Last minute March Break camps and drop-ins in Toronto

By Jeff Cottrill

March Break is almost here, and your kids will need something to do while you’re busy with work or other grown-up stuff. Day camps and drop-ins are a good way for them to have fun, explore new interests and make friends. While many March Break camps require registration months in advance before they fill up, there may still be time to sign your child up for these local programs. [Photo credit: Courtesy of TIFF Bell Lightbox]

Last minute March Break camps and drop-ins in Toronto

Ontario Legislature

Little politicians in the making can have fun while learning how the provincial Legislative Assembly  works. This free program includes tours of the legislative chamber, along with scavenger hunts, mock debates and other interactive activities. Ages: 4 to 17 Dates: March 13 to 17 To register call: (416) 325-0061 or tourbookings@ola.org

Toronto Botanical Garden

This year’s March Break Nature Camps at the Toronto Botanical Garden provides learning activities about the natural world for elementary-school-age kids. Topics include bugs, plants, food from the garden, urban animal life and how to create art out of nature. Extended care is available: parents can drop kids off as early as 8:30 a.m. and pick up as late as 5:30 p.m. Ages: 6 to 10 Dates: March 13 to 17 Click here to register  

TIFF Bell Lightbox

Toronto’s movie headquarters has two week-long camps to bring out the future Steven Spielberg in your child: Film FUN-damentals teaches the basics of film making, stop-motion animation, Foley art and special-effects makeup, while Maker/Creator Camp lets adolescents use “maker” technology to work with game design and robotics. Ages: 8 to 10 for Film FUN-damentals; 11 to 13 for Maker/Creator Camp Dates: March 13 to 17

Second City Training Centre

If your son or daughter would rather be a future Mike Myers instead, Second City has improv camps for three different age groups. Kids can learn basic improvisation games that help them learn to think on their feet and cooperate with others, gaining self-confidence in the process. Ages: 7 to 18 Dates: March 13 to 17 Click here to register

Bad Dog Theatre

More improv camps for the young. Bad Dog offers a Youth Camp (age 10 to 13) and a Teen Camp with workshops and live performances by local comics, and the class gets to do their own performance at the end of the week, followed by a pizza party. Ages: 10 to 17 Dates: March 13 to 17 Click here to register

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Great Big Theatre Company (St. John’s Anglican Church)

For other kinds of acting, there’s the drama program at GBTC, in which kids put together their own performance by the end of the week. Extended hours are also available at an hourly cost. Ages: 6 to 14 Dates: March 13 to 17 Click here to register

YMCA

The Y offers indoor camps at all its Toronto locations, as well as throughout the Greater Toronto Area. A variety of programs includes sports, arts and crafts and more. There’s also an outdoor camp at the YMCA Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre in Schomberg. Ages: 6 to 12 Dates: March 13 to 17 Click here to register

Art Gallery of Ontario

The AGO is packed with family-friendly activities at its drop-ins, including a cardboard maze, workshops that let kids build cardboard cities and miniature art museums, gallery tours, a playground with big blocks and even family yoga. Day passes are available for $39 each. Ages: All ages welcome Dates: March 11to 19 Click here to register

Cornerstone Studio

This East York arts studio offers more ways to stoke the creativity fires in your child, with fun classes in dance, music, visual arts and drama. Full-day and half-day options are available, and an extra $10 per day buys lunch courtesy of Victoria’s Whole Foods. Ages: 4 and up Dates: March 13 to 17 Click here to register

Creative Club (The Laurel School)

Who doesn’t love LEGO? Creative Club offers workshops on building and designing with LEGOs and robotics, with team projects and group presentations for kids to share their work. The LEGO program is also available at the Roncesvalles United Church in the west end. Ages: 5 to 12 Dates: March 13 to 17 Click here to register

GTA Photography Classes

Children with cameras can learn the basics of good photography during GTA’s March Break camps, with separate classes available for pre-teens and teens. This one has a registration deadline of March 9, so hurry if your kids are interested. Ages: 8 to 17 Dates: March 13 to 17 Click here to register

Mad Science of Toronto (Blythwood Baptist Church)

Science Sleuths teaches your kids about communicating with secret codes, saving the environment, chemical counting and how astronauts live and work in outer space; there’s also a nature scavenger hunt. Other Mad Science camps are happening at locations throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Ages: 7 to 12 Dates: March 13 to 17 Click here to register

York University

Another good pick for science-loving kids, York [http://www.yellowpages.ca/bus/Ontario/North-York/York-University/7143094.html] offers Science & Engineering camps for three separate age groups. Hands-on activities may include extracting DNA, building catapults, designing stethoscopes and performing dissections. Ages: 9-14 Dates: March 13-17 Click here to register

University of Toronto Schools

March Break programs are available in music, speech and debate, and maximum city. Lunches are available, and extended care is free for parents who can’t be there to pick up their kids immediately. Ages: 9 to 18 Dates: March 13 to 17 Click here to register

Baseline Sports

Budding young baseball stars can get a week of practice in, maybe even two, at Baseline’s March Break camp. Other sports on the menu include soccer, basketball, football and ultimate Frisbee. Ages: 8 to 14 Dates: March 13 to 24 Click here to register

Toronto Athletic Camps (TFS)

TAC Sports camps have basketball, soccer, tennis, martial arts, dance and more at this midtown French school; another camp at the U of T Glendon campus the following week also has recreational swimming. Half-day and full-day programs available. Ages: 6 to 16 Dates: March 13 to 17 Click here to register

True North Sports Camps (Branksome Hall)

Soccer, baseball, flag football, basketball and ball hockey are among the games on the agenda here. All sporting equipment is provided, but kids have to bring their own lunches. Ages: 4 to 14 Dates: March 13 to 17 Click here to register

Toronto Kyokushinkai Karate

For aspiring Karate Kids who want to get fit while learning about self-defence, Kyokushinkai offers two hours a day of karate lessons, with indoor and outdoor activities and even free T-shirts. Ages: 4 to 14 Dates: March 13 to 17 Click here to register

Oxford Learning Centre, High Park

Oxford’s March Break Camp has an “Around the World” theme, educating kids about different cultures and traditions, with a focus on arts and crafts, music, dance, food and history. Extended care available at a daily charge. Ages: unspecified Dates: March 13 to 17 Click here to register

MakerKids

Praised by Toronto Life, MakerKids provides STEM education – kids learn practical skills like design, engineering, coding, problem solving and leadership while creating their own inventions.  Ages: 8 to 12 Dates: March 13 to 17 Click here to register

Don’t forget space is limited at many camps, and there’s no guarantee of availability at this point. So, if there’s something here that your kids would be into, get them registered as soon as possible!

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