Best of Vancouver: Kids

Got a list of things you need to fix, change, upgrade? But don’t know where to start, or how to sort the experts from the charlatans? We’ve done the dirty work for you. We looked far and wide, asked customers and competitors, and tried out many of these enterprises ourselves. Here’s the inside track to the city’s miracle workers.


The kids are fighting, the phone’s ringing, and dinner’s burning. If only you could run away and join the circus.
Or send the kids: CirKids is a program for 5- to 19-year-olds; classes include Ringmaster and Centre Ring, which is coached by bonafide acrobats (think former Cirque du Soleil performers, not bearded ladies). CircusWest Performing Arts Society, 2901 E. Hastings St., 604-737-7408.

It’s 3 a.m. and baby’s crying. Again. Do you 1) take Ambien for some much-needed shut-eye, or 2) send Hubby in to deal since you took the last shift, or 3) call the baby whisperer to restore calm and marital bliss? Dawnn Whittaker of Cheeky Chops, “baby contentment and child sleep consultant,” advises either by phone or bedside to solve wee ones’ sleep issues before they become a gruelling habit. Cheeky Chops, or 778-552-0069.

If your kid’s idea of the classics is the original PlayStation, consider the Lyceum of Literature and Art. Christianne Hayward, formerly of Kidsbooks, opened this children’s book temple to foster community passion for reading. Drop in anytime or sign up for a weekly parent and child bookclub (for 1- to 18-year-olds): “I can teach anyone to read, but the love of literature can’t be taught,” says this pied piper of paper, who has a fervent cult following. The Lyceum, 3696 W. Eighth Ave., 604-733-1356.

You want to do crafts with the kids, but don’t want to sell your soul to the devil (Martha Stewart). Megan Zandstra of Left-handed Scissors offers bespoke craft sessions chez vous for you and your closest friends and their kids. Projects are simple and classic-from super-easy felting sessions to tie-dye T-shirt-making. Left-handed Scissors, megzand­

If the extent of your environmental influence is recycling juice boxes, it’s time to sign your kids up for the Young Naturalists’ Club. Geared toward 5- to 14-year-olds and their parents, these expeditions foster green awareness. Led by local nature experts, Explorer Days range from spider outings and mucky pond exploration to recycling-plant tours and shoreline cleanups. Young Naturalists’ Club of BC, 1620 Mount Seymour Rd., North Van, 604-985-3057.

Other Rolodex-worthy experts who specialize in:

Home Entertaining
Getting Fit 
Fashionable Alterations
Greening Your Life
Who Ya Gonna Call?