You can’t physically wrap it up or stuff it into a stocking, but an experience is one of my favourite things to give. Every year I round up some of the best and new ways to take in Toronto with friends and family.

So here it is, the 2017 Kids in T.O.’s Guide to Giving the Gift of Experience:

GIFT OF LAUGHTER: I am constantly blown away by the incredible theatre scene for families in GTA. There is no better way to introduce or entertain your kids in TOw with some singing and laughter. The list is long for holiday experiences from the annual month-long Ross Petty Production (this year’s edition is a story about Scrooge) to the more local (and limited run!) of Torrent Productions’ Pinocchio at the Royal Canadian Legion at Coxwell and Gerrard. The latter launched last year with Robin Hood and anyone who saw it can attest it was a highlight of the season.


GIFT OF OUTDOOR ADVENTURE: High Park Nature Centre has tons of outdoor programs for kids and littles in TOw. They even have a Friends of High Park Nature Centre membership program.

There is also lots of exploring in the Don Valley. Evergreen’s Nature Nut Club and their awesome leaders run a seasonal camp on Saturdays at Evergreen Brick Works – the winter session starts in January.

Wanting to save the experience for warmer temps? Gift certificates are available now for the 2018 season at Stouffville’s Treewalk Village – it opens in March. Summer season memberships for GTA’s newest water park Wet n Wild Toronto are on special now (until supplies last).


GIFT OF INDOOR ADVENTURE: We’re so excited — there is a new family-friendly escape room adventure at the east end’s Looking Glass Adventures and it’s open now! We LOVED the original experience.

For gifts that keep on giving year-round, go for a family membership. On our wish list: The Ontario Science Centre (great for any age), Rock Oasis Indoor Climbing Gym (they also have Winter Break and Holiday Camps), Annual Pass to Legoland (they have an awesome Ninjago section).

For some on-screen adventure, TIFF has a Family Membership that gets you access to special exhibitions (like Digiplayspace – see photo below) and invitations to private TIFF kids screenings. Looking for a one-time experience? E.T. is screening over the holidays!

THE MAKER GIFT: The maker movement is alive and well in this city and so many of them cater to kids with coding, minecrafting and building robots – just to name a few. Check out SteamLabs, MakerKids and Little Robot Friends for workshops and take-home kits. For one-day science-y fun, the Ontario Science Centre’s Inventorium is another way to get little hands and minds creating. They also have MakerBean Café with a fancy 3D scanner.

Happy Holidays!!