It’s July 1st and the time has come yet again to celebrate and take pride in the great nation we live in. However, there is more to Canada Day than fireworks and parades. Canada has a rich history and vibrant culture that deserve to be celebrated. So rather than standing for hours in the scorching sun watching floats pass by, here is a list of fun AND educational activities guaranteed to be a big hit with your child this year (there are also a few fun facts about Canada to go along with each activity). Happy Canada Day!
1. Bake A Canadian Classic
Butter Tarts are a Canadian tradition. They’re delicious to eat and easy to make. For the tart, if you’re making it with your children, we recommend buying the pie pastry ahead of time.
FUN FACT: You know what other foods Canada invented? Peanut Butter, McIntosh Apples, Nanaimo Bars, Poutine and of course, Maple Syrup (Canada produces 71% of the world’s maple syrup).
Yield: 12 tarts
For the filling:
- ½ cup corn syrup
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 T butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup raisins or pecans (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400F. Combine corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, egg, vanilla, and raisins/pecans (optional) in a bowl and mix together. Cut pie pastry to fit into a tartlet/cupcake pan. Spoon the filling into the tart until it is ¾ full. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden and the top of the filling is bubbly.
2. Put A Canadian Spin on Your Favourite Sport
While your butter tarts are in the oven, have your kids play a sport outside. Put a twist on some of the classics - instead of PIG in basketball, play MOOSE.
FUN FACT: A Canadian by the name of James Naismith invented the sport of Basketball. Lacrosse is Canada’s National Summer Sport, while Ice Hockey is Canada’s National Winter Sport.
3. Make Aboriginal Art
Though there are a multitude of Canadian-themed crafts to make with your children this Canada Day, why not take this opportunity to teach your children a bit about the First Nations People of Canada. Follow a link for an easy teepee craft (all that’s required are straws and construction paper), or if you’re looking for more of a challenge, have an Inukshuk competition! Grab as many flat rocks from your neighbourhood as possible and see who can make an Inukshuk the fastest.
FUN FACT: Canada is actually an Iroquois word meaning village.
Teepee Craft: http://www.dltk-kids.com/world/native/mteepee.htm
4. Jam Out to Some Canadian Tunes
Forget Justin Bieber or Nickelback, there are so many great Canadian artists out there! Teach your child about all of the amazing musicians that were born right here in Canada. Below are a list of some of Canada’s most successful artists. Oh, and don’t forget to include O’ Canada in your playlist!
FUN FACT: The Canadian National Anthem, O’ Canada, has two authors, one for the french version (Adolphe-Basile Routhier) and one for the English version (Robert Stanley Weir), and the first version of the anthem was written in 1880.
Canadian Artists: Rush, Alanis Morissette, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Barenaked Ladies, Michael Buble, Nelly Furtado, Sam Roberts, The Tragically Hip, Arcade Fire, Avril Lavigne, Sarah MacLachlan
5. Embark on a Provincial Scavenger Hunt
Hide various items around your house that relate to a major characteristic of each Canadian province. Some of these items can be found around the house, while photos of others may need to be printed off the internet. When the children find all of the items on the list, gather them around and teach them about the significance of each object.
- British Columbia: Item to find: Twig; Significance: 62% of British Columbia’s land is forested and the province is home to over 40 species of native trees.
- Alberta: Item to find: Horseshoe; Significance: Calgary is home to The Calgary Stampede, Canada’s largest rodeo event that attracts million of visitors each year. The first Stampede was held in 1912.
- Saskatchewan: Item to find: Slice of Bread; Significance: Saskatchewan is Canada’s most important grain-producing region and exports 10% of the world’s wheat alone.
- Manitoba: Item to find: Nickel; Significance: The provincial mineral of Manitoba is nickel.
- Ontario: Item to find: Water bottle; Significance: Ontario has over 250,000 lakes which make up ⅓ of the world’s fresh water supply.
- Quebec: Task: Take a picture with syrup (maple, if you have it); Significance: Quebec produces 91% of Canada’s maple syrup. Maple syrup comes from maple trees. However, sap cannot be tapped from a maple tree until it is at least 25 years old.
- New Brunswick: Item to find: Penny; Significance: New Brunswick is the largest producer of copper in Canada.
- Nova Scotia: Item to find: Blueberries; Significance: The official provincial berry of Nova Scotia is the wild blueberry.
- Prince Edward Island: Item to find: Mini Potato; Significance: The first record of potato production on PEI was in 1771, and today, over 88,000 acres of potatoes are grown on PEI each year.
- Newfoundland & Labrador: Item to find: Goldfish crackers; Significance: Fishing is the largest industry in Newfoundland & Labrador, with a variety of fish including Atlantic salmon, cod, tuna, and halibut.
- The Yukon: Task: Take a picture of the sun; Significance: The Yukon is known as the “land of the midnight sun” as the sun is continuous for three months of the summer.
- Northwest Territories: Item to find: Plastic Knife; Significance: The capital city of the NorthWest Territories is Yellowknife, named after an Aboriginal group called the Dene who were known for carrying around knives with yellow blades.
- Nunavut: Task: Write down the name of the youngest person at your gathering; Significance: Nunavut is Canada’s youngest province. It did not officially become a Canadian province until 1999, making it just 16 years old.