Baby Activities in Toronto!

I’ve updated my previous post on baby activities (added a few more gems!) so I’m re-posting it. Here goes..  My baby is growing sooo fast right before my eyes (already over 12 months!!), so before I forget what it’s like to have a baby (sniff), I’m putting up a post on what my favourite baby activities were / are to help you find things to do with your baby so you can get out of the house and talk to *real, live adults* for support, advice, baby talk, non-baby talk, and some good chuckles to warm the soul! ;-)

As always, I’d love to hear from you what activities you’d recommend to others, or if you’ve had a good or bad experience with any on my list, or anything else that’s on your mind !


1. Ontario Early Years Centres – Drop-Ins

Many Main sites and their satellite locations offer drop-in times specifically for babies (usually 0 – 18 mos). Depending on the location, the drop-ins usually have circle time during the last half hour where a staff member leads the singing. You can also bring baby to the general all age drop-ins which may be called Family Time or Open Door depending on the location. However you may need to watch your baby closely during these drop-ins as the older children (6 years old max) run around and may unintentionally knock over baby or not-so unintentionally take toys away from her! Some Centres have more toys for babies than others so you may need to check around a bit before you find a Centre you like.

There are some OEYC’s listed in the Kids OTG Activity Directory where you can check reviews and photos to help you decide whether to go. (Some Centres won’t allow photos to be taken even when the drop-in is over and the place is empty but I always try!)

Advertised ages: 0- 6 yrs. Even if you have a newborn, it’s great to just get out and hang with other adults and talk to the staff.  The staff  are very knowledgeable (ECE trained) and you can ask them any questions you like.  I’d recommend OEYC’s for babies at any age but again, it really depends on your specific Centre and whether they have a good baby section. My favourite is the Don Valley East OEYC because it’s big, clean, there’s lots of baby toys, a few activity mats for babies to lie on their backs and look up/ bat at toys, and there’s usually a small baby gym setup in back. And the staff are exceptional IMO :-)

Cost: Free! Call your nearby OEYC for details or check their calendar for more information.

*New: Click here for a map of Ontario Early Years Centres in the GTA to find multiple Centres near you! 


2. Ontario Early Years Centres – Mother Goose Programs

I’m a huge fan of exposing baby to music early on. It doesn’t matter if you have a bad voice (I sure wasn’t blessed with any kind of singing ability)- your baby will still love it! You will learn lots of kids songs with finger play (i.e. hand motions) or actions (like bouncing baby up and down). These programs are an hour to two hours in length of circle time. Remember to bring a blanket for young baby to lie on in case the carpet/ floor isn’t too clean.

Advertised ages: 0 – 12 mos. I recommend this more for non-mover babies even though I tried it with my baby who had just started crawling. He mostly went to one of the instructors and got bounced around by her, stayed in my lap for a teensy bit, then went exploring around the room again while I sang to someone else’s baby ;-)

Cost: Free! (Preregistration is required) Call your nearby OEYC for details or check their calendar for more information.  Not all Centres may offer this program.


3. Toronto Public Library – Baby Time Programs

These programs involve bouncing and tickling rhymes, songs and stories. It’s normally only a half hour class so it’s a good idea to find a library close to you in case you’re running late.

Advertised ages: 0 – 18 mos. I recommend this more for non-mover babies that still sit on your lap. The program I went to at Agincourt Library had chairs put out for everyone to sit on (the floor didn’t look particularly appetizing for crawling babies). See my review here on Agincourt’s Baby Time.

Cost: Free! (Preregistration is required) Call your nearby Public Library for details or check online.  You can use their handy branch locator to find libraries near you.


4. City of Toronto Preregistered Programs- Baby Yoga, Swimming, Music Programs

City of Toronto programs are inexpensive and the instructors have always been great, in my experience. Having said that, there isn’t a whole lot of selection for babies, especially under 6 months and some locations are better than others. For example, I liked taking my babies to Antibes Community Centre in North York, Ellesmere CC in Scarborough, Memorial Pool & Health Club in Etobicoke, and Edgehill House in Etobicoke. I wasn’t a fan of Barbara Frum CC in Toronto (we were in a small room on the lower level with no natural light).

I loved doing baby yoga with both my kids. Classes are around an hour in length. When I took my daughter the class was spent involving the babies for the first half, and the other half was more for the moms.  The class I took with my son was mainly for the moms with a short bit at the end involving the babies.

Music classes are usually a half hour to 45 minutes in length and involve circle time with singing and some musical instruments such as shakers, tambourines, and drums. Both my children loved these classes. Even if you have a crawler who won’t sit in your lap while you sing to her (like mine), she will still benefit by visiting other babies and watching other parents and the instructor singing!

For swimming, the classes are a half hour in length and they teach you how to hold baby, help her kick her legs while on her front and back, blow bubbles, and there’s usually some circle time with singing, depending on the instructor. Be forewarned that most City pools have cold water so you may want to put a swim shirt on baby or buy a full length swimsuit. Both my kids were surprisingly okay (I was more bothered by the cool water than them!) but I have seen some babies literally shiver the entire class :-( In that case, you may want to check out one of the City’s warmer pools (e.g. Wallace Emerson CC at Dufferin & Dupont, or Gus Ryder at Kipling & Lakeshore Blvd W) or private pools that have warmer water (e.g. Holland Bloorview at Bayview & Eglinton, or H20 Fit - multiple locations).

Advertised ages: Swimming programs start at 6 mos; Baby yoga and music programs start as young as 1 month.

Cost: Swimming and music classes are about $35 for 9 classes, and yoga is around $60 for 10 classes (Preregistration is required). I’m a big fan of the inexpensive cost so I don’t feel as bad missing a few (or more) classes (baby gets sick, naps aren’t working out well that day, etc.).

Tip: When you’re searching for programs, you can either download the Program List in your area (North YorkToronto & East YorkScarborough, or Etobicoke York), or search online. If you try the online site, then under the Program List, click on Preschool, Early Child, then enter a search term in the Advanced Search below for e.g. yoga or caregiver. For swimming, click on Swimming under the Program List, then Early Child and look for Swim Guardian. You can refine the search results if you know which complex you’d like to go to. If you’re unfamiliar with complexes near you, it can take some time with good ‘ole google maps to find the best place for you.

If you have never registered for a class before with the City Toronto, keep in mind that you will likely need to speak to City of Toronto customer service on the phone, Mon – Fri during business hours, in order to get a Family Number and PIN before you can register for a class online. Make sure you do this prior to the first registration date as spots in certain classes go very quickly!


5. Art Stroller Walks

Art Strollers offers free gallery walking tours for moms with babies in Toronto, including walks in the Distillery District, the Beaches or Riverside area. They’re about 1- 2 hours in length and guided by Crystal Luxmore, founder of Walk TO.  If you can go with someone you know- great! If not, there are always moms willing to chit chat while you walk from place to place.

I went on the Riverside tour in the summer – check out my post here.  Currently there’s one tour scheduled for March 29, 2012 at the Power Plant, but check back in the spring time for more. Tip: the Distillery District tour is better for children who are walking, if you happen to have an early walker on your hands who doesn’t want to stay in the stroller!

Art Strollers also has art classes for babies as young as 5 months, music classes for 3 month olds and up, and a family photo shoot that takes place while you’re naturally interacting with your baby or working together on an art activity. I’ve never tried it myself but it sounds interesting..

Advertised ages: All babies

Cost: Free! (Preregistration is required)


6. Indoor Playgrounds

Indoor playgrounds are great for rainy or cooler weather, when it’s too hot in the summertime or if you just want a change of scenery from your home and think your baby might want to try some new toys and explore new surroundings. I like that I don’t need to check drop-in times like at the OEYC’s. Playgrounds tend to be open at least from 10am- 3pm, if not longer.

Some playgrounds may have exersaucers/ jumperoos, infant playmats and bouncers, and most will offer discounted rates (or free!) for babies under a year. Call ahead to make sure they have toys appropriate for your baby’s age so you aren’t disappointed when you make the trip out. There are many indoor playgrounds in the Kids OTG Activity Directory with photos and reviews. I’d love to hear what you thought of them too!

Advertised ages: Usually at least 6 months & up. Call ahead to make sure there are toys for babies!

Cost: Usually anywhere from free to around $5 until baby hits 1 year. Check out Kids Fun City, All for Fun & Fun for All, and Monkey Magoos for free admission for babies under 1 year (call to confirm in case they have changed their policy recently).

7. Spas with Childcare on Site

This is for mommies who need a break and a bit of pampering (that would be all mommies, right?!). These spas provide child care while you get a massage or a spa treatment done: Sunny Mummy Spa in Downtown Toronto, Bayview Sheppard RMT in North York,  Alma Natural Quick Spa in Midtown Toronto, and Totto Salon & Spa and The Ten Spot Spa in Toronto’s East End. Try to time the spa with your baby’s nap if he’s still napping in a car seat or stroller. If your baby has already started to object to being left with strangers then you may want to wait until he’s older (or get a babysitter instead) or your spa treatment may be suddenly interrupted by loud crying (like mine was)! Check here for my earlier post on my experience at the Sunny Mummy Spa!

Advertised ages: All babies (from infant and up)

Cost: Spa treatments and massages at a reasonable rate with child care usually in the cost (double-check this when you make your appointment in case things have changed!).

8. Playgrounds, Splash Pads & Wading Pools

Give your little one some fresh air and a chance to explore in the summer time! Many playgrounds have baby swings, and you can find a splash pad or wading pool in Toronto by clicking here. My little guy loved the small water jets at Pottery Playground in Davisville and both my kids had a blast at the wading pool in Bronte Creek Provincial Park. Water toys such as pails and shovels, watering cans, inflatable swim rings (you can buy ones that have a seat in it so baby can sit there while you push her around), and balls are a must to help entertain baby. Don’t forget baby’s sun hat, sunblock (if old enough to have it on), and a swim shirt!

Recommended ages: All babies (who can at least sit by themselves) & up

Cost: Free at City parks; At provincial parks there is a parking fee and may be an admission charge to the water area (at Bronte Creek it’s $16 for parking, and pool admission is $2-3 pp & free for children under 4 years).

*New: If you live in Toronto, click here for a handy map of playgrounds, splash pads and wading pools near you. 


9. Movies for Mommies/ Stars & Strollers

Did you know that some theatres have show times specifically for parents with babies (called Stars and Strollers)?

They dim the lights so you can still see your baby and they turn the volume down.  I’ve been to the one at the Queensway and they put out a table so you can change your baby in the middle of the movie without leaving the theatre.  If your baby starts crying, you don’t have to worry because you’re in a theatre full of people in the same boat as you. And you can park your stroller right where you come in, in front of the first row. So convenient! And you get a $2 discount off admission (your baby or child must be under 2 years of age to get the discount).

The downside is that options are limited.  The participating theatres have Stars and Strollers only once a week for two different movies on at the same time (typically on a Wednesday or Thursday around 1pm). Tip: Take your infant when s/he is still young enough to sleep peacefully in a car seat with noise around them.  :-)

You can check Cineplex’s website for participating theatres and show times near you by entering your postal code.


And here are other things to do that I’ve heard people like but I’ve never had a chance to try myself:

10. Salsa Babies

Your baby needs to be in a carrier and strapped to your chest for this class. I’ve heard a lot of babies will just sleep in the carrier while you do some salsa dancing!

Advertised ages: 6- 8 weeks and up (When your baby is young and still doesn’t weight too much, but old enough to be strapped in a carrier.) Note there’s also Salsa for Tots!

Cost: 6 week course is $110, 8 week course is $147

11. Toronto Public Health Programs

Toronto Public Health offers many programs from how to interact with your baby (Living & Learning with Baby) to how to feed your baby with nutritious foods.  Their phone line is usually busy in my experience but you can call your closest Ontario Early Years Centre or Public Library for information as the programs are usually offered there.  At least they should be able to give you the name and phone number (and extension!) of someone to speak to who is organizing the programs in your area.

Advertised ages: 6 mos – 6 yrs

Cost: Free! (Preregistration is required)


12. La Leche Meetings

I hear La Leche meetings are good for information on breastfeeding (of course) and how to introduce solids to your baby. They also give you a chance to socialize with other moms and your baby can have a chance to interact with other babies.

Advertised ages: All babies

Cost: Free!


13. TDSB Parenting and Family Literacy Centres

TDSB Parenting and Family Literacy Centres offer a fun, play-based program to support children’s early learning and development and a place for parents to learn and connect with each other. Each Centre has a schedule which includes music and story time, snack time, art activities, sand and water play, dramatic play, grossmotor play, puzzles and a time to use simple and inexpensive learning materials which can be replicated at home,and are designed to develop literacy and numeracy concepts necessary for kindergarten entry”. There are a total of 76 Centres that are free to the community. Hours vary by site and no preregistration is required.

Advertised ages: 0- 6 years.

Cost: Free!


14. Growing Up Healthy Downtown

Growing Up Healthy Downtown offers parent relief, a variety of workshops, community kitchens as well as fitness and post-natal programs for moms and their babies. We deliver school readiness programs, reading circles and drop-ins for caregivers with their children. See below for a list of programs offered.

There are 8 participating locations in the downtown Toronto area: Harbourfront Community Centre (Queens Quay West & Bathurst), St. Christopher House (Dundas St W & Ossington), Dixon Hall (Queen St E & River), Family Service Toronto (Gerrard St E & Church), University Settlement Recreation Centre (Dundas St W & University), WoodGreen Community Services (Queen St E & Pape Ave), Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre (Davenport & Lansdowne), and The 519 Church Street Community Centre (Church & Wellesley St E).

Advertised ages: 0- 6 years.

Cost: Free!

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  4. minu (Reviews: 0) says:

    Thank you so much for all the info! I am a new mom, and have been waiting to get out of the house! Thanks again!

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  7. Kristina (Reviews: 0) says:

    Thank you so much for this list it was very helpful :) One tip – I am a FTM and have never registered for any Toronto parks and rec programs, and much to my disappointment when I woke up at 7am Saturday to register for the baby programs you mentioned, I found out that you need a Family Number and PIN that you can only get from a customer service rep Monday to Friday 8:30-4:30…! So I have to wait the whole weekend and hope my programs don’t sell out. It’s not obvious on the Toronto site that this is required for online registration so it’d be great to point that out to anyone reading this so they don’t make the same mistake I did. I spent hours picking out the programs and now I’m so disappointed because they are likely going to be gone by Monday morning :( :(

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    • Melanie (*Sizzling Hot* OTG Parent - Reviews: 64) says:

      That’s a really good point Kristina, thank you for commenting. I signed up long ago and didn’t even remember that you have to get the Family Number and PIN during weekday hours. I hope you ended up being able to register in the programs you wanted! And I will add a note to the post, of course.

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  8. Umi (Reviews: 0) says:

    Thank you for your post … very helpful. I am just wondering if we need to complete guardian swim 1 level to register guardian swim 2 class? Thanks.

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    • Melanie (*Sizzling Hot* OTG Parent - Reviews: 64) says:

      Hi Umi, I’m really not sure if you need to complete level 1 guardian before going on to level 2. They’re probably not as strict compared to when your child is older and in swim lessons on his/ her own. Try calling the swim place you’re considering- they’ll be able to tell you what the requirements are for their own facility. Hope that helps!

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  9. Vithya (Reviews: 0) says:

    Hi, your post is amazing! I’m interested in the City of Toronto activities however I have a 10month old and could not find anything other than swimming for him. Do u knw any other activities through the City for him?

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    • Melanie (*Sizzling Hot* OTG Parent - Reviews: 64) says:

      Hello! Thank you for your kind words. There isn’t as much offered during the summer, however there should still be music programs for his age. Hope that helps. Good luck and enjoy with your LO =)

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  10. Tracy (Reviews: 0) says:

    I would like info on the TDSB for Parenting and Literacy Program.

    Thank you.

    Tracy Higgins

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    • Melanie (*Sizzling Hot* OTG Parent - Reviews: 64) says:

      Hi Tracy, Click the title above in the post, “TDSB Parenting and Family Literacy Centres” – it’s a hyperlink and will open up the official site for TDSB Parenting and Family Literacy Centres. There you will find more info and a Parenting Centre Finder so you can find one close to you.

      Hope that helps!

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  11. vandana (Reviews: 0) says:

    Thanks for this great resource. Do you, or does anyone know of a warm pool in town, where the first half is workout for mommy, while babies sit in a floaty device, and second half is with baby? The mom who I met at Chapters, who told me about it, said that you can buy passes, and don’t have to go each week. I am looking for something like that, since I am in and out of town a lot.

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  12. cheeks (Reviews: 0) says:

    I have a very did I say very active 15 month old. I’m a single mom live downtown Toronto and am looking for a place to take my son so he can interact with other children. All the kids in our family are too old to really be able to play with him in the way he needs. Also trying keep in mind a pretty tight budget. If anyone has any suggestions I’d really appreciate it. I’ve looked online and mostly just come across programs for younger kids or babies who can sit still which mine can not lol. Thanks in advance

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    • Melanie (*Sizzling Hot* OTG Parent - Reviews: 64) says:

      Hi! Have you checked out the Ontario Early Years Centres or TDSB Parenting and Family Literacy Centres (#1 and #13 in the above post)? It sounds like your son would be a good age for both. There’s a link to a map of all OEYC’s in Toronto (under #1) so you can easily see what’s around you. The main sites are likely bigger than the satellite sites, i.e. more room for your LO to move around. Re TDSB Centres in Downtown Toronto, I’ve heard the Lord Dufferin school is a good one. All of these programs are free.

      Also, do check out the Growing Up Healthy Downtown initiatives which offer free/ subsidized programs. I’ve heard great things about the University Settlement Recreation Centre.

      You might also want to check out this post for more ideas as your child grows (it’s geared to all ages):

      And our events calendar which contains a lot of free events. You can access it from the top menu – Family-Friendly/ Kids’ Events (or click here-

      I hope that helps and I’m looking forward to hearing about what you’ve found that worked for you and your son! :-)

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  13. Zoe (Reviews: 0) says:

    Hi – Thanks for posting, though I’m only finding your blog now… and I’m in the same boat as you were – my baby’s almost a year old! Already!

    Great ideas, I’ve done some of them as well.

    Cool – salsa lessons, using a carrier, how cool is that?!

    I’m always looking for new baby related ideas to consider/enjoy, so again… thanks for posting.

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    • Melanie (*Sizzling Hot* OTG Parent - Reviews: 64) says:

      You’re very welcome Zoe! If you have any other ideas, please feel free to comment so others can benefit.

      As your LO gets older, the events listed in the calendars (top menu- Family Friendly/ Kids’ Events) may also give you ideas for outings you might want to consider.

      All the best to you and your family! =)

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  14. Lexus (Reviews: 0) says:

    Thank you so much for posting this.
    I am a new mom and I found this link very helpful.
    I live in the Scarborough North area and I don’t have many friends. Some of these programs especially the early years have given me the opportunity to bond with my baby and meet other mom’s like me.
    THanks a lot.

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    • Melanie (*Sizzling Hot* OTG Parent - Reviews: 64) says:

      You’re very welcome Lexus, I’m glad you found it helpful.

      When I get a chance I will also add mommy meetup groups to this list (I met one of my best friends through a meetup group) and parent forums (I’m working on adding one to this site). is a popular site for mommy meetup groups and most are free. You may want to join multiple groups so you have more choice on dates, times and locations. My own parent meetup group is I’m not doing many meetups anymore myself (about one every few weeks) but members can add meetups and other parents will come if they can. OEYC’s are great locations for meetups. Another great meetup group I can recommend that’s free and would have meetups in your area is Life With a Baby:

      All the best!

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      • Lexus (Reviews: 0) says:

        you are awesome!
        Thanks again. I am actually going through meetup website.
        I also like your page.
        Please keep posting.

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  15. Kayla (Reviews: 0) says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve done Salsa Babies (posted as “Baby Salsa” above) and it was awesome! Ontario Early Years and the Public Library programs were nice too.

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    • Melanie (*Sizzling Hot* OTG Parent - Reviews: 64) says:

      You’re very welcome! Which location did you do Salsa Babies at? (And thanks for the note! I corrected the title :-) ).

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  16. Posy (Reviews: 0) says:

    This is a great post – thank you for the info !

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    • Melanie (*Sizzling Hot* OTG Parent - Reviews: 64) says:

      Glad you found it helpful Posy! I look forward to hearing about your experiences with your little one. All the best! :-)

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  17. seb (Reviews: 0) says:

    great post! thank you so much for sharing this it’s really helpful!

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  18. Irene (Reviews: 0) says:

    Thankkkk you soo much!!! :) Im trying to do an activity with my baby every day… He cried alot with everyboby… but now He is use to it .. to be in new place and meet babies, kids and moms… Im a Momstown is a community for moms… check it out… :)

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  19. Audrey (Reviews: 0) says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to post this list and to write comments. I really appreciate it!

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  20. Susan Chaves (*Inside Scoop OTG* Parent - Reviews: 12) says:

    Great list! One of my favourite baby activity is Movies for Mommies/ Stars & Strollers. Another great way to spend a winter afternoon. But make sure you go when you baby is young, you’ll be able to enjoy the movie more if they are sleeping rather than bouncing in your arms.

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    • Melanie (*Sizzling Hot* OTG Parent - Reviews: 64) says:

      I completely forgot about Movies for Mommies! I’ll add it to the post soon. Thanks for suggesting Susan! :-)

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