Special events

Events for Kids Under $5: April 22 – 28 (Updated!)

Free Kids Concert and Art Activities: Will Stroet at ArtStarts!

Rock out with Will Stroet at 11am and 1pm for free!

Rock out with Will Stroet at 11am and 1pm for free!

When: Saturday April 27, 11:00 – 11:45am and 1:00 – 1:45pm

Where: ArtStarts Gallery, 808 Richards St., Vancouver (Richards at Robson) (map)

What: This weekend you can dance along with your kiddies to local fave Will Stroet and his Backyard Band for free at ArtStarts. ArtStarts Free Weekend Workshops are nothing short of a brilliant opportunity to take your kids to award-winning shows without spending a dime. They run on Saturdays once a month.

This Saturday, there will also be a very cool art activity for kids over 5 from 2:00 – 4:00pm where kids can create “lumen prints”, a camera-free way to capture the outlines of flowers, leaves and other shapes on paper. ArtStarts also suggests this great outdoor art activity to take advantage of spring.

Bike the Blossoms: A free family-friendly ride with music and info

Bike the Blossoms 2012 by Jasmine Kastner

Bike the Blossoms 2012, Credit: Jasmine Kastner

When: Saturday, April 27, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Where: Starts at China Creek South, Vancouver (near E 10th and Clark) (map)

What: Families are welcome on a free guided bike ride to take advantage of these glorious spring days showcasing Vancouver’s cherry blossom trees. Hosted by Velopalooza and the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, the ride will take a tour of the blossoming trees and include a talk by Parks Board Arborist, Bill Stephen. While the ride in itself would make me want to come along, there will also be entertainment en-route from the Carnival Band who will be riding along and playing at the same time– what talent! — and more entertainment at the end of the ride from the B:C:Clettes who will provide spoken word performance, dance music, and interactive games. VanCycle will have mobile bicycle repair trucks along the ride too, just in case.

The route starts at China Creek South and bikes along the blossom-lined streets at a “casual family friendly pace” until the Kensington Community Centre, where there will be the chance to buy food from some of Vancouver’s finest food trucks or eat your own packed lunch. The ride will continue to meander down blossomy streets to Trout Lake to finish off the ride. Check out the facebook page for more info and to see who’s going!

If you’re interested in more social bike rides, Critical Mass is a collective bike ride and skate held on the last Friday of every month. The route is decided at the whim of the riders and the aim is for everyone to “enjoy the safety and comfort in the car-free space that we create by simply riding together!” To join, meet at 5:00 to 5:30 at the Vancouver Art Gallery, ready to leave at 6:00 pm. This month you can join up on Friday April 26th.

A note from me: I’ve been scanning Craigslist daily for a couple of weeks now to get myself a bike and child carrier for Monita so we can join in the fun on family bike rides. Somehow, I’m never quick enough to snap up a good deal before they’re sold. If anyone has a recommendation for a carrier brand or know of a good reliable bike, I’m all ears! Post a comment or send me an email at vancouverunder5(at)yahoo(dot)com. Cheers!

Dawn Chorus Nature Walk at Hastings Park (a special Earth Day Event)

A path through Hastings Park, Credit: Dana Lynch

A path through Hastings Park, Credit: Dana Lynch

When: Saturday, April 27, 6:00 am – 8:00 am (yes… AM, the birds get up as early as my toddler, it seems)

Where: The Sanctuary at Hastings Park, E. Hastings St. map

What: For all you morning people out there– or us night owls that happened to give birth to morning babies — here’s a special Earth Day event that will really let you take advantage of those wee morning hours. This free nature walk will be guided by naturalist George Clulow, who will help you discover the natural diversity of the Sanctuary at Hastings Park. It’s family-friendly but please leave your dog at home. The walk begins at the west entrance to the Sanctuary, rain or shine. Free parking is also available on site.

Take Another Look: An Ecological Scavenger Hunt for Families in Pacific Spirit Park

What will your clues uncover if you "take another look"?

What will your clues uncover if you “take another look”?

When: Sunday, April 28, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Where: Pacific Spirit Regional Park (Meet at the Sasamat Trail at 16th Avenue and Sasamat Street) , map

What: This is a walk in the park that combines an educational treasure hunt with options for three different ages. As you walk through the Pacific Spirit Park trail, a series of colour-coded flags will help direct you to uncovering information. The under 5 crowd will have the chance to search for toys hidden in the forest and talk about where they belong. Older siblings can search for clues and pictures to solve puzzles along the way. Adults and teens will get information about ecology and the chance to talk to a park interpreter about what they’ve seen. Although the trail is bumpy, it’s still apparently suitable for strollers. It sounds like a nice way to spice up a Sunday walk and a great excuse to head into nature without a long drive or bus ride. The program is hosted by the Pacific Spirit Park Society, Metro Vancouver and the Living Language Institute’s Early Childhood Education Program. For more details, see the Take Another Look poster, here.

Kerrisdale Carnival Days: A parade, roving entertainment, free ice cream and free carriage rides

A view of the 2012 parade by fellow Mom-blogger of MamaPapaBubba.com

A view of the 2012 parade by fellow Mom-blogger of MamaPapaBubba.com

When: Friday, April 26 and Saturday April 27, 12:00 – 4:00 pm (Parade at 10am on Saturday April 27th)

Where: Kerrisdale, The parade is along 41st Ave. between Maple and Larch St. (map of Kerrisdale area)

What: Although you’re more likely to be sucked into a sidewalk sale at the Carnival Days event in Kerrisdale Village, you can also just take in the entertainment and fun community vibe without spending your hard-earned dollars. There are some fun freebies to be had including balloon animals by children’s entertainer Bell E. Buttons, musical performances around the neighbourhood, free ice cream while painting the community mural, free horse and carriage rides from 11:00 – 4:00pm on Saturday and a huge inflatable slide from 12:00 – 4:00 pm, also on Saturday. The parade will take place along 41st Ave between Maple and Larch starting at 10:00 am Saturday. For more information and for the whole schedule of events, including where you can get a free balloon either day, check out the Kerrisdale Village Events page.

Canucks Autism Network Family Festival / Walk

The prize for the top individual in pledges in the walk!

The prize for the top individual in pledges in the walk!

When: Sunday April 28th, 10:30am – 2:30pm

Where: Jack Poole Plaza (Vancouver Convention Centre)

What: The Canucks Autism Network (CAN) helps individuals and families living with Autism, and this family festival is a way they raise a bit of money with a pledged walk and raise a bit of awareness about Autism. You can sign up to raise money for the walk and aim to win one of their prizes for the most money raised (including a helicopter tour for the top family and a signed Canucks jersey and iPad mini for the top individual). You can also pledge money to someone else or just join in the walk, which will take place on the sidewalk and take about 30 minutes. The route proceeds from the Convention Centre to Burrard Street, up Burrard to Robson Street, then back down Burrard to the Convention Centre. There will also be live entertainment and food vendors on site at the Convention Centre, including burgers by Vera’s Burger Shack, who will give you a free meal if you raised $50 for CAN. Check out the CAN Family Festival site for more details.

A little further afield…

Party for the Planet: Earth Day Celebration (Surrey)

Clown around with Whoops-a-Daisy at the Party for the Planet

Clown around with Whoops-a-Daisy at 10:30 and 12:30

When: Saturday, April 27, 10:00 am – 9:00 pm

Where: Central City Plaza, 13450 102 Ave, Surrey, BC. map

What: Although there were lots of events on last weekend for Earth Day, the Party for the Planet on this weekend in Surrey is apparently the largest Earth Day celebration in BC. The line-up of entertainers is pretty huge, including Lights and Hey Ocean! later in the evening and more child-friendly acts like Whoops-a-Daisy, Music with Marnie and a Mascot dance-off earlier in the day. You can view the whole performance schedule here. The “Kids World” area includes crafts, activities and stories. Kids can get their faces painted, play with natural materials to create imaginative scenes and listen to stories, sing songs and see a few magic tricks with librarian Susan Andrews. It’s right next to the Surrey Central Skytrain station, so even if you don’t live in Surrey, it’s very easy to get to in a nice environmentally-friendly way.

Family Sunday at Richmond Art Gallery, free


Enjoying Family Sunday at the Richmond Art Gallery

Where: Richmond Art Gallery, 7700 Minoru Gate (map)

What: Family Sunday at the Richmond Art Gallery is a free drop-in art program. It provides art activities that allow families to explore the Gallery exhibitions together in a hands-on way. If you live nearby, it’s worth checking out– particularly if you have older kids with a flair for the creative. The testimonials on the Family Sunday site are certainly glowing! I doubt Monita and I will make it out there, so place comment and report back if you get a chance to go. If you miss this month, it repeats on the fourth Sunday each month. The activities offered change from month to month and can include performers, music and stories, as well as fine arts activities. For more information call 604.247.8313.

Family Day at Place des Arts – Free Art workshops (Coquitlam)

E&P_FD2012_BannerWhen: Sunday, April 28, 1:30 – 3:30PM

Where: Place des Arts, 1120 Brunette Avenue, Coquitlam, (map) 

What: Here’s your chance to see some artwork and get involved in making some of your own. Place des Arts aims to “actively engage families in learning about art in a fun, interactive and informal environment.” After a guided tour, there are three drop-in workshops for all ages where you can create an artwork of your own based on what you just saw. The three workshops available this Sunday are:

  • Functional wheel-thrown pottery with Vin Arora
  • Mixed media painting with Shari Pratt
  • Hand-hooked rugs with Gone Hooking (May exhibiting artists)

There’s also the Social Fabric Project: Bring a special “thread” to weave into our 40th Anniversary tapestry… a meaningful string, a baby bootie ribbon, a cassette tape ribbon, anything that can be woven. Admission by donation. Reserve your spot here through Brown Paper Tickets or by calling 604-664-1636. 

Just for parents…

RESP Information Session for Parents at Marpole – Oakridge Community Centre

grad_baby hiresWhen: Wednesday, April 24, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Where: Marpole – Oakridge Community Centre, 990 W. 59 th Ave. (near Oak St.), (map)

What: If you’re still trying to make heads or tails of how RESPs (Registered Education Savings Plans) work and want to get the most out of the money you invest for your child, you can get some free information on the subject at this info session. Jeff Wang will be leading the course. Call 604-257-8180 to register for workshop 65436.201MO. Free.

Don’t forget about the regular weekly drop-in programs available and see the Calendar for more upcoming events.


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