With just a couple of weeks of summer left, if you’re anything like me, you’re pulling at straws trying to keep the kids busy and off their screens. We were fine at the beginning of the break. With a couple weeks at sleep-away camp (the only camp that my kids are really interested in), they were always outdoors doing tons of different activities. Sadly, they aren’t excited about the city/private run camps, and quite frankly with the cost of them, I’m totally ok with that! I refuse to just put them in a camp to give everyone a break, especially if they’re not getting anything out of it. Having said that, this does make it a bit more challenging to fill their days and keep them busy.
With both boys in house league AND rep baseball, our weekends are filled with trips away to “thrilling” places like Ancaster, Stoney Creek, Kanata and Perth; but we really make the best of it. We treat each tournament like a mini get-a-way with hotel stays and nights out for dinner. Luckily we have fantastic families on our teams so the company is great and we truly have a wonderful time.
But our weeks are a little different. We’ve started looking at Monday-Fridays like little staycations. Trying to plan a little something different everyday.
So in an effort to make the remainder of your summer a little more interesting, I’ve decided to share a few of the trips we’ve done around our fab city that you may have forgotten are available to us.
Canada’s Wonderland – This was one of the first day trips. We chose to go mid-week and on a day that was a little on the cloudy side. This kept the lines to a minimum which made wait-times bearable. We picked up our tickets from Costco which helped keep the cost down. If you think ahead, you’re also able to get passes through Air Miles. FYI, they’re still quite ancient in redeeming your points and you need about 3 weeks to get them mailed to you. Another idea is to get a seasons pass at the end of the summer. It’s typically far cheaper and it’s valid for all of next summer too. Spend a day doing the rides and another day at the water park and it’s paid for itself!
Beach Day – Living in the city my entire life, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never really taken advantage of any of the amazing beaches we have across the city! We decided to head to Woodbine beach. There’s a ton of volleyball courts there, so even if you’re not up for playing yourself, you’re able to watch a game or 2 to pass some time, and the beach is massive so it’s wasn’t busy. Set up a sandcastle competition, bring the frisbee or your gloves and ball and it’s the perfect way to spend the afternoon.
Most importantly the water was clean but, to be on the safe side, be sure to check the water ratings before you do any day trips. These are updated daily and provided by the City of Toronto.
Picnic in the Park – This was an easy way to get the kids outside and didn’t have to venture far. We chose a park that was around the corner from our house so we didn’t need to take the car and the kids were able to walk and scoot. We brought our picnic blanket, plastic plates, juice boxes, and some home-made pasta salad I put in a plastic container. (tip: The blanket is actually a king-sized quilt I picked up at a bedding store that was going out of business, so it was a steal!)
We met up with some friends so we all had company and there was a splash pad and a playground. The kids were able to run around for a couple hours and have lunch outside (bonus no crumbs on the floor!). The only thing missing was a little vino for the mums, but that was just poor planning on our part 🙂
Jays Game – I was lucky enough to be able to take my oldest to an afternoon game against the Yankees. Now full disclosure, this wasn’t a cheap outing, but it was a pretty special day so well worth the splurge in my mind. We got to the Rogers Centre a couple hours before so my son was able to watch the batting practice and try his best to catch foul and home run balls. (No luck)
We treated ourselves to a couple Blue Jays hats, grabbed a slice for lunch and some popcorn for a treat. He lucked out and got a photo with Ace and we both lucked out and made it on the Jumbotron!
Local Farmers Market – We’re super lucky to live right down the street from an amazing Farmer’s Market. Every Wednesday from 3:00-7:00pm, we’re able to pop by and pick up some yummy treats from the market! With everything from breads, honey, fruits and veggies, to prepped items for dinner, our farmer’s market has everything we need plus it’s a great way to teach the kids about the benefits of purchasing fresh and supporting our local farmer’s.
Tennis Anyone? – We definitely don’t play regularly but sometimes it’s fun to get the rackets out and hit the ball around for a bit. Previously, we decided to pick up a few racquets from Good Will; they were about $3.00 each but worked well enough and because we had never played before, we weren’t dropping a significant amount on new racquets. This was the perfect way to see if our kids were at all interested in the sport.
So on occasion we’ll jump on the bikes and head down to Rennie Park for a bit. Bonus is there’s also a great playground and splash pad for the kids to entertain themselves with should they get tired of tennis.
Tie Dye – We decided to pay Michael’s a little visit one day and have a bit of a craft morning when our plans for outdoor activities got postponed. We picked up some cheap t-shirts from Old Navy (The ones at Michael’s were just about the same price, but quality was a bit better at Old Navy). I downloaded my Michael’s coupon which is available daily and typically takes 40% off the most expensive item. The Tie Dye Kit I bought came will all the necessary items and even colour refills, so should we get creative again, we can do a couple more projects.
Luckily I have a couple giant Saran wrap roles from previous renos/projects, so I used that to cover our table. Large garbage bags would also do the trick. We rolled up our t-shirts, put on our aprons and gloves and got to work. Of course this project didn’t take as long as I was hoping, but the kids were happy with their designs.
High Park Zoo – We spend so much time at the High Park baseball diamonds, but we rarely get to take advantage of the other amazing attractions the park has to offer! The High Park Zoo doesn’t disappoint. It’s so amazing to find this little gem in the heart of the city. There’s no vehicular traffic in the zoo, which makes things a little less stressful. It’s not overly large, so the kids won’t get exhausted. And the kids got to see some animals they don’t regularly get to interact with! Wins all around. If your kiddos haven’t run off enough energy, finished it off with some time at the castle park!
Lemonade Stand – Typically you may see a lemonade stand as a weekend activity, however when my entrepreneurs become inspired, there’s no slowing the pace. (And after a morning trip to Costco and them seeing my newly purchased bag of lemons, they were sold).
They took it upon themselves to make their signs and post them on either end of the street. Gathered their cups, cooler, a couple books and set up shop.
Clearly not a huge turnout but they had a good time doing it.
A few of our other favourites include water balloon baseball, walking down to Bloor to grab and ice cream, or an outdoor movie night!
Our summer is so short, so it’s really nice to try and take advantage of it the best we can. Hopefully after this read, you’ve gotten at least a couple good ideas to help keep those kids outside and off their screens.