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Monday, December 21, 2015

The top 25 things to do with kids in Toronto this winter

kids winter torontoWinter events and activities for kids in Toronto aren't all about staying indoors and hiding from the cold air and the snow. From cultural and artistic activities to those with an athletic bent, there's more for kids to do than ever in the winter so long as you know where to look.

Here's a round-up of things to do with kids in Toronto this winter.

See some winter theatre
Bundle up and head to the Brick Works for the Common Boots Theatre, which is showing Tails from the the City throughout the month of December. No, that's not a typo, this is a production about our city's furry inhabitants, so perfect subject matter for the aspiring playwright to be.

Get interstellar at the ROM
Airheads and space cadets may want to investigate the ROM's interstellar expo of space finds at Planet ROM, including a special Star Wars-themed display of three of Rodarte's dresses.

Watch some tricks
If you prefer to take in your theatrics indoors, TRACES will also be in town over the holidays. This contemporary fusion of acrobatics, dance, and street sports has been immensely popular since it launched in 2006. Now's your chance to catch it at the Panosonic Theatre.

Go on a snowshoeing expedition
Snowshoeing is a novel way to explore Toronto's ravines at a time when most have packed it in for the season. You can rent snowshoes at Mountain Equipment Co-op, and then explore the array of trails that we have in the city. Your best bet is to hit the places where mountain bikers and hikers go the other three seasons of the year.

Get immersed in eye-popping design
Sometimes events that are ostensibly organized for adults can be great for kids as well. The Gladstone's Come Up to my Room design festival surely fits this bill, as artists and designers let loose in the hotel's rooms with wacky decor and fun designs that the little ones will like just as much as the adults.

Lace 'em up and hit the ice
Live up to your Canadian stereotype and strap on the skates, with the covered pad at Greenwood Park or at the revitalized outdoor rink at Regent Park. Hit nearby Sumach Espresso Bar for a post skate winter warm up.

Experience the circus-version of Avatar
Cirque du Soleil is back in town this winter with an ambitious project to recreate James Cameron's Avatar on stage. Toruk: The First Flight lands at the ACC in January, and comes billed as an immersive experience that'll wow attendees with acrobatics, lighting, and a phenomenal set design.

Go ice fishing
You can't ice fish on Lake Ontario, but a short drive up the 400 will get you to Lake Simcoe where there are hundreds of huts spread across the frozen lake in the winter. Heated huts cost $40 per person at Terry Goy's Blue Hut Rentals, which included live bait and transport to and from the shack.

Get creative at the AGO
The AGO features some brilliant programming in their dedicated art space at the Weston Family Learning Centre, with drop off and side-by-side classes blending art mediums to inspire the next generation of mini Monets. Hit the galleries to make it a whole day affair.

Hit the slopes
There are ski slopes dotted around Toronto, but when kids are first learning, the hills at Earl Bales are the perfect for practicing that pizza slice/French fry formula. Meanwhile, the Toronto Islands offer good conditions for cross country.

Try out dog sledding
There are few more authentic winter activities than dog-sledding. You'll have to make the trip to Haliburton, but it could be well worth it for the team of Siberian Huskies that Winterdance boasts. This is the real thing, for those who have always wanted to try the quintessential winter backwoods mode of transportation.

Become a sharpshooter
Katniss-aged kids can take aim at one of Toronto's many indoor archery ranges, or better yet, you can fire back at them in a heated game of archery-based battle tag.

Try Toronto's newest rock climbing centre
Set to open next month, Basecamp Climbing will features Toronto's tallest indoor climbing surface, with over 7,000 feet of wall space and routes that range from beginner to expert level. Just don't think about what used to occupy the space.

Hit up an indoor obstacle course
Toronto's indoor obstacle course is adult-focused most of the time, but Sunday mornings are reserved for Play Your Best at Pursuit OCR, a program developed specifically for kids 12 and under to flex and frolic around Pursuit's ropes, bridges and bars.

Careen down snow-covered hills
Well known hills like Riverdale Park are almost always packed, but explore off the beaten path options like the hilly public golf course at Don Valley or Forest Hill fave Cedarvale Park.

Indulge in marshmallow waffles
The Christmas Market might be gone, but the Distillery District still boasts Montreal import Cacao 70, which has been torturing diabetics with their Willy Wonka-esque desserts, like the insanely sweet (and therefore kiddy favourite) Marshmallow Waffles. There's a ton of hot chocolate on offer as well, naturally.

Have a family snow day
Why spend family day cooped up indoors when you could spend the day at Todmorden Mills. There will be snowshoeing through the Don Valley and a host of other indoor activities so that no one freezes to death. The event is organized in support of the Canadian Cancer Society, so you'll also be supporting a good cause.

Check out Canada's largest inflatable park
Kids Fest T.O. goes down in February at the International Centre this winter and features Canada's largest inflatable amusement park, with 90 feet of inflatable structures to bounce away then day in. There will also be a Ferris wheel and a host of other rides. Have fun, but watch out for collisions!

Take part in Totsapalooza
Inspire your kids literary spirt while having fun at the 8th annual Totsapalooza. Presented by Small Print Toronto at Revival Nightclub, the event is a celebration of picture books, crafts, and music. There will be drawing stations, live bands, and plenty of readings from prominent children's authors.

Witness Robert Munsch's stories brought to life
Are your kids Robert Munsch fans? The Munsch Mash animates some of the celebrated author's most popular stories on stage. Wee fans can look forward to performances of PIGS PIGS PIGS, David's Father, Angela's Airplane and Jonathan Cleaned Up, and Then He Heard a Sound. Runs from mid February to March at Solar Stage Theatre.

Cheer for the Raptors' farm team
The Hershey Centre is home to the D League Raptors, which this year all but guarantees seeing the likes of Sim Bhullar and other home town heroes on the cheap.

Head to the woods for a maple syrup festival
If tapping trees isn't part of your repertoire, leave it to the pros and head up north to the Kortright Centre for an education on this syrupy breakfast staple. Happily, heaping pancake breakfasts are included. Arrive early to avoid huge lineups to get into the parking lot.

Visit the Children's Discovery Centre before it closes
Tiny tots love rearranging the space that is the Children's Discovery Centre, designed for play based learning for kids under six, including a musical room and a replica campground. The museum is now open until the end of May 2016.

Get outside and go birdwatching
A long walk along the lake delivers spectacular views as well as ample birding opportunities. Kids will dig mimicking bird sounds, while the simple act of carrying binoculars makes everyone feel more important.

Pay a visit to the most Canadian art gallery of them all
Celebrating the Group of Seven and Painters Eleven and their abstract art are great reasons to make the short trip up to Kleinburg. Youth programming is a a fixture throughout the winter.

cravetvThanks to Cravetv for sponsoring this post.

What did we miss? Add your favourite kid-friendly winter events and activities in the comments.

Writing by Libby Roach and Derek Flack. Photo of Come Up to My Room by Natta Summerky.

by Staff via blogTO

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