21 Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained this Summer

Amp up the fun while physical distancing with kid-friendly activities from favourite Toronto attractions.

Looking for creative ways to keep the young ones (and yourself) from going stir crazy this summer? Toronto’s museums, amusement parks and attractions have pulled out all the safe stops to keep your family entertained.

Explore the city through games and brain teasers at Yo Toronto.

Ever wondered what major attractions you and your little ones are? Maybe not, but now’s the time. Play memory games featuring Toronto celebrities, learn about zoo animals and discover sites around Canada’s biggest city with Yo Toronto’s playful quizzes, educational games and fun brainteasers.

Celebrate the ROM’s reopening by exploring its virtual treasures. 

Hooray! The Royal Ontario Museum’s welcoming back its guests. If you and the kiddos can’t make it over any time soon, the museum’s virtual offerings are still here to stay. Explore fascinating artefacts from the comfort of your screen with a selection of online exhibits.

Choose a gorgeous, sunny day to organize an outdoor playdate with mummies, wildlife and dinosaurs. The ROM holds a repertoire of online quests, brainteasers and crafts for all ages. 

Hot tip: peruse #ROMLearning on Instagram and have the kids share their own discoveries and creations.

Play, create and elevate their summer reading with the AGO. 

It’s official, you can now go to the AGO. If you haven’t purchased your timed-entry tickets yet, don’t fret. AGO from Home brings their museum to you and the crew through digital experiences that include engaging stories and DIY projects.

Jazz up your family game nights by browsing Shop AGO’s selection of stylish entertainment. Swap your regular ol’ Monopoly for Van Gogh-themed Go Fish (Gogh Fish?), chic Art Deco building blocks and more.

For child-friendly summer reads, add AGO’s latest recommendations to your kid’s list: Collection of Diverse Canadian Children’s Books With a Focus on Black-Canadian Authors and Characters.

Fill their summer with the wonders of science.

Satiate your child’s endless curiosity with The Ontario Science Centre’s new program, Summer with the Science Centre.

Have them participate in virtual workshops, conduct experiments from home and engage with others through live trivia and events. Or for more hands-on entertainment, organize a craft night with these DIY science projects.

Twirl, bake and craft alongside the National Ballet of Canada. 

Have a little ballet enthusiast in your clan? Between living room pirouettes, ballet miming—yes, that’s a thing—and crafting in their tutu, Ballet Fun for Kids showcases the beauty of dance through creative projects and resources.

And if dancing isn’t their thing, get them baking with these delicious recipes from the National Ballet dancers: Waltz of the Flourless Chocolate Cake, South African Milk Tart and Roasted Cauliflower with Rice Pancakes.

Challenge your kids to a hockey-themed trivia night.

With the city slowly returning back to its new normal, The Hockey Hall of Fame is now open with new safety measures in place. Break the exciting news to your family with a hockey-themed trivia night inspired by the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Time Capsule.

Enjoy Canada’s Wonderland (from a less frightening vantage point). 

Canada’s Wonderland is a summer tradition for many. While your kids impatiently wait for it to open up again, stir their adrenal glands from home with the theme park’s hub of virtual rides (no lines!). Enhance the experience by making a Classic Canada’s Wonderland Funnel Cake, from scratch!

Don’t let the fun stop there. Try these interactive activities and games, if you’re not too full from the funnel cake. 

Watch sharks and piranha feedings live from Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.

Visit Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in the flesh—that’s right, they’re now open—or admire their sharks and jellyfish at a distance through live camera feeds. What a unique alternative to the Fireplace Channel!

Encourage your little one’s love of marine life even further with real-time events including piranha feedings, Marine Biologist Q & A’s and quirky experiments.

Lift your spirits with the CN Tower’s views and fun to-dos. 

The CN Tower is officially granting access to its gorgeous aerial views again. If that’s not an option for your family right now, enjoy these playful at-home activities instead, including an interactive scavenger hunt with the CN Tower Earth Cam.

Here’s a creative outdoor challenge: how many different shots of the CN Tower can you and your kiddos capture? This detailed map points you to the best scenic backdrops featuring the photogenic landmark.

Throw the craftiest shoe-themed birthday party. 

Hey fashion lovers, you can now sashay your way back into the Bata Shoe Museum. Shantay, you stay—as long as you keep your distance from others.

Since we’re talking footwear, is your little one’s birthday approaching? Make it all about shoes with these ingenious DIY party crafts. And even if a summer birthday isn’t on the horizon, plan a stylish shoe-themed party just because!

Venture through the Toronto Zoo, in more ways than one. 

How can you visit the Toronto Zoo these days? Let’s count the ways. First, there’s the tried-and-true: see the animals by foot with pre-booked, timed tickets. Another viable option, cruise the Scenic Safari from the comfort of your car. Or simply explore the Toronto Zoo from home with its selection of virtual visits.

Looking for a campsite that the kiddos will love? Grab your gear and head over to Wild Tails, the Toronto Zoo’s new camping grounds that include after-hour access to select exhibits, kid-friendly meals and more. 

Another viable option, cruise the Scenic Safari from the comfort of your car. Or simply explore the Toronto Zoo from home with its selection of virtual visits.

Organize a mini field trip at Toronto’s most historical site, Fort York.

Since the museum itself is still closed, brush the family up on Canadian history with an online archive of Toronto’s Fort York. Comb through fascinating footage about Canada’s War of 1812 before planning a picnic on its scenic, outdoor grounds which are currently accessible to the public.

Plan a contemporary art day with inspiration from The Power Plant.

Toronto’s Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery features some of Canada’s best contemporary pieces. Get inspired with a 360° virtual tour of the exhibit and create abstract art of your own!

Power Plant Virtual Tour

Break out the Lego and have them build their very own LegoLand.

So what if you can’t visit Toronto’s LegoLand right now? Nothing’s stopping you and the little ones from transforming your living room into a Lego funhouse. Explore their selection of Lego Build Ideas stat.

Make memories with Aga Khan Museum’s summer offerings.

Visit the Aga Khan Museum in person or explore its beautifully curated exhibits from the comfort of your couch with #MuseumWithoutWalls. This extensive collection features historical artifacts from Muslim civilizations.

The museum’s Play & Learn keeps your kids entertained through hands-on activities that engage their inner artist.

Aga Khan Museum Summer Camps are back with more than enough space for your little ones! From July 13 to August 21, kids of all ages can sign up for camp days filled with art, poetry, games and more. This summer’s camp theme is “What’s your sanctuary?” inspired by the museum’s Sanctuary exhibit.

Wander the grounds of Toronto’s enchanting Casa Loma. 

Good news, the Gothic Revival-style castle is now open to the public. But don’t let that stop your kids from slaying imaginary dragons or being princess of the land (or the backyard). Rock their make-believe worlds with a virtual stroll through Canada’s only castle built in 1914.

Grow their skills with the Toronto Public Library’s summer offerings.

The Toronto Public Library has yet to open, but their digital Library From Home allows you and the kids to easily access their online collections.

Another fantastic addition to TPL’s online hub is Summer Wonder. This virtual experience allows children to partake in programs and activities that help them build skills, develop new interests and meet friends.

Turn your household items into musical instruments. 

This quarantine hasn’t stopped Toronto’s passionate musicians from sharing their love of the craft. Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s TSOUND KIDS is a comprehensive channel dedicated to musical activities for the whole family.

It includes music lessons, tips on how to make household items sing and ways to build your own instruments.

Nurture their comedic potential.

Who’s the true comedian of your family? We’re not talking dad jokes here, unless it’s a good one. The time is now for your witty child to hone their skills and make the world, or more likely your living room, their stage. Second City Toronto is offering online comedy camps for kids and teens.

Transform your outdoor space into a melodious summer venue. 

Another great alternative to movie or game night is Summer Music in the Garden night. Organized by Harbourfront Centre, this new take on traditional concerts at Toronto’s Music Garden can happen right in your own garden, patio or backyard—while happily surrounded by your loved ones.

Catch a drive-in movie at Ontario Place.

Just like the old days! Park the car, adjust your volume and enjoy a cinematic experience packed with nostalgia. Toronto Shines, a new drive-in venture by Ontario Place, showcases live music and feature films all summer long. And if you’re low on snacks, on-site food trucks deliver right to your car window.

See it. Snap it. Share it. In every neighbourhood, around every corner, through every door there's something that begs to be discovered in Toronto.


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