What to Do in Edmonton with Kids

City and Baby is a blog for parents with an urge to get out of the house. We explore all that the Edmonton region has to offer families with kids six and younger. From unique events, fun activities, attractions, baby-friendly businesses to product must-haves, CityandBaby.com is your guide to savouring Edmonton with your little ones in tow.

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What To Do With Kids This Weekend In Edmonton | February 20 - 22, 2015



Hair Massacure
What: Now in its 13th year, the Hair Massacure promises to be a day of laughter, tears, hope and, above all, love and incredible spirit. People of all ages, many with pink hair, will have their heads shaved to raise funds for the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Make-A-Wish Foundation Northern Alberta
West Edmonton Mall, Ice Palace
Friday, February 20, 2015. 9am – 9pm.


Winter Blues Book Sale
 Books To Buy is back this weekend. Build your home library for with kids books for only $1. Or get a box of books for $10 on Sunday! Cash only.
Where:  Edmonton Public Library, Stanley A. Milner Library.
When: Friday, February 20 (9am – 8pm), Saturday, February 21 (9am – 5pm), Sunday, February 22 (1pm -3pm)


Silver Skate Festival
 This festival is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. Rooted in Dutch winter traditions, the festival combines sport (especially skating), arts and culture, and recreation Enjoy sleigh rides, live performances, hot chocolate, snowshoeing, orienteering, ice slide and snowmaze. at the Family Fun Zone.
Where: William Hawrelak Park
When: Friday, February 14 – Sunday, February 23, 2014.


Reel Family Cinema: The Lego Movie
What: Emmet is an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.
Garneau Theatre. Kids under 12 are FREE!
Saturday, February 21., 2015. 1pm.


Chinese New Year Celebrations
What: The Edmonton Chinese Bilingual Education Association (ECBEA) Chinese New Year of the Sheep Celebration brings a family  drumming and colorful cultural dances, dragon dance, lion dances, martial arts, arts and crafts, carnival games, prizes, face-painting, calligraphy, fortune sticks and wishing tree. Parade starts at 11am accompanied by colorful Chinese lions.
City Centre Mall, East Atrium Lower Level
When: Saturday, February 20, 2015. 11am – 4pm  


The Year of the Sheep Celebration
Citizens are invited to explore Chinatown and enjoy a free outdoor event. The celebration will include dragon dance, lion dance and firecrackers. Arrive early and enjoy a delicious dim sum, steaming bowl of pho, hot pot, ramen and sizzling Korean barbecue at a local restaurant.
Chinatown / McCauley Neighbourhood, 9700 - 107 Avenue
Saturday, February 21, 2015. 12 – 3pm.




Changes To The Children’s Fitness Tax Credit


Did you know that changes were made to the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit? The maximum amount that may be claimed under the credit increased from $500 to $1,000 per child for 2014. That means the total registration value is multiplied by 15% and you get that amount credit to your taxes owing. 

Let's say you spent $1000 on a combination of registration fees for soccer, swimming, hockey camp for your child in 2014. If you submit the receipts with your taxes you can apply for the tax credit. You'd be eligible for $1000 x 15% = $150 tax credit.

Better than nothing right?


What Programs Are Eligible?

"To qualify for this amount, a program must:

  • be ongoing (last at least eight consecutive weeks or, in the case of children's camps, five consecutive days);
  • be supervised;
  • be suitable for children; and
  • require significant physical activity. Generally, most of the activities must include a significant amount of physical activity contributing to cardio respiratory endurance, plus one or more of muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and/or balance.

Physical activity includes strenuous games like hockey or soccer, activities such as golf lessons, horse-back riding, sailing and bowling as well as others that require a similar level of physical activity." (Source: Canada Revenue Agency)   

If an expense is eligible for the children's fitness amount, it is not eligible for the children's arts amount. (Yes! There is an arts program amount. Hooray!)

 TIP: Make sure to save your receipts! 


Refundability Change in 2015

This tax year (2014) and in previous years, the Children's Fitness tax credit has been non-refundable which means that it can reduce the amount of taxes owed, but not generate a refund. Starting in 2015 tax year, however, the credit will be made refundable which means that you can get a refund if you don't owe any taxes, or it will continue to reduce your owed taxes as before.

This is beneficial to many families who don't owe taxes. Even if it's up to $150 per child per year.  

Find out what this means for your family through the Canada Revenue Agency or your accountant.


BTW - I'm not an accountant or financial adviser or have any designation related to numbers... (1+1=4)...  so this isn't financial advice of any sort. Just a mom who is looking for opportunities to stretch my dollars so we can do more fun activities and a mom who loves sharing what I've found to help make parenting life easier. Make sure to seek professional advice. 



What To Do With Kids This Weekend In Edmonton | February 6 - 8, 2015

Image by MjZ Photography via Flickr Creative Commons 

Servus Free Ski Fridays
What: An affordable way to try skiing. Courtsey of Servus, lift tickets are free plus, enjoy $10 Rossignol ski rentals, $10 ski lessons and nightly dinner specials.
Edmonton Ski Club, 9613 96 Avenue
Fridays. 5- 9pm. 2015  


The Flying Canoe Adventures
In the spirit of a great winter city, The Flying Canoe Adventure/L'aventure du canoe volant is a creative, interactive, cultural event, designed to celebrate local history and everything that is great about a long winter's night. Kids will love all the lights.
Mill Creek Ravine and French Quarters.
Friday, January 6 and Saturday, January 7, 2015. 6 – 10 pm.


Edmonton Resilience Festival
A very cool opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people and have meaningful discussions all with the intent of making Edmontonians more resilient. Children will enjoy the craft station, seed planting, building a bird feeder and other activities. If you have some personal time, consider signing up for one of the awesome workshops.
Boyle Renaissance Plaza, 9538 103A Avenue
 February 7 & 8, 2015.


Valentines Day Party
What: In 1885, paper was precious and was saved for use on special occasions. Valentines Day is just that time! Make valentines, enjoy heart-shaped sugar cookies baked over a wood-burning stove and play some favourite old-time games.
 Fort Edmonton Park.  Must register in advance (Call 311 code: 532781)
Saturday, February 7, 2015.  10am – 12pm.


The Lunar New Year Extravaganza
What: Celebrate the Chinese New Year with live Dragon and Lion Dances, Tai Chi and Martial Arts demonstrations, Chinese operas, contemporary and Classical music and dances, Chinese drumming, Chinese Orchestra music and shop 40 booths.
West Edmonton Mall (Ice Palace). Adult admission $2. Children <10 are free.
Saturday, January  February 7 (10 am – 10pm) and Sunday, January 8 (10am – 6pm)

Sorry for the typo. Can I blame it on the glass of wine I was sipping while writing? ;) - Jen

Happy Feet
What: Winner of 2007’s Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film, is and ultra-cute animated comedy features the voice of Elijah Wood as Mumble, an Antarctic penguin who can't find his "heart song," a tune unique to each penguin that's supposed to attract a mate. (Common Sense Media rating.)
Where: Metro Cinema – Garneau Theatres. Kids under 12 are free.
When: Saturday, February 7, 2015. 2pm. 


12 Things To Consider When Choosing A School For Your Kindergartener & 2015 Edmonton Schools Open Houses

Image by Robert S. Donovan via Flickr Creative Commons 

It’s about that time. Time to register for Kindergarten!

If you have older children already in elementary school, this will be a breeze. But as a new parent entering the school system it seems like there are a myriad of choices.

You can choose your designated school for your neighbourhood, or if space is available, you can choose an alternative programming school that may specialize in languages, unique teaching philosophies, arts, sports, Catholic teachings or Christian non-denominational teachings.

Each family and child is different so you need to do what’s right for you!  Consider your values, your lifestyle, your ability to work with your child outside of school, and your child’s personality. I also like to chat with parents who have kids there and get their perspective. 


Here are 12 questions to consider when choosing a school for Kindergarten and beyond: 

  1. What kindergarten class time options do they offer - morning, afternoon, fulltime?
  2. What are the start and end times? Is there an early dismissal day?
  3. What are the bussing options?
  4. Does it have a daycare on site, or near by that does drop off and pick up? Does it cover PD days and spring/ fall break?
  5. Does the overall school logistics work with your work schedule(s), if applicable?
  6. How many children are expected in the class? Or what was the student teacher ratio last year?
  7. What other supports are there in the school? Librarian? Language developement support? Teacher aids?
  8. How well did the school perform in school-wide achievement tests?
  9. What’s the teacher turn-over like at the school? 
  10. Do you speak a different language at home? Do you want your child to study in this language? Or do you want them to learn a new language?
  11. What extra-curricular programs/ clubs are offered? (e.g. Choir? Sports?)
  12. What’s the environment? Closed classrooms or open classrooms? Large field and play structure for recess? Does this work for your child?

School Open Houses

The best time to check out the schools is during an open house, though I know some principals are happy to have you schedule a time to come meet with them. Both the Edmonton Public School Board and the Edmonton Catholic School Board offer open houses. The first ones are this week – so make sure to do some research tonight. (Click on images below to get open house schedules)


Edmonton Public Schools

Edmonton Catholic Schools


In case anyone is interested, here are a few reasons behind my school decision. I chose our neighborhood school because: I liked the walk-ability; opportunity to have school friends that live close to home; our local school had strong achievement ratings; there is French programming and sporting alternatives for older students (if we decide to pursue those), other parents shared their positive experiences with teachers and the principal, plus, there’s daycare in the school which would help with work schedules.  

What things are you considering when choosing your school? Are you finding it to be an easy decision? Is anything stressing you out about it? 



What To Do With Kids This Weekend In Edmonton | January 30 - February 1, 2015


Family Movies:  An American Tail (Cineplex) and Chicken Run (Metro Cinema)
Contest: Enter to win four tickets to Beauty and the Beast
Register:  City of Edmonton spring recreation courses, as of Feb 1.

Winter Shake-Up Festival & Market
What: This free one-day festival is all about playing outside in a way that’s only possible in a northern city. Enjoy live entertainment, create winter art, ride on the snow slide, shop the outdoor vendors, roast marshmallows and enjoy a drink in the family-friendly beverage  garden.
Churchill Square  
Friday, January 30, 2015. 12 – 8pm.


Green and Gold Winterfest
What: An incredible weekend of winter fun to celebrate the University of Alberta’s 100th anniversary. Make a lantern, slip down the snow slide, play in the snow, enjoy live music and enjoy hot chocolate.
University of Alberta, North Campus
January 29 – 31, 2015 


Ice on Whyte
What: Artists from Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Malaysia, BC and Alberta to create spectacular ice carvings. But that’s not all. Kids will enjoy the giant ice slide, Agrium Kids’ Zone, skating, music, sleigh rides around Old Strathcona, face painting and crafts in the igloo, too. 
Where: End of Steel Park in Old Strathcona
Admission: Adult $6 | Children $3 | Children <2 Free |Family Packs (2 Adults, 2 Children) $15 (Tickets)
When: January 23 – February 1, 2015 


Tropical Weekend
What: Come dressed in your finest luau gear for a chance to win a prize pack  and enjoy tropical treats at the The Downhill Grill all weekend.
 Snow Valley
Saturday, January 31 and Sunday, February 1, 2015