YEG Fun With a Ride on the Funicular

Edmonton’s latest project, the Mechanized River Valley Project, is complete and open to the public.  Consisting of several components including a new staircase, 100 Street Funicular, Promenade, bridge over Grierson Hill Road, the Frederick G. Todd Lookout, and elevator, this project promotes accessibility to Edmonton’s River Valley and offers gorgeous views.  

YEG Fun With a Ride on the Funicular

YEG Fun With a Ride on the Funicular

Able to accommodate strollers, bikes, wheelchairs, scooters, etc. the Funicular (which accommodates up to 20 people) and elevator (holds up to 10 people), allow people of all ages and abilities to have quick access from downtown to the river valley. 

YEG Fun With a Ride on the Funicular

You can access it a block south of the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald, or we parked in Louise McKinney Riverfront Park and walked 5 minutes west. The kids thought it was so much fun and compared it to the glass elevator in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! It was great seeing so many people out enjoying this new project and exploring the river valley.

 

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Light Walk and A Blue Christmas at the Muttart

Visiting the Muttart Conservatory at night is a magical experience that isn’t offered too often.  The last time we were able to visit at night was during the bloom of Putrella the Corpse Flower earlier this year. For the remainder of December however, the Muttart is open until 9pm on Thursday evenings. Showcasing a feature called Light Walk (6-9pm), you can take an illuminated stroll through the Temperate Pyramid. 

Light Walk and A Blue Christmas at the Muttart

Light Walk and A Blue Christmas at the Muttart

Also part of the Thursday evening line up are visits with Santa on December 7 from 5-8pm (free with regular admission, take pictures with your own phone or camera), and Concert Series: Holiday Cheer with Amati Musicians December 14 and 21 from 6:30-8pm. 

Light Walk and A Blue Christmas at the Muttart

In addition to Light Walk, take time to explore A Blue Christmas in the Feature Pyramid.  The stunning colors and holiday features make for a great combination.  If you can’t make it on a Thursday evening, on Sunday December 10 from 10-3pm, visit the Muttart for A Blue Christmas.  There will be activities for the whole family outdoors and inside, with bannock making, caroling, making your own Christmas cactus and other crafts and activities. Regular admission applies. 

Light Walk and A Blue Christmas at the Muttart

Light Walk and A Blue Christmas at the Muttart

Light Walk and A Blue Christmas at the Muttart

The Muttart Conservatory is a favorite place of ours to visit all year round but the lights and the festive feel make it all the more special! For more information on hours, admission and events, visit their website HERE

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Giving Back in YEG

The holiday rush has already begun.  It seems to start earlier each year.  There have already been Christmas Parties held in early to mid November, Christmas markets and craft shows are in full swing and Black Friday sales have become a week long or more event. When you’re caught up in the rush it’s easy to forget about others that might need a bit more help during the winter and holidays.

It’s important for me to teach my children about giving back and supporting others in need.  This holiday season we’re talking about ways to give back and offer support. Below is a list of charities in the Edmonton area that could use your support during the holiday season and year round.

Edmonton Food Bank

Many holiday activities and events have food bank donation bins set up.  Gift cards and monetary donations also go a long way, and if you can’t afford to give, they always need volunteers. 

Christmas Bureau of Edmonton

Become a hamper sponsor or donate your time or money to this charity that makes the holidays a little brighter for people in need. 

630 Ched Santa’s Annonymous

Donate new toys for kids in need or volunteer for sorting or delivering. Drop in volunteer opportunities are available. 

Adopt A Teen

With all the excitement at Christmas focused on the younger children, sometimes the older kids are left out.  Make sure every teen enjoys a Christmas gift this year by donating to Adopt A Teen. 

Stocking Stuffers for Seniors

Many seniors could also use a pick me up this holiday season. Visit a London Drugs near you and pick up a tag with a wish list for a senior. 

Coats for Kids & Families

No one should be cold this winter. Drop off new or gently used winter gear to a Page the Cleaners location and they will clean and distribute to the United Way. Monetary donations are also accepted to help purchase specific needed items. 

Bissell Centre

Donate or volunteer to help the city’s most vulnerable.  For the next two days, if you donate on their website, your donation will be matched.  Year round, they are also in need of warm socks and toiletries.  

We can’t forget our furry friends this year. Many people work or volunteer year round to make sure pets stay happy and healthy.  A few weeks ago, my cat loving 8 year old decided she wanted to do a pet food and supplies drive to support a couple organizations that we visit.  If you are in the Edmonton area and would like to donate to her drive, message me for a pick up. 

Giving Back in YEG

You can visit our Facebook event for more information (PS the end date couldn’t be changed but we are accepting donations until Dec 6). You can also donate money, supplies or time directly to the organizations listed below. 

Edmonton Humane Society

SAFE Team Rescue

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Day 13: Physical Education

We all want our children to grow up to be healthy and strong, and the best way for that to happen is to lead by example.  But sometimes juggling homeschooling, working from home and taking care of the girls and home leave little time for exercise.  Therefore, it usually works best if I include them in the physical activities and we can work on improving our health together. 

Nature walks and hiking are definitely my favorite forms of exercise and we try to get out weekly.  We also enjoy doing yoga together, skating, visiting the recreation centres for swimming and indoor playgrounds, and trying new activities like snowshoeing. 

Day 13: Physical Education - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Day 13: Physical Education - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

They also have their own interests and love trying new activities.  In the past, my oldest has taken trial classes in aerial yoga and wall climbing, and has tried ballet, hip hop and jazz.  This year she enjoys her homeschool gym and dance classes and has a new found love of skateboarding.  

Day 13: Physical Education - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Day 13: Physical Education - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

My youngest loves to move and dance and this year she started out in a movements class in the spring that involved several activities like dancing with ribbons, playing with balls and obstacle courses.  She participated in a dance camp over the summer and is currently taking ballet. 

Day 13: Physical Education - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Day 13: Physical Education - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

As they get older, I look forward to more activities that we can enjoy together.  Hopefully the final set of training wheels will come off next year and we’ll enjoy bike rides together, and we’ll try more outdoor activities like canoeing and horseback riding. 

What activities do you like to do as a family to get your heart pumping? 

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Day 12: Science Experiments at Home

On Day 11 I talked about how we love taking homeschool science classes, but we also love doing science experiments at home.  The kids enjoy them so much, when my youngest was turning 5, she asked for a day of experiments for her birthday!

Day 12: Science Experiments at Home - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

I picked out a few that I though they would enjoy and had all the supplies laid out for the morning.  As is the case with most experiments, we had some hits and misses, but the ones involving candy were the biggest hits! 

Day 12: Science Experiments at Home - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

It’s fun to take our guesses at how we think the experiment will work out, and then talk about why it worked (or didn’t work) the way it did.  We have discussed the scientific procedure and how it’s ok for an experiment to fail.  It allows us to look at it again from a different perspective and try something else to make it successful.  

Day 12: Science Experiments at Home - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

We have a few wonderful books for DIY experiments and I also use YouTube, Pinterest and other blogs to find new ones. 

Day 12: Science Experiments at Home - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

What are some of your favorite successful experiments that you have tried at home?

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Day 11: Homeschool Science Classes

Homeschool science classes are different than science class in school.  In school, there’s a lot of theory to learn and memorize first, then they finally get to the cool stuff – hands on exploration and experiments.  But since homeschool science classes are usually only an hour or two, the majority of it is hands on. 

Our local science centre, Telus World of Science Edmonton, offers a great selection of homeschool science classes throughout the year, but the demand is so huge, they often fill up shortly after registration opens.  Each year it’s a race to get your spots, but once in, it’s guaranteed that your child will enjoy themselves and learn lots.

Day 11: Homeschool Science Classes - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

We visited Telus World of Science today for homeschool science classes and it was a great experience. I had just as much fun as my 5 year old learning about bubbles and the math that was part of the class was an added bonus. Then I had a proud moment in the Lights, Camera, Pixar class watching both my girls talk in front of the class and describe the projects their groups worked on. 

Day 11: Homeschool Science Classes - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Other Edmonton attractions and organizations also offer a great selection of science classes for homeschoolers.  We have attended classes at John Janzen Nature Centre, Edmonton Valley Zoo, The Muttart Conservatory, Northlands Urban Farm and the Bennett Centre.  

Day 11: Homeschool Science Classes - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Sleepovers and programing at Edmonton Valley Zoo and Royal Tyrrell Museum have also been highlights for my oldest.  I can’t wait to share the experience with my youngest as well in the next few years.

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Day 10: Learning Apps and Websites

There are many ways to engage children and get them interested and excited about learning.  Probably one that is a favorite of kids in these modern, tech heavy times are learning apps and websites.  

Day 10: Learning Apps and Websites - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

While we don’t do unlimited screen time, they do have free range once they are allowed their tablets.  They mostly gravitate to the usual at first – YouTube, Minecraft and just for fun games. But quite often they then venture into some of their learning apps.  

Some of our favorites that we’re currently using include Epic (online and app access to thousands of kid favorite books, videos and more), Reading Eggs / Eggspress (learn to read, grammar and comprehension), Math Seeds (numbers and math concepts) and BrainPOP, which covers many topics and subjects. 

Day 10: Learning Apps and Websites - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Day 10: Learning Apps and Websites - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

My oldest also enjoys Prodigy, a math game that presents questions via “battles” with creatures.  As a gamer, she loves the story line and the items and characters you collect. I enjoy it as it covers a wide range of math topics, and with the parent / teacher side of the game, you can set up quizzes and assignments and track their scores to see what areas need more work. 

Day 10: Learning Apps and Websites - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Day 10: Learning Apps and Websites - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Many of these apps and learning websites offer free trials or free memberships.  For ones that do cost, I am usually able to take advantage of a group buy posted in homeschool groups. I’m always learning of more great learning apps and websites from other homeschool moms.  Sometimes I am disappointed to find out a cool new game is only available on ipads, while we have androids, but we still have plenty to choose from

What are some of your children’s favorite learning apps. 

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Day 9: LEGO

LEGO is a universally recognized symbol of childhood.  Children love it – the colors, the mini-fIgures, the sense of accomplishment.  Parents sometimes have a love – hate relationship with it though – the storage, the price of an elaborate set, or stepping on a piece!! But then they see their children’s determination to finish a set and the hours of play time it evokes, and it makes a bit of that pain worth it!

Day 9: LEGO - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

We have had LEGO in the house for a few years now.  A favorite request at Christmas or birthdays, they now have some traditional kits mixed with specialty sets in their favorite characters and themes. 

Day 9: LEGO - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

It is a great activity for improving fine motor skills, problem solving and following instructions. Taken a few steps further, LEGO can also be used to discuss fractions, patterns, dimensions and area. 

Is LEGO a favorite activity in your house?  Do you build along with your kids? 

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Day 8: Poetry Tea Time

We tried it occasionally in the past, but this school year, we’re trying to make Poetry Tea Time a weekly event. It breaks up the afternoon and allows us to reconnect, and it has been going well so far.  A different tea and sweet each week and I usually read for 30-45 minutes.  

Day 8: Poetry Tea Time - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

I happened to spot poetry books while I was at the library a few weeks ago and they have been a great jumping point to the sessions.  As the year goes on, we’ll look at more styles, poets and writing our own. 

Day 8: Poetry Tea Time - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Day 8: Poetry Tea Time - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Do you include a poetry time in your homeschool?  Who are some of your favorite poets? 

 

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Day 7: Playgrounds

Either with just the three of us or meeting up with friends, the girls always look forward to the playground.  Fresh air, exercise, and a bit of independence make for a great afternoon or evening before bed.  Often, daytime homeschool playground meet ups will last for 2, 3, or more hours. Children are off creating stories while flipping around on the equipment and flying down slides, only coming back for a sip of water or a snack.

Day 7: Playgrounds - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities 

Then there are the proud moments.  The first time they figured out how to use their legs to keep swinging, the first time across the monkey bars, the first time down the big ramp on their skateboard.  Moments that came after lots of hard work and determination. 

Day 7: Playgrounds - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Day 7: Playgrounds - 31 Days of our Favorite Homeschooling Activities

Playgrounds are more than just homeschool gym class and a place to socialize, they are great for building character too. 

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