kids in toronto

The top 10 things to do with kids this fall in Toronto

The top 10 things to do with kids in Toronto this Fall don't always revolve around Halloween, pumpkin patches or trying on last year's snowpants hoping they aren't floods. Fall in Toronto promises a colour explosion, leaves trickling off trees mimicking what promises to come: snow. Fall is your last chance this year to play outside without the risk of frostbite, so if you've got kids in tow be sure to knock a few of these things off your list.

See the animals. Pet the animals
The Royal Winter Fair is an annual pilgrimage of farm to city, so if you are living car free this is a great way to get your kids to pet some animals, catch a rodeo, learn to square dance and of course, ride the mechanical bull (sounds like Friday night at Boots n' Bourbon). Highlights this year include the always competitive horse show where your mini equestrian fan can cheer on their favourite noble steed, but really, the Superdogs promise to steal the show, when they attempt dressage like proper ponies.

Do Halloween like a pioneer
Abandon your technology for a day and see how scary life really is by spending the day at Black Creek Pioneer Village without your phone. The bonnet-ed history buffs working here will hopefully shame you from updating your status on your new iphone 6 so you can spend some actual facetime with your kids showing them how to party like it's 1899. Haunted mazes and an apple sling shot seem appropriate for the Bart Simpson set, and mini Maggie's will love the Scarecrow maze or trick or treating in the village, let's just hope they don't hand out churned butter.

Get musical
If your kid fancies himself as the next Yo Yo Ma, then a trip to Roy Thomson Hall promises an afternoon of maestro like hand movements (wear goggles) with their Symphonic Spooks Series. Kids (and adults, if you want to be that guy) can come dressed in costume to hear scary tunes from Harry Potter, Phantom of the Opera and more, all without the annoying singing and prancing of an actual musical.

Do a fall colours family portrait
Bust out your trusty tripod and head for the hills. Fall is the best time to get a colourful family portrait and all you need is a DSLR (or Point and Shoot) and a tripod. The rolling hills just north can provide a dramatic background so have your crew don their best jeans and white t's for a cheesy family photo, or wear what you want and actually just be yourselves. Conservation Halton even opens chairlifts at some parks, so you can try and snap a selfie with your kid from great heights.

Check out a Haunted House or go on a spooky walk
If you haven't filled your bucket (or bag) with everything Halloween yet then take part in a few feel good events all in honour of everyone's favourite haunted holiday. Kids at Holland Bloorview Rehab Hospital benefit from the proceeds of the Haunted House (Seasons Family Centre on Davenport), or kick it up a notch with a monster themed fun run on the hospital grounds and nearby Serena Gundy Park. Kids can run a mile while you do your best monster mash impression running 5 or 10K. If history is more your thing then drag your kids out on a Haunted Walk through the mean streets of Old Town or Distillery District where they will learn about Toronto's gruesome history of hangings, ghosts and graveyards.

Forage for food and learn a thing or two
Culinary kids will love exploring the Don Valley in search of edible plants, and Culinary Adventure Tours can make sure that what they end up picking is actually safe to eat. Create a harvest themed meal revolving around nature's bounty- you'll score recipes (and lunch) after the hunt. If a hiking around a river seems a little too daunting for your tyke, then fake forage around one of Toronto's farmers markets to get the best of the bounty without bundling up.

Give thanks for real
People of all ages benefit from do-gooding- we've all heard the benefits of helping others, and while RAKE is certainly an easy thing to do, there are definitely great opportunities for bigger kids to pitch in and get involved in the community. Daily Bread Food Bank relies on volunteers to sort, pack and pitch in at their warehouse, all things kids can do to start not only realizing how lucky they are, so work in tandem with your kid to help brighten another kid's future.

Walk the banks of the Don River
Ignore the sounds of the DVP and Gardiner as you and your crew hike through some of Toronto's best ravines and forests. Fall is a great time to explore your backyard, and Discover the Don has excellent maps and guides on how to escort your family through some of the 32 kilometres of wetlands surrounding the river. Guides are broken down by location, so even 905-ers can jump in on the fun starting up near Vaughan.

Get properly scared
If your kids no longer find Michael Jackson's Thriller thrilling, then they are probably ready for the shriek inducing fearfest at either Canada's Wonderland, or downtown at Screemers. Both feature winding mazes with maniacal maniacs chasing you through makeshift haunted houses so channel those sleepless nights you shared with your kid- pack your depends and plan for an all-nighter. Mini monsters can get in on the action at Wonderland- Camp Spooky has Charlie Brown themed shows, costume parades and of course rides too.

Get lost in a maze
Brampton is home to a massive corn maze at Downey's Family Farm, so if the kids are driving you crazy, you can buy yourself about 45 minutes while they try and meander their way back out. Good for the younger set, Downey's has more than just a big corn field- there's fuzzy farm animals to pet, apples and pumpkins to pick, face painting, and wagon rides. For older kids, the jumping pillows promise to vault them into a career as a stunt double and adults can mull over the different fruity dessert and ice wines at the winery.

What did I miss? Add your ideas for things to do with kids this fall to the comments.

Photo by John Elmslie in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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