Review – SPLAT Children’s Art Studio

A creative new way for little ones to have fun has just opened up in St Laurent shopping centre, and we could not be more excited! SPLAT is a locally owned Art Studio and Play Centre for all ages, that focuses on allowing children to develop and explore all forms of Art (Music, Theatre, Crafting and more! ) This week our Orléans Traveling Tots had the opportunity to visit SPLAT for the first of 6 field trips, and the place delighted both the children and mamas alike.

I turned my head for one second! Good thing they had a washing station!

We were greeted by their senior staff member Marie, who is warm, kind and has a genuine love of children. She walked me through the various sensory stations throughout the studio and explained the purpose behind each one. The stations included a sand table, an immediate favourite of all the little ones who entered. A sensory bin station complete with bins of buttons, feathers, beads and a unique colour sorting bin where children are given the task of colour coding fluffy balls. There’s a water station that was a personal favourite of my little one. Here she was given the chance to paint a baby doll, and wash off the paint using various tools — nail brushes, sponges, toothbrushes and different toys. They have painting tables, craft tables, a chalk board wall, and a percussion wall, where the children are invited to make as much noise as they please. They also have a beautiful play kitchen area complete with every dish, pot or pan a child could imagine. Finally, there’s a stage with a real microphone for karaoke, and a dress up area with costumes your little one can try on.

Sand tables were a huge hit!

If felt great to see our kids let loose, get messy, and explore in such a clean, safe and unique environment. Here they could be as loud as they wanted, as creative as they wanted and ultimately, spend hours in the same place and never get bored! The major BONUS was never having to worry about cleaning up their mess when they were all done!

To say this place is clean and tidy is an understatement. With so much going on you would assume there would be a mess everywhere, but their staff have an incredible way of keeping up with it, so much so that when the 14 children left, it didn’t even look like they’d been there. 

Although SPLAT is open to all ages, I would recommend that the ultimate fans would be children six and under. The team comes up with unique crafts of the week, which would mostly appeal to kindergarten ages and beyond. Our Tot group are all below 3 years of age and most opted out of sitting for a craft and just engaged in free play. 

SPLAT is now offering a loyalty card that gives parents five visits for $60 — that’s $40 in savings! They also offer Birthday parties, that will tailor a craft specifically for your little ones special day! Such a great thing for parents to consider as you can walk away, mess free!

We loved every minute of our experience at SPLAT and are so pleased that something so fun, creative and educational is available to our children. We know that by providing opportunities for children to actively use their senses as they explore their world through ‘sensory play’ is crucial to brain development. So we now have a place that our children LOVE and are learning valuable tools for navigating the world at the same time!

I can’t wait to put my loyalty card to good use!

Washing babies was such a hit!

Sick Mom

Last week, one of my fears became a reality. I was helping my baby manage her teething related pain, only to realize that something worse was happening. Her gnawing and rosy cheeks turned into ear pulling and her twinkle was missing from her eyes. She was sick. And I was too.

Dealing with a sick baby is hard enough, but I had yet to experience parenting while being sick myself. I tried every trick in the book, from lemon tea, to garlic to neti pot sessions galore. I tried pretending I was not sick, which was really helpful. So finally, I just owned it. I was sick and had a sick baby and an active three year old to continue to depend on me. I learnt a lot in those 4 days. I wanted to share what I found helpful, and most importantly, what the experience taught.

  1. Drop all expectations: I have done this many time during my parenting journey. I went from someone who swore my kids would never have screen time, to someone who was ok with it now and again. From never eating in the car to, having a car floor routinely covered in veggie straws. To having a clean house with laundry always done, to living in  a home that others can tell a family lives there.(How did I not think that was okay?) But my expectations when I was sick dropped even more. I did not have the energy to do it all, or even the half of it that I usually do. I let things pile up, my house got messy, and somehow we all made it through just fine. I realized just how much I do in a day by seeing how things became when I could not expect that from myself. It secretly gave me a sense of pride to know just how much I was typically accomplishing in a day. But it also made me consider that maybe I am doing too much, and wonder if I needed to drop a few things off the “to do list” so I could really live each moment with my kids.  Since being sick, I have got things back to somewhere between where I once hope for (pre kids) and how they were when I was sick. And it feels more organized than ever having had a bit of a break.
  2. Say “No”: I am fully aware that I take on too much. I strive to be a friend that anyone can call if they need me whenever, a caring daughter, a loving mother and wife and a thoughful career woman, giving each role 100%. If someone asks, email or texts, I will respond and I will be there to help. When I was sick, I said, “Sorry, I really can not right now”, and realize just how little I establish such personal limits given how foreign that felt. I missed a new friend’s son’s birthday, something I would never normally do. Instead my husband took our son and they had a blast! I cancelled a meeting, and a playdate. You know what though? People understood. Life went on. I guess I feared what would happen, and what people would think. Now it is clear that if you are genuine, people understand. And if they do not, they are not worth it. We all know how much more valuable our time and energy are now that we all have less.
  3. Cuddles Heal: I could not play 2 hours of hot wheels with my son or participate in puppet shows, or clap or dance or sing. But oh man could I still cuddle. I nursed my baby and cuddled my big boy, and snuggled in all together. I was still able to show my kids and my husband how much I loved them. Their closeness helped me. That is, until it didn’t…
  4. Space: I needed some physical space. Totally odd, when it comes to my kids, but being sick made it happen. I took the space, offered lots of independent activity choices and let my partner take over captain of the ship. It was amazing to see him multi tasking with diapers and dinner and organizing the day. I appreciated the help, and took the time to rest.
  5. Seek Help: I went to Orleans Urgent Care, got my sinus infection diagnosed, and got on some antibiotics!
  6. Talked to my Son: I used the time as a learning/ empathy building moment and explained to my son that I wish I could play with him but could not manage to do much. He was caring and seemed to understand. But was realllllly happy when I felt better and the got the hot wheels back out.

I am back to health now, and my girl is doing well too. I made it through being a sick mom, and can honestly say that I appreciate my health more than ever. I also got a chance to rethink some things, some choices, some ways of being. I know I am lucky to have a caring husband who happened to be in town (he travels often for work) so of course this experience made me consider supports that would be helpful for women who do not have a partner or family close by. I am brainstorming and have some ideas in the works, and would love to hear yours. I know many parents get upset when a kid comes to daycare/school with a cough or runny nose, but consider if behind that cough was a sick mom who knew she could not provide the attention her little one needed, because she herself was suffering. How can we support one another through these long winters, when runny noses are the norm and flu season is at full swing? How can we support each other to feel okay to say “no”, let expectations drop, and accept help? I do not have the answer but think it starts with first being first kind to ourselves.