Around Town with the Wee Ones April-May 2016

Around Town with the Wee Ones

3rd Edition, April 2016, By Krista Wilson For Vancouver Start Smart Preschool

It was a long and wet winter this year. And although we’re more than ready for spring, it always seems to sneak up on us. No more dreaming about sunshine and longer days, they’re here! And along with the nicer weather comes planning for outdoor activities, summer camps, and day trips with the family. We hope this edition of Wee Ones helps you plan some fun excursions with your family, and maybe a little time to yourself too.

Get Outta Town…

Thomas the Tank Engine in Squamish

Thomas the train will be in Squamish again this year at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park. The kids LOVE this event so buy tickets now for a specific train time over the Victoria Day long weekend or the following weekend. The train ride itself is very short, but plan to spend some time riding the miniature train and checking various other train displays set up in the adjacent building. Some food available on site but lineups can be long so a bag of snacks might save the day.

Explore Steveston

Steveston makes for a great family day trip. It only takes about 30 minutes to get there, and there is so much to do in Richmond’s charming seaside village. Here’s one itinerary for a day out in Steveston (aka Storybrooke). First, head for Garry Point Park to give the kids a run-around after the drive. This is a beautiful grassy park area just past the Cannery, where you can fly kites, bike along the dyke, or play at a nearby beach area. Bring warm clothes as the Point can be windy and cool all year round. Now make your way into the Village to check out the fishing boats at the wharf and have fish and chips for lunch at Pajo’s. After some food, head to the playground and waterpark next to the Steveston Community Centre. It can get quite hot here and shady areas are limited so pack hats and sunscreen. This place is a kid’s dream and they may not want to leave, so you might have to tempt them with ice cream at Timothy’s or Screamers. Before you head home, stop at the tourist office and collect some information for your next visit…maybe the Sunday Farmers and Artisan Market or a tour of the machines at the Cannery or the bunkhouses at the Shipyards historic sites.

Fort Langley National Historic Site

A fortified trading post and the birthplace of British Columbia in 1858, Fort Langley offers a fun environment for kids to learn about the history of BC. Learn about blacksmithing, trading and panning for gold, while the wooden battlements and Xplorers scavenger hunt are great when kids want to pick up the pace. It’s about an hour’s drive from Vancouver and the whole family can get in for less than $20.

Centennial Beach

With gorgeous views and sandy beaches that seem to go on forever, Centennial Beach is a fantastic family day out. There is ample parking; picnic tables, tennis courts, a boardwalk and washrooms nearby; and you can eat at the beach cafe or bring your own BBQ. The kids love beachcombing and playing in the warm water. Also a popular spot for bird watching, see if the kids can spot any sandpipers, eagles, owls, hawks, or blue herons. Centennial Beach is in Boundary Bay Regional Park in the Tsawwassen part of Delta – about a 30-minute drive. Take Hwy 99 South to exit 28 onto Highway 17 toward ferries. Turn left on 56th and left again on 12th.

Summer Camps for Preschoolers…

Arts Umbrella

The Arts Umbrella, a not-for-profit and national leader in children’s arts education, offers a large selection of music, art and theatre summer camps for 3-4 year olds and 5-6 year olds at Granville Island. These camps are definitely pricier than community centre offerings but they pair two high-quality programs into one camp. There’s also an option for early drop offs. Call 604 681 5268 to speak to staff or register online at . Be sure to choose the Vancouver location.


Every summer hundreds of kids learn to bike at the Pedalheads bike camps in Vancouver. If your child has a new runner bike or is ready to shed the training wheels, consider registering them in the Pedalheads bike camp. Their camps run at various times and locations across Vancouver, with the closest being David Livingstone Elementary School.


The Sportball program offers multi-sport and sport-specific programs for 2 to 12 year olds. The coaches are incredibly caring and encouraging and their techniques creative and engaging. If you want to see 20 preschoolers sit in a line and listen attentively while in a gym surrounded by balls, register for a Sportball class. The kids get a great runaround, while building fundamental sport skills and just having a great time. The Sportball program is offered at community centres across Vancouver.

Inspiration for our Little Performers…

Will Stroet’s CD Release Concert

Will Stroet – many of you will know him from the CBC show Will’s Jams – recently recorded his new album Wordplay. Support a local children’s entertainer and get down with your kids at Will’s CD release show at the Jewish Community Centre (Oak and 41st) on Sunday April 17. The 11am show is sold out but a 4.30 show has been added. Get your tickets now at

Raffi Cavoukian

Who? Exactly. Raffi needs no last name. In fact, it’s just downright confusing at this point since most of us have been listening to Raffi since we were kids. Raffi’s mother-in-law discovered his talent for connecting with children through music while singing at her preschool in the 1960s. He gained popularity so quickly that he moved from small school groups to large concerts within months. Raffi believed that children’s exposure to TV should be limited and refused to market to children, giving up many lucrative endorsements and production deals. It’s both ironic and an amazing achievement that a search on amazon today for the most popular children’s CDs finds numerous Raffi albums nestled amongst Disney soundtracks. Tickets to see Raffi at the Orpheum on Sun April 23, 2pm sold quickly but you could call 1.855.985.5000 to inquire. To read more about Raffi and his work with music, children and the environment visit

Updates and Reminders…