For Kids and Families

As a regular contributor to CTV Ottawa’s News at Noon, Janis brings parents and kids ideas for things to do, places to go, and ways to play, learn and grow together. If you have ideas to share with families, contact Janis at

Watch Parka on CBC TV

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Sign up for Eureka, this year’s terrific TD Summer Reading Program, for free activity books, stickers and access to workshops all summer long at public library branches across Canada.


Bookcentre logoVisit the Canadian Children’s Book Store for helpful tips on choosing the right books for your children.



Some sizzling titles for summer reading:

From Kids Can Press for ages 8 to 12From OWLkids Books for ages 4 to 8From ScholasticFrom Kids Can Press for ages 3 to 7

Parka Playtime

Head to Parks Canada’s national parks or historic sites this year for all sorts of activities just right for the kids. Young children will warm to Parka, the mascot character who has activity sheets and ideas for ways to explore and enjoy the world. Look for Parka in the summer issues of Chirp and Pomme d’api magazines. Check out Parka’s song and story, and download puzzles here at!



SUMMER Time Capsule

Create a capsule of keepsakes and record info about the kids as they are now at the start of another season of summer. Pop everything into a container (recycled coffee cans work well), decorate and seal it shut. Tuck it away in a safe place to be opened the last day of summer vacation or, if the kids have enough patience, exactly one year from the date of assembly. How have things changed or stayed the same?

Some ideas for contents:

  • What was your favourite part of school this past year?
  • What’s your favourite thing to play with?
  • What’s your favourite activity?
  • What’s your favourite food?
  • What’s your favourite book?
  • What’s your favourite video or TV show?
  • Who’s your best friend?
  • Is there a place you want to visit this summer?
  • Is there a project/craft/recipe you want to try?
  • What are you most looking forward to this summer?
  • Is there anything you DO NOT want to do this summer?
  • How tall are you?

Add a hand tracing, selfie photo and predictions about anything at all that they think might happen between now and one year hence.

EGG-citing EGG-speriments!

Crack open a carton of eggs and start experimenting:

1. Make the shell disappear. Submerge an egg in white vinegar overnight or longer. Keep checking until only the membrane is left. Feel how rubbery it is. Will it bounce? (Be careful!)

2. Follow the same instructions as #1 but this time use a hard-boiled egg. Now try bouncing it!

For other eggy activities, visit Momma’s Fun World.

egg shell


about eggs, birds or any topic can be found at your branch of the Public Library.

For tips on choosing books for various ages and interests, head to the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.

Bookcentre logo

Some favourite titles:

Giraffe and Bird by Rebecca Bender, Dancing Cat Books, ISBN 9781897151846 | Age: 3-5

BooHooBird_BK  by Jeremy Tankard, Scholastic Press, ISBN 9780545065702 | Age: 3-5

One Duck by Hazel Hutchins, illustrated by Ruth Ohi, Annick Press, ISBN 9781550375602| Age: 3-6

One Hen by Katie Smith Milway, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes, Kids Can Press, ISBN 9781554530281| Age: 8-12

Backyard Birdsby Robert Bateman, Scholastic Canada, ISBN 9780545997430| Age: 8 and up


Mice are Nice!

Look for tips on choosing books for every age group at the Canadian Children’s Book Centre website.

These mouse-themed books from Canadian authors and illustrators can be found in libraries, bookstores and online.

The Night Before Christmas for all ages from Scholastic Canada

The Night Before Christmas for all ages from Scholastic Canada

The Tooth Mouse for ages 4 to 8 from Kids Can Press

The Tooth Mouse for ages 4 to 8 from Kids Can Press


Busy Little Mouse for ages 2 to 5 from Kids Can Press

Busy Little Mouse for ages 2 to 5 from Kids Can Press


The Stowaways for ages 8 to 12 from Pajama Press

The Stowaways for ages 8 to 12 from Pajama Press




Some Hershey Chocolate kisses, a little white glue, bits of felt or paper, ribbon and a marker. Follow the instructions here.


Strawberry Mouse.228

A strawberry, tiny almond slivers, mini chocolate chips and a licorice lace tail. Yum!  See the recipe at Kidspot.

egg mice961076964

Halved hard-cooked eggs, radish or pickle ears, black olive eyes and a tail of chive or cheese string. Healthy, too. Visit Group Recipes for directions.



walnut micearticle_ArticleImage

Carefully split a walnut in half, use white glue to add felt ears and tail, and a marker for eyes and nose. Paste a paper backing on the reverse side and add a small strip of magnetic tape (from craft or stationary stores). Presto — a fridge magnet! Or use them in a rolling race by adding a marble under each mouse. See how at the Oh Baby site.


Camp Cariboo on iTunes

A blast from the past with summer memories of good old Camp Cariboo.  A re-release on iTunes of the I Love Camp CD from our award-winning TV series:

For a reminder of what made the show a hit, here’s a clip.


1. Use a flat cookie as a base for each snowman.

2. Puddle a dollop of icing in the middle of the cookie and set one large marshmallow in place.

3. Add a drop of icing on the top of the marshmallow and stick another on top. Do the same for the head of the snowman.

4. Using a toothpick, make a hole in the sides of the middle marshmallow. Insert pretzel sticks for arms.

5. Spread frosting on top of the marshmallow head and “glue” on a chocolate mint or bell for a hat.

6. Use icing as glue to hold a strip of red licorice lace in place as a scarf around the snowman’s neck.

7. Mini chocolate chips or tiny dabs of chocolate frosting can be used for eyes. Snip a bit of an orange coloured ju-jube for a carrot nose.

Here’s a recipe for a variation from Nestle.


Even preschoolers can help decorate these edible evergreens.

1. Turn empty ice cream cones upside down on a sheet of waxed paper. Sugar cones work best.

2. Add green food coloring to frosting (icing sugar mixed with milk and butter and a drop or two of peppermint flavouring, if you like). Make sure it’s not too runny but thin enough for little ones to work with.

3. Using a spatula (or even clean fingers!) slather the cones with the frosting until completely covered.

4. Decorate with coconut, sprinkles, chocolate chips or assorted candies.

Here are more ideas for decorating your frosted forest.


Check out the Canadian Children’s Book Centre website for tips on how to choose the right books for and with your kids.