Updated: Feb 4, 2019
Whether you are the type of homeschooler that educates year round, or the type who takes time off during the summer, there is no better season to get outside with the kids and make the most of the weather! Here are 10 fun outdoor things you can do with your children in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) this summer.
1) City Parks
As much fun as it is to bring your children regularly to your own neighbourhood park, why not try looking up all the parks in your city and explore something new! Get a hold of a map of your city, or print one out, and place a sticker on the map every time you visit a new park. Put a special sticker on the ones that are your favourites so you’ll remember to visit them again and be sure to recommend them to others!
Some fun parks to check out this summer:
2) Conservation Areas
If you’re looking to be fully immersed in nature, then a visit to a nearby conservation area is just what you need. The beauty found in protected natural environments is a sight not to be missed. Enjoy hiking or mountain biking through the trails, see stunning views from mountain tops, try out geocaching, explore hidden caves and natural waterfalls, and much more.
Some scenic conservation areas to explore:
As residents of Ontario, we are fortunate to have access to some of the Great Lakes, especially Lake Ontario here in the GTA, making beach visits a great choice for some summer fun. Pack up a picnic lunch, some folding chairs, towels, sunscreen and your favourite beach toys, and you’re all set!
Some sandy beaches to visit this summer:
4) Fairs and Festivals
There are no shortages of outdoor festivals to be found in the GTA during the summer. Check out your city’s website event calendar to see when and where they are being held. Look out for local Children’s Festivals, Kite Festivals, Food Festivals, and more.
Some upcoming festivals in the GTA:
5) Carnivals + Theme Parks
Every summer you’re sure to see midway carnival rides pop up in your city and around the GTA. A spontaneous trip to one of these pop up carnivals is always a lot of fun, or purchasing a season membership to one of the more permanent theme parks is a great option too if you plan on visiting often throughout the summer.
Some great amusement parks to check out:
Summer time is the best time to pick fresh local berries and fruit! Try picking strawberries in the early part of summer, cherries in the middle, and apples towards the end of the season! Local farms are also a great place to enjoy wagon rides, corn mazes, farmer’s markets, pony rides, animal farms and more.
Fantastic Farms to visit this summer:
7) Farmer’s Markets
Farmer’s Markets are a great place to buy fresh local produce and products. Meeting and talking to local farmers can be a great way for children to create connections and a better understanding about where food comes from. Have a little fun with a scavenger hunt that you make ahead of time, and see what items children can find at the farmer’s market. Or have your children interview a farmer about their farm or a vendor about their products.
Some wonderful farmer’s markets to visit:
Your Summer time fun is not complete without a visit to a botanical garden! Pack your favourite nature guides, binoculars, nature journal, and watercolour paints, and you are set for a fun day out with your kids! Experience the flowers are in full bloom, the leaves green on the trees, ponds buzzing with life, beautiful fountains, and all the botanical splendour.
Some stunning gardens to visit this summer:
Zebras, Giraffes, Meerkats, Oh my! From a small petting zoo or animal farm to a jungle safari adventure, kids and adults alike will enjoy a trip to the zoo. The littlest ones in your family may be more mesmerized by the ants walking on the ground, but fear not, one roar of the lion will get their attention!
Some wonderful places to go to see the animal kingdom this summer:
10) Splash Pads
Sometimes it’s really hot and you just might want to stay inside, but a great way to stay cool is to visit a splash pad! The GTA has many fun splash pads sprinkled through each city. Look up a splash pad before you visit to see what facilities they have including washroom and change room, which will be handy for your little ones. If you won’t be joining your kids in the splash pad but watching from the sidelines, it’s a good idea to bring a foldable lawn chair if needed, and an umbrella or hat for shade.
Some refreshing splash pads to visit this summer:
What are your favourite outdoor activities to do with kids during the summer? Share your favourite Greater Toronto Area go-to summer locations and activities in the comments below! We’d love to add them to our list! Have a happy summer!