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How To Keep The Kids Busy This Summer Vacation Don’t Forget Mom and Dad Need a Break Too!
Now that COVID-19 restrictions are starting to relax as more and more people get vaccinated, it’s finally time for kids to get out and have some fun. And while they are doing so, perhaps parents can get a few hours to themselves as well!
With many children staring at computers all day long, due to remote learning for this past school year, followed by even more screen time playing video games online with friends, kids need to turn off all devices for as long as possible.
Socializing with others in person, breathing in fresh air, exercising and getting vitamin D from the sun (safely of course) is essential for good physical and mental health.
Whether your kids are into mini-golf, swimming, horseback riding or anything else, we suggest some cool things to do in July and August before the school bell rings again in September.
So get ready to read about some great ways to keep your child’s mind and body stimulated, with interesting activities!
Spend Time On A Saddle At Lazee G Ranch
For more than 25 years, Lazee G Ranch has shared their love of horses and providing horse-related programs for people in the Windsor and Essex County region.
“We believe that anyone interested in riding should have a safe and educational atmosphere to visit and learn,” says Brenda Gagnon, Owner of Lazee G Ranch, with 25 plus years of experience working with and training horses. “A barn can be so much more than a place to ride. It can be a place to laugh, learn and get away from the stress of your world.”
Located at 9039 Baseline Road in Maidstone, they offer horse riding lessons, camps, public horse shows, parties, events, tours and Cowboy’s Ice Cream Parlor.
Like many businesses during COVID-19 lockdowns, Lazee G Ranch and their staff of four were forced to make some adjustments.
“We closed our doors when we were asked to and waited patiently to re-open,” Gagnon states. “We kept our horses exercised and in good mental and physical shape, limited staff, closed and cleaned everything, posted signs and had regular monitoring of animals and staff.”
Due to the ongoing pandemic, they are only running a small lesson program this summer for those aged four and up.
“We are hoping to have a limited summer horse camp program also,” indicates Gagnon. “We have had to offer smaller programs with limited clients due to the restrictions.”
Get In The Nature Of Things With MESSS Makers
Launching for the first time this summer, MESSS Makers is a daily program offered Monday to Friday, from June 28 to August 27, to help children between the ages of five and 10 develop emotional intelligence skills.
Located at 804 Lesperance Road in Tecumseh, the program utilizes play and therapy-based approaches and emphasizes self-love to encourage the development of internal Motivation, Empathy, Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation and Social Skills (MESSS).
“It makes me genuinely happy to enhance people’s lives in as many ways as possible,” expresses Amber Raymond, Owner and Operator of MESSS Makers. “My passion for MESSS Makers stems from my desire to help others learn the skills I wish I had known as a kid.”
Personal struggles in her early 20s, led Raymond to seek a career in social work where she learned to help others overcome challenges in life.
“I started my education in social work about five years ago, but it wasn’t until my BSW placement at The Hospice of Windsor and Essex County that I realized how much I loved working with children,” Raymond tells Biz X. “About a year ago, I felt overwhelmed struggling to self-regulate amid constant stress from school, mom-life challenges and just general life challenges as well.”
That is when a friend encouraged her to join the Self-Care Society, which launched her journey of self-discovery and unconditional self-love.
“Finding myself required a lot of self-care practices, which ultimately turned into a profound growth in self-awareness,” Raymond says. “It didn’t take long to realize that being self-aware allowed me to self-regulate and be intentional with everything I do.”
After completing her MSW in May, Raymond opened MESSS Makers in order to share her knowledge with others so they can live happy, fulfilled lives too!
“In light of the pandemic this year, I am offering the program outdoors to increase safety for everyone involved, and on a smaller scale, MESSS Makers only requires myself and two junior apprentices to run it,” she states. “Watching my nine year old son and loved ones struggle emotionally with the restrictions of the pandemic, really sparked urgency in me to help those around me overcome this hurdle.”
Compared to other childcare programs, MESSS Makers focuses more on emotional intelligence skills rather than intellectual ones.
“Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely believe that intelligence is vital to success in life,” Raymond explains. “But right now, with all the trauma we’re experiencing with the pandemic, all of society needs that little extra attention on mental health.”
The daily program is filled with fun crafts and activities, turned into learning opportunities. The day is organized so children have lots of time to explore nature and blow off steam, as well as time relaxing independently and expressing themselves creatively. Activities include: scavenger hunts, outdoor water play, relay races, craft making and completing random acts of kindness in the community.
Make Beautiful Music With Featherstone Music & Performing Arts Company
Located at 628 Monmouth Road, Studio #6, Featherstone Music & Performing Arts Company offers to everyone aged five and up, pop/rock piano and vocal fusion lessons, traditional piano lessons, contemporary piano lessons and contemporary vocal lessons.
Featherstone is the first music school in southern Ontario with a “Rockschool” examination curriculum — a program like the Royal Conservatory of Music, but with contemporary repertoire selections.
“I cannot imagine my life without making and sharing music every day,” states Ava Ducharme, Owner of Featherstone Music & Performing Arts Company. “My musical journey began at age five with my first piano lesson and I began teaching private piano and voice lessons in Windsor when I was 15.”
However, it wasn’t until she graduated high school and went into nursing that she discovered how strong her passion for music was.
“I was in a clinical placement at an assisted living home that had a piano in the lounge,” Ducharme says. “I hopped on to play one day for the residents and their visiting families. Their smiles and the way they were clapping and tapping along made me realize that with music I could still follow a passion and career that helps people.”
Ducharme enrolled in the music program at the University of Toronto and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music, in 2017. After graduating, she taught piano and voice lessons at top-rated music schools in the GTA. After gaining this experience in Toronto, she moved back to Windsor and opened Featherstone in September 2019.
During the pandemic, Featherstone has been offering online music lessons, on-and-off with the lockdowns. When lessons are held in the studio they follow strict health and safety measures, such as hand sanitization, mandatory masks, plexiglass between student and teacher, and longer gaps between lessons to ensure all equipment can be sanitized.
Be On Cloud Divine With A Slumber Party
Based in south Windsor, On Cloud Divine is the only business in the region to specialize in slumber party events.
“We are a one-stop-shop for fun and unique celebrations at home,” comments the mother and daughter team of Maria Sequeira and Laura Belanger, Owners of On Cloud Divine.
The pair always wanted to create a business together, and in the summer of 2020 they began to brainstorm ideas that collaborated their strengths — Belanger with event planning and Sequeira with crafting and sewing. Then in October 2020, On Cloud Divine was born.
Belanger is a lover of all things involving party planning, and she goes all out for events for her family, friends and clients. Now with three kids of her own, her passion is making a child’s birthday or celebration a memorable event.
Sequeira is a busy grandmother to six grandchildren, and her creativity with sewing and crafting has always brought that unique and special touch to every event.
Their service includes DIY spa tables, luxe dining tables and balloon garlands. Due to the pandemic, they began to offer outdoor events, such as outdoor bell tent settings and an outdoor movie theatre.
“Our slumber party tents are our most sought-after service,” Sequeira and Belanger say. “They include individual wood tents, complete with air mattresses, linens, pillows and matching décor to a variety of colours and themes with custom themes available. Our bell tent can be used as a chic lounge, dining area or slumber space.”
Keep in mind, these parties aren’t just for children . . . they are fun for teens and adults of all ages!
As their business involves going into residential homes, Sequeira and Belanger take COVID-19 very seriously. Their number one priority is keeping their clients and community safe. They always follow provincial COVID-19 restrictions, which required them to take a long hiatus during the lockdown.
“Now that we are back, we wear disposable booties in clients’ homes as well as a mask around all clients,” they stress. “We also ask clients to kindly wear a mask around us. We launder all linens, sanitize all surfaces after each event and offer disinfectant fogging of the event space after setup free of charge.”