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Maple Syrup Season

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By Julia Drysdale Are you looking for a maple syrup tree farm or festival in the Guelph area? There are plenty of local maple syrup destination options this March and April. Shady Grove Maple Co. Farm is my family's favourite local maple syrup destination. Last year I went with my toddler son J and my mum. We had a great time and spent an entire afternoon there. Shady Grove has a tractor ride to he maple trees where they harvest the sap. They had a fire near the sugar bush to demonstrate how maple syrup used to be made. Back on the main part of the farm they showed the modern maple syrup production equipment. A small barn contains some farm animals – this was my toddler's favourite part. If you are hungry you can enjoy some pancakes with maple syrup and maple sausage at Laura Jean's Cookhouse or buy some maple syrup or treats at the gift shop. Cost: $8/person. Children aged 4-14 are $5/person. Children under 3 are free. Hours: 10am – 4pm. Open weekends March 12-27. Open all of March Break. Open Good Friday. Annual Easter egg hunt on Easter Sunday. www.shadygrovemaple.ca Elmira Maple Syrup Festival is celebrating it's 52nd year in 2016. Some of the activities planned for this year include eating pancakes drenched in maple syrup, a quilt show, sawing a log station, craft booths, a dog show, live music, a birds of prey show and more. Cost: Some activities are free, many cost a small fee. Hours: 7am-4pm on April 2, 2016. http://www.elmiramaplesyrup.com/ Mountsberg's Maple Town. Mountsberg has pancakes to eat, a birds of prey show, wagon rides and a play barn. Mountsberg is located a short drive away from Guelph in Campbellville. Cost: $7.50/person. Seniors 65+ 6.50/person. Children aged 5-14 are $5.25/person. Children 4 and under are free. Hours: 10am-4pm weekends from February 27 to April 3. Every day of March Break. http://www.conservationhalton.ca/maple-town Enjoy a sweet day out with your family this maple syrup season!

Guelph – Easter 2016

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We're lucky to have many fun family activities happening over the Easter long weekend in or around Guelph! Each day there are multiple farms, museums, trains or parties to attend. For more information on the events listed below and to find even more activities visit www.guelphkidsguide.ca's home page. Springridge farm, Downey's farm, and Shady Grove Maple Co. farm all have Easter egg hunts and activities scheduled over the Easter long weekend. (Check our site for times and days, not all of these farms have events every day). On the 24th Guelph Moms and Co is throwing an Easter party for little ones aged 0-5 years old at Bulldog Fitness from 10-11:30am. If you are a dog owner there is an Easter egg hunt for dogs at Centennial Park on March 25th from 10-12. The Waterloo Region Museum has craft activities planned over the weekend. The Easter Bunny Train event is happening at the Waterloo Central Railway on March 26th. Also on the 26th the Village of Riverside Glen is having an Easter Egg Hunt. There will also be an Easter Bazaar and Ukranian Easter Egg workshop at St. Mary's Ukranian Church Parish Centre from 9am-1pm on the 26th. Coming soon on Guelph Kids Guide there will be a candy-free Easter basket ideas blog and a washi Easter egg craft blog. Happy Easter!

Top 10 Dr Seuss Books

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By Julia Drysdale March 2nd was Dr. Seuss' birthday. In honour of the beloved children's author, here are my son's top ten Dr. Seuss books: 10. Are you my mother? (If you're currently pregnant I've seen cute baby bump photos with expecting mums holding up this Dr. Seuss classic). 9. Ten apples up on top 8. Horton hears a who! 7. The foot book 6. The cat in the hat 5. What pet should I get? (This Dr. Seuss book was recently released). 4. One fish two fish red fish blue fish 3. The Lorax 2. Green eggs and ham 1. Oh the places you'll go If you are looking for some Dr. Seuss craft ideas we've posted a few ideas on the Guelph Kids Guide Pinterest page. Amazon.ca Widgets

Guelph's Best Tobogganing Hills

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By Julia Drysdale We're lucky in Guelph to have quite a few tobogganing hills. Here are the top ten hills to go tobogganing in Guelph: 1. Moe (or mole depending on who you're talking to) hill on Municipal Street. This hill behind Centennial and College Height High schools is the best hill in Guelph. It's the biggest and fastest. Can get crowded during weekend afternoons. (Here's an article di cussing if it's Mole or Mo Hill http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/guelph-residents-make-a-mountain-out-of-a-moe-hill-1.3424161 ) 2. Hanlon Creek Park on Kortright Road West. 3. Guelph Country Club golf course. Enter right near the bridge at Riverside Park. 4. Near Guelph General Hospital on Delhi Street. Across the street from the Delhi Street Bistro is a good tobogganing hill. 5. The hill at Mary Phelan elementary school on Bishop Court is great for tobogganing, snowboarding practice or GTing. 6. Behind Willow Road school on Willow Road is a nice hill. 7. Westwood school located at the corner of Westwood and Willow has a small hill. 8. Peter Misersky park off of Auden Road has an enjoyable tobogganing hill. 9. Beside the Royal City Baptist Church on Ridgewood Avenue is a little hill. 10. Fred A. Hamilton school on Ironwood Road has a tiny hill.

10 Tips To Help Survive The Terrible Twos

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By: Erica Blunn Everyone has heard of them and every parent dreads them. The Terrible Two's can be a tough time on everyone; the constant tantrums, mood swings, a once good eater will now only eat yogurt, sleep regression and more. Even though this is a scary and unpredictable time, it is also one of the most extraordinary times with your child. They are able to communicate using words, their personailty is becoming their own, they are becoming more independent each day and always learning new things. Here are some tips that I found help you survive those terrible days: 1. Schedule - One of the most important things that I have learned and live by is a schedule. It doesnt have to be a strict by the minute schedule, but having a wake-up, meal, naptime and bedtime schedule is important to not only your toddler, but for you as well. My schedule with my toddler has an hour leaniency to allow for later play dates, appointments that run long or if he is just not tired yet. For example, we do naptime at 11am till 1pm, but I make sure to have him in bed for nap or quiet time at 12pm at the latest. I find that when you are having a rough day you at least know by a certain time they will be in bed and you can have time to breathe. This also helps with planning your day. 2. One thing all parents hate are those meltdowns in public. You just want to get through groceries, but your toddler has another idea to lay down in the middle of the aisle and throw an epic tantrum. Although we can't fully avoid those “fun” meltdowns there are some ways try and prevent them. Don't take you child out during nap time, close to bedtime or when overtired. Other times to avoid are meal times. Don't take them out if they are sick or overtired. If they are having a bad day in general its probably not the best to take them out. As a mom I know sometimes you just have to get out and get things done. I find that taking toys to distract, a favorite stuffed animal or portable game really helps. Also, try and make running around as quick and few places as possible during those times. If they are having a tantrum, if possible remove them from the situation or the cause calmly, then get down to your child's level and explain to them why it was not okay. If they are unable to calm down try a hug to reassure them that you are there, but that the behaviour is not acceptable. The more worked up you are the more worked up they get. Even though they might be fighting you or not listening they need to know that they are loved and that you will be there. 3. Balanced Meals- We all know how we feel after eating junk all day: sluggish, tired, grumpy, well kids are the same. Toddlers can be extrememly picky, but in order to have optimal energy and to help keep moods elevated they need a balanced diet (treats are great too in moderation). I have an extremely picky eater and struggle with this every day. The best advice I was given was, "All you can do is choose what and when the food is offered and they choose how much and what they eat." Its very true you don't want to force a child to eat or they will develop an unhealty relationship with food. So make sure to offer healthy balanced meals and snacks. 4. Sleep-Plain and simple just like us if they are not getting enough sleep then they are much more prone to crankiness and tantrums. A proper schedule will ensure proper sleep. 5. Offer Choices- Remeber your child is learning who they are and what they like and don`t like. They are figuring out that they have a say and can make choices for themselves. By giving them choices they will feel like they have some power. Give them simple choices, for example, clothes to wear, toys to play with, to play inside or outside, etc. 6. Patience - Although this can be one of the hardest it will be the most rewarding. Children are going through a lot of physical and psychological changes all the while discovering many new things every day. It can become overwhelming and scary for your toddler. They might not know how to react or are just plain overwhelmed and become extremely uspet and difficult, they need you to be patient with them while they figure it out. Sometime parents get so caught up in making their child so well behaved that they forget that they have feelings too and are allowed to express them and feel them; its up to us to be patient and help them do it in a positive way and let them know that no matter what they are feeling we will always be there and love them. 7. Independence with Boundaries- For your child's learning, it is important that they have independence, but also know the boundaries. For example, in the grocery store if your child does not want to sit in the cart let them walk with you, push the cart or hold on to it and if they do not listen then they have to sit in the cart. This way they get to explore their independence, but they also know they are not to go running around or there will be consequences. 8. Time For Yourself- It can be hard as a parent to find time for yourself, but it is very important. You need time to relax and recharge. 9. Friend/Support- Whether it be friends, family, or other parents, everyone needs someone they can talk to about all the good and difficult times raising a child. There are many great programs and support/parenting groups to meet new life long friends and get great support. 10. Finally, although the Terrible Twos can be a tricky and confusing time for you and your child its just a phase. Hopefully these tips help you enjoy the "Terrible Two's," instead of dread them.

10 Tips For Flying With A Toddler

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By: Julia Drysdale Flying with a toddler can evoke fear in even the calmest parent. Will my active toddler be able to sit still for hours in a cramped airplane seat or on my lap? Will his/her ears be okay? How will we keep him/her entertained? What if he/she decides to throw a massive fit? My two year old son J has been to eight countries and on over twenty flights. Here are some of my tips on how to njoy flying with a toddler: 1. When booking your flights take naps and bedtime into account. It works best when your child will be sleepy, but not overtired for when you board. The last thing you want is for a child who should be sleeping being kept awake to board an airplane. 2. Preparing to fly with a toddler begins before you even get onto the airplane. A week or so before you fly talk about flying with your toddler, read books about flying, and watch videos about flying. (It goes without saying that you'd check these beforehand to make sure that they are age appropriate, aren't scary, and make airplanes sound like a fun adventure). 3. Pack a special bag full of fun activities for your child to enjoy while flying. Here is a list of what I packed on our most recent flight: J's favourite board book a new book 5 Little People animal figurines a few small new toys a lacing board. A Melissa and Doug dog that you lace around the edges with a shoelace a tablet loaded with children's shows. Judge all you like. J isn't allowed to watch much tv at home so allowing him to watch shows on the airplane is a lifesaver. J's water bottle. Refilled after security. snacks. We packed an apple, goldfish crackers, raisins, and a cookie. painter's tape and Post-its. J loved sticking them all over his tray and armrests. They are easy to remove unlike stickers. colouring book and crayons finger puppets small magnetic sketcher baby blanket extra outfit diapers and wipes Here is a list of what I would NOT pack for a flight: any toys with wheels; you don't want to have to pick it up once it rolls off the tray table for the hundredth time playdough; my police officer friend said that sometimes playdough is flagged in security because it looks like the putty in home made explosives and an ingredient in it sets off an alarm in the bomb ingredient detector machine. stickers. I didn't want to have to be peeling off stickers from everywhere within J's arm reach. 4. When you check-in at the airport ask if there are any empty seats. If you aren't taking up the entire row with your family, politely request that you are beside an empty seat. 5. At the airport tire your toddler out. Do laps up and down the airport. Walk, walk, walk. He/she will be sitting for quite a while so it's best if you've burned some of that toddler energy before the flight. If you are really lucky he/she might even be sleepy enough to have an extra long sleep while on the airplane. 6. If your little one is still in diapers, change him or her right before boarding the flight. The changing areas in the airplane bathrooms are teeny tiny. 7. When it comes time to board don't board early with those who need extra time to board. You will be stuck in your seat(s) long enough; there is no need adding another 30+ minutes by boarding early. 8. During take off and landing there's a change in the air pressure which can cause discomfort to your little one. To relieve or prevent this then either breastfeed, give a bottle, give a drink or give a snack. 9. Once in the air don't give all of the toys at once. Bring them out one at a time. Don't give them a choice of all of the toys right off the bat; you want to surprise and excite him or her with new toys and activities frequently. 10. If your toddler starts crying or acting up stay calm. The more stressed you are about flying and the situation, the more stressed your toddler will be. Enjoy your holiday! Flying with a little one will be worth it once you are having fun away from home. :)

Valentine's Day “Stained Glass” Heart Craft

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By: Julia Drysdale of Guelph Kids Guide I did this craft with my two year old J. It only takes 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 colours of your choice 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 hearts. I cut out about 60 small hearts. 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 hearts. Overlap them for best results. It's fun! 5. Admire your beautiful Valentine's Day “stained glass” heart craft. I think it looks especially pretty in the morning light while enjoying a cup of coffee. ;)

Guelph's Best Winter Family Fun Activities

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By Julia Drysdale The holiday season is kicked off each year by the wonderful Guelph Community Santa Claus Parade. The parade this year is on Sunday, November 15th at 1:30pm. For more info and the route map visit this website: http://www.downtownguelph.com/page.php?id=304 The following weekend you can get a head start on your holiday shopping at the University of Guelph's 41st annual Fair November. It runs from November 19-2 . Last year they had many wonderful booths such as fancy dips, specialty chocolates, clothing, pottery, wooden bowls, decorative items and much more. It is located on campus and more information can be found here: http://www.uoguelph.ca/ucevents/fair.shtml Just a short drive from Guelph, Kitchener is having their 19th annual old fashioned German style Christkindl Market from December 3-6th. http://www.christkindl.ca/ This year marks the 23rd annual St. Joseph's Festival of Trees at the River Run Centre. Over 50 beautiful Christmas trees will put you in the holiday spirit. This event runs from November 25 – December 23. http://riverrun.ca/whats-on/st-josephs-festival-of-trees-7-2015-11-25/ Each December, Guelph's Riverside Park becomes a magical display of festive lights. Make sure that you and your family go to Sparkles in the Park this year! The admission is by donation. Once the snow comes make sure to spend some time outside enjoying the snow. Do you prefer making snow angels, snowball fights, tobogganing, skiing, skating or sledding?

Fall Activities 2015

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By: Julia Drysdale There are many drop-in activities, classes and attractions to spend quality time with your toddler in Guelph. This fall I signed up my toddler son, J, for four classes and also went to a number of other attractions and drop-in activities. We both enjoy getting out of the house to see old friends, meet new friends and experience a range of different activities. Every Monday morning from 10-11am e attended the Little Learners program run by Guelph Moms and Co. This was a paid class that ran for 14 weeks. Each week had a different theme complete with related crafts and songs. Some of the themes included things that roll, the farm, cars, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. J especially enjoyed the free play time with his friends and the field trip to Springridge Farm. Every Tuesday morning we sung and danced during our Great Lakes Music Together class run by Sasha Judleson. I cannot recommend her music classes enough. This 10 week, paid session focused on their Fiddle collection of songs. It was our third 10 week session of classes with Sasha. The next session starts in January and will be the Drum collection. We can't wait! Wednesday mornings J and I attended Action Read. This free activity focuses on building early literacy skills and celebrates a joy of learning. Jan Sherman, the Family Literacy Program Co-ordinator is excellent! She makes learning fun for toddlers and preschoolers. Her prepared crafts, learning activities, songs, stories and games are a great way to introduce and reinforce literacy and numeracy. On Thursday mornings in September and October, J and I went to the free registered program called “1, 2, 3 Come Play with Me!” run by the Early Years Centre (in their Stone Road Mall location). This class was for 2 to 4 year olds. Each week there would be free play, snack time, an art activity, songs, stories, and a different physical activity such as yoga, bean bags, parachute, hula hoops and balls. J enjoyed it and it was fun watching him do yoga and play with hula hoops for the first time. For eight Thursday evenings this fall I attended the Early Years Centre class called, “Circle of Security: A road to better parenting.” J didn't attend obviously, but I found it to be a very informative, supportive and valuable class for parents. It gives a fresh perspective on why children act the way they do. If anyone is looking for a parenting class they should sign up for the winter session. During the afternoons and on Fridays J and I went to a wide variety of attractions and drop-in programs. We enjoyed a lot of time outside hiking on local trails, playing in parks and visiting farms (Stroms, Snyders and Springridge). The library song and story time children's program has long been a favourite. When we want to climb, jump or run around inside J likes going to the Guelph Saultos gymnastics drop-ins, Futures gymnastics drop-ins, Royal Distributing Athletic Performance Centre's Tot and Play, and Funmazing. The Common Cafe downtown is a good spot to meet up with mum friends and little ones; they provide many vintage and newer toys for children to play with while adults can enjoy a good cup of coffee. The Children's Art Factory is a fantastic, creative space for little artists. This winter we plan on keeping some of our old favourites and adding some new ones as well. J might sign up for his first formal swimming lessons, play soccer through Little Kickers or go to a parent and tot gymnastics class. I am also interested in learning more about the new program Little Scientists once they offer classes for children 2+.