Looking for ideas to keep the kids entertained this summer? As we await for more indoor activities to resume, here’s a reminder that there are still plenty of opportunities for virtual excitement, education and exploration.
1. Make art with the AGO.
Nurture your kids’ inner artists with virtual programming courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). From downloadable self-guided tutorials and group activities to artist spotlights and virtual exhibitions, there’s something for every family. Our recommendation? The free Summer POP! series which involves live-streamed Andy Warhol-inspired art lessons for kids of all ages (that means you too!). Learn to express yourself through colour, drawing and more. Classes are live-streamed, and the materials lists for each class are already available online.
2. Go on thrill “rides” at Ontario’s epic theme park.
Give your kids the thrill of riding a rollercoaster from home with a point-of-view (POV) tour of Canada’s Wonderland’s biggest rollercoasters, from the Yukon Striker – in reverse, no less – to the Behemoth. Visit the Canada’s Wonderland Channel, load the POV rollercoaster playlist and stream it on your big screen. If you want to create a true theme park experience for the kids, make a batch of Wonderland’s famous funnel cakes with homemade strawberry sauce. Order your funnel cake ingredients online and have them delivered right to your door with INABUGGY. CAA Members get a $10 discount* on the delivery fee at INABUGGY when they order online.
3. Explore exhibitions at the ROM.
Have you ever wanted to learn how rainbows work? Or how birds fly? Excite, thrill and educate your little ones – and yourself – with the robust offering of virtual experiences at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). From articles on demand (“Living Vampires” and “The Warty Sea Devil”) and mini movies (gamers will love the Science of Minecraft) to the ROMKids Show (with lessons on how rainbows work, how birds fly and more), to ROMKids Artventures, which features crafts and experiments that kids and parents can do together.
4. Visit the (virtual) mainstage.
Musical lovers can enjoy free limited-release full-length Broadway performances at The Shows Must Go On. Launched in 2020 to help support actors who’d lost work due to the pandemic, The Shows Must Go On YouTube channel now has over one million subscribers. Past performances include Phantom of the Opera, Kinky Boots, Mamma Mia! and more. The YouTube channel also has interviews with actors, as well as showtune singalongs and even a behind-the-scenes look at the iconic “cats” getting into costume (and their extensive theatrical makeup) for their CATS performance.
5. Get wild at the zoo.
You and your family can be armchair Toronto Zoo zookeepers when you experience the magic of The Power of Animals. You’ll go behind the scenes to meet some of the zoo’s favourite friends, from ferrets to rhinos. “Spend time” with Charles, Ngozi, Jahari, Nneka and mischievous baby Charlie. This family of five is not just any kind of family – they’re western lowland gorillas. Just like humans, the younger the gorillas are, the more mischief they cause. Toronto Zoo also helps “tuck your younger kids in at night” with their online series Goodnight Zoo, where zoo staff read animal-inspired bedtime stories.
6. Talk to the fishes.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is offering customized two-hour virtual tours for your family to “walk through” aquatic galleries (such as the “Rainbow Reef” and the “Canadian Waters” galleries) without crowds. You’ll view well-edited footage of the best moments at the aquarium – such as animal feedings in the “Dangerous Lagoon” – and learn fun and comprehensive facts about each tank and the species that it houses. There’s also a live Q & A. Don’t forget to ask if the sand tiger sharks in the “Dangerous Lagoon” are actually dangerous!
7. Celebrate the circus.
Enter the whimsical world of Cirque du Soleil, where you and your family can “escape” and watch awe-inspiring show footage on CirqueConnect. Learn about the history of the circus, get tutorials on circus makeup and watch behind-the-scenes interviews with performers and creators. It’s a colourful and inspiring virtual escape from reality.