Jump Gymnastics Comes to North Vancouver

Jump Gymnastics is the latest child-focused facility to open up in North Vancouver, expanding beyond their existing Yaletown location. With a philosophy on curriculum for “physical literacy,” the program was designed to give kids (6m – 8y) foundational skills to be active in a variety of sports and activities in their lives. 

The new North Vancouver Jump Gymnastics location is East of Second Narrows bridge on Dollarton Highway, in the same complex as Cove Brewing if you are craft beer people like we are ;)

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I had the opportunity to preview the space and try out one of their classes with Damien. Having been through 4 years of the more play-based Gymboree classes with the boys, before the North Van location was closed, and also experiencing the more rigid educational component offered by the Flicka gymnastics club with Aiden, I found Jump to be a nice medium. 

The class is 45 minutes (so is open gym) and includes 10 minutes of free play. The instructional component is broken up into circuits where your child is asked to perform various body movements. At Damien’s level, age 2.5, those included things such as star jumping, balancing on a beam, rolling balls down ramps, or walking across the parallel bars. The class also included some song times. All the components of the class were very age-appropriate and engaging, while also challenging and new. 

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The equipment is great and very interesting for little explorers. The teacher was bright and cheerful and helpful at the more complicated stations. Having been through a number of different gymnastics-like class types, I did feel that 45 minutes was a bit too short and would have preferred a longer class with a mix of free play and instructional time. I know Damien was sad to leave when his class was over! I mean, who wouldn’t want to roll in a pit of balls?!

I also found that the circuits, run one at a time, would get quite busy and it was hard to keep Damien on task. While he follows instructions very well, I think we both would enjoy a more laid back open gym vs a class. There are several open gyms available in their schedule, but most occur during Damien’s nap time and are very short in duration. If you do want to attend one, it’s recommended to pre-register. 

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Taking the Instructions Out of Art Time

Yesterday I posed a link to the ActiveMama Facebook page with some Halloween craft ideas. Among the ideas was a super cute Mummy decorated with masking tape (from No Time for Flashcards). So easy, I thought! I’m totally all about the easy. 

Easy mummy craft for kids

Well, the kids were tired yesterday afternoon and starting to bicker. I took a sheaf of paper (first off, I’m out of black paper) and cut out a quick gingerbread person shape. I was about to give the kids some cute Halloween-themed washi tape that I had, when I realized:

  1. Giving them tape and asking them to cut it to specific lengths was not going to buy me the quiet time needed to complete dinner
  2. IT WAS TOO STRUCTURED

I’m kind of anti-structure when it comes to crafts and art. I think offering a child a limited set of materials with “instructions” to follow really limits their creativity. I avoid it whenever possible, particularly now as Aiden is in school. So, I kept my mouth shut about the tape and handed Aiden and his best buddy the shapes and told them to have fun. I accidentally let slip the “you could make a Mummy” but quickly recovered with “or any Halloween creature. Whatever you want!”

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Of course, my blunder meant that both boys created a Mummy first (see how used to instruction they are?!) but then they got into it. Aiden began a Frankenstein (he still wants to colour the feet green and apply eyes), accenting it with torn clothes and trimming the face shape and hands. His buddy made an awesome zombie. 

My supplies? A paper, a bin of odds-and-ends (buttons, beats, google eyes) and freedom to grab anything from the craft cabinet. 

Allowed to explore their own creativity, the boys spent a half hour at this craft (that’s a huge time for boys on a playdate). Even Damien scribbled on a man for a bit. 

SUCCESS. 

Thrift or Treat at Value Village

This year, Aiden decided that his 5th birthday party will be Halloween-themed. After many theme changes over the past year, I was surprised that this theme stuck. I also realized it really gave me a chance to throw two parties in one! And I have always wanted to throw a Halloween party. 

The downside is, with the party being held at home, our typically front door decor wasn’t going to cut it. I have been scouring all the best Halloween deals in town to get some kid-friendly (i.e. not too scary) Halloween decor without breaking the bank. That’s why I was so thrilled when I was invited to visit Value Village for a little shopping trip. 

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Value Village has one of the largest selections of new and gently-used costumes and accessories for kids and adults alike, and some decor too! Whether you’re shopping for a Halloween costume, or choosing now as an awesome time to stock up on dress-up clothes, you can’t beat the value!

I grabbed a cauldron from the second-hand decor and made my way around the store. My first score was a cute Darth Vader costume for Aiden. Though he’s already chosen his Halloween costume, he’s been really into dress-up lately. The costume was used, but the helmet and cape are brand new. When I got home, I had Ianiv try on the mask and he could totally wear it too ;)

Among my other scores were a cute Day of the Dead mask, some make-up, and skeleton earrings to go with my own skeleton costume! For home decor, which was my main goal, I supplemented my cauldron with some great pumpkin lights and some hanging skeletons. The whole bundle cost me $50.30 – a great deal!

If you are looking to get in on the Halloween deals at Value Village, North Shore Mama has put together a contest for one reader to win a $100 Value Village shopping spree so you too can go #ThriftOrTreat!

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Disclosure: I was asked to write a review of my experience at Value Village in exchange for a gift certificate covering a portion of my purchases. 

The Changing Seasons at Capilano Suspension Bridge

We have had annual memberships to Capilano Suspension Bridge since Aiden was a baby. Having gone every time of year, from the crazy busy Summer season to the serene moments of Autumn, I have to say that Halloween and Christmas are my favourite times to visit. 

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Weekdays in Autumn, the Capilano Suspension Bridge highlights the peace of the season. Without the crazy bustle of large crowds, you can truly take in the breathtaking views and the changing colours of the season. It’s breathtaking. 

They have filled every nook of the park with pumpkins, scarecrows and autumn leaves. It’s a great time to come and take some photos!

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