11 December 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Fun Family Winter Activities

‘Tis the season for winter activities! One of the best things about the holidays is spending more time with the family, and Toronto has some of the best attractions you can enjoy with your kids. Here are 10 winter activities to do with your kids during the winter season. Bundle up and enjoy!

Go tobogganing at Riverdale Park
With panoramic views of the city, this is Toronto’s top choice for tobogganing hills. Kids (and adults) alike will like the straight path down at pretty steep speeds. Kids will tire themselves out trekking back up the hill and you’ll no doubt get a decent glute workout in pulling them back up when they get stuck halfway. Go to nearby Rooster Coffee for a warm-up after.

Hit the ice
Whether you’re looking for a local skating rink, an outdoor game for shinny or a plush locker room, there’s a something for everyone in Toronto. Skating at Maple Leaf Gardens isn’t always open to the public, so check their website for new dates and times. Eglinton Park has a quality rink with boards and lights for northern nighttime access, as does Greenwood, with their weather resistant roof and open air trail. Harbourfront has excellent programming for kids (or parents) learning to skate. Check City Rinks Toronto for a rink near you.

Go fish
If Shark Week has you and your brood hungry for more, than a trip to Ripley’s Aquarium is definitely in order. The best time to go to avoid the crowds is 9 or 10am, before the legions of school buses choke the sightlines out and you’re stuck bottlenecked around a double stroller. After 3pm is also relatively empty, and if your kids can stay up late without turning into pumpkins, then book in for a night when the aquarium is open until 11pm.

Get a dose of science
The Ontario Science Centre is a perfect way to blow through a freezing cold day, with four floors to dazzle even the most fickle youngster. There’s loads of hands on exhibits including KidSpark, almost a full floor dedicated to kids under eight including a makeshift grocery store, water lab, music maker and full on foam castle. Live demos explain the science behind electricity, physics, space and more, so you can feel smug about educating your kid, while secretly getting a little refresher.

Read at a local library
Toronto’s libraries have your best bet for boredom busters, but it doesn’t stop with the latest Captain Underpants novel. With matinee movie features, hands-on science fun with drop-in experts and an ongoing roster of story time classes, your local libraries has the cure for the winter blues, even if it’s just for a silent game of hide and seek. Check their website for deluxe new classes on everything from 3D printing to video editing, or learn how to write workshops for kids led by published authors.

Play indoors
Indoor playgrounds are a perfect fit for an energetic kid on a cold day. While some city-run locations like Playground Paradise are cheap and easy, you can break the bank (and the rut) and front up the cash for a membership to a place like SproutkidsTimBUKtu or Amazon Indoor Playground or Planet FunKidville offers classes geared towards promoting independence and helping you survive separation anxiety on a more scheduled basis and Playloft has play based learning classes year round. For smaller children, check out your local Early Years Centres for free play and drop-ins.

Hit the slopes
Skiing in Toronto may sound like a contradiction, but Centennial and Earl Bales parks run some cute hills that will still prove to be slightly daunting to the novice skier. Private course Uplands is a quick jaunt north of Finch station and offers some decent runs as well. Choose between skiing or snowboarding and sign your kids (or you) up for lessons with a pro, or meander down the bunny hill at your own pace. Buy a season pass for only a few hundred bucks, or pay per go at pretty accessible prices.

With three locations (in Little Italy, Leslieville and Markham), Paintlounge offers not only kiddie classes for your mini Monet, but the superb concept of actually (gasp!) creating art together. Paintlounge has a few different motifs for you to attempt, like Kandinsky Circles, Birds on a Wire and Drip art. Prices run cheaper than a canvas and paint, with no mess to clean up after.

Go bowling
Five-pin bowling gives kids the challenge of throwing a ball that’s bigger than their hands, and bumpers will keep the game action-packed. Most five-pin locations will feel like you stepped back in high school, with NewtonbrookBathurst BowleramaDanforth Bowl and Thorncliffe Bowlerama seemingly unchanged since they opened decades ago.

Get cultural at the ROM
The ROM is the ultimate mashup of art, animals, sculptures and history. The first stop should always be to the corpse mummy on the third floor, just to make sure she’s still not breathing. Explore the world through their many galleries, or just hang out in the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal and wonder if this is what Superman’s house looks like. Sign up for ongoing classes (ROM Moms or Tiny Tots) or drop in for one of their stellar exhibits like the upcoming Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

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