoe and kayak rentals are also a fun way to explore this spot in nice weather. Rockwood is only a fifteen minute drive from Guelph's east side. 6. The Hanlon Creek Conservation Area has 12.5 km of trails. The main trail head is in Preservation Park on the south side of Kortright Road between Scottsdale Drive and Edinburgh Road. There are several other smaller access points to this wooded area. It is very easy to get lost in this forest; make sure you pay close attention to the signs. 7. The Trail/Trans Canada Trail is a 4.3 km walk. This path goes from the covered bridge to Speedvale Avenue West via an active railway corridor (extra caution needed if going with young children or dogs!) and parkland along the Speed River. My train loving toddler enjoyed walking near the train tracks and was disappointed that we didn't see any trains. (Unrelated to hiking, but if you or your children like trains check out our trains blog). 8. Elora Conservation Area is a short drive from Guelph in Elora, Ontario. The trails here are gorgeous and at times the path goes quite close to the cliffs looking down at the river; for this reason I personally wouldn't bring a toddler or young child on a hike here. In some parts there are steps leading down to the river and small caves. 9. The 2 km Hanlon Creek Trail goes from University Village Park to Hanlon Park Creek (Stone Road to Kortright Road). Another name for this trail is the Royal City Recreation Trail. In hot weather it ends close to the Kortright Road splash pad. 10. Silvercreek Trail is a 4.9 km trail. It goes from Royal City Park to Janefield Ave via Silvercreek Park, Centennial Park and W. E. Hamilton Park. 11. The Guelph Human Society Trailhead is a trail I just learned about and haven't had a chance to hike yet. It is a 13 km trail that goes from the Speed River Trail to just outside of Cambridge. The path is informal and maintained by the Guelph Hiking Trail Club. This trail head is located adjacent to the parking lot of the Guelph Humane Society off Wellington Road. Since parking is limited to only five vehicles, they encourage carpooling, cycling or taking public transit to get to this trail. 12. The CNR Spurline Trail is another excellent spot to go for a walk in Guelph. The trail is 1.6 km long and goes from Dufferin Street to London Road via Exhibition Park downtown. 13. The Radial Line Trail is a 2.3 km path. To access the trail head from Stone Road East, turn south onto the roadway at the sign to the Barber Scout Camp and drive to the parking lot. If you follow the orange blazes you will end up at Victoria Road. This is another path maintained by the Guelph Hiking Trail Club. 14. The Laura Bailey Memorial Trail is a 1.5 km trail located in the newer area in the east end of Guelph. This short path goes from Grange Road Park through Hadati Creek Wetlands to Buckthorn Crescent via Grange Road, Eastview Road, Trimble Court, Ireland Place and Starwood Drive. Happy hiking Guelphites!

Kids Trains Guelph

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By Julia Drysdale My toddler J has been obsessed with trains since before his first birthday. Luckily for him there are many kids train rides and museums in or around Guelph. Here is a list of our favourite local train outings: 1. Riverside Park's miniature train ride for kids. Last year we bought the city of Guelph's train, merry-go-round and paddle boat pass; at only $20 plus tax s we saved a lot of money. We'll definitely be buying another pass for summer 2016. http://guelph.ca/seasonal/rides-at-riverside-park-carousel-miniature-train-and-paddle-boats 2. To celebrate J's second birthday last year he and a friend went to the Halton County Radial Railway together. The HCRR is Ontario's first and biggest electric railway museum. It is located at 13629 Guelph Line, Milton. They rode on and admired many old trains and enjoyed ice cream inside of an train. *Please note that HCRR opens April, 30th for the 2016 season. http://www.hcry.org/ 3. The Waterloo Central Railway will delight any train lovers. We went for a short train ride as a family last summer from the St. Jacob's Market into the village of St. Jacob's. If you want a longer ride then the train goes round-trip from St. Jacob's Market to Elmira. The trains on this tourist railway are from either 1923 or 1950. http://waterloocentralrailway.com/ 4. The St. Jacob's Model Train Panorama is fun. There is a big glassed in model train village and other train memorabilia. This attraction re-opens March 2016 after Mill renovations - I'm excited to see how it looks after the reno. http://www.stjacobs.com/exhibits-galleries 5. The second train museum in St. Jacob's is called the St. Jacobs and Aberfoyle Model Railway. This wonderful museum has a larger model train area complete with bridges, little towns and more. Periodically they dim the lights and the model train villages light up for a night scene. http://stjacobsmodelrailway.com/ 6. Sometimes the Children's Art Factory will set up their giant train table. J loves playing there, but has an especially great time when the trains are put out. Each week the Children's Art changes one of their areas and the train table is one of those temporary rotating ones. http://thechildrensartfactory.com/ 7. Whenever I'm shopping at Simply Wonderful, Chapters in Stone Road Mall or Mastermind Toys Guelph you will be sure to see J playing with their display train tables. The Guelph Public Library downtown branch also has a train table set up. 8. Downtown Guelph near the train station is Locomotive 6167. This steam locomotive was built in 1940 and is on permanent display. 9. Hamilton's African Lion Safari has a miniature train ride for children. It goes past a pond and a few animals. My son and godson enjoyed it so much last year that we rode it twice. http://m.lionsafari.com 10. Kitchener's Chistkindl is an annual German Christmas market. Fred and Jenny's Garden-scale Model Train display was a hit with train enthusiasts if all ages. The trains display took up almost an entire room. J also enjoys playing with trains at home. We've found that the wooden Thomas the Train, Imagarium, Melissa and Doug, and Ikea train tracks all fit together. For his second birthday J received both an Imagarium train table and the Thomas circular train tower. He already owned many track sets from Ikea and random bits from Simply Wonderful toy store. Finally, here are a few of J's favourite train books.  

St Patricks Day Rainbow Art

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By: Julia Drysdale of Guelph Kids Guide St.Patrick's Day is just around the corner. You can make this cute rainbow and pot of gold craft with your child at home. Materials: - do-a-dot markers in rainbow colours. (I bought mine off Amazon) - construction paper in white or light blue, black and yellow - scissors - glue - glitter (optional) Instructi ns: 1. Using the do-a-dot markers create the top of your rainbow in red. Do-a-dot markers are similar to bingo dabbers; added bonus is that they are non-toxic and easy enough for toddlers and young children to enjoy using. Repeat using the other colours in this order: orange, yellow, green, blue and purple (remember learning ROYGBIV?). 2. Draw and cut out a black construction paper pot and yellow construction paper coins. 3. Glue your pot full of coins to the bottom of your rainbow. 4. (Optional step) Add some glitter to your beautiful St. Patrick's Day artwork.  

65 Easter Basket Candy free Options

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By: Julia Drysdale of Guelph Kids Guide There are many candy-free options that are perfect for Easter baskets. Here are 65+ of my favourites: animal figurines balloons bandaids beach toys - sand buckets, shovels, etc books bouncy balls bracelets bubbles bunny ears card game cars chalk colouring books coupon to movies/Pl y with Clay/Children's Art Factory, etc... crayons – at our house we like the toddler ones in fun shapes do-a-dot markers dinosaur figurines egg shaker erasers in cute shapes finger lights finger puppets fingerprint book – I'm going to buy J this Usborne “Fingerprint Activities” book for his Easter basket gardening gloves in children's sizes gel pens gemstones glitter glue grow capsules grow your own crystals hair clips and elastics jokes – written on pieces of paper, bonus points if the jokes are Easter themed lacing beads lacing sheep – this one by PlanToys is perfect for Easter! lego lip gloss magnadoodle magnets magnifying glass marbles money moon sand nailpolish – piggy paint is a great non-toxic nail polish for kids necklace needle felting kit pencils pencil toppers playdough playdough accessories; knife, rolling pin, themed packs puzzle – you could even put pieces in a few eggs. raisins reusable sticker pad ring seeds, to start a spring backyard garden silk rainbow streamers skipping rope shoelaces Shopkins shoe charms silly bandz silly putty slime/goo socks stamps sunglasses sunpring paper kit stickers temporary tattoos toothbrush whistle yo-yo

St. Patrick's Day “Stained Glass” Shamrock Craft

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By: Julia Drysdale of Guelph Kids Guide I did this craft with my two year old J. It only took about ten minutes to prepare. Toddlers and young children would enjoy this easy Valentine's Day craft. Materials: - contact paper (I bought mine from Staples online; was hard to find) - tissue paper in dark green, light green and white - scissors - tape or painters tape (I prefer using painters tape so that it doesn't leave a sticky residue) Instructions: 1. Cut the tissue paper into small squares. 2. Cut out a big piece of contact paper. 3. Tape the contact paper to your window with the sticky side face out towards you. 4. Cover the contact paper with your tissue paper squares. Overlap them for best results. It's fun! 5. Add another layer of contact paper onto your artwork with the sticky side touching the tissue paper. 6. Remove the contact paper from your window. Cut it into shamrock shapes. 7. Admire your beautiful St. Patrick's Day “stained glass” shamrock craft.  

March Break

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By Julia Drysdale If you are looking for fun activities in Guelph for over the March break than this is the blog for you. Here are ten things to do as a family over the school break. 1. Check out all of the amazing events and drop-in activities using Guelph Kids Guide's calendar. You can search by age, price, activity type or category. www.guelphkidsguide.ca 2. Chapters and Mastermind toys are both offering special kids events Monday to Friday. 3. Go for a winter hike as a family. Guelph has many fantastic groomed trails. 4. Grab your ice skates and spend a morning or afternoon skating together. 5. Go swimming. 6. Head to your local library. You can borrow books, CDs or movies to enjoy at home or participate in one of their many programs. 7. March 17th is St. Patrick's Day. You can make GKG's shamrock art. 8. If St. Patrick's Day isn't your thing you can find tons of other fun crafts on GKG's Pinterest page. 9. Build a fort in your living room. 10. There are many family activities and displays at College Royal. This community event is held at the University of Guelph on March 19-20, 2016. I hope you have a fun March Break!