Arts + Culture

Five Places to Take Your Little Sunshines on the Weekend

Sunshine, sandal shopping, and iced lattes sounds ideal with the warm weather approaching. But if you’re a parent of young children, like me, there is also that minor anxiety of planning your kids’ time until summer arrives. Oh yes—with more than 12,000 children between 0–9 years old living on the Danforth, I imagine there are lot of you out there thinking, “What am I going to do with my kids?” Even worse, there are so many children waiting to ask, “What are we going to do today?” and preparing their future “I’m bored” statements.

With summer around the corner and winter cabin fever at its peak, it’s that time of the year where we all wrack our brains for activities to do with our young ones on those spring weekends. Look no further, moms and dads, because here is a quick summary of what to do with your children on the Danforth:

1) Withrow Park (725 Logan Ave)

They have the usual playground area with swings and slides, and they have a soccer field where you can let your kids run to their hearts’ content. This popular park can get a little busy with new moms and tai chi sessions, but there is always enough space. As a mother of two, one of the first things I look for on a hot day is shade—and we do get those hot spring days! Even with their little hats on, your children need to be able to take a breather in a cooler space, which is exactly what this park provides! There are lots of big, leafy trees that you could picnic under, and there is even a decent-sized wading pool—perfect for cooling down and keeping busy for hours. There is also a farmers’ market every summer to look forward to, so it is the ideal place to expend some energy and pick up something yummy on the way home!

2) Pape/Danforth Library (701 Pape Avenue)

It is always a good idea to continue your children’s relationship with books and foster a love of reading, which is why I always take mine to the local library. It’s free and filled with books for all ages. At this library, an entire corner is dedicated to the children’s section; there is cushioned seating to help you get really comfortable! They also have “Sunday Family Story Time” (the stories and singalongs are generally geared towards toddler and preschool ages so it’s perfect for those of you with young children!).

3) Matty Eckler Community Recreation Centre (953 Gerrard St E)

Generally, community centres offer only registered programs, but this one has a pool that is open all year round for a small fee. The pool is well maintained, the water is never too cold, and they have swim lanes. It is a perfect place to spend time as a family, as all children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Their swimming pool is more suitable to older children (I would say ages 7 and up), so I would recommend this site especially to an older family. The staff is always super friendly and helpful too.

4) Riverdale Farm (201 Winchester St)

My children love this place, and so do I! It’s not very big, but they have a little bit of everything: cows, horses, goats, chickens, rabbits, and even a black cat that roams freely. It is free of charge and open every day. There are a few different barns you can venture through, and they have beautiful walkways, overshadowed with trees. They also have a deck that overlooks marshland, a quiet but lovely place to spot wildlife. One important note—their washrooms are impeccable!

5) Goat Coffee Co. (893 Pape Ave)

Now, I will admit that I—as the designated adult—go to this place to get my much-needed coffee, but it’s actually a wonderful place to take children. My kids love their adultish “babycinno” (basically frothed warm milk), and Goat Coffee’s mini French toast with syrup from the kids’ menu is the best! There’s even a small, quaint shelf along the wall with colouring books and a crayon stash to keep your little ones busy while you eat brunch in peace. The staff is always super friendly and love children.

Now plan your spring weekends and fill them with fun. It’s time to relax, because planning was half the battle!

Toronto-based Khadija Siddiqui is a visual artist, editor, and writer. Currently, she is completing her Master’s Certification in Publishing at Centennial College.

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