Attractions & things to do for the kids in your life


How it's made: Pompeii body casts

Pompeii Exhibition is at the ROM until January 3rd!

When we hear "Pompeii" we automatically think about this! Have you ever wonderered what it is we are actually looking at? For the Pompeii Exhibition presented at the ROM until January 3rd, 2016, they've created a small display to explain it to us. 


Some 1150 people died during Mount Vesuvious' eruption over Pompeii in Year 79. Of these, 394 were found buried beneath layers of pumice, forming a porous shell around their body.


Over time, the soft tissues decayed, leaving an empty space where the bodies lied, with some bones.


Excavators found many hollow pockets in the ash. In 1864, one of them, Giuseppe Fiorelli, instructed the diggers to pour plaster into the hole, leaving it to harden.


They were then instructed to chip off the hardened ash around the plaster, which had created a perfect cast of the body at the time of death. 


The body casts are too precious to travel, so what we see at the ROM are copies of the casts, either molded out of the original plaster casts or, lately, reproduced in resine from a 3D printer!

Related posts:

9 proofs that things haven't changed much in 2,000 years!

What you will love vs what your kids will love about Pompeii's exhibition 1

What you will love vs what your kids will love about Pompeii's exhibition 2

Behind the scene of a family media launch at the ROM



I-SPY game for the Gardiner Museum

I spy animals everywhere!
My favourite way to visit museums with kids is by turning our visit into an I-Spy game. I was at the Gardiner Museum in late November 2015 to enjoy the 12 Trees of Christmas event and took the opportunity to capture photos of animals in the sculptures or on the plates. I don't know when the curators of the Museum will decide to change the displays but I'm pretty sure this I-Spy game will be good throughout 2016. Print the game, give it to your kids and enjoy!



Best Christmas ad ever!


We can be as cynical as we want about Christmas ads but...

Sometimes, a big company hits just the right universal note and creates little gems that fly way beyond their products. In 2014, IKEA Spain created an experiment with 10 families and made this 2min40 clip out of it. Someone added English subtitles. Kids were told to write to Santa, then to their parents, to ask what they want for Christmas. As one of the parents involved put it: "Imagine! You want to give them the best you can and the best is yourself!"

Intersting fact: In Spain, kids don't write to Santa, they write to "Los reyes", the Wise Men!



2015: Top-10 activities at the Royal Fair

Royal Agricultural Winter Fair 2015 from November 6 to November 15! Royal_Winter_Fair_map_2014

I've attended the Royal Winter Fair on many occasions with my family. It is a wonderful event for animal lovers of all ages where the best cows, horses and other farm animals are competing, then to be sold in auctions. It is an occasion for the agricultural industry to feature all kinds of farm-related activities and products for the benefit of the general public. We've always come across cool activities during our visits but it was often by pure luck. The truth is that if you don't explore the attraction's website prior to your visit (a time consuming task), chances are you will have the nagging feeling you’re missing out on a great activity while you're attending another.

I sifted through the Fair's website to find the 2015 activities that seem of most interest to children. (For the hours and line-up of activities for each day, go to the schedule link in the top right menu on their website.)

TOP-10 fun things at the Royal Fair (Check their schedule at the door on the day of your visit!)

In the President’s Choice Animal Theatre

1) Rabbit jumping!

I’ve never seen big rabbits jumping over tiny obstacles. This activity is offered on two days only: Saturday Nov. 7 at 12:30p.m. and 3:45 p.m., and Saturday 14 at 12:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. (Note that their activity Goats on the Go includes goats jumping and doing other tricks, and there are Jack Russel races on some days.)


2) President’s Choice Superdogs

Offered 3 to 4 times every day. The dogs are so eager, it’s pure fun to watch them go. (Note that there will also be Jack Russell Races on certan days)

3) Medieval Times demonstration

In 2015, we will see the riders of Medieval Times Monday to Wednesday at 12:30 p.m.

In Hall B

4) Pizza Pizza Petting Farm

With 60 animals, a big hit with every one. Open throughout the event.

5) Giant Vegetable Competition

In the Horticulture Display (wherever that is! they don't explain on the map). When we visited, there was a 1093-pound giant pumpkin! Apparently the biggest one they saw at the Fair was 1414.6 lbs! The competition takes place on Saturday Nov. 7 from 12 noon to 2 p.m.. The vegetables remain on site until the end of the Fair.

6) Butter Sculpture Competition

Artists can be seen sculpting butter in the refrigerated Butter Sculpture Trailer (usually in the first six days of the Fair). The judging takes place on Thursday November 12 at 10:30 a.m. In previous years, after the competition, the winner got to create a new sculpture for the next three days. Try to tell your kids not to play with their food after that!

In Scotiabank Ring of Excellence

7) Many farm animal competitions take place in the barns during the Fair but two of them take place in the Ring of Excellence. The Rabbits and Cavies show is on Sunday Nov. 15 (your chance to see 600 rabbits and cavies!). The Poultry, Waterfowl and Pigeon show is also interesting, featuring 800 birds. It is offered Tuesday Nov. 10 and Wednesday Nov. 11. (Note about the following photo: This photo was taken years ago, in a part of the Fair where we could admire the poultry waiting for the competition. I don't know if it is still accessible.)

In the Horse Palace

8) Different breeds of horses compete in the Horse Palace. While you’re there, play an i-SPY game with your kids, trying to spot as many horse-theme architectural detail as possible in and around the building.

In the Ricoh Coliseum

This is the part about the Fair that most confused me the first times I visited the attraction. Many of the Royal Horse Show performances are ticketed events not included with the ground admission to the Royal Winter Fair (they cost around $50 per person and include ground admission). But there are many opportunities to see Royal Horse shorter (and free) performances in the Ricoh Coliseum.

9) Royal Horse Show FREE performances

Friday Nov. 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday Nov. 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Monday Nov. 9 from 6:45 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 10 from 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 11 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday Nov. 12 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 12 noon to 4:30 p.m. Saturday Nov. 14 from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. Sunday Nov. 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.



Whittamore's Pumpkinland, a blast until October 31!

Whittamore Farms Pumkin Canon

Check the photo gallery of our latest visit to Whittamore's Farm during their Pumpkinland. It involves a pumpkin cannon, the biggest bouncing pad, rubber duckie races and more!

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Buy the book Toronto Street Art Strolls

Nathalie's tips for a smooth outing

After years of doing all kinds of outings with my children, I can assure you the secret to a perfect outing lies in the details, not the destination.


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