Things to Do in Ottawa With Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers for $5 or Less

Things to Do in Ottawa With Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers for $5 or Less
Young Girl On Autumn Walk Looking At Pony In Field

If you have a child (or children) under 5 years old, we know just how busy you are. Every day is a new adventure. They love to explore, learn new skills, and are always on the go (when they aren’t napping, that is). If you are looking for new activities for the babies, toddlers and preschoolers in your life, want to meet other parents and not spend a fortune, this is for you.

We’ve rounded up special drop-ins and programs in Ottawa for children 5 years old and under that won’t cost more than $5 per child. We’ve included a variety of activities that will get the kids moving, bring out their creative side or teach them something new. Grab those calendars, bundle up the kiddos and get ready for some new adventures.

Starr Gymnastics

Children aged 1-5 can participate in the drop-in program at one of the three Starr Gymnastics locations across the City. As the weather turns cooler, this is the perfect way to burn off some energy before nap time. If you have a baby under 12 months old, you can bring them to the free baby program where you can meet other moms and dads and let your wee one explore.

Cost:Drop-in, $5. Booster Baby Playgroup, Free.

Ottawa Public Library Programs

The Ottawa Public Library offers Baby Time and Toddler Time programming at various branch locations across the City. During the 30 minute program, children will be engrossed in storytelling, singing, and other activities. Some programming is drop-in and other locations require registration. Visit the website for your local branch for all their event details, days and time.

Cost: Free, various days, times and locations.

Ottawa Museums

While museum admission for children under 3 is often free across the City, mom and dad still need to pay their way in. However, to save on the budget, look for free admission day and times. Depending on the activity, special occasion or day of the week, the entire family can receive free admission. Often beginning at 4 pm, you can pack a picnic dinner to eat on the go, visit the Museum, and still be home for bedtime.  Not sure where to go? The Children’s Museum (a part of the Canadian Museum of History) has a Hot Wheels Exhibit we think kids would love, or the Canada Museum of Nature dinosaur floor is always popular with the kids. We have a list of free Museum admissions for you to visit.

Cost: Free on certain days and times.

Toddler Tuesdays at NAC

At 10 am on Tuesdays, the NAC opens their doors for children aged 18 months to four years old for their free toddler time activities. We think kids will enjoy participating in music time, storytelling, dancing, arts and crafts and more in a bright room that is perfect for exploration.

Cost: Free on Tuesdays until December 19.

RCMP Ride Centre

No matter the time of year, we know the kids will love getting up close and personal with the RCMP horses at the stable. Take a tour, see the horses, browse the tack room and learn about the horses and their riders. The stables are open year round, however, the schedule is reduced in the Fall and Winter.

Cost: Free (see the full schedule for available days and times)

Cineplex Family Favourites

If you have a mini-movie lover in the making, you’ll be happy to know that Cineplex has weekly Saturday morning family favourite movies. These movies vary in age recommendations (some weeks are more for older kids) but you can check the schedule to see which movie might be best for your younger child.

Cost: $2.99 per ticket, Saturdays only.



  1. Nancy Cohen on November 23, 2018 at 11:57 am

    I want to give a Christmas gift to a three year old child who has too many toys and parents that are both very busy workers. Her mother suggested a prepaid card for special activities. Do you have such a thing, that I could put money on and the mother could use it during 2019 at her convenience?

    • Rebecca Stanisic on November 26, 2018 at 9:30 am

      Hi Nancy! Rebecca here! This is a great gift idea! I have a few thoughts that come to mind – the Museums offer gift cards and memberships as gifts (Children’s musuem, Nature, and also the three that are paired – Science, Aviation and Agriculture).

      The City of Ottawa also has gift cards for their recreation and arts programs – that money can be used to sign up for a class or to attend special events. Something to consider! Experience gifts are lovely!

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