As December approaches, anticipation for the holidays grows! One of the many holiday joys includes spending quality time with family and friends. Though we love to spend time with our children, we know that having them home for extended periods of time can result in a bored, mischievous and sometimes whiney mess.

That’s why we’ve come up with a list of local activities for you and your children to do together that are healthy for the mind and body. We’ve yet again simplified your chaotic life by providing you a list of family friendly activities that will keep your kids happy and healthy!

Mind:

  • Ontario Science Centre

    • The Ontario Science Centre is a great place for tactile learning and exploration. With exhibits on the human body, rainforest and sports, children can explore various pathways of interest. Areas to note are their KidSpark, Research weekends, and IMAX theatre which immerses learners in their surroundings.
  • Royal Ontario Museum

    • The Royal Ontario Museum will fill your child with wonder and awe as they visit exhibits on Ancient Egypt, Dinosaurs and Birds. To supplement your visit, take a look at these educational activities by the ROM.
  • The Toronto Zoo

    • The Toronto Zoo is a great place to venture the world without leaving your city. With animals from Africa, the Americas and Asia there are opportunities to engage your children in conversations about thinking globally, sustainability and conservation.
  • McMichael’s Art Gallery

    • The McMichael’s Art Gallery is not only a great place to check out Canadian art, but also fantastic for a hike with your family. Your children might recognize some of the artists they’ve been learning about in school such as the Group of Seven.
  • Art Gallery of Ontario

    • The Art Gallery of Ontario stretches beyond Canadian Art and showcases art exhibits from various genres and time periods. These art pieces can make for great conversation starters about history, culture and creativity. In addition, the AGO hosts Family Sundays which makes it even easier to bring and engage younger children.
  • Afternoon in at your local library

    • For those days when you don’t feel like trekking around town, consider visiting your local library. Find a corner to read a few books with your children, teach your children about the dewey decimal system, or find a few good books to borrow. Another thing to note is that Toronto and York Region libraries have additional online resources for you and your children such as online books and learning activities.

Exploration:

  • Reptilia

    • Reptilia, located in Vaughan, is an indoor zoo-like facility that displays over 250 reptiles. Take note that you can watch staff feed the reptiles daily – take a look at their online schedule to plan accordingly!
  • Ripley’s Aquarium

    • Ripley’s Aquarium showcases underwater life with 20 000 exotic sea and freshwater specimens. Ripley’s offers education on conservation and provides unique experiences with stingrays! Also, there are some follow up worksheets you can complete with your child before, during and after your visit, here!
  • Presidents Choice (Loblaw) Cooking Classes

    • Loblaw’s offers cooking classes for you and your family! For younger kids this is a great opportunity to get them comfortable in the kitchen, learn about measurement and practice fine motor skills. For the older ones, this can be a good stepping stone towards assisting with preparing school lunch or family dinner! Cooking classes also provide great opportunity to discuss nutrition with your children.
  • Ceramic Painting or Paint Lounge

    • Ceramic painting is a great opportunity to exercise artistry, creativity and fine motor skills. For younger ones, it can also be a great opportunity to practice patterning, and for the older ones to learn about shading/highlighting, blending and texture.

Body:

Studies have shown that exercise is not only good for your body, but is also beneficial to the brain as it improves memory and thinking and reduces stress and anxiety. As students take a well-needed break from the books, give them alternative opportunities to learn, take on challenges, and grow their brain. Here are a few unconventional activities for you to try:

Let us know if you are planning to try any of these activities with your children over the Christmas break or if you have any other activities to add to our list!

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