The BT guide to summertime family fun!
It’s no wonder we see so many license plates from Alberta and Ontario at this time of year. Everyone wants to come to BC to enjoy our orchards, ocean-access and mountains, not to mention all the fun spots our province is known for. And we should, too. Given that BC is an ideal summer setting, and the fact that summer is officially upon us, we put a shout out to find out what all of you are getting up to in BC this summer. Our objective? To put together a Top 10 list for summer experiences (see below, in no particular order). Here it is- some fabulous ideas on everything from creative activities to cool snacks! Enjoy.
1. Berry picking
Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries…yum! A berry picking expedition with the kiddies is simply a great time for bonding and learning how these delicious little morsels are grown. Not surprisingly, this activity rated very high on our Facebook survey. Here are a couple of comments from our fans:
“Krause Farms in Langley was a big hit last summer - definitely planning on doing that again!” (Claire B.)
“I have found W & A Farms in Richmond to be excellent [...] I bought close to 50 pounds for freezing, jamming, and canning! Yum!” (Suvi T.)
Ready to pick some berries? Check out the Fraser Valley Farm Fresh Products Guide that lists many of the u-pick berry farms all over BC (Just search by your community).
2. Take a cooking class or two with your kids
What a great way to encourage your kids to enjoy the art of cooking (and train them for the future at the same time)! A variety of places around the province offer cooking classes designed for parents and kids. You can find these through your local school board, community centre or even cook-related shops, which sometimes feature a local chef. (Google “cooking” and “your community”.)
We love the Vancouver School Board’s Healthy Eaters and Leaders classes and also recommend the classes offered through the Dirty Apron Cooking School and the Northwest Culinary Academy. Classes are typically open to children 7 years and older.
3. Explore the many upcoming local festivals throughout BC
Talented musicians from around the world come to BC during the summer months to perform at the Jazz and Folk Festivals happening all around the province, all of which include a ton of free daytime shows (perfect summer outing).
The Vancouver Folk Fest,the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival, and the Pender Harbour Jazz Festival. Just Google Jazz or Folk Fests to find out what’s happening in your area!
4. Take a trip to the local museum
Even some of the smallest communities in BC have their own museums. We’re big fans of paying tribute to the past, and showing kids how our communities have evolved. A (short) trip down memory lane is a great way to help your kids connect with some of the important historical events in your area. What is your community’s claim to fame? Click here for a list of museums throughout BC.
5. Water parks
The water park experience pretty much speaks for itself. Who doesn’t love a water park? Here, one of our Facebook fans, Pouneh sums it up nicely:
“Water parks, oh water parks, they were the most fun! You played around in water, swam, went on water slides, and then when you were all played out and hungry, you'd have a big lunch from the food counter. And then, although your parents told you not to, you'd jump in the water again. The ice cream too . . . hot summer day… at the water park… with ice cream… what can beat that?” We agree!
6. Family bike ride or hike
BC is not short on lovely scenery. Why not take a relaxing drive to someplace you’ve never been like the Kettle Valley Railway in Kelowna or the Capilano Suspension Bridge or Agassiz mountain or …(you fill in the blank)? Most communities also host some wonderful family bike paths. We like the paved ones that look like mini highways!
Whether it’s the classic paddleboat ride, canoe ride or renting a speedboat, a day on the water is a great way to explore the land from a new perspective.
Kids love animals. Thankfully, in BC there are farms almost everywhere, including everything from pony rides, to petting zoos to traditional farm farms. (If you’re teaching your toddler how to make animal noises, it’s best to go straight to the source.)
Not surprisingly, we received tons of animated comments from families planning camping trips around the province this summer. OK, OK, you like to camp! Thanks for all the great tips! Here’s one from Elke P.:
“The best camping trip destination for young kids is Harrison Hot Springs. It is a short drive from Vancouver, they have a wonderful playground on the beach not too far from a great coffee shop, and they even have a little theme park in case of rain. Our favourite thing for breakfast are the hot freshly-baked muffins from said coffee shop and the all-you-can-eat buffet in the hotel on Sunday mornings!”
Who says you have to rough it?
10. Summer food
Like nothing else, food brings to life some of our most cherished summer memories (hello beach-side ice cream cones, fresh corn on the cob, juicy watermelon…) Here are a few of your fondest memories related to summertime snacks and meals.
“Home made bannock cooked on a stick over the fire flavored with cheese, fresh chives or anything else we could find. Mmmmmmm.” (Erin J.)
“Making baked potatoes the old fashioned way - in tin foil, in the coals of the fire! To spruce it up, just cut up some carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, celery, onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, put a bit of butter in with it, and let it all cook in to a wonderful roasted medley.” (Sarah V.)
“I love freezing grapes and then eating them. Put seedless grapes in the freezer (in a bag of course). After a couple of hours they are great. They still have the same texture, they don't freeze and become solid hard, but they taste like ice cream. So good and so healthy!” (Pouneh I.)
“Homemade popsicles and fudgesicles.” Marisa K.
And of course, summer wouldn’t be complete without a delicious fresh salsa recipe. We’ll leave you with this one shared with us by Leanne M.
Fresh salsa (Ole!)!!
Fresh Roma tomatoes diced
Diced red or white onion
Finely diced pineapple
Bunch of fresh cilantro chopped
1/2 diced mango (optional)
One finely diced hot pepper of choice (seeds optional - they add heat)
Salt to taste (don't be shy)
Add fresh lime juice to taste. Use one whole lime or 4 key
Dip with Tortilla chips or use as topping for grilled fish, chicken kabobs, or shrimp.
Thanks everyone for contributing to our very official Top 10 Summer Guide. These ideas have memory making written all over them! Let us know if you have any other ideas you’d like to share with us; we’d love to hear from you here: www.facebook.com/bettertogetherbc. This week we'll be giving away a $25 gift certificate for itunes - so you can enjoy some new music on your next summer outing!