Now that the weather is finally on the up, it’s time to get outside with the kids and shake off the cobwebs after months of being cooped up inside.
You probably already have some go-to options in your back pocket; parks and playgrounds, libraries, or perhaps you have a family museum pass. But if you’re looking for some fun events to add to your rotation, there are no shortage of ways to have fun in and around the GTA—plenty of which are free or under $10.
Take a look at these free (or almost free) things to do with your kids this May.
Assuming the sakura trees spring into life this year, there are plenty of places you can enjoy the cherry blossoms around the GTA this year. Pack a picnic and hang out at Woodbine Park, Trinity Bellwoods or High Park.Early May (the website Sakura in High Park updates its cherry blossom predictions every few days leading up to the season)
Select comic book shops will be giving away free comic books on the first Saturday in May. Check their site to see which stores are participating in Toronto.May 5
The sixth annual sidewalk festival and night market takes place along Queen Street West from Roncesvalles Avenue to Dufferin Street, with 11 “zones” full of attractions. Markets include the Foodora Night Market, featuring some of Parkdale’s best chefs, and a 10,000-square-foot free outdoor Kids Zone.May 12; Sidewalk Festival 11 am–6 pm, Foodora Night Market 4–9 pm
Head down to the Evergreen Brickworks on Sunday May 13 for the opening day of the Don River Valley Park’s spring and summer programming. As part of the City of Toronto’s Ravine Days, guests can build a birdhouse (recommended donation of $5), get crafty at the bike decorating station, or take part in a guides nature walk in the valley.May 13; free but registration is required for some activities
Last year, spring flooding saw Toronto Island closed until late July—so we can’t wait to make up for lost time this year. During summer, regular services run to Centre Island, Hanlan’s Island, and Ward’s Island from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal at Bay Street and Queens Quay. Pack a picnic and hang out at the beach or take bikes and cycle around the island. Round-trip ferry tickets are $7.87 adults, $3.80 kids; buy them in advance to avoid lineups.Summer ferry schedule starting May 16
Toronto’s newest children’s festival presents music, theatre, and dance performances and workshops especially for kids ages 4–14 at the Harbourfront Centre. Some shows are ticketed, but much of the festival is free, including workshops in puppet creation and music technology, west African dance from Mabinty Sylla, traditional Québécois dance from La Gigue en Souvenir, and performances from musicians The Monkey Bunch and Fred Penner.May 19–25
This spring art and craft show combines work from Canadian artists with live music at the Distillery Historic District over the Victoria Day long weekend. Artfest Kids has free workshops all weekend long.May 19–21
Eat, shop and be merry at this recurring market on the waterfront. Local artisans, crafters, chefs, and bakers come together at the HTO Park on the Queens Quay on weekends throughout the summer and into the fall.May 19 to October 7, Saturday 11 am–8 pm and Sunday 11 am–5 pm
If you or your kids are big fans of the Pitch Perfect movies, you’ll love Sing! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival, Canada’s premier a cappella festival. There are a number of live performances and workshops all across the city, many of which are free.May 23–June 3
On the last weekend in May, Toronto is opening the doors to more than 130 of the city’s most important and interesting buildings. Take a look behind the scenes at CityTV, the Bata Shoe Museum, and The Revue Cinema, a heritage-site and the oldest purpose-built movie theatre still in operation in the city.May 26–27; all activities are free but some require registration
Grocery store shopping with your kids is about as much fun as a snow day in April, but if you can get to a farmer’s market, it’s a great way to run some errands and get your kids out of the house. Teach your littles about seasonal produce at Artscape Wychwood Barns, the Junction or Evergreen Brickworks on a Saturday or Leslieville and Liberty Village farmers’ markets on a Sunday. See 30 family-friendly farmer’s markets in Toronto.
Just west of Cabbagetown and east of the Don Valley Parkway sits Riverdale Farm: 7.5 acres of farm, ponds, and butterfly-herb-flower-vegetable gardens. Kids can visit the farm animals, tour the pig and poultry barn, and chat with the farmer during daily chores like animal feeding, egg collecting and cow milking or goat milking.Year-round; residence visits weekends 11 am–4 pm; farmers’ chores 11:30 am daily This post was originally published on Help! We’ve Got Kids