Eldon Water Park and Playground

As one of the 5 Spray Parks in North VancouverEldon Park is one of the least well known and often least busy. Nestled in the Edgemont area, not too far away from the Capilano Suspension Bridge, this park boasts a huge open grassy field, a small tame water park, a simple playground, as well as a washroom.

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Further off at the same park is a second playground, some ‘antique’ climbing sculpture / structures, as well as a tennis court.

 

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The water park is great for more hesitant kids, while the play structure is very toddler friendly. Though I wish they had a larger play structure closer to the water park as well, the kids always seem to find ways to play on the small structure without getting tired of the limited options. Yay for creativity!!

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Checking Off My Summer Bucket List

I’m kind of in denial that Summer is almost over. It’s been a beautiful summer, filled with an uncharacteristic number of hot and sunny days. Earlier this summer, I shared with you my Bucket List for a Very Active Summer… now that it’s coming to a close, I’m looking back and feeling pretty good about our summer.

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  1. Take another weekend family trip - done! We went to Springs RV Resort in Harrison Hot Springs. I had another weekend planned, but it will have to wait for next summer. Maybe I’ll throw together a girls night away or something instead!
  2. Spend a day on Bowen Island - not done :(
  3. Hike at least once per week, check! Sadly, Aiden’s getting kind of tired of it, but not Damien! I’ll need to branch out to new hiking areas to keep it fresh. Check out my list of the best hikes in North Vancouver with kids, followed up by Jen’s guest post on Intermediate Hikes for Kids
  4. Spend a day at the pool - done! We’ve been there 3 or 4 times already!
  5. Spend whole days at the beach - not done :(
  6. Visit Rocky Point Park - done! It was so much fun!
  7. Go to Playland / the PNE - hoping to go next week?
  8. Go berry picking! – not done. May end up apple picking instead?
  9. Get ice cream in the middle of the day, just because! Done!
  10. Set up a lemonade stand - not done, high on my priority list… just, so much to co-ordinate! ;)
  11. Hit up the bouncy castles in West Van on a rainy day – done, twice!
  12. Spend more lazy afternoons playing in the pool and sprinkler - many times done!
  13. Always have homemade popsicles ready - check! Our latest are watermelon with coconut water and maple syrup. Yum!!
  14. Plan an early Fall trip without the kids - high on my to-do list ;)
  15. Spend more time with family and friends - I feel like we’ve had some amazing adventures with our friends and I just put together a last-minute BBQ open house… because, why not?!
  16. Plan a family week-long vacation, not planned, but it WILL get done!
So, that’s 10 out of 16? Not bad!!

As for Aiden’s personal bucket list, we have had trips to all of the places he wanted to go! Fun 4 KidzBearfoot Playground and Science World!! I think he wishes we could go to the outdoor pool every day, and for sure going to Playland is high on his priorities, but I feel like he’s had a fantastic summer.

I still wish we had time for more weekend trips, but we’ll have to make those up with some fun trips in September perhaps. Plus, our trip will still happen, maybe in November? Maybe over the holidays? We’ll make it happen. I’m kind of glad we’ve been here while it’s been so beautiful – who knew Summer in Vancouver could be so amazing?!

Caught in the Act: Damien Climbs Out of His Crib

Damien has been struggling with bedtime for the past month or so. While he’s generally been a decent sleeper, he’s gone back to waking in the night (yay teething!) and struggling at bedtime, wanting someone to stay with him or crying when he was always content to sing or play until tired. Typical 2 year old stuff. 

Since the summer has been hot, Damien hasn’t worn his sleep sac. Aiden preferred to wear a sleep sac with a diaper under it, with a fan or the air conditioner on, but Damien doesn’t like the fan and so sleeps in shorts or just a diaper. As such, his legs are pretty much free. While Aiden never climbed out of the crib even once before we converted it to a toddler bed (at 33 months), Damien is now able to lift himself out.

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Caught in the act, as you can see. He is more likely to do this if I am not at home, since he is really mad when anyone else puts him to bed right now. He learned this about a week ago. We have the video monitor, so we’ve been watching him close by to make sure he isn’t climbing out. So far, he only attempts this if he is mad, never when he wakes up. 

We need to convert his crib to a bed, we know. It’s been a busy week. But I am not looking forward to these bedtime antics being exacerbated by the lack of physical boundaries. Bedtime is going to soon become a disaster. 

We have already slightly pushed back bedtime to help him be more tired. The next step, sadly, will likely be to cut out his nap (if antics continue). He’s a good napper, generally sleeping for about 2 hours or so, but I’ve known for a while that he could do without it. He wakes too damn early in the morning, so without a nap I know he’d extend his night and that would be great. And he’s generally not grumpy around nap time, though he is for sure tired. 

The reason I haven’t dropped his nap so far is that during nap time I have a short window to work (about 40 minutes), followed by some time with Aiden. When Aiden begins school, my work time would extend even further. I kind of don’t want to lose that just when I finally have an opportunity to work more during the day!! So, it’s selfish. 

Creating an Invitation to Play

Have you ever heard of an “invitation to play”? Essentially, the concept is to set up some open-ended materials (craft materials or toys) and invite your child to play. The goal is not to create an environment where there are “rules” or “instructions,” but rather an opportunity to explore. 

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You can put pretty much anything together to create an invitation to play. I have found that simply having the materials set out will prompt interest, no matter how I present it. The stamps may sit in a drawer for weeks without being used, but voila! I put them on the table with ink and paper ready, and guess who is so excited to use them? 

I don’t do this all the time, I believe kids need to figure out how to cure their own boredom, but from time to time it helps them calm down or pass a rainy afternoon. 

Some of the organized crafts and invitations to play I have involved many little bowls or cups and well… that’s messy and finicky and requires all mini bowls to be clean when I need them. I recently purchased a chip and dip tray for $1 from Walmart and it’s made for a great place to set up all the odds and ends I may gather for a craft or activity. Plus, it is great for taco night ;)

Do you have favourite “invitation to play” activities? Share them in the comments!

Damien Rocks Out on His Guitar

Damien loves to make music. Usually it’s on his drums, but lately he’s taken to picking up his ukelele. Up until this week, Damien insisted on holding the guitar kind of backwards and no amount of correction would get him to change his mind about how best to hold it.

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This week, Damien discovered he can hold the guitar properly (though left-handed, when he’s actually right-handed?), and he is so proud of himself. He has been rocking out all week, dancing and doing the lead-guitar-step-forward thing when he starts his jam. He moves his hands on the struts and even counts himself in (one, two, three, four!). Seriously, cuteness like this can’t be taught.

So, thank you to the Night Market for all the musical exposure for my little rocker-to-be!