24 Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained this Fall

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 fall? Toronto’s museums, amusement parks and attractions have pulled out all the safe stops to keep your family entertained.

Games and activities from Yo Toronto
Enjoy Toronto-themed games and activities on Yo Toronto

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.

Visit Winnie the Pooh at the ROM or explore its virtual treasures. 

Experience the magic of the Royal Ontario Museum’s latest Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic, among other fascinating exhibits. If you and the kiddos still 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.

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 back-to-school reading with the AGO. 

Spend family time among 9,000 works of art at the AGO. Haven’t purchased your timed-entry tickets yet? Don’t fret. AGO from Home brings the museum to you and your 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 back-to-school 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 brains with the wonders of science.

Satiate your child’s endless curiosity with The Ontario Science Centre’s new online offering, Science at Home. Have them participate in virtual workshops, conduct experiments from home, engage with others through live events and even add to their curriculum with resources for students from Grade 9 to 12.

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 still navigating a modified Stage 2 of reopening, The Hockey Hall of Fame is open with added 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 may still be closed but that doesn’t mean that you can’t stir your kids’ adrenal glands from home. Turn your sofa into a rollercoaster with Wonderland’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. 

Shark at Ripley's Aquarium of Canada
See the sharks live and in person or through live camera feeds

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

Visit Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in the flesh 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.

The Aquarium also now offers a handful of educational tools like Family Homeschool Days (limited space and must be booked in advance), virtual field trips, academic worksheets for all grade levels and an informative blog.

Views of the city from the LookOut Level at Toronto's CN Tower
Check out the views from home with the CN Tower Earth Cam

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

The CN Tower’s doors are momentarily closed for now but you can still enjoy these playful at-home activities instead, including an interactive scavenger hunt with the CN Tower Earth Cam.

Here’s a creative outdoor challenge, while the weather’s still warm-ish: 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, sashay your way 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 an autumn birthday isn’t on the horizon, plan a stylish shoe-themed party just because (just be sure to stick to gathering limits).

If you’ve got a printer on hand, print off fashionable colouring sheets for your kids to enjoy. Tag their masterpieces with #BSM25 and share online. 

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 is to explore the Zoo from home with its selection of virtual resources, including educational tools for your little ones.

In other zoo-related news, Terra Lumina is back for another year! The enchanted and magical night walk is as luminous as ever, with safety restrictions in place. Grab your tickets online while you still can and wear extra layers—admission is free for children under two. 

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. The City of Toronto’s program, HistoricTO, also offers free tours of Fort York, including other historical Toronto buildings, until October 18. Book your time slot online

Power Plant Virtual Tour
Explore The Power Plant from home with a 360° virtual tour

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

Toronto’s Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery showcases some of Canada’s best contemporary pieces, with new exhibits on display. If you and the kiddos would rather explore from home, browse a 360° virtual tour of the museum instead. 

As of this fall, Power Kids is back on a digital platform. Children ages 7-12 can partake in free art workshops through Zoom. Workshops are one-hour long and registration takes place online.

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

Toronto’s LegoLand has reopened, hurray! But, before you go make sure to purchase your tickets online and brush up on their new health and safety protocols. If you can’t yet make it over, nothing’s stopping you and the little ones from transforming your space into your own Lego funhouse. Explore their selection of Lego Build Ideas stat.

Make memories with Aga Khan Museum’s fall offerings.

Visit the Aga Khan Museum in person (Sundays are Family Days) 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.

Additionally, the museum offers an abundance of learning resources for all ages, to keep your little one’s mind engaged.

Wander the grounds of Toronto’s enchanting Casa Loma. 

The Gothic Revival-style castle is open to the public with historical exhibits on hand. But don’t let that stop your kids from slaying imaginary dragons or playing princess of the land. Rock their make-believe worlds with a virtual stroll through Canada’s only castle, built in 1914.

Inspire their design skills with the Toronto Public Library.

Good news! The Toronto Public Library is now open. And on another positive note, their digital Library From Home is here to stay, allowing you and the kids to easily access their online collections.

On an artistic front, TPL’s Design-a-Bookmark contest is back again for another year. Children ages 13 and under are encouraged to submit their creative bookmark designs to open library branches or bookmobiles by October 31. Sharpen their crayons and start designing!  

Turn your household items into musical instruments. 

This quarantine hasn’t stopped Toronto’s passionate musicians from sharing their love of the craft—you can now tune in with your loved ones to TSO On Demand and enjoy.

Alternatively, 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 (now open!) is offering online comedy camps for kids and teens.

Transform your indoor space into a melodious venue.

Another great alternative to movie or game night is Music in the Garden night. Organized by Harbourfront Centre, stream past performances from Toronto’s Music Garden right in your own home—while happily surrounded by your loved ones.

Ontario Place's drive-in theatre
Pack the car for a flick at Ontario Place’s drive-in theatre

Catch a movie at Ontario Place.

Drive-in, open-air or Cinesphere? The choice is yours. Ontario Place’s iconic Cinesphere Theatre is back in operation, with tickets sold online. You can also park the car and enjoy a cinematic experience packed with nostalgia at Ontario Place’s drive-in theatre. Or, if the weather permits, opt for Open Air Cinema, complete with Muskoka chairs and plenty of distance from other families. Bring blankets.

Gogh on an adventure. 

Take the kiddos on a fantastical adventure through Van Gogh’s creative mind. The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit is in town for the next few months with both walk-through and drive-through options. The experience features moving projections of Van Gogh’s art, in sync with music and lighting. If opting for the walk-through, you’ll easily be able to stay in your bubble with social distancing circles throughout. 

Celebrate public art throughout Toronto’s neighbourhoods. 

For the rest of 2020 the City of Toronto is highlighting public art throughout the city with BigArtTO, a new city program part of ShowLoveTO. This city-wide celebration features free access to temporary public artworks projected onto local buildings and takes place in each of Toronto’s 25 wards—there might be one happening near you! Grab the fam and check it out. Each artistic projection is created by a local artist. 

Light up their Halloween this year.

If trick-or-treating isn’t in the cards but you still want to celebrate one of the best holidays of the year, opt for Halloween Nights of Lights instead. Get into the spooky spirit while also playing it safe with this immersive drive-through that features over 700,000 LED lights synchronized to Halloween music. Happening throughout all of October, buy your tickets online and keep the ghostly spirits alive for the little ones (and yourself!).

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.

#OPENYOURCURIOSITY

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