Give and Volunteer in Kelowna


Kelowna Santas is a volunteer initiative that works to provide a better Christmas for less fortunate children in Lake Country, Kelowna and West Kelowna.

Volunteering with Kelowna Santas allows you to bring joy to families this Christmas as you wrap and deliver presents for the people in the community that need it the most. 

It’s inspiring to see that so many members of our community want to make a positive impact in the lives of less fortunate children every year.

To give a gift, just visit one of the many drop locations to donate a new unwrapped gift.

+ Contact + Info

+ Register your family


Donate to the Vernon Salvation Army is to go to our website: and click on one of the ‘donate today’ buttons. You can also drop off donations to the House of Hope at 3303 32 Ave or the Thrift Store at Unit 1 – 5400 24 Street both in Vernon.

To volunteer, check out their volunteer page: to get information. Or call 250-549-4111 and ask to speak with the person in charge of volunteers.

Different volunteer positions include the Food Bank (sorting, distributing, packing hampers, etc.), Thrift Store, and Emergency Response (preparing and serving food off emergency trucks during emergency situations).

+ Contact and Info


The Christmas Hamper Program at Archway Society for Domestic Peace – a transition house for women in Vernon – invites members of the community to sponsor a Christmas Hamper for a family in need this holiday season. If you are interested in sponsoring a family, please reach out to Archway Society (contact info below) for more information.

+ Contact and Info

+ Wish List Ideas

+ Donate Money Directly


Be a Santa to a Senior in Vernon, Kelowna, West Kelowna and Penticton who may be isolated from friends or family this holiday season. Visit one of these participating London Drugs, and locate their Be a Santa to a Senior tree:

  • 4400 32 St., Vernon

  • 1950 Harvey Ave., Kelowna

  • 2111 Main St., Penticton

  • 2151 Louie Dr., Westbank

Each tree will be decorated with ornaments featuring seniors’ first names and their desired gifts. Buy the requested gift and return it to the store with the ornament attached. Community volunteers will wrap and deliver the gifts to local seniors in time for the holidays.

+ Contact and Info


Candy Cane Lane consists of several connecting streets in a quiet Rutland neighbourhood, where houses are decorated with spectacular holiday displays for the month of December. It’s free to visit, but visitors are asked to bring non-perishable items for the food bank.

Where: Gramiak Rd., Kelowna

When: From 5 p.m. until bedtime, every night throughout December.


Kelowna Women’s Shelter offers a safe place to stay, and essentials such as food, clothing, and toiletries for women in need. Residents are provided with emergency housing, as well as crisis intervention, support and outreach counselling, and children’s programs.

  • Head over here If you’re interested in donating to this important organization.

  • Quality used items are also welcome, and can be dropped of from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

  • For a comprehensive list of items most needed, or wish list items such as phone cards, movie passes, toiletries, pyjamas, and baby items, check out this useful PDF.

+ Contact and Info

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The NexusBC Making Spirits Bright campaign provides gift cards for items that low-income Vernon seniors want and need.

  • Purchase a gift card from a local store that can provide basic necessities (food, toiletries, clothing), and bring this to the NexusBC office along with a cheerful card.Add it to a small gift that they can unwrap on Christmas Day.

  • Useful gift cards include the Wholesale Club, Safeway, and Walmart.

  • Drop off your donation to NexusBC Community Resource Centre, 3201 30th St. Vernon

+ Contact and Info


With snow just around the corner, the NexusBC Community Resource Centre is in need of snow shovellers to help local seniors keep their driveways and sidewalks clear.

+ Contact and Info


Cutting Down Your Own Tree: Everything You Need to Know



The ins and outs, the good and the sappy

My husband is a bit of a traditionalist, especially at Christmas. He likes vintage ornaments, classic carols, and making the festive food he remembers from childhood. And this year, his passion for “Yules of Yore” meant he had a more “rugged” plan of procuring our Christmas tree: Heading into the snowy woods, armed with a saw and Christmas spirit to cut down our tree.

I had visions of re-creating the opening scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: Trudging through waist-deep snow with miserable kids and the wrong tools, returning home with a tree that not only didn’t fit, but was home to a rabid squirrel. In the end, the experience differed in some ways from that fateful movie moment… but in some ways, it was right on point. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about cutting down your own tree in the bush….



Fun fact for you: You’re allowed to cut down a free tree (for the purpose of Christmas festivities, mind you) from Crown lands, BUT … you need a permit. Luckily, they are easy to download and print. We’ve made it super easy by attaching a PDF of the permit right in our site. Click HERE.

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Trees can only be cut from designated areas, including hydro right-of-way, logging roads (within three metres/ten feet of the edge of the road), and open range lands. Don’t get sneaky and try to cut a tree down from private land, plantations, research areas, parks, or your neighbour’s yard, not matter now much you dislike said neighbour. Read more on restrictions and rules here.

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Don’t be a Clark Griswold by leaving unprepared. Bring:

  • Sturdy gloves (your hands will get impaled by twigs and whatnot).

  • Rope.

  • A tarp.

  • A saw or sawzall. (at this point if, you get pulled over by police, you will look like a murderer)

  • Good boots.

  • Hot coffee, hot chocolate, or coffee and chocolate mixed together (aka a mocha).

  • Non-grumpy children.

  • Snacks to keep children from becoming grumpy.

  • Your dog if she is good off-leash.

  • Your dog even if she isn’t good off-leash because she’ll think it’s fun.

  • Winter tires.

  • Your permit.

  • Some more snacks because your kids will eat the first batch on the ride up.

  • Christmas carols (but not Mariah Carey – that will drive everyone nuts).

  • Knowledge of the closest tree farm or Home Depot in case this all turns turns into a disaster (which it did for us. Read on).

  • Mitts for your three year old because you know if you forget them she will just try to make snowballs with her bare hands.

  • Patience.

  • A sense of adventure.



Other pointers:

  • You can cut down a maximum of three trees, but only for personal use.

  • Cut your tree from dry, rocky sites or slopes, which produce better Christmas trees.

  • Try to leave the bottom one or two branches on the stump of the tree, which may grow into another tree for future use.

  • Do not cut a big tree only to use the top portion.

  • Leave the area clean.

  • Conservation officers are out, so carry your permit and follow the rules.


We started yelling at our children that it was time to go at 10 a.m. We pulled out of our driveway at 11 a.m., because it took us an hour to locate and throw into the car: Our dog, a leash, thermoses of hot beverages, snow pants for children, toques for children, appropriately water-proof hand protection for all (or so we thought), windshield wiper fluid, peanut butter and jam sandwiches that children insisted on bringing (and which they would eventually eat while sobbing because, apparently, they hate peanut butter and jam sandwiches), rope and scissors, a blanket because kids said the car was cold even though it wasn’t, Goldfish crackers, an orange (bad idea), apple sauce (worse idea). Then we had to get gas, a sawzall from a friend, Tim Horton’s because we didn’t want to drink our hot beverages yet, and… we were off like a herd of turtles.

We got to the turn-off to Telemark (in West Kelowna) at 1 p.m. I had visions of the sun setting while we were out there. (spoiler alert: it did).

We took a logging road up, up, up a mountain, driving slowly on the slippery, snowy, windy road while craning our necks for possible Perfect Christmas Tree Options along the side of the road (as that’s where we’re permitted to remove trees). Despite being in what I considered to be the middle of nowhere, there were a LOT of people out sledding, standing around bonfires, skeet shooting, toboganning while being pulled behind pick-up trucks, chasing their dogs down the road, and having middle-of-the-woods potlucks with crock pots plugged into generators.

WHERE. ARE. WE? (real quote, uttered several times)

Lots of carrying of children happened

Lots of carrying of children happened

The trouble with the logging road was that it was steep up a hill on one side, and steep down a hill on the other. What we needed was a wide open meadow where we could plop the kids down into the snow and trudge along until we stumbled upon a beauty.

Eventually we pulled over to the side of the road, bundled the mini ones up (our three year old did NOT, in the end, have mitts), and let the kids smack sticks against trees while Dylan and I shook snow off branches and remarked how all the trees looked like, well, giant Charlie Brown trees.

We eventually found one that checked off several boxes (ie appeared to be the right height; contained no visible squirrel; had an amount of branches; and was roughly 10 feet from the road) and I, who had long since resigned myself to the fact that we would need to abort on this whole plan and head straight to Grumpy’s tree farm, announced: “That’s the one! CUT IT DOWN WE’RE DONE HERE!”

Thank goodness for the sawzall.

Behold photographic evidence of our adventure…

We mounted it to the roof of the car while the kids danced around, spilling hot chocolate that they deemed “too hot” and “too sweet” and yet “too cool” and “not sweet enough.” We then descended back down the mountain, slowly, so as to avoid pick-up truck toboganners and wayward dogs. And then we were on the highway, going a painful 55 km/hr (sorry to anyone driving behind us) as my five year old watched the wind whip the branches on our tree through the sun roof, yelling: “ALL THE NEEDLES ARE FALLING OFF!!” and my husband implored me to go slower because THINK OF THE TREE! and rolled his window down, sticking his arm out to urge drivers behind us to pass.


By the time we got home and put the tree up in the stand, it had fallen to darkness (ie it was roughly 3:40 p.m.), and I took one look at our marvelous, carefully-selected family Christmas tree and announced: “I’m not putting lights on that thing. When does Home Depot close?”

The kids watched Christmas movies by the fire and I drank coffee at the kitchen island while my husband went back out into the cold to buy us a store tree that someone else had cut down for us, bless them.

We now have a beautiful non-Charlie Brown scraggle tree lit and decorated in our living room, and our hard-earned nature tree stands tall (actually, it doesn’t – it tipped over in the wind two days ago and I haven’t picked it back up) on our deck, overlooking our neighbourhood for all to enjoy, it too adorned with twinkling lights that may have broken when the tree fell in the wind. (Amendment to this story: Our indoor Home Depot tree also fell over, and I came home to smashed ornaments, water in every direction, and a guilty-looking dog. Learn from me: Get a good tree stand).

Our lesson for next year:

  • Research better places to cut down trees

  • Find somewhere open

  • The logging road we used was not ideal

  • You live and learn

Overall, it was a blast, and I can see how cutting down a Christmas tree might become a beloved family tradition. We didn’t knock it out of the park on our first year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t.


Christmas Lights around the Okanagan

Scroll down for full events listing!



Tree of Hope

KELOWNA: In it’s 24th season, this dazzling 120-foot tall tree – which has 25,000 bulbs – can be seen shining down on Harvey Ave in the Landmark neighbourhood. The tree is not an interactive experience – but it’s pretty to look at! Nov. 25th until Jan. 2nd 2021. More info -HERE-


Vernon Lights Tour


VERNON: Want that festive feeling? Hop in the car, grab yourself some hot chocolates from a local coffee joint and explore the various neighbourhoods around Vernon. See the houses that have done it up right. More info –HERE


Festival of Trees

KELOWNA: Step into a forest of beautifully-decorated Christmas trees at Mission Hill Winery. Vote for your favourite, with partial proceeds going to B.C. Children’s Hospital. Nov. 29th – Dec. 23rd. Tickets are $60. More info -HERE-


Armstrong Lights

ARMSTRONG: Looking for some brights lights and a small city? Check out their beautifully decorated downtown and Spirit Square (starting November 27th). Grab a hot chocolate, put some Christmas music on and enjoy time with the family. More info –HERE-

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Victorian Christmas

VERNON: Visit O’Keefe Ranch and enjoy character actors, a gingerbread contest, roasted chestnuts, treats from the general store, live music and more while you stroll through the Christmas lights and beautifully decorated historic houses! More info -HERE-


Gellatly Nut Farm

KELOWNA: Walk under an archway of dazzling lights at Gellatly Nut Farm in West Kelowna. Enjoy carolers and hot chocolate by the bonfire or pick up some roasted nuts. Event runs from Dec. 10th to 19th. More info -HERE-


Carnival of Lights

VERNON: Visit Vernon’s Spirit Square to feel that festive holiday feeling. Walk through a tunnel of beautiful, sparkly lights. Event runs until December 30th. More info -HERE-


Candy Cane Lane

KELOWNA: Throughout the month of December several blocks in Rutland become a dazzling wonderland known as Candy Cane Lane. Dress warm and walk the route or drive through the neighbourhood from the comfort of your car! Info -HERE-


Stuart Park Ice Rink

KELOWNA: Head downtown and go skating under the lights. Warm yourself by the bonfire, or take a picture in front of the giant tree. It’s free to skate, and rentals are available on site. Hours –HERE


Kettle Valley

KELOWNA: A neighbourhood with pretty houses and bright, colourful Christmas lights – sign us up! Take in these holiday light displays from the comfort of your car and enjoy views of the valley, lake and city! More info –HERE





With nearly 1 million lights, this will be their brightest year yet! There’s a new location for memorable Christmas photos: a magical forest, complete with Anna and Elsa, Belle and Cinderella and Ariel and Sleeping Beauty! Also there’s the Canadian Tire Kamloops Holiday Gazebo, endless light displays, the 250ft Tunnel of Lights, 10 cozy fire pits, hot chocolate and a 20 ft tall outdoor light tree. Ride the Wildlife Express Miniature train! Dec. 10th – Jan. 3rd. More details about everything -HERE-



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Canadian Music Hall of Fame Steven Page and The Strumbellas will lead an all-star cast of performers aboard the CP Holiday Train for the 2021 “Holiday Train at Home” concert. The concert will be streamed on Facebook, YouTube and -here- on Saturday, Dec. 18th at 6pm. More details -HERE-


Visit Santa in Okanagan

Is there anything more exciting than sitting on Santa’s lap, and whispering exactly what you want for Christmas? Well, we want to make to make sure that all Okanagan kids have that chance, so we’re sharing all the locations, dates and times the Jolly Old Man will be visiting our community! Drop us a line if you know if an event not in our list. And have fun!


What: Visit Santa in the centre court of Village Green Mall! Cost is $23 and you get two poses included and are available for digital download.

Where: Village Green Mall, Vernon -map-

When: December 1st – 23rd

More Info: Book your spot -here-

**They are asking that all people ages 12+ who want to sit with Santa be vaccinated


What: Bring your own camera and take a photo with Santa! Bonus: pets are welcome to come as well and snap a pic with the big guy. Also featured will be live music, roasted chestnuts, decorated historic houses, a gingerbread house contest, model trains and more!

Where: O’Keefe Ranch, Vernon -map-

When: December 4th, 5th, 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th (10am – 4pm)

More Info: Admission to Victorian Christmas is by donation. Advance tickets not needed.

**Vaccine passports not required


What: A holiday meet and greet with Santa! All visits are private and you book your appointment in advance. Package includes one printed photo with digital images sent to your email.

Where: Orchard Park Mall, Kelowna -map-

When: December 1st – 24th

More Info: Reserve your spot at -here-


What: Bring your camera and your best smiles for socially distanced photos with Santa! No tickets needed – the event is free! Please wear a mask while in line if you’re unable to socially distance properly.

Where: East Kelowna Hall, Kelowna -map-

When: November 28th (11am – 1pm) and December 12th (11am – 1pm)

More Info: Check out more info about this great market -here-

**Vaccine passport not required


What: A festive outdoor market with amazing local vendors. Bring your pup for a photo with Santa!

Where: Rustic Reel Brewing Co., Kelowna -map-

When: November 27th (11am – 9pm) and November 28th (10am – 5pm)

More Info: Donations from pet pictures with Santa will go to Paws It Forward.

**Vaccine passport not required


What: Artisan market, crafting, live entertainment, carolling, hot chocolate and SANTA!

Where: Rutland Centennial Park, Kelowna -map-

When: November 28th (12pm – 4:30pm)

More Info: Check out more info -here-


What: Photos with Santa! Also indoor and outdoor holiday shopping, mulled wine by the glass, wine tastings, raffle draws, live music and performers.

Where: Grizzli Winery, West Kelowna -map-

When: December 4th, 5th, 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th (11am – 4pm)

More Info: Family and pet friendly! No tickets required.


What: A family friendly events with Santa photos in front of “Santa’s Sleigh.” Photos are by donation with proceeds going to our local hospital.

Where: Barley Mill Brewpub, Penticton -map-

When: November 27th (1pm – 5pm)

More Info: Bring your own camera! Spots are first come, first served – grab a ticket number when you arrive!


What: Pictures with Santa by donation with 100% of money raised going towards the not-for-profit Naramata Daycare.

Where: Naramata Tea Cottage, Naramata -map-

When: November 27th (9am – 3pm)

More Info: Please email with a range of times you’ are available and you will have a time slot assigned to you.

Cross Country Ski and Snow Shoe trails



Silverstar Mountain Resort, VERNON


Discover the beauty, sweeping views and 700cm of annual snowfall in the Monashee Mountain range! Silverstar is located 22 km East of Vernon and is a full mountain resort offering a variety of activities and services.

More Info: -HERE-

Map: -HERE-



Sovereign Lake, VERNON


Check out Canada’s largest groomed network of cross-country ski and snow shoe trails! Sovereign Lake is a designated nordic centre 24 km East of Vernon. The high elevation, abundance of dry snowfall and mild winter temperatures provide for outstanding conditions.

More Info: -HERE-

Map: -HERE-



Predator Ridge, VERNON


Explore 1,200 acres on snowshoes! Predator Ridge is a golf community tucked up in the hills 15 km South of Vernon. In the winter, you will find a wonderland of snow, mountain & lake views, wildlife and un-groomed (but well tromped) snowshoe trails.

More Info: -HERE-

Map: -HERE-



Kelowna Nordic Club, KELOWNA


Perched in the hills, come and experience a unique skiing experience filled with state-of-the-art grooming and rustic facilities! Kelowna Nordic Club is 50 km east of Kelowna.

More Info: -HERE-

Map: -HERE-



Big White Mountain Resort, KELOWNA


Hailed as Canada’s largest ski-in, ski-out resort village, Big White is nestled high in the mountain tops! 56 km east of Kelowna, you will find your self in a vibrant little winter town full of things to do.

More Info: -HERE-

Map: -HERE-



Telemark Nordic Club, WEST KELOWNA


Discover stunning ski and shoe trails through snow-kissed forests with sweeping valley views. Telemark is a mountain gem 26km West of Kelowna (see map below in red).

More Info: -HERE-

Map: -HERE-


Create A Silk Scarf, Sip and Dip at Sperling Vineyards


  • Sunday, November 21, 2021
  • 10:30 AM  5:30 PM
  • Sperling Vineyards 1405 Pioneer Road Kelowna, BC, V1W 4M6 Canada

Details: Join us to create with the magic of water marbling! If you can sprinkle cheese on a pizza, and write your name with a pencil you can create magic with us!!

Choose one of our three workshop time blocks:

10:30am-12:30pm, 1pm-3pm, 3:30pm-5:30pm

Indoor event.

We bring the beautiful, ancient art of water marbling to the 21st century by inviting you to be the artist. Come and make your own water marbled silk scarf. Each artist chooses their colours and floats the paint one drop at a time on the surface of the water, then uses marbling combs, rakes, or stylus to create the design of their liking.

Tickets include all supplies to make your 14 inch by 72 inch silk scarf and wine tasting from BC’s oldest vineyard. Love and labour since 1925.

Tickets are booked by time slot…for example, 1030am -1230pm silk scarf. In that time slot we will show you a demonstration, and then you will create your masterpiece! Up to 8 tickets per time slot available. Times will be on your printable ticket.

All current Covid rules apply for workshop

If you are looking for information about a private or group session please email Or you can check out our website at

Cost: $49

Host: Colour Drop Design

Events are subject to change by the host. Check with them before jumping in the car.

Vaccine Card Required: No

Location: 1405 Pioneer Road, Kelowna

Ice Cream Gelato and Soft Serve

KELOWNA – Our 7 Faves

Moo-Lix Ice Cream

What: Hard scoop

About: Family-operated shop since 1998 serving gourmet ice cream and sorbet, and fresh-made waffle cones (including gluten-free) made in-house. Take-home also available.

Two locations:

239 Bernard Ave (downtown) – see map below

948 McCurdy Rd (near the movie theatre) – see map below

Parlour Ice Cream

What: Hard scoop *Kristen’s fave*

About: Serving up homemade, artisan ice cream and waffle cones using unique locally-sourced ingredients. Grab a scoop in-store, or take a pint home!

Where: 1571 Abbott St (downtown) – see map below

Annegrets Chocolates

What: Gelato

About: Downtown eatery that serves 14 flavours of gelato, hand-made daily. Take-home containers available.

Where: 19-565 Bernard Ave (downtown) – see map below

QB Gelato

What: Gelato

About: Hand-crafted Italian-style gelato, made daily in small batches using fresh and locally-sourced ingredients. We haven’t been yet, but it’s high up on our to-do list!

Where: 1884 Dayton St (Landmark District) – see map below

Flux 74 Eatery

What: Hard scoop

About: Fun selection of scoop ice cream, including dairy-free and vegan gelatos. Our suggestion: Try a gelato scoop in a seasonal, fruity beer.

Where: 1974 Kane Rd #300 (Glenmore) – see map below

Tru Frozen Yogurt

What: Frozen Yogurt bar *Isla’s fave*

About: Uniue and ever-changing selection of frozen yogurt, Greek yogurt and sorbet, plus a huge variety of toppings makes this a fun spot to grab a sweet treat. Frozen yogurt is self-serve and you pay based on weight.

Where: SOPA Square 103-3030 Pandosy Street (in the heart of the Mission) – see map below


What: Frozen Yogurt bar

About: Cheerful self-serve chain with dozens of frozen yogurt flavours and toppings, sold by weight.

Two locations:

3327 Lakeshore Rd (in the Mission) – see map below

2463 Highway 97 – see map below

VERNON – Our 3 Faves

Rail Trail Cafe

What: Hard scoop *Solla’s fave*

About: Family-run cafe (with adjacent board shop) across from Kal Lake, at the start (or end?) of the Rail Trail. Serves selection of delicious cafe treats, as well as hard-scoop ice cream.

Where: 13904 Kalamalka Rd – see map below

Garden Ice Cream Parlour

What: Hard scoop

About: House-made ice creamery featuring more than 50 flavours. Waffle cones available.

Where: 4202 32nd St – see map below

Marble Slab Creamery

What: Hard scoop *Polly’s fave*

About: Small-batch ice cream that’s hand-blended with huge selection of delicious and unique mix-in “toppings”. Lots of to-go options, including ice cream cakes.

Where: 3101 Hwy 6 (near Polson Park) – see map below

MOBILE – Our 2 Faves

Sugarbee’s Ice Cream

What: Hard-scoop

About: Vernon-based artisanal ice cream company … served on a bike! Featuring small batches of French-style ice cream using local, pure and natural ingredients.

Where: Find them at Okanagan events and markets, on their one-of-a-kind ice cream bike, or hire the to come to you for your next special event. Order and pick-up also available. More info here.

Scooter’s Ice Cream

What: Mobile ice cream and popsicle truck.

About: Ice cream truck that comes to you! We’ve hired Scooter’s for several neighbourhood events, and can’t recommend them enough!

Where: From Osoyoos to Salmon Arm and everywhere in between. Book them for a private function at 250-808-8746 or, or catch them at an upcoming festival or community event!



What: Hard-scoop

About: Beloved roadside gift shop that also sells 72 different kinds of ice cream that’s perfect to mix-and-match on your choice of cone, in a wide range of sizes that will allow everyone to get just what they want!

Backyard Fun

Looking for things to keep kids entertained while outside in the yard? Us too! So we’re collecting reader-submitted activities that (mostly) involve little set-up and take-down, to help keep kids occupied during these crazy outside days at home.


Submitted by: Rock Monster Friends

Submitted by: Rock Monster Friends

YOU NEED: Clean rocks | Paint | Paint brushes

SET UP: Read the Rock Monster Book, then paint your own COVID-fighting monster friends and hide them around your neighbourhood. Wash your hands first!


Submitted by: Saffron Quist

Submitted by: Saffron Quist

YOU NEED: Sidewalk Chalk | A child with energy

SET UP: Create the longest possible hopscotch game you can muster, grab a rock, and let them hop their energy out.


Submitted by: Kristen Thompson

Submitted by: Kristen Thompson

YOU NEED: Chalk | Dice | A swath of driveway

SET UP: Draw out a Snakes and Ladders game board on your driveway. Kids use their bodies as the playing pieces. Great for counting practice!


Submitted by: Kristen Thompson

Submitted by: Kristen Thompson

YOU NEED: Bins | Warm water | Scrubbies | Rocks

SET UP: Fill a bin or two with warm water (we added a bit of soap to one), and set the kids up outside to get wet and dirty. Pour yourself a coffee!

Home-schoolers share inspiration

Things you can do with kids (and be happy ever) at home.


With spring break, school closures and C-virus self-quarantine I see so many parents struggling to keep their kids entertained. Nowadays it’s almost a basic need – to keep kids busy. Firstly, I want to reassure you that it is ok for children to be bored sometimes: it’s actually a good thing because it can spark creativity, build self-confidence (“Look what I can do mom!”) and inner motivation (they do things because they are bored not because they will get a candy or 1 hour of screen time).

Of course it could be hard at first – they will come to you with “I don’t know what to do. I’m bored.” Sounds familiar? 🙂

As a homeschooling mom I spend 90% of my time with kids and we never have enough time to do all things we want or started to do. There are so many opportunities to learn and play! Most of the public school-parents don’t know about them and I would like to share some ideas.

Apart from regular reading and colouring, hiking and playing in the park here is what you can do.

1. Cook and bake with kids.

They love it! (most of them for sure). What can they learn: adding and subtracting carrots, potatoes, buns. Fractions while baking – 1/4 of the cup, 1/2 of the tea spoon. Or they can make veggies-fruit and meals out of play dough which develops fine motor skills!

If your kids are passionate about cooking and are old enough you can enroll them in online cooking academy like this one:

We also love Preppy Kitchen on YouTube. He is fun to bake with!

2. Science experiments!

You can do loads of them just with household items.

We really love Mystery Doug videos and different activities-lessons (lots are free),  (free science classes and now they have a new content daily)! For Pre-K and elementary school we love TheDadLab on Instagram – so easy fun!

3. Crafts.

So many choices here! And it doesn’t matter if you have boys or girls, some boys really love to learn how to finger knit or sew a button! You can level up that regular play dough mess creating arts, learning an alphabet or planets (we made cell-parts, planets, Earth structure, parts of the plants and more).

Sewing, making dolls out of fabric, wood, beads etc – so many ideas on Pinterest. You can make simple yarn dolls or Slavic Spring fabric dolls (you can ask me how, most of the instructions are in Russian).

Simple felting (we have a great yarn store in Vernon with wool supplies and I’m sure every city has one too).

Origami! My youngest found a great youTube channel with easy to follow instructions. She is 6 years old and sometimes needs me to show her the details but mostly she would just pause and fold. And you don’t need special paper, use old magazines, wrapping paper or old drawings you wanted to recycle!

Hello Origami

Toilet paper rolls! I’m sure you will have tons of them left *wink wink*!

Endless opportunities. I didn’t even want to dig into my photos for that. Just save it, give it to your kids and let their imagination flow!


Random crafts like building structures and bridges, DNA cells or space ships. Making kid’s favourite book heroes out of paper and playing with it while reading another story or creating your own – a new turn, a new ending or beginning and the character gets another life while your kids develop creativity and language skills.

 4. If your flights were cancelled or vacations postponed go on an adventure from you home!

Learn about new countries and cities, cultures and traditions, cook Indian food or sushi, listen to Italian music and The Beatles! If you have Wi-Fi and a computer it is so easy to do. If you also have books – even better! (Or use your local library, you can also place books on hold from your home and just quickly go and pick it up when you get e-mail notification).

You can make your own lap-books with kids and if you own a printer you have lots of free resources out there:

Canada Lapbook

Flags – print them, glue to a toothpick and play with a map using little piece of play dough to attach flag to the country!

Travel with two little dogs – Bella and Harry adventures. They have free colouring sheets and lesson plans of this website. We love the books as well (you can buy them on Amazon).

Treasures of the World museums. As a photographer I love to learn about artists and masterpieces. We have lots of books to go through but unfortunately no access to the real museums with art here. So we use online resources to look at the paintings and sculptures all around the world.

Youtube channel we love to watch: Geography Now.

5. Play board games!

If you don’t have many – print your own games! (Or draw them if you don’t have a printer). And I don’t even know where to start – there are lots of websites with printable educational and fun games (please don’t hesitate to PM if you are stuck with it, I will send you some games on e-mail or show the links). Many amazing moms and dads made them for us to use! Some are free, some cost just a little but so worth the $.

6. Play!

Do a treasure hunt (or a scavenger hut) in your backyard. Invite toy-guests for Sloth’s Bday party! Do a Fashion Week show (boys love dressing up too!). Play a cave-man (stick-stone tools, cave art, dances, mamoth-papa hunt). Cardboard boxes are amazing toys – make a ship, a car, a plane and learn about Marco Polo, Amelia Earhart, Michael Schumacher, Columbus or other great explorers!

There are so many more things you can learn and do with kids! They are naturally curious and daring, creative and can absorb information better than we think. Take this opportunity to really know them, bond with them and explore together – it is so rewarding in a long term. Just follow their interest, then you’ll get the best results and the most fun!

And if you happened to be a photographer pick up your camera to document this days!

If you are not a photographer but want to have this memories to cherish, I would love to help – I do in-home sessions and this is my jam!

Some other helpful links see below.

5 ways to feel 90% socially normal right now

I’ve been missing my friends! Hugely! The hugs, the house visits, the meals made together *sign*. I’ve had moments of fear; how awful would it be to contract the virus? I’ve had moments of gratitude; how liberating to have no where to be. I’ve had moments of questioning the seriousness; is the government inflating this beyond what it actually is? I’ve even had moments of questioning my own sanity; am I suffering from paranoia and none of this is actually real? Anyone relate?

But physical distancing is working! We are keeping Covid at bay *high fives everyone* you’re doing great!

The world feels super weird and many of us are not sure what we’re supposed to be doing… what’s allowed, what is safe and what is going to keep us from popping prozac. So here are 5 things that make this situation feel 90% better for me.

Front Yard Birthday Parties


Since everyone is home all. the. time. it’s really easy to surprise your friends! Decorate your car. Download a fun version of the Happy Birthday song (Leif Garrett or DJ Bobo are good ones) and cause a scene in your birthday-friend’s front yard. Own a mega phone? USE IT! Great bass in your vehicle? Use that too. Costumes? A street side dance routine? …they’re not your neighbours (I’m being funny, don’t cause an RCPM call). How about grabbing a gift from a local shop and dropping it on the front lawn? Birthdays are meant to be special! NOTE: we do not recommend doing this in big groups.

Touch-less Walks


Pick a spot to meet, follow that with an air hug (same concept as air guitar) and than proceed as normal with a little more space between you. Fresh air and good company will remind you that you’re still a person and not a groundhog.

Driveway Drinks


Pick a non-public space (if you plan to have boozy drinks), pull up your own lawn chair, bring your own snacks and just hang. Ahhhh, that feels like spring.

Window Visits


This one is weird, but works for kids who have a 5-second memory and can’t not touch their friends -or- who don’t enjoy video chats. My only-child is starving for kid interaction! So we have hung out with some friends through the window. Parking cars side by side works great for this too. Open the glass, open the sunroof and viola, you have a glorified dog-run (I mean kid pen).

Phone Calls


This seems obvious I know, but I want to remind you about the value of actually hearing the other person’s voice. I haven’t chatted with my friends this much since high school -the days before email, text or facebook. We’ve gotten so used to messaging each other until we meet in person but the days of the telephone (when it was used for talking) have some forgotten magic to them.