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Recycled Bird Feeders

Create bird feeders with the kids using everyday recycled materials in your blue bins! Reuse a pop bottle, an empty can, an egg carton or toilet paper rolls!

Supplies:

  • Clean, empty 2L plastic bottles
  • X-Acto Knife
  • Duct Tape
  • Crisco
  • Bird Seed
  • Screw or Nail to poke holes
  • String
  • Scissors

Steps:

  1. Carefully cut an empty pop bottle in half using an x-acto knife
  2. Place duct tape around the top perimeter of the bottle (We found that once we cut the bottle in half, the edges were quite sharp- duct tape softens the edges for the birds)
  3. Poke two holes on either side of the bottle close to the top using a sharp nail or screw.
  4. Loop string through both holes and tie a knot to create a hanger for your bird feeder.
  5. Coat the inside of the bottle with Crisco (This helps the bird seed to not fall out or blow out in the wind)
  6. Scoop bird seed into your new bird feeder and hang outside!

Tips:

Beware most bird seed contains peanuts, if there are allergies make sure to purchase NUT FREE bird seed!

Scope:

Cost: $
# of people: Individual, Partner or Group
Difficulty Level: Simple
Time: 10-15 minutes

LEGO travel box

Have kids crazy about LEGO yet the thought of travelling with Lego gives you nightmares? Here is a simple craft to help your LEGO enthusiast stay organized. Perfect for on the go, including car and airplane travel! Size of box depends on your travel needs (e.g. size of kids backpack or suitcase)

Materials:

  • Crafting box
  • Lego Plate (LEGO Brand recommended)
  • Industrial Strength Adhesive
  • Cutting tools
  • Ruler
  • Pencil

Steps:

  1. Measure the lid of your Box and mark your LEGO plate using a pencil
  2. Cut your LEGO plate according to your measurements
  3. Glue LEGO plate onto the top lid of your box and let dry

Tips:

Buy a crafting box that has some removable walls, so you can store bigger builds by removing one wall making it bigger.
We recommend the real Lego brand, as nothing slides off when you lift the lid to pick out the next pieces.

Scope:

Cost: $$
# of People: 1 adult
Difficulty: Simple
Travel: Yes
Time: 5 minutes + drying time

Dragon Eggs

You can start by reading a fairytale or a book about dragons. We talked about fire breathing dragons and then began creating our dragon eggs, followed by creating our dragons craft with paper rolls! This craft pairs perfectly with the “fire breathing dragon” as shown in photo.

Materials:

  • Moulding Clay
  • Gems
  • Glitter
  • Googly eyes

Steps:

  1. Form coloured clay into an egg shape by moulding it with your hands
  2. Place gems and glitter on the outside of the clay egg

Tips:

If you have an empty plastic Easter egg, you can form an egg shape by placing the clay inside the Easter egg shell.

Scope:

Cost: $
# of People: Individual, Groups
Difficulty: Simple
Time: 5 minutes

Fire Breathing Dragon

A perfect craft to complete after you have created your dragon eggs, a fire- breathing dragon that kids can breathe through. This can also be used as a great breathing exercise, having to inhale for 5 seconds and exhale for 5 seconds to create more fire!

Supplies:

  • Toilet paper roll
  • Coloured construction paper
  • Pom poms
  • Googly Eyes
  • Yellow, Orange and Red Tissue Paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Hot Glue Gun

Steps:

  1. Cover the empty toilet paper roll in coloured construction paper of your choice
  2. Secure paper with a piece of tape
  3. Cut long strips of red, yellow and orange tissue paper.
  4. Insert strips of tissue paper into one end of the paper tube, and tape them down.
  5. Use the hot glue to secure 2 large pom poms on opposite end of paper tube from tissue paper.
  6. Glue google eyes to large pom poms
  7. Hot glue smaller pom poms near the tissue paper end, for nostrils.

Scope:

Cost: $
# of People: Individual, Partner or Groups
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Time: 10-15 min

Whimsical Garden Mushrooms

We made colourful, wood mushrooms to place in our garden! It’s a great project for a rainy summer day, and they create a magical feel to your garden. We places ours around the flower garden and near our fairy garden.

Supplies:

  • Wooden bowels in a variety of shapes and sizes
  • Logs
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Mod Podge Clear Acrylic Sealer
  • Sand Paper or sanding blocks
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver

Steps:

  1. Place your wooden bowls on a flat surface. We scored our wooden bowls from Value Village!
  2. Place bowls upside down on table and sand them to create a rough surface and remove any sort of shine.
  3. Flip bowls upside down and paint the bottom sides a bright colour with acrylic paint. We painted two coats on each bowl.
  4. Allow acrylic pain to dry overnight.
  5. Paint round spots on mushroom caps with contrasting colours.
  6. Allow spots to dry
  7. Apply a clear coat to the caps with at least 2 coats of the Mod Podge clear acrylic sealer. This will help to protect them from the elements and ensure they last in your garden.

Scope:

Cost: $$
# of people: group
Difficulty: simple
Travel: No
Time: 4h + drying time

Pool Noodle Sprinkler

This is a simple $2 DIY kids sprinkler made out of a pool noodle. It’s better than any of the ones we have purchased, and took less than 5 minutes to make. Perfect summer fun on hot days for kids of all ages!

Supplies

  • 1 pool noodle ($1.00 from Walmart)
  • 1 sponge (Pack of 6 for $1.00)
  • Scissors
  • String
  • 1 sharp nail

Steps

  1. Place the pool noodle on the ground in front of you. Take a nail and poke holes into the pool noodle across the top. Make sure your holes go into the hollow in the centre of the noodle, but not through the entire noodle.
  2. Cut sponge in half, and insert half the sponge into one end of the hollow pool noodle.
  3. Wrap a string around the end of the pool noodle with the sponge inserted and very tightly. This will ensure no water spills out of this end.
  4. Insert a garden hose in the opposite end of the pool noodle and turn the water on to observe your brand new kids sprinkler!

Scope:

Cost: $
# of People: 1 adult
Difficulty Level: Easy
Time: 5-10 minutes

Recycled Bike Planter

We wanted to create something for our front garden bed that would not only add height, but interest too. It also had to be cost effective and make use of recycled materials as we are all about helping the environment!  Here is our take on a “Recycled Bike Planter”.

Supplies:

  • An old bike (there is always someone getting rid of an unwanted, rusty bike!)
  • 2 wooden crates or other bins/baskets of your choice
  • Outdoor spray paint suitable for multiple surfaces (metal, wood)
  • 2 hanging baskets of flowers
  • Strong, wooden stakes
  • Painters tape or masking tape
  • Sandpaper/sanding blocks
  • Cardboard or newspaper to cover surfaces you are working on
  • Zip ties and twine (we got both of these items from Dollarama)
  • Damp cloth
  • Mallet

Steps:

  1. Cover the surface you will be working on with newspaper or cardboard to protect it. 
  2. Sand all areas of the bike that you will be painting to remove rust and rough up the surface. Wipe with damp cloth when done to remove any dust and let fully dry. (The kids love helping with this step!)
  3. Protect any areas of the bike you do not want painted with painter’s tape and newspaper (e.g., we covered up any chrome parts on the bike we found).
  4. Spray paint the bike and crates in a well ventilated area (outside) – we chose a bright colour so our bike would stand out (you may want to leave the crates/baskets unpainted…totally up to you, but make sure you protect any wood with at least a clear coat of spray).  For safety reasons, keep the kids away for this part. You may need multiple coats of paint to ensure proper coverage – ensure you let it dry well between coats.
  5. Once the paint is fully dry, get the bike into the position you want in your garden.  Dig the wheels in a bit, and use wooden stakes to help hold the bike up along with the kickstand (if it has one).  We used 3 stakes…one through parts of each wheel, and one through the centre metal parts. Hammer the stakes in using a mallet.
  6. Attach the crates to the front and back of the bike using zip ties and twine.  Add these in numerous places to ensure the crates are sturdy.
  7. Put the hanging baskets of flowers in the crates (remove any hangers).  We added an upside-down pot at the bottom of each crate to raise the flowers up higher so they could be seen.

Enjoy your creative garden decoration!  We have had lots of positive comments about our beautiful bike.

Scope:

Cost: $$
# of People: 1 Adult, Group
Difficulty Level: Medium
Travel: Not anymore 😉
Time: 4h + drying time

Tip:

Involve the kids by choosing colours, or add their handprints on the baskets or bike. Redecorate the bike with every season. Add some pumpkins and fall mums in autumn, or make it Santa’s bike in the winter. Let your imagination go wild and have some fun.

I can, and you can too! Travelling with Kids

Travelling is one of my passions. I love travelling! Always have, always will. 

Growing up in Europe I travelled a lot with my parents, perhaps that’s where I got my travel bug from. Later on, I chose a profession that requires travel and I loved the fact that I got to live in some amazing places across the globe. 

I met my husband while working in Australia – he is Canadian with English roots and I am German, with this mix you are bound to travel with kids to visit with family. Regardless of that, when my husband and I decided to have kids we didn’t want to “settle down”, we wanted to continue seeing the world. We decided to make some specific lifestyle choices that allow us to continue our amazing travelling journey. For example, we founded our own company that we can run remotely, and we started homeschooling the kids to be able to travel whenever it suits us.

Our first trip with our first child was a 7.5 hour plane ride at his tender age of 8 weeks. Travelling with babies is a lot easier, especially if they just sleep, eat and poop! The challenges come later when they don’t want to sleep, become picky eaters and don’t want to sit still. 😉

Over the years, I found some tips and tricks that work well for both us and our two boys, who are seasoned travellers and surprisingly easy to travel with. As we’re travelling frequently, I often get asked on how we do it. Especially when we travel for long durations with multiple locations. With the travel season around the corner, I’ve written down a few handy tips and tricks on travelling with children.

I hope you’ll find them helpful!

Packing

First things first: packing suitcases to travel. I’m very specific about packing and none of the other family members can interfere with this or it will drive me crazy. To minimize space I roll everything, which also means it creases less and it’s handy to sort into drawers if need be. I have a very specific order, so I know exactly what to say when I get “Muuuuuummmm! Where are my PJ’s?” I also divide everyone’s clothes into each suitcase, because luggage goes missing and you don’t want to be stuck with family members without anything to wear! It takes me about 2 – 3 hours to pack two to three bags. By the end of 6 weeks, I’ll manage to pack bags in less than 20 minutes following the same pattern every time.

Communication

Before you start travelling, discuss the process with your kids and your spouse. We have plenty of books about airports and airplanes. We often read them before our travel and go through each step from arriving to the airport to going on the plane. They now understand each step and know the importance of security and passport control. During the time of travel, keep checking in with the little ones, make sure you know how they feel and comfort them to prevent possible meltdowns. I travel in old clothes for this reason – floors can be dirty, but I would rather have dirty pants from kneeling down to be on their eye height checking in with them, then have a meltdown at boarding time!

The other important communication is with your spouse. Decide before starting the journey who will handle kids, who will handle passport control etc. For example, in our family I handle the kids, while my husband handles the communication with various staff.

Entertaining the kids

Keeping the kids entertained on a long trip, either car or plane, is hard work! Digital entertainment made travel easier, but we don’t allow the kids to be on a screen non-stop. (screen time is totally banned in the car) Overnight flights are tough, as the addiction to a screen won’t let kids sleep at all. We started a rule where they can play for 30 minutes, and then need to be off for an hour before going back on. (Usually they will fall asleep during the hour screen free time)

I’m proud to say that the following idea came from my mother and I continue with the “tradition” of a travel suitcase. It’s a special suitcase (or backpack) filled with games and other surprises which only come out when we’re travelling. Every trip there will be a new surprise or two, but their favourite travel toys will stay in it and they are always excited to see their favourites again, playing excitedly for hours. Suitcase includes things like magnetic board games, play dough, card games, pens and notepads. As I have two LEGO crazy kids, it also contains a special homemade travel friendly LEGO box.

Speaking of LEGO, I always travel with some packages of LEGO mini figures. These come out as a special treat if the kids have been good at a dinner in a restaurant.(mealtime is also screen free in our household) 

Of course not all parts of your travel allow toy suitcases to be rummaged through. There are situations like standing in lineups, waiting for boarding or sometimes even stressful situations like loosing connecting flights, lost luggage, etc. For those times I have a list of fun things to do with the kids to distract them and also nurture my relationship with my kids, so they feel safe. 

For example:

Fortune telling: Take your child’s hand in yours and pretend to read her/his fortune by looking at the palm. Saying lots of positive things about the future (easy if you travel to a beach and can build sand-forts 😉 )

Weather report: Sit with your child facing away from you so that you can put your hands on her/his back. You then describe the weather and rub her/his back to match the weather. For example, “It’s a warm sunny day,” you make a circle. “The wind is beginning to blow,” you swoop your hands lightly across her back making a swishing noise. For “thunder,” use the sides of your hands to shake gently on the back. For “rain make light finger taps. For “lightning,” make a large zig-zag across the back. This also works well with telling other stories like planting a garden, etc.

Mirroring : Face your child standing and move your arms, face, or other body parts. Ask your child to move in the same way. If your child is very active, you could use slow motion and vary the speed. You and your child could take turns being the leader.

If you are waiting on delayed flights and have kids who just need to blow off some steam, you could also try some of these:

Red light, Green light: Ask your child to do something, such as run, jump, move arms. Green light means go, red light means stop.

What time is it, Mr Wolf?: You stand on one side of whatever space you’re in, your child on the other, facing each other. Your child calls out “What time is it Mr. Wolf?” You reply “1:00” and your child takes one step towards you. You can vary the time you give to vary the number of steps your kid takes towards you. Once she/he gets to you, you can give her/him a big hug, or also add in a reply of “lunchtime” and playfully catch your child to give a hug.

Some of these activities actually attract other kids and you may find yourself in the middle of a waiting lounge with a bunch of kids playing and laughing together. 

We also have a few favourite games for the restaurant that just require a pen and paper:

Art Share: This game can be played with the whole family. One piece of paper to draw a single picture together. Every family member takes one pen, then each player takes a turn to draw one line on the paper. The start may look like a scribble, but the end goal is to create something together. We’ve created some fantastic creatures this way.

Scribble Art: Let your child scribble something on a piece of paper, then it’s your turn to make something out of that scribble. I.e., add some legs and a face to create an alien or robot. You can also take turns with your child to scribble something.

I could go on and on about our trial and error process, and perhaps I will write a part 2 of this blog post. My personal conclusion about travelling with kids: expect the unexpected! No matter how much you pre-plan, things will not always turn out the way you thought they would and that’s okay! Try to stay as calm and grounded as possible. Kids need you to be their rock for them at any time. Look after yourself, stay hydrated, make sure you have snacks for yourself and if you travel via plane, pack some spare clothes for you as well… you never know what’s going to happen! 

Happy Travelling!

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Fostering Creativity in Childhood

Peregrine Discovery is a hub for innovation and creativity where children come to explore, create, and learn in an enriched environment.

All children should have access to arts programs and experience the process of being creative.

The arts play a critical role in children’s emotional, social and intellectual development. We believe play and creativity promote skills our future leaders will need such as imagination, passion & critical thinking.

With over 20 years experience working in the film and animation industries our founders bring a wealth of creative experience to Discovery and understand the demand for innovation in the future workforce. Our team is rounded out by an exceptional team of OCT educators and skilled craftspeople.

We aim to inspire, whether at home with the help of our Creative Corner, or at a program hosted at our beautiful centre.

Discovery is an ongoing project powered by the team at peregrine* to reimagine education.

The arts play a critical role in children’s emotional, social and intellectual development. We believe play and creativity promote skills our future leaders will need such as imagination, passion & critical thinking.


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Where are we located?

Our education centre is located in a converted family home overlooking beautiful green space and surrounded by private conservation land.

Our cozy home-like environment is complete with gardens, outdoor play areas, and plenty of nature to explore.

Peregrine Discovery at Peregrine House


Unit B1505 Wilson Street West – Ancaster, Ontario – L0R 1R0


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Parking

We have ample parking at our Discovery Centre.

As you head straight down the main driveway, after leaving Wilson Street, you will see our house on the left and directly across the road is our parking lot.

Even if quickly dropping off and/or picking up please use the main parking lot vs. our driveway as activities still may be taking place.

Please be mindful of others, drive carefully and pull in slowly as other families will be coming and going.

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Hands holding sapling in soil surface on green grass background.

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Imagination to Creation

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Gardening is Like a Friendship

Children enjoy gardening for many reasons – they like digging, they like seeing things grow, they like helping their families. But one main reason that kids rarely identify is that when they help to create a garden, they feel a connection with that space. And, in a world where people are becoming more and more disconnected, I think this is perhaps the most important reason of all for getting kids gardening.

Connections happen when you spend time with someone, getting to know them and finding out what they like and don’t like. It is the same with gardening. Kids need to spend time gardening so that they can learn what plants need to grow, about different types of plants, and how to tend a garden to keep it healthy. Some kids may prefer growing vegetables, some kids may like helping to create a compost heap, and others may want to dig the soil to add air. Expose them to as many aspects of gardening as you can so they can make that initial “connection”. Then, as they start to see the garden develop, they will feel more ownership of the space and begin to care about “their” garden. The friendship has started!

Friendships are connections on a much deeper level, requiring nurturing, empathy, and patience, all traits that children learn when gardening. As a teacher and mother, I have seen first hand how children who may have difficulty getting along with other kids can develop empathy and understanding for others by gardening. They have to think about what the plant needs, not themselves, so they are able to take on another perspective. They learn patience as they nurture seeds until they finally sprout. They have to “work together” with nature on a common goal…helping plants to grow. I bet you never realized having a garden could teach you so much about friendship!

The kids at Discovery have made their connections with our gardens and are now developing their “friendships”. I see how eager they are to check on our tomato seedlings and observe how much they have grown. We work together to dig out beds and create different areas in the garden. They love planting and caring for the wildlife they find as we spend time outside (especially the worms!). And I can’t even imagine how excited they will be to finally taste one of the cucumbers or tomatoes we have grown from seed. They are clearly fully connected to our gardens and care about what happens there.

So, when others ask me why I spend so much time gardening, and trying to get others to join me in this hobby, I tell them what a great “friend” gardening is! Gardening can teach us so much…empathy, understanding, patience and even to trust in our own abilities (never knew I had such green thumb when I was a child)! Let your kids “get dirty” digging in the soil, don’t stress over a couple of broken plants (because it will happen at first), and help your kids develop a friendship with their garden – it will become a friend for life!