Last Week of Summer Fun!

Ready for back-to-school? Before your kids are back in their desks, enjoy the last of what summer has to offer in Calgary with these great public events and festivals.

Country Kickback at Heritage Park – Proudly Sponsored by Calgary’s Child
August 27 & 28: Proudly Sponsored by Calgary’s Child Magazine. Relive Alberta’s rural history with a weekend of farm fun for the whole family! Guests of all ages can play games and participate in the Kickback challenge, square dance, make ice cream, enjoy live entertainment, visit a petting zoo, watch slow tractor races and much more! For more information, visit Heritage Park’s website.

Tour of Alberta – Ride the Road Tour
August 28: The Tour of Alberta Ride the Road tour is a public bike ride in Calgary that kicks off the Tour of Alberta. There are a total of four rides that are perfect for both advanced cyclists and families. This year’s ride, as in previous years, affords an opportunity to enjoy cycling in a group or with your family under traffic-free conditions. Participants will be able to discover cycling and feeling completely safe on Calgary roads. Check out the website for more details.

Music in the Park
August 28: Dust off your Stampede wear and mosey on down to Murdoch Park for an entertaining afternoon of classic country music with a modern twist at The City of Calgary’s free Music in the Park event! Performing his unique blend of wild country rock, featuring songs from his debut album “Dirt Junkie,” Bruin will showcase his talents as a singer and songwriter, and prove why he is destined to become a household name in the country music world. To view The City’s Music in the Park summer line-up, visit the website.

Family Marsh Dipping at Bow Habitat Station
August 30: Have buckets of fun discovering the critters who make their home in Bow Habitat’s Marsh! This hands-on activity is geared toward families. Rubber boots recommended. The cost is $4 per person and children 3 and under free with a paying adult. Visit the website for more information.

Cornucopia! Cobb’s Corn Maze & Family Fun Park
August 31 to September 5: This weekend is all about corn: Corn on the cob, corn fritters, corn bread, corn toss, corn games, corn crafts and more! For hours of operation and for more information, visit the website.

Have a Hay Day at the Calgary Corn Maze
Open Thursdays through Sundays in September: Check out the petting zoo; corn mazes; wagon rides; pig races; jumping pillows; playground activities; and more! Try out the new miniature scale train; mine for gems in the Lost Treasure Mining; and hang out with your friends at the Friendly Fire Arena. Visit the website for more information.

BBQ on the Bow Festival
September 3 to 4: A fun culinary festival featuring Canada’s oldest sanctioned BBQ competition! Up to $10,000 in cash prizes for Grand Champion, Reserve Champion, Third Overall, Fourth Overall, Individual Categories, and Chef’s Choice. Teams compete for prize money, a chance to cook at the American Royal in Kansas City, and a shot to win a draw to compete at the World Invitational Jack Daniels BBQ Competition in Tennessee. For more information, visit the website.

Calgary Highland Games
September 3: The Calgary Highland Games is one of the oldest gatherings in North America and will be celebrating 102 years since the first games, held in 1913. Organized by the Calgary United Scottish Games Association, these games have gained the reputation as being one of the most prestigious Highland events in the West. Attracting competitors and spectators from across Western Canada and the USA, you will watch some of the world’s top pipers, drummers, dancers, and heavy event athletes compete and perform. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the website.

End the Summer with No Regrets

by Calgary’s Child Magazine

The boy holds many books in handsIt seems like just last week we were planning for the start of summer! For most Calgarian children, school starts in a few weeks.

Where Did the Time Go?

It can be hard for everyone in the family to change gears from unscheduled, endless days to the back to school routines of early bed times followed by early morning risings, packing lunches, homework and after school activities. To help make this transition go more smoothly, here are some tried and true tips for making the trip back to the school just a littler easier for everyone in the family.

We have a summer wish list that we all work on together at the beginning of summer, each of us add two or three ‘must do’ summer activities and we try to do one or two of them a week during the summer. Ask your child if there is anything that they really wanted to do this summer that hasn’t happened yet, make a day of it and end the summer with no regrets.

Get Your Kids Excited About Back-to-School!

Okay, so maybe your kids don’t agree that “it’s the most wonderful time of the year,” but it is wonderful to gather all the new, unused school supplies and pack them carefully away in a new backpack or pencil case. Take your kids along school supply shopping when you are unrushed and have time to shop together for just the right pack of pencil crayons and the perfect shade of gel pens. (Make sure to check and see if your school has a class set of supplies shared between everyone – if so, pick one or two special items for their personal use.)

Phase in a Routine

One of the hardest transitions from summer to fall is bed time. Over the next few days, slowly make bed time and morning wake-up time return to normal – you can even try a dry run of a typical school morning. This is a great opportunity to start new organisational habits such as having the backpack packed (with the completed homework) at the front door, clothes laid out the night before…you get the idea.

Practice the School Route

If your child is just starting school or now has to take a bus for the first time, it can eliminate a lot of anxiety to walk or ride the bus route together before school starts. Point out landmarks along the way and, if applicable, review how and where to cross the road safely, block parent houses on the route and stranger safety. If your child is younger, a visit or two to the school playground before hand can also help to provide a sense of familiarity.

Celebrate Their New Milestone

Take your child out one-on- one for a special date, maybe a lunch or dinner, and talk about their new school year, your memories of that grade and how much older and more responsible they now are to be in this higher grade. This can provide the reassurance some children need before they start a new experience.

Get Involved at School

Studies show that children whose parents volunteer do better in school and it’s a great way to show your children that you value and support their education. The choices of volunteer tasks available at school is endless, everything from help in the library, serving at hot lunch days to cutting out art supplies at home, every little bit helps and is very appreciated.

And finally, don’t forget the camera! These times speed by so quickly – enjoy and embrace every moment.

Summer Fun – Chestermere Family Bike Park

by Eilidh Tait

bike pathWe have been taking advantage of our schedule-free days and trying to plan adventures as often as we can this summer. A great spot to spend a morning or an afternoon (or, if you’re my boys, all day long) is the Chestermere Family Bike Park.

This free and fabulous park is a multi-level and multi-track bike heaven! Jack is a pro on the pump track even though he is on a strider, and the rest of the kids love practicing on the skills loop and flow trails. While Jack is awesome at age 2 on his strider, I think the park really caters most to kids who can ride a two-wheel bike without training wheels.

My kids stick to the more basic areas, but it is very cool when we see one of the older kids ride the more difficult tracks with jumps, hills and drops.

Located at 333 West Creek Drive in Chestermere, the park has lots of on-street parking. There is a playground located at the school right next door if you need a biking break! We usually spend some time biking and then walk over to the Gelato shop across the street, Amato Gelato.  Too many flavors to choose from, and the sweetest owners! Once we are refueled we return to the track for a few more sugar-powered runs.

Check it out with your family this week!

HERITAGE DAY LONG WEEKEND FUN!

This long weekend, don’t just hang around at home – go out and enjoy the many fantastic events and festivals in and around Calgary! We’ve got our top picks for long weekend fun.

Alberta Kennel Club Summer Classic Show & Junior Handling National Finals
Jul 29, 2016 – Aug 1, 2016; The Alberta Kennel Club will be hosting the Summer Classic show at Spruce Meadows. Events will be taking place all weekend, including tours, conformation, obedience, rally-o, agility and scent hurdling. This year, they also have the pleasure of hosting the Junior National competition. This competition brings together young people from all over Canada who compete in conformation and obedience. Tickets can be purchased at the door. www.facebook.com/AlbertaKennelClub/

9th Annual Calgary Turkish Festival
Jul 29, 2016 – Jul 31, 2016; Come experience the Calgary Turkish Festival! Browse and buy Turkish products, souvenirs, and handcrafts, there will also be activities for the kids, sit back and watch demonstrations and performances, sample Turkish cuisine, and much more! This is a free event at the Eau Claire Festival Plaza. www.calgaryturkishfestival.com

Cochrane Ranche Days 
Jul 30, 2016 – Aug 1, 2016; Alberta’s oldest Ranche turns 130 this summer, and it’s time to celebrate. Whether you are interested in the pony rides, family picnic, expanded Farmers’ Market or the arts, crafts, music and entertainment on display, there’s truly something for everyone. Cochrane Ranche Days take place July 30, 31 and August 1. For the full schedule of activities and times of the events, visit the website. http://cochranesustainability.ca/ranchedays

Canmore Folk Musical Festival
Jul 30, 2016 – Aug 1, 2016; Take a short trip to Canmore for this annual folk music festival! In addition to great music, there will be food and craft vendors, kids area, and more! On Friday, July 29, there will be a free concert at the Canmore Civic Centre from 6 to 9pm (902, 7 Avenue in Canmore). There will also be a free pancake breakfast and live music on Monday, August 1 from 8 to 10:30am on 7 Avenue, between Main Street and 7 Street in Canmore. For the full schedule lineup, to purchase tickets and for more information about the Festival, visit the website. www.canmorefolkfestival.com

Inglewood Sunfest
Saturday Jul 30, 2016; Inglewood Sunfest will be celebrating the best of summer in Calgary with beer gardens, prime patios, food trucks, bands, bounce houses, dance troupes, a Show and Shine, performers from the Calgary Fringe festival, and much more. In other words, fun for all ages. For more information, visit the website. www.inglewoodsunfest.ca

Heritage Day Celebrations at Fort Calgary
Monday Aug 1, 2016; Explore your heritage! There will be lots of engaging family-friendly activities. For more information, visit the website. www.fortcalgary.com

Heritage Day Celebrations at Heritage Park
Monday Aug 1, 2016; Celebrate Alberta’s rich historical past! Start your day with a complimentary pancake breakfast, then discover how the west was once at Canada’s largest living history museum! Ride the train, visit the old-fashioned candy store, paddle with voyageurs and more. For more information, visit the website. www.heritagepark.ca

Tour de Bowness Street Festival
Monday Aug 1, 2016; Corresponding with the annual Tour de Bowness cycling race, the Tour de Bowness Street Festival will take over Bowness Road through downtown Bowness with local entertainment, businesses, artisan vendors, corporate booths, food booths, a kids’ area and buskers! For more information, visit the website. www.mainstreetbowness.com

Heritage Day Festival at Olympic Plaza
Monday Aug 1, 2016; Head on down to Olympic Plaza for the 39th Annual Heritage Day Festival! Enjoy multicultural performances, ethnic foods, and unique handicrafts. Explore the Indian Village, enjoy face painting, frolic on a bouncer, try a new dish, or sit back, relax, and enjoy folk performances on stage! For more information, visit the Facebook page. www.facebook.com/FolkArtsYYC

 

Taking a Road Trip With Your Baby – Car Travel Checklist

Written by Calgary’s Child

  • Well-stocked diaper bag
  • Baby’s blanket
  • Carseat pillow or head support
  • Window shades (sun screens)
  • Change of clothes for your baby
  • Enormous box of toys and books
  • Music or books on tape or CDs
  • Baby food, snacks, and drinks for your baby
  • Sipper cups
  • Snacks and drinks for the adults
  • Cooler
  • Wet washcloths in bags, or moist towelettes
  • Empty plastic bags for leftovers and trash
  • Bottle warmer
  • Cell phone
  • Baby’s regular sleep music or white noise (if needed, bring extra batteries)
  • First aid kit/prescriptions/medications
  • Jumper cables
  • Money/wallet/purse/ID
  • Medical and insurance information/emergency phone numbers
  • Maps/driving directions
  • Baby carrier/sling/stroller
  • Camera and film
  • Suitcases

For even more great tips on travelling in the car with baby, check out the full article here!

Family Fun in Bragg Creek

by Eilidh Tait
unnamedSummer holidays are my favorite time to get out and spend days in the sunshine with my children, exploring together. At the end of the school year the kids and I brainstorm a HUGE list of fun things we would like to do or see over our summer break, checking them off as we go.

Last week we decided we should check out Bragg Creek for a little hike and see what else we could find. We first drove to Alder Trail just past Bragg Creek on highway 758. With four kids ranging from 2 to 11 we have to choose fairly easy and very interesting!

Alder trail was perfect for everyone and had lots to look at and read along the way. Parking at the bottom of the trail and heading into the forest felt like adventure from the very start and watching them discover little details along the trail was sweet. The way this day went from start to finish, with barely any planning or spending involved reminded me I have to do more of this type of thing!

After the hike we stopped for a quick lunch of fruit and sandwiches and headed further west to Forget-me- not Pond. We have been here before and it is a definite favorite. The short drive between the two spots gave the kids enough time to have a little recharge before embarking on the afternoon of playing. Just past Elbow falls after the road turns we came to the pond. Parking is so convenient and there were lots of families set up having picnics and walking the path around the pond. I took the chariot for this walk as I expected my tired Jack may need to ride for a while. Luckily I did as on our way back his little legs were exhausted!

Losing cell phone service is almost a positive for me and we all enjoyed walking and talking around the edge of the water. At the far end of the pond there is a little path that leads to the river. We made our way there and spent a long time playing in the stones. I find the water to be quite safe for the younger ones as long as they stay close to the edges and my older girls love building little rock piles on the shore. I have to make sure that our adventures are enough for each child and sometimes that can be a challenge. This day seemed to please everyone and I will definitely try to make it back out this way before summers end.

Ice cream at Scoops & Snacks on the way home was just the thing to end the adventure. The prices are awesome, the scoops are generous (I had to ask that Jack’s be halved!) and the cute little bench area outside is a great spot to enjoy the treat.

Looking in my rearview to see four sleeping little faces was like my own cherry on top!

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Summer Fun on the Cheap!

p80-Annoyingthingstheydo[1]Trying to get the kids out of the house on an adventure, but need to watch your budget? Calgary is full of free (or nearly free) activities which are fun for children of all ages! With a little creativity and planning, you’ll never run out of things to keep everyone occupied.

Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre Museum – The only museum in Canada devoted exclusively to Chinese culture. Location: 197, 1 Street SW. $5 adults, $3 kids 6+, kids under 5 free. Take a walk around Chinatown after your tour of the museum and enjoy a bubble tea or lunch!

Take a Food Tour – Calgary is blessed to be very multicultural, and you can find just about anything from just about anywhere if you know where to look! Check out T&T Supermarket, Basha Foods International, the British Pantry, Edelweiss Imports, or any of the dozens of unique import stores around the city. Go with recipe in hand and try your hand at cooking something new together, or sample snack food from around the world

YouthLink Calgary – Calgary Police Service Interpretive Centre – Learn about the role of police in society and the consequences of crime for young people. Location: 5111, 47 Street NE (LC 594). Admission is free.

Grain Academy & Museum – Grain industry education and interpretive centre with model train and elevator displays. Location: Plus 15, BMO Centre 20 Roundup Way SE. Admission by donation.

Calgary Public Libraries – Free children and teen programs available on an ongoing basis. For more information, visit calgarypubliclibrary.com. Membership is free to anyone with a Calgary address.

Explore the +15s Downtown  – Make sure to check out the double-decker bridge between Bankers Hall and TD Square for a great view up and down Stephen Avenue!

Do the Artwalk – There are 56 pieces of public art downtown. Can you find them all? http://www.calgarydowntown.com/imagedir/File/artwalk_web.pdf

Visit a Farmers’ Market – There are plenty of Farmers’ Markets in and around Calgary during the spring, summer, and fall. We recommend the playgrounds at Symons Valley Ranch and the Calgary Farmers’ Market!

Nature Drop-in Programs – During the summer months, the City of Calgary holds free drop-in programs at Ralph Klein Park to let you little ones get up close and personal with nature! http://www.calgary.ca/CSPS/Parks/Pages/Programs/Dropin-programs.aspx

Park n’ Play and Stay n’ Play – The City of Calgary offers high-quality free programming for kids 5-12 during the summer. These programs include crafts, games, active play and valuable social time with other children. http://www.calgary.ca/CSPS/CNS/Pages/Children-and-youth/Summer-programs/Park-n-Play-and-Stay-n-Play-programs.aspx

Visit a Board Game Cafe – Calgary has a bunch of new board game cafes this year which offer a wide variety of games. Pips offers half-price gaming (regular $5 a person) on Tuesday-Friday from 11-4. Boxcar is $5 a person, or $2.50/hr on Friday-Sunday. Metal Galaxy offers free drop-in gaming with the purchase of food or beverages from their bistro.

Cool Off at an Outdoor Pool, Wading Pool or Spraypark – The City of Calgary has tons of places to cool off, either for free or at a low price. http://www.calgary.ca/CSPS/Parks/Pages/Locations/Wading-pools-spray-parks-and-outdoor-pools.aspx

Rothney Astrophysical Observatory – Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, U of C. Visit on a public stargazing night and check out the wonders of the universe for free! One of Canada’s largest telescopes patrolling for killer asteroids. For more information, visit ucalgary.ca/rao/

Skate Parks – Visit the world’s largest skateboard park. Shaw Millennium Park is North America’s largest free outdoor skate park. Boarders, bikers and bladers can climb, slide, twist, roll and flip through the park’s concrete terrain. The City of Calgary also hosts community mobile skate parks, the locations of which can be found at The City of Calgary Skate parks link, calgary.ca/CSPS/Recreation/Pages/Skateparks/Community-mobile-skateparks.aspx

Fish Creek Park – Only a hop, skip and a jump from Calgary’s southern suburbs, Canada’s largest urban park covers more than 20 kilometres of protected river valley.

Nose Hill Park – A unique natural environment park located in Northwest Calgary, just 15 minutes from downtown.

Reader Rock Garden – This garden, three-acre site has trails waiting to be explored.

Sikome Lake – Life’s a beach at Calgary’s famous swimming hole. Enjoy cooling down on a hot day at this well-known South Calgary treasure.

Elbow Valley Wetland – An incredible variety of sights and sounds greet you at this constructed wetland in the Calgary area. Location: Hwy 8 (Glenmore Trail SW), just 800 metres west of Sarcee Trail.

Beaver Dam Flats – Beaver Dam Flats is surrounded by various natural habitats that attract beavers. See if you can spot one!

Enjoy a Festival or Street Market – Calgary has some truly unique events during the summer. Expand your horizons by sharing in some of these cultural events, which are often free or very low-cost.

For more great summer fun suggestions, visit calgaryschild.com!

Weekend Events – July 8-10

94_Autonomy_S128Calgary Exhibition & Stampede
July 8 to 17

Yeehaw! It’s the annual Calgary Exhibition & Stampede! Plan all of your family’s fun at the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. To plan of your family’s Stampede fun, visit the website.

Stampede Breakfasts

For a list of free Stampede breakfasts happening all around the city, visit caravan.calgarystampede.com or stampedebreakfast.ca.

Fluor Rope Square at Olympic Plaza
Jul 9, 2016 – Jul 16, 2016 at 8:15 am – 1:00 pm

The Downtown Attractions Committee is excited to announce that they are once again transforming Olympic Plaza into Fluor Rope Square. Given the current economy, Fluor Rope Square is a great place to enjoy free Stampede events. Start your Stampede downtown and enjoy the home of great entertainment, fun and the world-famous bacon pancakes, as well the YYC Food Trucks, during the 2016 Calgary Stampede.

Puppy Pancake Day
Sunday Jul 10, 2016 at 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Bon A-Pet-Treat! Pet Bakery will be hosting their 4th Annual FreePuppy Pancake Day for your four-legged furry friends! Along with the customer appreciation day, there will be a fundraiser with proceeds going to Ft. Mcc’s Animal Rescues. This will be a fun-filled day with an adoptathon, free nail trims, meet a vet, silent auction, door prizes, goodies bags and even get a caricature drawn of your pup!

Are you talking to your kids about today’s economy?

by Parenting Power

p29-24HoursofFun[1]We know that many parents are choosing to stay quiet about the downturn. They don’t want to burden their kids with the family finances or economic worries.

We also know that kids are talking to each other at school. They are hearing information through all kinds of media. They are seeing their friends dealing with family job loss or financial concern. They are watching our furrowed brows when we mention the falling dollar or oil prices. They are aware that trips to the US might be being put on hold for a while.

Most school-aged kids know a bit about what is happening in our economy. “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing!”

Today we are asking:

Have you taken the time to talk to your kids about how your family is doing in this economy?

 Are you aware of the verbal messages you are sending your kids about your family finances?

 We are not suggesting that your kids need to be worrying about the economy. In fact, it is the exact opposite. Your kids need to know that the adults in the family have things under control and are making a plan for how to deal with job loss, decreased income, etc.

Words like, “We can’t afford to…” leave kids feeling concerned about the future. Instead we can say, “We’re choosing to spend our money on the important things we need right now.”

If you are concerned about how far your vacation dollars are going to go on your vacation, make a plan with your kids up front about budgets and what you will and won’t be buying.

This is a great opportunity to teach kids how to manage money responsibly.

Ultimately, your kids want to feel like they can rely on you to keep the family safe. You can help them feel that way by getting clear with them about the age-appropriate facts that are affecting them. When you teach your kids that it is okay to talk about these things, you open the door for them to share their concerns with you. The truth is, they want to know that you are going to be there for them and with them.

Julie Freedman Smith & Gail Bell are Parenting Power. They provide parents with strategies to become confident, capable and calm. Contact them at parentingpower.ca

Weekend Events – June 24-26

94_Autonomy_S128KSPS Public TV’s Lions, Tigers and Bearclaws, Oh My! at the Calgary Zoo
Saturday Jun 25, 2016 at 8:00 am – 10:00 am
Please join KSPS General Manager, Gary Stokes, for a continental breakfast and a “Vet’s Eye View” of the Calgary Zoo by senior staff veterinarian Dr. Doug Whiteside. Afterward, enjoy your all-day zoo pass and a 1 year KSPS membership! Parking just $10, (not included in the ticket price). All proceeds benefit your KSPS! www.ksps.org

June 25 & 26 – Calaway Park’s Birthday Party
June 25 & 26. Come out and celebrate Calaway Park’s 35th Birthday! There will be activities and celebrations all day long. www.calawaypark.com

Dr. Seuss in the Park
Every Saturday, Jun 25, 2016 – Aug 27, 2016 at 11:00 am – 3:30 pm
jkBThe University of Calgary’s Students’ Union Volunteer Services – Students for Literacy is once again presenting Dr. Seuss in the Park this summer! From June 25 to August 27, the group will set up a tent in Riley Park each Saturday between 11am and 3:30pm to get kids excited about books! There will also be crafts, games and face paint. Children of all ages are welcome as long as they are accompanied by an adult, and the events are free! www.su.ucalgary.ca/event/dr-seuss-in-the-park/

Family Summer Programs at Bass Pro Shops
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays, June 25 to July 24, 12Noon to 5pm. Join in-store this summer where kids and families can enjoy free interactive workshops and activities from the many departments. For a full list of activities and schedule, visit the website below. And on July 2 & 3, enjoy all of the activities and workshops plus the casting pond and fun photo download from 12Noon to 5pm! www.basspro.com/summercamp

YYC Block Party
Saturday Jun 25, 2016 at 1:00 pm – 10:00 pm
This is a free, all-ages celebration at Eau Claire Market. The event includes games, DJs, vendors, entertainment, local agency booths, speakers, a Street Dance battle and more! YYC’s Block Party aims to unite the youth of Calgary together in a mission to engage and connect young people with their local communities, celebrate current youth involvement, as well as inspire other youth in also becoming leaders and making a difference. www.facebook.com/events/162990050766299/

Summer Kick-Off BBQ at Bob Bahan Aquatic & Fitness Centre & Ernie Star Arena
Sunday Jun 26, 2016 at 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Join for a BBQ, program and resource fair, swimming and/or a skate. To skate, you can bring your own skates or borrow skates and helmets (available on a first come basis).

Music in the Parks Kick-Off at Lougheed House
Sunday Jun 26, 2016 at 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Music in the Parks 2016 is starting the summer off at Lougheed House to celebrate their 125th Anniversary! It’s a free event and includes live music and entertainment. Enjoy crafts, displays and more. Music in the Parks presents live music in the Lougheed House Gardens. Performers include Walter White Bear, a Cree singer-songwriter who has been performing acoustic and flute music for several years, and Trina Nesbito, an artist that blends rock, soul, country and blues. www.lougheedhouse.com/events/event/music-parks-kick-lougheed-house-june-26th-noon-300-p-m/