So much is happening this week. Here are a few of our top picks – and most of ’em are free.

The Theatre: Shakespeare in the Ruff is an annual outdoor theatre production in Withrow Park. This year they merge Macbeth and puppets. Before two performances (at 6:30 p.m.), families have chance to play and learn about the show’s themes. The first Family Workshop is this Wednesday, August 19 (next one August 26.) It’s free but pre-registration is required. The production of Macbeth: Walking Shadows runs until August 30th Tuesday through Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

The Ex: It’s that time of year again. You probably don’t need to be reminded that the Canadian National Exhibition returns August 21 to September 7. Young or old, here is what to expect this year. For those with smaller kids in TOw, the kid zone is a sure bet with DORA sing-alongs, Cinderella theatre, Superdogs and appearances from Reptilia. And of course, the rides. For all the kid-friendly spots, have a look at the family fun guide. PS – 0n Mondays, kids under 13 attend for $2 when accompanied by a paying adult.

IMG_6929The Butterfly: The Monarchs are about to head south and you can catch the start of their annual migration from Tommy Thompson Park this Saturday, August 22. The annual Butterfly Festival takes place from 1 to 3 p.m. It’s a free family-friendly event with nature hikes and lots of educational activities. Costumes are encouraged.

The Blueberry: Evergreen Brick Works celebrates the end of the summer season with its annual Wild Blueberry Festival on Sunday, August 23. There will be baking, tastings and for the adults in TOw, wild blueberry beer. The kids can do crafts, plant some blueberry bushes and go on a wild blueberry scavenger hunt.

Rainy Day: The AGO is always a great spot when inside time is in order. While we’re always happy to hide out in the Hands-On Centre, there are some kid-friendly features to the Picturing the Americas exhibition (on until September 20.) There is a self-guided family tour with lookout points with fun facts, plus a Red Knot Kids’ Field Guide for kids. The exhibition is on until September 20.

Stuck at home: It is still summer, so if you kick the kids out into the backyard, do it. We’ve had some luck with these two fun activities even in the smallest of spaces. Giant Bubbles (we followed this step-by-step from What’s Up Moms but used branches for the sticks) and Sponge Bombs (we were inspired by Crazy Adventures In Parenting, but used string instead of the plastic zip-ties.)

Keep Mom Sane: Get in the car and take your Farmers’ Market on the road. We have heard great things about the Friday Night Market at Burls Creek just north of Barrie with its local food and live music. (Fridays from 2 to 8 p.m. until Thanksgiving.) Or stay in town and go car-less at BIG on Bloor, the two-day (August 22-23) car-free summer street festival along Bloor Street from Dufferin to Landsdown. There is music, theatre, art projects and games. If you do bring the kids, you can let them run in the Susan Tribaili Parkette with PlayByNature.