If you live in Toronto, or you ever plan to visit, this is the post for you. I have decided to talk about some of the fun things I do with the kids that won’t break the bank. Any list will tell you to go places like the Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Science Centre and the Metro Toronto Zoo, and you should. But once you add the cost of admission, parking, food or drink, you are spending a considerable amount of money. Plus they are special occasion venues. But what do you do every day to pass the time and have fun? Here are some ideas.
1. The Playground (and Public Library).
Everyone has a local playground. In my case, I have a great one. It’s a little far, but it’s beside a library so it’s a two for one. There is also a splash pad in the summer and plenty of washrooms.
It’s a great place to hang out and meet other parents and let your kids play with other kids. Sawyer and I used to go there everyday after I got home from work before Daddy came home.
Public libraries are great for more than just books. Did you know you can “borrow” family passes for places like the zoo? That’s right. Take your family for free, as long as you have a library card. It’s a great idea, but there are usually wait lists.
The library also offers a lot of free classes and activities for children. Most are drop in, so grab a calender and try some out. I had great fun at them when I was a kid (and my parents got some quiet time to choose their books 🙂
2. McDonald’s Playground
I know, why would a vegetarian like Mc Donalds? Answer: because it’s awesome. Sawyer and I would go for breakfast at least once a week. The indoor playground is great because weather is not an issue. Washrooms are close by, and lots of friendly parents to chat with.
They have free WiFi if you like to surf the net, and their low fat cranberry orange muffins are to die for. Plus, all summer they have dollar drink days (and my location has free refills) so I could get breakfast for two for under $5. That’s my kinda place.
3. Riverdale Farm
This little gem is hidden in downtown Toronto and so much fun. Best part, it’s free.
At Riverdale farm you can expect to see goats and sheep, chickens and turkeys, as well as beautiful gardens and trails. There are washrooms and free parking (if you find a sidestreet).
As an added bonus, it is very educational for kids and there are friendly farmers to talk to and lots of signs to explain about things like different kinds of eggs and how they shear sheep. Sawyer LOVES animals, so this is totally his thing.
4. Evergreen Brickworks
Just off the Bayview extension, the Evergreen Brickworks is a reclaimed brickwork factory and parks. It has now become an education centre with art, nature, workshops, food, and even a farmer’s market on weekends.
There is no cost for admission, but they accept donations for maps. Parking is paid, but it’s a green P lot so its cheap. They also offer shuttle busses from Broadview station.
Best part is, out the back you can see the ages in the quarry walls and hang out at the ponds. Great fun.
Ikea you say? A furniture store? An awesome furniture store I say!
Parking and admission are free. They have plenty of washrooms and even a ball room. It’s indoors so its a great rainy day activity.
Sawyer loves to walk in the showroom going from “room to room” and trying out different chairs and sofas. I like to look at neat home decorating ideas.
They do sell some toys, so you may get asked for things. But their toys are few and plenty inexpensive if you are the type who can’t say no (I can…usually).
They have a super cheap restaurant and ice cream and hotdogs on the way out.
As long as you make it out without spending too much money on neat stuff, it’s an entertaining couple of hours.
Tune in next Thursday for the rest of the Top Ten Cheap Family Activities in Toronto