I took Middlest to see National Theatre Live’s production of Treasure Island recently, and I really like the idea of taking kids to see plays at the movie theatre. While we sat in a Cineplex theatre in Toronto, we watched a live production of the play being staged in London, complete with a 20-minute intermission. Of course, seeing the play in the theatre lacked some of the fun and sense of occasion that goes with a night at the theatre, but that informality is exactly what appealed to me with young kids. We ate our popcorn and drank our drinks and it was all very relaxed. I’d like my kids to see as much Shakespeare as possible before they encounter it at school, and for the price of a movie ticket, you really can’t go wrong. King Lear is showing tomorrow, Shakespeare’s Globe on Screen will be showing Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and I am dying to see Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet later this year.
And if it’s fine art that tickles your fancy, head over to the AGO, which has fabulous programming for kids to complement their latest exhibition of the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat.
From March 14-22, join the AGO for one of nine creative days of exploring the amazing art of Basquiat. The whole family can enjoy beat boxing, dancing and drumming performances; interactive storytelling; art making; films and family-friendly tours of the Basquiat exhibition. As with every new exhibit, the AGO also runs Family Sundays, from February 8-March 29. Each week families are invited to explore a new aspect of Basquiat’s work through art-making and hands-on activities (1 – 4 p.m. in the Weston Family Learning Centre). For a complete line-up of activities, visit www.ago.net/family-events.
If you are in Vaughan, you can hit three great destinations in one fun-filled day. Start at LEGOLAND, where Carol, Beth-Anne and I took our boys a while back and loved it, then head over to Sky Zone Vaughan to bounce their sillies out. It’s wall-to-wall-to-wall trampolines, and, yes, they can bounce off the walls. You can pay to bounce for 30 minutes or in increments up to two hours. There are special toddler times for the littlest ones, but generally, jumpers should be already walking and be able to follow the instructions of the staff.
And when you are done jumping, go chill with the cold-blooded creatures at Reptilia. As Canada’s largest indoor reptile zoo, Reptilia boasts a collection of over 250 reptiles, amphibians and arachnids (!). Reptilia is also taking the show on the road, and they will at Hillcrest Mall for March Break from March 19-21. At Reptilia Live! there will be interactive meet-and-greet, and guests can get to see, hold and touch a variety of cold-blooded creatures and learn interesting and educational facts.
Show times are as follows:
[Thursday / Friday, March 19 and 20]
11:00 – 11:20 | Live animal show
11:20 – 12:00 | Meet and Greet
1:00 – 1:20 | Live animal show
1:20 – 2:00 | Meet and Greet
3:00 – 3:20 | Live animal show
3:20 – 4:00 | Meet and Gree
[Saturday, March 21]
12:30 – 12:50 | Live animal show
12:50 – 1:30 | Meet and Greet
2:00 – 2:20 | Live animal show
2:20 – 3:00 | Meet and Greet
If you go on the Thursday, look for Carol and Nathalie! We’ll be there with some of our brood.
Toronto for Kids also has a great round-up of camps, shows and activities. Check it out.
The Young People’s Theatre is one of my favourite not-so hidden gems in the city. The productions are always top-notch and tailored for a younger audience. Over March Break the classic tale of Pinocchio takes the main stage and to enhance the experience theatre-goers can sign up for the Puppet Lab and learn from experts how to create their very own, unique puppet. Space is limited. For ticket and show information visit Young People’s Theatre.
For older children, The Heart of Robin Hood is a great bet! I have been a patron of Mirvish Productions for many years and The Heart of Robin Hood easily makes my top 5 list. The real story of Robin Hood may surprise you – Maid Marion is no shrinking violet, Robin’s not as generous as you may have believed and Friar Tuck . . . poor Friar Tuck. The original music is guaranteed to have your feet moving but it’s the transformation of the theatre into Sherwood Forest that is truly remarkable. If you’re looking into introduce theatre to your tweens or teens, this is the show to attend but hurry, the run ends on March 29. For tickets and show information visit Mirvish Productions.
For the dancers, The National Ballet of Canada’s Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, looks simply magical. I have not yet seen it but judging how much the boys enjoyed The Nutcracker, it appears it would be a hit. The costumes and the staging are receiving rave reviews and the sneak peeks shown on the website justify why. On stage March 14-29. For tickets and show information visit The National Ballet of Canada.
It will still be wintry, but hopefully just a notch or two higher on the temperature scale, which means perfect timing for skating. I love outdoor skating whenever we can get it, and Toronto boasts both Nathan Philips Square and the Natrel rink down at at Harbourfront are wonderful urban settings for gliding on city ice.
Or head over to the Brickworks for a smaller, more intimate outdoor skating experience on their public rink, and then head over to one of their drop-in programs for kids over March Break. Paper mache boat building, both for individual boats and a collective boat, caught my eye. Suggested donation $5.
Boats make me think of not winter, and I’m feeling ready to move on to our next season with Canada Blooms, our largest flower and garden festival. The many events and workshops fall over March Break, and offer opportunities for children to get their hands dirty getting ready to garden. Kids will also be able to take home vegetables and flowers to start their own gardens at home.
For a unique cultural experience, the Aga Khan Museum offers stunning exhibits and collections that explore Muslim civilizations – head over on the Wednesday of March Break to enjoy and explore for free between 4 to 8pm.
Do you have any favourite suggestions for the March break? Please share them!