Posts Tagged "playtime"

Canucks Autism Network Sports Day Adventure!

Posted by on May 26, 2014 | 1 comment

Canucks Autism Network Sports Day Adventure!

As much as I complain about the state of autism support here in the Lower Mainland, we also have some pretty cool things going on. There are several societies that provide access to camps, supports, and many other activities for autistic individuals.

One group here doing it really right is the Canucks Autism Network (CAN). They help keep autistic kids involved in sports and a lot of other social events. CAN usually tries to involve siblings as well, to help foster a whole family experience. We absolutely love them.

Jack and I were very excited to attend the CAN 2nd Annual Sports Day on May 18th at BC Place. It was a day of serious fun with representatives from the Vancouver Canucks, the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the BC Lions, and the Vancouver Canadians. I could tell you all about it, but I’d rather show you. Enjoy!

We arrived a bit early, so it was a good hour before the event started. CAN had set up face painting and colouring, but the waiting still got old after a bit. Anticipation and autism don’t mix well. The CAN volunteers are seasoned, though, and did their very best to keep everyone intact.

Face painting is an essential part of every adventure.

Face painting is an essential part of every adventure.

 

waiting is hard

Waiting, and peeking to see what’s happening in the stadium.

 

Here we go!

Here we go!

 

More waiting. Jack says all of the downtime was "abominable."

More waiting. Jack says all of the downtime was “abominable.”

 

As everyone was introduced, we got a cool view of everything from above.

 

A birds-eye view of the event.

A birds-eye view of the event.

 

Waiting is tough, but astroturf is an awesome sensory experience.

Waiting is tough, but astroturf is an awesome sensory experience.

 

Finally ready to go!

Finally ready to go!

 

The kids were divided into four groups, and each group spent twenty-five minutes with an activity, then rotated to the next one. Jack’s group had hockey first!

 

Getting tips from Canucks left wing Daniel Sedin.

Getting tips from Canucks left wing Daniel Sedin.

 

There were photographers and cameras capturing it all, and showing everyone on the jumbotron. Jack noticed it quickly, and played right to the camera. That’s my boy.

 

Jack saw himself on the Jumbotron. So did Fin.

Jack saw himself on the Jumbotron. So did Fin.

Fin, the Canucks mascot, had a great time with the kids. He has a thing about chewing on their heads, though. They should keep an eye on that.

Jack and Fin.

Jack and Fin.

 

Next up was football, and Jack learned how to run the ball, throw the ball, and do a wicked touchdown dance.

 

Running the ball with BC Lions defensive back Matt McGarva.

Running the ball with BC Lions defensive back Matt McGarva.

 

Going for a super-high 5 with BC Lions fullback Rolly Lumbala.

Going for a super-high 5 with BC Lions fullback Rolly Lumbala.

 

We moved on to soccer, and Jack put the Whitecaps guys through their paces. A lot of the other kids were ready for a break, but Jack kept on going. And going. And going.

 

Going one-on-one with Whitecaps FC assistant coach Martyn Pert.

Going one-on-one with Whitecaps FC assistant coach Martyn Pert.

 

Trying to get past Whitecaps goalie David Ousted.

Trying to get past Whitecaps goalie David Ousted.

 

Finally, we moved over to baseball. After some pointers from Mama, Jack smacked a few line drives.

 

Definitely an American boy - he had the best form there!

Definitely an American boy – he had the best form there!

 

Canucks announcer Ed Murdoch closed out the event.

 

The voice of the Canucks, announcer Al Murdoch.

The voice of the Canucks, announcer Al Murdoch.

 

We had a lot of fun. Thank you CAN, for everything you do!

 

We had an amazing day - thank you, CAN!!

We had an amazing day – thank you, CAN!!

 

*************************************************************************8

Click HERE if you’re interested in joining CAN.

Click HERE if you’d like to be a CAN volunteer.

Click HERE for information on how to donate to and fundraise for CAN.

 

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Canucks Autism Network Family Festival 2014

Posted by on May 8, 2014 | 0 comments

Canucks Autism Network Family Festival 2014

We always have a good time at the Canucks Autism Network‘s (CAN) Family Festival in downtown Vancouver. We usually go later in the day, so we miss the actual walk (we don’t like to do big crowds, even for autism – because of autism). We still enjoy the booths and activities, though.

 

 

Jack looks good as a Canuck!

Jack looks good as a Canuck!

 

We always love seeing our friends Tanaya and Bryce from Bubbles Make Him Smile!

We always love seeing our friends Tanaya and Bryce from Bubbles Make Him Smile!

 

Jack and the Olympic Cauldron

Jack and the Olympic Cauldron

 

Come join us next year!

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Berry Happy

Posted by on Jul 21, 2011 | 6 comments

Berry Happy

Like all moms, I’ve been struggling to keep my children occupied over their summer vacation.  Unlike the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, however, I’ve also been dealing with rain.  Lots and lots of rain.  Every single day.  In biblical proportion.  We’ve had the occasional burst of sunlight, but rarely enough to enjoy for a full morning or afternoon, let alone make plans around.  Our new city is overflowing with amazing parks, beaches, playgrounds with water features, and wondrous natural sights to behold, but most just aren’t that fun when you’re drenched.

(I know, we moved here and we should expect rain – but we’re not completely used to it yet, and seriously, it’s rained a LOT this year.)

Basically, my point is my entire summer strategy has been put on rain delay.  I had hoped to run them ragged daily at the playground and spray parks or in our little backyard splash pool.  I envisioned sun-drenched children happily dragging themselves to bed each night, drunk on outdoor play.  I did not plan for a Junuary rainmageddon.

I took this photo June 13th.

Instead, I’ve been keeping them sane with arts and crafts, trips to the indoor playground (ok, Daddy takes them there while I recharge), and copious amounts of Dora and Diego.  Yes, my children have watched a lot of television this summer.  I’m not proud.

Today, when the rain stopped unexpectedly, we decided to go pick raspberries.  We have already picked strawberries twice and raspberries on two other occasions, but all of those trips save one have involved me picking solo while Daddy watches the boys at the farms’ playgrounds.  The one strawberry picking trip we tried with the kids resulted in Kieran throwing every berry he picked, Lennon eating every berry he picked, Jack analyzing every single berry for ripeness before picking three, Daddy overseeing everything while stating periodically that he is “not a farmer,” and me stooped over gathering berries madly while trying to keep my camera out of the rain (yes, it rained that day, too).

Not a lot of picking happening here.

We have been exploring the many farms in our vicinity, and decided to try a new one this morning (mostly because their raspberry u-pick price was the best).  We gauge a farm’s “awesomeness” on several things, mainly their ability to entertain the children.  I was on a mission for berries today, though, and put savings ahead of my kids’ happiness.  I figured if worst came to worst, they’d learn how to pick raspberries.  What could go wrong?

Of course, today’s farm had no playground, no petting zoo, no silly pictures of anthropomorphized berries they could stick their heads through for photos.  It was just a farm, with fields and some porta-potties.  And some wagons.  We grabbed a wagon and headed into the raspberry field, visions of raspberries dancing in our heads.  Actually, I had visions of my children red from head to toe with juice and screaming from pricking their fingers on the bushes, but I didn’t share those fears with my husband.

The raspberry bushes we encountered were taller than David, so much to his chagrin I put a bucket in his hand and set him to work on the highest branches.  Both Lennon and Jack had buckets, and Kieran was master of the wagon.  This scenario did not last long.  David picked a handful before abandoning his post, Lennon picked loads of gorgeous berries that only saw the inside of his stomach and not his bucket, and then he and Kieran fought over who got to run us down with the wagon.  Eventually, in the interest of actually taking some raspberries home, I told David to take the younger boys back to the parking lot to play with the wagons.  Jack stayed behind with me to pick, and pick he did.

Getting the hang of it

Once he understood how to pick the ripest berries, Jack was fully into the task.  He analyzed them, pulled gently, and tucked them into his bucket.  At one point, though, he got a little carried away with telling me how he was picking them and stopped actually doing it.  I grabbed a big, beautiful berry he had missed and said, “Jack!  You missed me!  I want to go in your bucket!”

He loved it, and jumped right into the game.  He talked to every single berry he encountered, and had quite the conversations.  Some berries were ready to be in his pie, some wanted to swim in his stomach.  There were whole raspberry families, cousins and friends.  The unripe ones he had to leave behind, “because they’re still babies,” he promised to come back and get when they were ready.  Jack didn’t pick a ton of fruit, but he did pick happy fruit.

A job well done

We finally filled all of our baskets and buckets and started back to the pay stand, Jack pulling the wagon the whole way.  He was proud and excited about what he’d done, and made sure to tell Daddy all about it when we returned.

Old enough to do the manly work

As we drove home, I expected him to be sleepy and ready for his nap, exhausted from his great endeavor.  Instead, he wondered why we hadn’t gone to a playground, too.

How many days left until school starts?

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Jack the Explorer Giant

Posted by on Feb 22, 2011 | 0 comments

Jack’s imagination fascinates me nowadays.  He has entire worlds in his head, and I’m getting glimpses of them here and there.  Lately, he’s been talking to his fingers.  Rather, his fingers have been talking to me.

Brother and Sister

It took me a bit to realize the stilted voice he was using during play was “another person,” as I initially thought he was talking for his toy trucks and trains and planes.  As I listened while making dinner one night, though, I caught pieces of a three-way conversation.

“Who are you talking to, Jack?” I asked.

“Brother and Sister are riding in the plane,” he said, simply.  He had his hand in a small plane as it flew around the room.  I called him over to the stove and started asking questions about “Brother and Sister,” desperately hoping we weren’t heading into “The Shining” territory.

What I discovered is “Brother and Sister” are Jack’s fingers.  They don’t have a dad and a mom, but they’re not lost, because they have Jack. They do not have a house.  They go to school with Jack, but they don’t need to learn French, because they don’t have any language.  When Jack speaks English, they speak English, and when Jack speaks French, they speak French.

His fingers say Jack is a giant, but he’s an explorer giant, not a scary giant.

Brother and Sister are around a lot.  They ride in the van, they play in Jack’s trains and other toys, and sometimes they converse with Lennon, too.  Mainly, though, they are Jack’s little buddies.

I wonder how long Brother and Sister are going to hang around with Jack the Explorer Giant.  Considering I never thought Jack would have an imaginary friend (or two), I’m pretty happy they’re here.  At least as long as Brother doesn’t change his name to Tony.

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Julia's Transformation

Posted by on Jan 15, 2011 | 0 comments

You may recall, Jack has a train named Julia.  Julia has always been a boy, contrary to his feminine name.  Most of Jack’s trains have girl monikers, many taken from the women in his life.  Names aside, they’ve always been boys.

Julia

Not to say Jack didn’t know the difference between the sexes; he had Little People girls and other toys that were decidedly female.  For some reason, though, the trains were all boys (it makes sense – there are very few girls on the Island of Sodor and wherever those Geo Trax trains live).

Last week, that all changed.  We were at an indoor playground teeming with children when Jack heard a parent call out for their child.

“Julia!”  Jack thinks all things Julia begin and end with his black steam engine, so his interest was piqued.  Much to his surprise, the child who responded was, in fact, a little girl.  Jack spent the rest of his time at the playground following the little girl around and chatting about her name.

Jack went on about that Julia and his Julia the whole way home, and eventually came to a realization.

“I made a big mistake before,” he said.

“About what?” we asked.

“Julia.  Julia is a girl.  She’s a girl.”

“But isn’t Julia a boy?”  After two years, we had finally gotten used to calling Julia “he” instead of “she.”

“Nope, I made a big mistake before.”  And that, as they say, was that.  Julia is a girl.  Indeed, now Joy, Fairy, Merry and Miss Elana the trains are all girls now, too.

Change has come to the playroom.

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