Bonding with Bugs and Old Mac Donald…

During the past two weeks of summer camp the children have had a chance to experience animals big and small. Our visit from Bugs without Borders taught us all the importance of insects on our earth. Seeing, touching and feeling (and smelling!) all of these amazing creatures surely gave us all a new found appreciation for them.

After learning about insets we decided to take our knowledge out in the field (park). A trip to the Toronto Music Garden at Harbourfront proved to be a place to spot many flying and crawling creatures. Exploring up and down this beautiful garden in full bloom was quite an experience! And a little pit stop to have a look at the planes landing at the Island Aiport was a must.

Delighted with all of the insects, Week 4, Old MacDonald, began with a visit from two of Toronto’s Mounted Police Officers. The children often see the officers riding by while playing in the playground and were quite thrilled to have them stop in for a visit. (And we thought the bugs were big!)

Sticking with the theme on Wednesday we hopped on the Queen Street car and headed down to Nathan Phillips Square where the Farmers Market takes place weekly. Here were we met by Market Maria, aka Maria Solakofski who runs the Guerrilla Gourmet. Maria led us through a sensorial experience of the market, talking to us about the farmers and the food. Keeping all of the children completely captivated from start to finish, Maria ended our trip by teaching us a dance. We all formed a circle and learned the “Bee Dance”. Fluttering their wings, buzzing and shaking their bums the children flew back to the streetcar! Thank you Maria for such a wonderful time!

We ended the week with a trip to the Toronto Mounted Police Stable in the Exhibition Place. It was a rainy walk there, but we braved it. Upon our arrival we were greeted by Paul, the Stable Manager. Paul took us on a walk through the stables and introduced us to some of the horses. Lucky for us, because of the rain the horses were training in the ring and we were invited to go and observe.

The children were amazed and in awe at the horses and the officers and all of their ‘tricks’ (as the children called it). The ring is where there are a variety of obstacles set up that simulate real life situations, preparing the horses for what they may encounter on the streets of Toronto. Among these obstacles there was a smoke machine, a teeter-totter that the horses had to walk across, and a giant ball that the horses pushed around.

Paul explained that eventually, when the horses were comfortable pushing the ball they would begin to push people, simulating a mob that they may encounter on duty. All in all this trip has definitely been a highlight of Summer Camp and I would like to thank all of the officers for their hospitality!

July 29, 2009. Uncategorized, Field Trips. No Comments.

From Sportball to Breakdancing…

We have just finished Week 2 of our Summer Camp program and we are all having a great time getting to know our neighbourhood and City and having special guests in to teach us new and exciting things.

This past week our theme was Run, Kick, Coordinate and all of our activities revolved around sports, coordination and movement. From tracing our bodies in sports poses and finger painting, to fabric painting our ’sweat towels’ and making fresh sqeezed orange popsicles for refreshment, this week was packed full of fun.

Tuesday we had Melissa from Sportball meet us at the park and man did she keep us moving! The children we running and jumping and trapping and ‘high fiving’ for 45 minutes straight! Sportball is a non-competitive sports program teaching children sports skills. The children were shouting goodbye to Melissa as she left the park and did not stop until she was out of sight.

We ended the week with an interactive performance from 2 breakdancers. Benzo and Andrew are both well know performers in the GTA and came to Westside to do a little demonstration. The children we mesmerized with their moves and excited to try them out! Enjoy the action shots!

On to week 3, Bonding with Bugs!

July 11, 2009. Uncategorized. No Comments.

Crazy Canucks

Well, our first week of Summer Camp has come to a close. It was a busy week: we had a field trip to High Park, made cardboard beavers and Canadian Flags, tie dyed socks red, had a picnic at St. Andrew’s Playground and ended it all with a feast of Strawberry Shortcake Friday afternoon.

I think the highlight of the week was Thursday morning’s trip to visit Richard and Diane, whom the children know from the Alex Wilson Community Garden. The couple purchase maple syrup from local sugar bushes and turn it into extraordinary gifts, which look more like artwork than edibles. They were kind enough to welcome us into their establishment, gave us all some maple candy lollypops and we watched with anticipation as the maple syrup boiled to 132 Celsius “hot!” the children exclaimed. Once boiled, Richard carefully poured it into a mixer and fastened the paddle attachment. After about ten minutes of mixing, it had thickened enough to become maple sugar. The children were amazed at the chemical reaction the maple syrup underwent and thoroughly enjoyed watching (and tasting!) the process. We purchased each child a token gift of maple sugar which they are excited to share with their families. Thanks Richard and Diane. Their website is
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July 3, 2009. Uncategorized. No Comments.