23 Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained this Winter

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

Toronto is in the Grey-Lockdown category as of November 23, 2020. As a result, some of the experiences mentioned below may be temporarily unavailable. Continue to enjoy the city safely with virtual, at-home and outdoor activities for now. Learn more about our current stage of lockdown.

Looking for creative ways to keep the young ones (and yourself) from going stir crazy this winter? 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

Experience 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.

Explore the ROM’s virtual treasures. 

While the Royal Ontario Museum is temporarily closed, explore fascinating artefacts from the comfort of your screen with a selection of online exhibits. Also, every Tuesday, ROMKids is live on Instagram with Coordinator and Camp Director, Kiron Mukherjee. Kiron entertains with passionate storytelling, immersive activities and at-home crafts. 

The ROM also 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 wintertime reading with the AGO. 

Can’t wait for the AGO to open back up again? 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 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 online offering, Science at Home. Have them participate in virtual workshops, conduct experiments, 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 in a Grey-Lockdown stage of quarantine, it’s time to get creative with your family game nights. Luckily, The Hockey Hall of Fame is here to help! Test your family’s knowledge on Canada’s favourite sport 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’s sharks and jellyfish at a distance through live camera feeds. What a unique alternative to the Fireplace Channel!

If you’re missing Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada as much as we are, you can still experience its aquatic magic through virtual tours. Encourage your little one’s love of marine life even further with online real-time events including piranha feedings, Marine Biologist Q & A’s and quirky experiments.

For educational purposes, Ripley’s also offers a handful of tools like 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 closed for now but you can still enjoy these playful at-home activities instead, including an interactive scavenger hunt using the CN Tower Earth Cam.

Cook up a storm with the kiddos, aka your little sous-chefs, with these delicious recipes courtesy of 360 Restaurant.

Here’s a creative outdoor challenge to take in the crisp, winter air: 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, sadly the Bata Shoe Museum is closed for now, but you can still enjoy it from your screens. 

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. 

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

Venture through the Toronto Zoo, digitally. 

How can you visit the Toronto Zoo these days? Virtually, for now. Explore the Zoo from home with its selection of virtual resources, including educational tools for your little ones, live entertainment featuring the zookeepers and even a fascinating new podcast!

Surprise the kiddos with adorable wildlife swag from the online Zootique.

Learn about 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 educational footage about Canada’s war of 1812.

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. Explore from home with an extensive 360° virtual tour of the museum.

In collaboration with Field Trip: Art Across Canada, the Powerplant delivers artsy experiences through this new online platform that likewise includes children’s programs and activities.

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

Bring Toronto’s LegoLand right to your living room! 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 virtual offerings.

Explore Aga Khan Museum’s 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 currently closed, but you can still inspire your kids to slay imaginary dragons or play princess of the land. Rock their make-believe worlds with a virtual stroll through Canada’s only castle, built in 1914.

Grow their reading list with the Toronto Public Library.

Good news! The Toronto Public Library is open for contactless, curbside pick-ups and drop-offs. 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.

In celebration of Family Literacy Month, the Toronto Public Library is offering special online programs for kids, including a curated reading list. 

Additionally, to begin the New Year on a positive note, TPL gathered a collection of books by Indigenous authors, for all ages. 
Finally, stay tuned for upcoming programs which include virtual storytimes and educational activities.  

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 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.

Gogh on an adventure. 

Take the family on a fantastical adventure through Van Gogh’s creative mind. The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit is still in town (for a limited time, so hurry!) with drive-through options available. The experience features moving projections of Van Gogh’s art, in sync with music and lighting.

Sharpen their skating skills.

This is a prime time to sharpen your little one’s skates and their skills. Toronto skating rinks are currently open throughout the city—with 54 to choose from—safely operating at a reduced capacity. Simply book your time slot online and enjoy! Note that the Bentway Skate Trail solely takes reservations via their website

Play Crokicurl at Stackt Market.

Have you heard of the crokinole and curling hybrid that brings joy to Torontonians of all ages? Crokicurl is a fun, kid-friendly game that takes place at Stackt Market’s onsite rink. It’s easy and sure to inspire a healthy dose of competitiveness and laughs.

The game is played with 2 to 8 people and lasts 45 minutes. Its rules are straight-forward, with a dedicated host present to keep score and offer clarity—and to make sure no one cheats. Buy your tickets online.

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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