Swimming Like A Mermaid!

 

The Little Mermaid was my favourite movie growing up and still remains at the top of the list today. However, as Ariel desperately longed to have legs to walk on land, I have always been eager to soar deep beneath the surface of the sea — perhaps this is what led me to become a Scuba Diving Instructor. Recently, there has been somewhat of a mermaid takeover in the media and pop culture, but it came as a surprise to find out that Ottawa actually has a Mermaid Academy! That’s right, at Aqua Mermaid, you can learn to swim like Ariel.

Aqua Mermaid is the world’s largest mermaid swimming school where people book mermaid swimming lessons, private events, celebrate special occasions or simply join for fitness. Families love bringing their friends and kids to Aqua Mermaid because of how fun and great of an experience it is. I brought my two nieces (ages 9 & 11) and nephew (age 6) to try out their fun beginning class and explore exactly how it feels to sport a mermaid tail and propel yourself through the water!

The class was held at the YMCA downtown, right in front of the Canadian Museum Of Nature. Upon arriving we were greeted by a super friendly instructor, Marielle (sounds a bit like Ariel doesn’t it?) Marielle explained what types of activities the class would hold and the outline for the hour we were there. She then gave each child their very own mermaid tail and explained how to wear and take care of their tails, then it was time to hit the pool for a quick swimming test to assess their comfort level in the water! Over the course of an hour she had them swimming laps in their tails first supported by floaties, then without, followed by a series of fun games and activities, finishing off with a photo shoot in the warm pool.

The kids were smiling the entire time and it was wonderful to see them try something new, that was equal parts fun and challenging!

Aqua Mermaid hosts group events (or have discovery mermaid swimming lesson for smaller groups) that range from 1 – 2 hours of mermaid fun. Every event includes mermaid swimming, time for photos and a dedicated mermaid coach that will teach you how to swim with a mermaid tail while playing fun games. If you’re looking for an awesome time, a unique experience and a challenging workout, definitely check them out!  Book today.

Adventures At Queenswood Stables

I am always on the hunt for fun and unique things to do with my toddler in the city of Ottawa. Because we live in Orleans and my little one doesn’t have a strong affection for the car, it’s imperative that I look for activities that are close to home. This Spring, we were delighted to have the opportunity to visit Orléans premier riding stables and the experience we had could not have been more positive.

When creating our most recent Traveling Tot program, I was beyond excited at the possibility of bringing our group to Queenswood Stables. Without having a background in horseback riding, or really any experience with these majestic creatures, outside of the occasional horse drawn carriage ride, or being a spectator at the Musical Ride, I had absolutely no idea what we were in for.

When we arrived, we were greeted by an extremely friendly and warm woman named Linda, who gave our Moms and Tots a glimpse of what their Pony Ride program was all about. Ranging from infant siblings to 4 years, each child and parent got something different from our experience. We had a tour of the stable and got to see many of the resident horses. Our children learned to brush the horses, and the kids each got to head out doors to ride on the amazing schooling ponies. In all of the activities we’d done this season, this was the one that had the kids both the most excited, while also calm and focused at being presented with such a unique experience. Their smiles were magnificent as each one took off on their horse; and the memory of that day will truly be imprinted in my mind forever.  Some mom`s last experience around horses was years ago and it was almost equally as enjoyable seeing the moms light up alongside their littles. The combination of a competent staff, amazing horses and calm vibe at the stable allowed for a unique experience as we explored this activity together.

After the each child took their turn on one of the horses, they brought out a big John Deere tractor for the kids to play on. It’s an amazing thing, watching 14 children climb, touch and pretend to drive a massive motor vehicle. The excitement of the day had them lined up to get their shot in the drivers seat (no one actually drove), but watching them was almost as enjoyable as their interaction with the ponies.

Queenswood Stables offers a Pony Ride program for toddlers – six year olds, as well as riding lessons (beginning at age 7+), activity days and Summer Camps! Spaces are filling for this summer so reach out to them today to find out how you and your child can have a truly magical experience with these gentle giants, and the amazing team of Queenswood.

http://www.queenswoodstables.com/camps-queenswoodstables/

 

 

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!