Holiday Activities in Ottawa for Kids Under 5
December is a busy time of year and in between all of the hustle and bustle of the season, it can be an overwhelming time for the littlest members of our families. As the days tick by, we know many of you are trying to find special activities to do together as a family and make your own new traditions while still considering nap times and bedtime routines.
That’s why we’ve rounded up some festive fun to do with your wee ones so that you can enjoy the season, create special memories, and ensure they are nestled all snug in their beds at an early bedtime.
On Saturdays and Sundays leading up to Christmas, The Log Farm has special activities for families to enjoy like wagon ride, bonfires, and more for a $6 admission fee. There’s also a Christmas market where you can find homemade goodies and gifts, wreaths and even Christmas trees. You’ll want to plan a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the farm on December 1st, 8th and 15th between 11 am – 1:30 pm. The Log Farm is only open between 10 am and 3 pm on Saturdays and Sundays so you know you’ll have the little ones home in time for dinner and bed.
Your local Ottawa Public Library branch may have various holiday activities for toddlers and preschoolers coming up, or you can find one on the website that’s within the city. For example, the Holiday Open House at Ruth E Dickinson Branch is welcoming families for craft time, music and mini-story times. Visit the Ottawa Public Library website to find the activity you are most interested in. A visit to the library for some holiday-themed books is always worth the trip.
Finding the perfect tree (and then spending time decorating it) is sure to fill family members of all ages with holiday spirit. We’ve previously shared with you some of our favourite places to score your Christmas tree, but some of them also include events and activities on-site so you can make the entire experience memorable (and not like something out of a Griswold family vacation journal).
If you are looking for an opportunity to meet Santa (and snap a photo), plus looking for an activity that you know your toddler or preschooler will love, look no further than the annual Breakfast with Santa event this Sunday, December 8th at the Old Ottawa South Community Centre (the Firehall). This beloved community event returns to welcome children between 10:30 and 12:30 for a free pancake breakfast (for the first 150 people) along with cookie decorating, craft time and of course a meet and greet with Santa himself. A donation for the Food Bank is requested.
If your little ones can stay up just long enough for the sun to set (and that seems to be early this time of year!) then we recommend taking them to explore one of the many locations across Ottawa where they can see Christmas lights. We have a list of places to best see holiday lights, but sometimes, the most memorable way is to simply drive around your neighbourhood together and everyone can pick out their favourite, most well-lit house.
City of Ottawa museums are hosting special events all month long. You can enjoy the Vintage Village of Lights, available every weekend at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum (we recommend you plan to enjoy all the activities but be sure to hop on the wagon ride and head to the schoolhouse for gingerbread decorating!), or the Home for the Holidays event at Billings Estate Historic Site on December 15th. This is an indoor and outdoor event with Dickens Carolers, storytelling, a campfire and warm drinks. We know little ones will be ready for bed after this! Visit the City of Ottawa website for a full list of local museums and their special holiday events.
Take them to a Holiday Market
There are so many amazing holiday markets happening in Ottawa during this time of year, and while your first instinct may be to think that kids won’t enjoy the experience, local markets are making us think twice about that. While mom and dad shop the market, many have offerings for the kids too like live entertainment or yummy treats for the entire family. The Ottawa Farmers’ Market at Lansdowne is an indoor market on Saturdays, but there are also wagon rides available and the chance to see Santa. Meanwhile, the Ottawa Christmas Market is Ottawa’s first European style holiday market. There will be local vendors, entertainment and lights that will light up your child’s face!