So you thought you had March Break all figured out but then, disaster! The grandparents got sick; your sitter chose a last-minute getaway over working for you and your car unexpectedly ended up in the shop, meaning no day trips for your family. But don’t worry, there’s still plenty of last-minute—and affordable—ways to entertain your family next week.
Cineplex Family Favourites | cineplex.com
Outdoor adventures are great but sometimes it’s nice to just sit in front of a giant screen and be entertained. Cineplex’s popular Family Favourites March Break lets your family do just that while staying on a budget thanks to a $2.99 admission price. This year’s four titles—Arctic Dogs, Missing Link, Addams Family and a Paw Patrol double-feature—are screening each day, increasing the odds that there will be something that everyone wants to watch.
When: March 16-20, screenings start at 11 am
Where: In Toronto, Cineplex Odeon Eglinton Town Centre Cinemas, Cineplex Cinemas Queensway and VIP, Cineplex Cinemas Scarborough, Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Eglinton and VIP and Cineplex Cinemas Yorkdale are all participating.
Geocaching | geocaching.com/play
Combine screentime with exercise time by taking the kids out for some geocaching. Using your phone and one of the many available geocaching apps available, track down caches that other players have hidden across Toronto. This is also a great way to teach kids about navigating around the city and grow their confidence when it comes to using public transit.
When: Whatever day works best for you.
Where: All over Toronto
Indigo Kids’ March Break Events | chapters.indigo.ca
Each morning at 11 am, and then again at 2 pm, certain Indigo and Chapters stores are hosting hands-on activities that your kids are sure to love. Each day focuses on a different theme, such as Artist, Gamer and Dreamer, and features related crafts and games. To participate, just arrive a few minutes early. While this activity is technically free, we all know how Indigoes and Chapters are packed with some pretty cool products so be prepared to have to spend a bit of cash in order to make a graceful exit.
When: March 16-20, 11 am & 2 pm
Where: Events vary by location; call your local Indigo or Chapters for specific details.
Kensington Market Photo Scavenger Hunt | kensingtonmarketbia.com
While a full-fledged scavenger hunt takes some work to set up, a photo style one is a little easier to execute. Using the colour and craziness of Kensington Market as inspiration, put together a list of items that need to be photographed during your hunt. Your clues can be specific (a red apple) or you can make your family members work a little (“The tribute to the neighbourhood’s king”). Then, using an old phone or camera, participants take a picture of everything on the list. Depending on your children’s age and your family makeup, you may want to divide into teams such as parents versus kids. The winner is the first person (or team) to “capture” all the listed pictures. Perhaps their prize can be to pick which tasty Kensington eatery your family grabs a snack from?
When: Daytime is best for this game.
Where: While Kensington Market is ideal for this activity, this game can be played in any neighbourhood.
March Break Family Adventures at Toronto’s Historic Sites | toronto.ca
Six of Toronto’s historic sites are offering special programming throughout March Break. Your family can bond while completing scavenger hunts at Mackenzie House and Gibson Farmhouse or by creating a family crest at Spadina House. Colborne Lodge and Todmorden Mills are also in on the fun, offering crafts, historical games, and the chance to try out tasty treats. Then at Fort York, your kids will have the chance to dress-up and take part in a military drill. Admission prices vary by site but are generally in the $5-$12 range, making Toronto’s historic sites a relatively affordable destination for educational family fun.
When: March 14-22 though exact dates and times vary by location.
Where: Across Toronto; head here toronto.ca for a complete listing.
March Break at the Library | torontopubliclibrary.com
Our fantastic public library system is always a great source of free and low-cost activities. This March Break, over 300 events are scheduled at libraries across the city. Your kids can catch a puppet show, do yoga or participate in making all kinds of crafts. And best of all, most activities are free and many don’t require advance registration. However, since programming varies by location, we recommend you contact your local branch to see exactly what it has scheduled.
When: March 16-20
Where: Across the city; click here for a full list of local libraries.
Playtime Bowl & Entertainment | playtimebowl.com
This North York entertainment centre is offering an hour of discounted bowling every weekday morning during March Break. Between 10 am and noon, rent a lane for up to six people for only $24.99 for the first hour (subsequent hours are $34.99). The discounted lanes are only available on a walk-in basis, making this a great last-minute activity. There’s also laser tag and an arcade on site, in case not everyone in your family is a fan of bowling.
When: March 16-20, 10 am-noon
Where: Playtime Bowl & Entertainment, 33 Samor Rd
Winter Light Exhibition | ontarioplace.com
Back for its third year is Ontario Place’s free Winter Light Exhibition. Take the family out for a refreshing walk by the lake and check out over 20 innovative, light-based exhibits that explore this year’s theme of “Cocoon.” While the lights are shining every night, Friday through Sunday, the exhibition offers bonfires and paint nights. The snack shop will also be opened on the weekends.
When: Now through March 29, 4 pm-11 pm
Where: Ontario Place, West Gate, 955 Lake Shore Blvd
Winter Stations | winterstations.com
Live in the East End or just looking for an excuse to visit the Beach? Then consider paying a visit to Winter Stations, the annual on-the-beach art exhibit. Four larger-than-life projects are on display and this year are enhanced by an augmented reality app (just be sure to leave the stroller at home; this isn’t the most accessible activity on this list). After you’ve checked out this free event, stop by one of the neighbourhood’s cozy cafes to warm up with a hot chocolate.
When: Now through March 30
Where: Woodbine Beach, 1675 Lake Shore Blvd E