10 fun things to do with kids indoors in Toronto
Fun things to do with kids indoors can be hard to come up with on the fly. Once your go-to suggestion of making a collage has lost its luster and you've exhausted the usual - trip to the Zoo, Science Centre, ROM, AGO and Aquarium - then what? Fear not, there is no shortage of other entertaining activities when going outside just won't cut it.
Here are my picks for 10 fun things to do with kids indoors in Toronto.
Make some art
Encourage your little Picassos without making a mess at your own place by visiting art studios like 4Cats and Paintlounge. Both set you up with all the necessary supplies and offer classes, workshops, and parties at multiple locations across the GTA. 4Cats is perpetually coming up with fun ideas to keep kids engaged like creating Minecraft-inspired sculptures!
There's something satisfyingly nostalgic about the retro shoes and the pop of knocking over a bunch of pins. Share the joy of bowling at kid-friendly centres like Thorncliffe Bowlerama, Danforth Bowl or Playtime Bowl, which have lighter balls, ramps (allowing beginners to line the ball up and simply roll it toward their goal), and bumpers (to keep the ball out of that pesky gutter).
Go see a play
Solar Stage Children's Theatre puts on over 20 shows a year, from classics like Snow White, to creative spins on classics like Beauty and the Geek and Sheep in Wolf's Clothing. The theatre also features the occasional puppet show and children's adaptations of operas. Always popular on their schedule is the Munsch show, which brings a selection of beloved Robert Munsch stories to life.
Go rock climbing
Those little monkeys who have outgrown the jungle gym will love the challenge of rock climbing. Places like Rock Oasis and Boulderz Climbing Centre offer a range of walls designed for various levels of difficulty. Participants are roped and harnessed, with giant gymnastics mats lining the floors. Fair warning - it's hard to just stand by and watch and all too tempting to get up there yourself.
Bounce up and down
Whether looking to perfect some legit moves or simply enjoy the pure bliss that results from jumping, indoor trampoline parks like Just Bounce and Sky Zone have got you covered. Family owned and operated Just Bounce offers pay-as-you-go classes with professionally trained and certified coaches. Their kind of brilliant "Kids Night Out" program buys you a date-night for a very reasonable $35.
Read a book
Sitting down with a stack of good books is always a win, whether at your local library or wonderful children's bookstores like Mabel's Fables and Ella Minnow. Both Mabel and Ella host weekly story time for preschoolers. In addition to regular story times, almost all branches of the Toronto Public Library run kids programs that vary from crafts to puppet shows, Lego clubs and movie screenings.
The city has many excellent indoor swimming pools - from kiddie-preferred warmer pools like the one at Gus Ryder to Etobicoke Olympium, an Olympic-caliber venue with a serious diving tower. The gold medal, however, goes to the bright, spacious, and beautifully designed Regent Park Aquatic Centre, which boasts a diving board, slide, waterfall umbrella, and Tarzan rope!
Golf in the dark
Enter the magical world of glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, where giant neon animals and surreal landscapes set the scene for an 18-hole course. With several locations across the GTA, Putting Edge lets kids visit a real-life wonderland while parents experience psychedelic flashbacks, all over a game of golf.
Brunch to live music
Eat brunch to the sound of some solid live music. The Hot House features live jazz at their AYCE Sunday Brunch where kids under 5 are free. Dakota Tavern hosts a weekly Bluegrass Brunch in their rustic, saloon-inspired space. And after enjoying the Sunday Brunch buffet set to vibrant Latin music at Lula Lounge, guests move to the dance floor where a beginner Salsa lesson gets the party started.
Have a ride
Fantasy Fair, the indoor amusement park at Woodbine Shopping Centre, is a great place to visit for the littler kids in your crew. They have 12 rides and attractions including bumper cars, an antique carousel, an elaborate 3-level play structure, and a "6D" simulator experience.
What did I miss? Add your suggestions in the comments.
Photo of Boulderz by Jesse Milns.
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