Attractions & things to do for the kids in your life


Easter fun with a little bit of planning

For artsy kids | Fun spring

Spring_is_in_the_air_torontofunplaces.comGet cracking!

In my family, we are suckers for Easter (meaning we all have a sweet tooth). I personally like the injection of colour that comes with it following a grey winter.

Here are a few whimsical Easter craft (or fun) activities to work on to prepare for a lovely Easter Sunday. Those eggs won't get coloured by themselves so one needs to plan a bit ahead. (There's more on my pinterest DIY board E for Easter.)

If you live in Toronto area, you'll want to know there's an interesting religious Good Friday Procession in Little Italy at 3 p.m. and the non-religious family event Toronto Beaches Easter Parade at 2 p.m. at the Beach.

Cute papier mâché hens out of boxes of cereals: Such an original crafts from A line-up of them on a kitchen counter would look so cute.

Paint filled eggs on canvas activity: Perfect outside activity for kids on a sugar high! by

Fun egg colouring technique (different degrees of difficulty): 

... with food colouring ( 

... with permanent pens (

... with melted crayons (

And really cute easter deviled eggs! It might tempt them to take a break from eating chocolate.



Allan Gardens Spring 2014

Fun spring

I-Spy in Allan Gardens...

The flower display changes four times a year at Allan Gardens. Today, I went to see the Spring Flower Show to create this I-Spy game. If you intend to visit the conservatory with your family in the coming weeks, I suggest you print this and take it with you to play with your kids.

Other things I spied at Allan Garden:

• A toddler caressing each flower in a flower bed, gently coached by his loving grand-father.

• Two cool young men seriously discussing gardening tips.

• Delighted teen girls marveling at all the colours.

• A discussion between strangers prompted by the rare turquoise Strongylodon macrobotrys currently in full bloom at the conservatory (also called Jade Vine or butterfly flower).




TOP-10 tips for successful SCHOOL fairs

For parents | TOP fun lists

School_fair_ideas_Amusement_park_theme_torontofunplaces.comSchool fair and square fun

Are you one of those parents helping with the school's fair? I was. In our school, we went for the "end-of-the-year" party in June instead of the Spring Fair but the logistics remains the same. I loved organizing the activities. Some would serve to raise money, most were just for family fun. We tried to offer something for everyone: active kids, artsy kids, pre-schoolers, big kids. 

I have put together a Pinterest board of suggestions called School Fair & Party & Fundraising which I hope will inspire you. I've added comments whenever I would have an idea on how to use the idea and in what context. School fairs or parties are lots of work but there are ways to make them easier to manage, therefore more fun for the volunteers. The best activities are not necessarily the most complex or expensive.

Nathalie's TOP-10 tips for successful School Fairs

• Define success: Define what is a "successful" fair for you. In our school, the goal was to end the school year with a bang, create great memories for the kids and make kids and parents proud of being part of this school. If we could raise a bit of money at the same time, bonus. 

• Find a theme: Having a theme helped to create ambiance and to choose activities. I recommend visiting a party supply place such as Party City (formerly Party Packagers). I would always do that before deciding on a theme to propose to our school council. One item would usually catch my attention and a theme would pop up. The year we chose the Medieval theme, the big rolls of plastic caught my fancy. I saw how easy it would be to create medieval tunics for every kid out of them at minimal cost. One year, a good deal on bubble soap led us to create a Water theme.

• Use parents (teachers of principal) for specific projects: Many parents don't want to commit to the school council but would be more than happy to take over a specific project using their unique skills. All you need to do, if you have one of those crazy ideas, if to communicate with the parents what you would like to do to see if anyone has the skills. For example: a year that we had a Sports theme, we wanted to create a mini golf course. One parent (a prof at university) took over and created the cutest 3-holes mini-putt activity. For the Circus theme, a parent who was also a props artist created cut out boards for us. For the Medieval theme, we turned our principal into a king who knighted kids who would kneel before him.• Create an event: At our school funds were limited so we came up with ideas that would offer arts activities during the school time (something that would help teachers comply with the arts part of the curriculum) which would result in something we could use to create an event during the fair. For example, one year we chose a Carnival theme. We paid an artist to give arts workshops to each class (with the help of volunteer parents) to create banners, flags and papier maché structures the kids showed off in a carnival-like parade for the parents to officially launch the party. Another year, we had a Medieval theme and with the help of a very willing special ed. teacher with his students, we created a giant dragon in papier maché to display during the fair. When we had a Circus theme, we paid for an artist to give kids poster making workshops. We exhibited the works and asked people to vote.

• Include a collective activity: If you provide material for a collective activity and start it up before the party, people will follow. We've found it helps parents "brake the ice" and chat together. One year, we suggested people decorate the link fence, weaving ribbons of all colours. Kids were able to admire the result until the last day of school. Check this Pinterest board of School collective artsy projects.

• Rent an inflatable structure: Inflatable structures are to a fair what hotel pools are to a family road trip. Whatever the rest of the activities, kids WILL remember the fun they had jumping with their friends. That's why we always had one of these and we never charged a fee to use them.

• Concentrate the activities: We had a huge school yard and made the mistake of spreading the activities all over the yard, which resulted in the fair looking empty! The next year, we had the same number of activity stations but installed them in the prettiest section of the yard. It increase the ambiance tenfolds.

• Have a Plan B for rainy days: Know how to rearrange everything in case of rain. Twice in eight years, we had to do the party inside. We used up the auditorium, the gym and the corridors of the first floor and it all worked as planned.

• Special fun food or drink: Our best hit was the year we sold old fashioned floaters (ice cream in cream soda). We always organized a pot-luck with the parents but would also sell a few items at affordable prices. I've even heard of a father who brought his cappuccino machine to such an event and prepared cappuccinos for a fee which was all given pack to the school. He had a ball playing barista, many parents were happy to get their caffeine fix and the school raised funds. Hey! Whatever works.

• Gift basket raffle: We asked each classroom to create a gift basket with small items donated by the students' family (a specific theme for each classroom). We would then sell raffle tickets during the party. We saw that kids were really proud of their baskets.



The ABC of DIY crafts

DIY crafts | For artsy kids

For the kind of fun you can't buy!

DIY_fun_B_for_Bottles_torontofunplaces.comI may be the specialist on "getting families out of the house" but it doesn't mean that I do not value the time spent vegging out in the comfort of one's home.

I was sifting through a large board I have create on Pinterest to collect DIY projects ideas when it occured to me that it would be much more convenient to categorize them by material used to do the craft, hence the idea of this DIY dictionnary presenting by alphabetical order my boards on

Hopefully, they will help you quickly find a fun activity for the artsy kid in your life (or within) to do on cold or rainy days, or any time school is out. (Note that you will need to have a free Pinterest account to access the board. To register, go to

“The creative adult is the child who has survived.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin

A for DIY_A_for_aluminum_monster_truck_torontofunplaces.com_copy          Aluminum foil

A for  DIY_A_for_April_Fools_blue_milk_torontofunplaces.com_copy    April Fools Day

B for DIY_B_for_backyard_branch_heart_torontofunplaces.com_copy   Backyard material

B for DIY_B_for_balloons_science_with_balloon_torontofunplaces.com_copy   Balloons

B for DIY_B_for_beads_butterfly_feeder_torontofunplaces.com_copy   Beads

B for DIY_B_for_bottles_greenhouse_torontofunplaces.com_copy   Bottles

B for DIY_B_for_boxes_skating_rink_torontofunplaces.com_copy   Boxes

B for DIY_B_for_bubble_wrap_torontofunplaces.com_copy   Bubble wrap

B for DIY_B_for_buttons_torontofunplaces.com_copy   Buttons

C for DIY_B_for_boxes_gaz_station_torontofunplaces.com_copy   Cardboard

C for DIY_C_for_chalk_labyrinth_torontofunplaces.com_copy   Chalk

C for DIY_C_for_clothe_pins_crocodile_torontofunplaces.com_copy   Clothe pins

C for DIY_C_for_cut_out_paper_weaving_torontofunplaces.com_copy   Cut-out

D for DIY_D_for_doilies_Victorian_craft_torontofunplaces.com_copy   Doilies (and lace)

E for DIY_E_for_Easter_bunny_bum_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Easter

E for DIY_E_for_egg_carton_flowers_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Egg cartons

F for DIY_F_for_fingers_zombies_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Fingers (and hands)

F for  DIY_F_for_folding_beaks_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Folding

F for DIY_F_for_food_colouring_milk_marble_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Food colouring

G for DIY_G_for_glow_sticks_in_water_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Glow sticks

H for DIY_H_for_Halloween_pumpkin_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Halloween

I for   DIY_I_for_ice_cnadle_torontofunplaces.com_copy     Ice

J for  DIY_J_for_jugs_shovel_torontofunplaces.com_copy     Jugs (milk, soap...)

K for  DIY_K_for_kitsch_carpet_torontofunplaces.com_copy_2     Kitsch crafts

L for  DIY_L_for_Lego_parachute_torontofunplaces.com_copy     Lego blocks

M for DIY_M_for_masking_tape_racing_track_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Masking tape

N for DIY_N_for_newspapers_structure_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Newspaper

O for DIY_O_for_office_supplies_angel_torontofunplaces.com_copy_2    Office supplies

P for  DIY_P_for_paint_strips_butterflies_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Paint strips

P for  DIY_P_for_paper_plates_St._Patricks_hat_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Paper plates/rolls

P for  DIY_P_for_paper_snowflakes_bea_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Paper snowflakes

P for  DIY_P_for_papier_mache_cat_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Papier mâché

for      Personal gifts

P for  DIY_P_for_personalized_bookmarks_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Personalized gifts

P for  DIY_P_for_pipe_cleaners_Christmas_tree_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Pipe cleaners

P for  DIY_P_for_popsicle_sticks_arrow_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Popsicle sticks

Q for  DIY_Q_for_Q_tips_sheep_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Q-tips/toothpicks

 R   for    Rainy days

R for  DIY_R_for_rocks_wrapped_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Rocks

S for  DIY_S_for_snow_miniput_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Snow fun

S for  DIY_S_for_socks_fish_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Socks (and gloves)

S for  DIY_S_for_strings_obstacle_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Strings (threads...)

S for  DIY_S_for_sweaters_balls_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Sweaters

T for  DIY_T_for_tableware_marshmallow_shooter_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Tableware

T for  DIY_T_for_Toy_cars_paint_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Toy cars

T for   DIY_T_for_teens_hippie_sandals_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Teens

U for  DIY_U_for_urban_art_bench_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Urban (street) art

V for  DIY_V_for_Valentine_fortune_cookie_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Valentine

W for DIY_W_for_water_stream_torontofunplaces.com_copy   Water fun

X for    Xmas (Chritsmas)

Y for    Yummy crafts

Z for  DIY_Z_for_zoo_animals_elephant_torontofunplaces.com_copy    Zoo animals

Here are visual links leading to the same board, as they appear on Pinterest

In alphabetical order, to help you find a craft by material, specific occasions or special interest. Starting with one for the rainy days. (Click on the image to access its board.)


A_for_Aluminum_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comA_for_April_Fools_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comB_for_Backyard_material_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comB_for_Balloons_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comB_for_Beads_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comB_for_Bottles_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comB_for_Boxes_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comB_for_Bubble_Wrap_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comB_for_Buttons_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comC_for_Cardboard_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comC_for_Chalk_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comC_for_Clothe_pins_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comC_for_Cut-out_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comD_for_Doilies_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comE_for_Easter_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comE_for_Egg_cartons_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comF_for_Fingers_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comF_for_Folding_DI M_for_Masking_tape_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comN_for_Newspaper_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comO_for_Office_supplies_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comP_for_Paint_strips_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comP_for_Paper_plates_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comP_fo T_for_Toy_cars_DIY_crafts_torontofunplaces.comU_for_Urban_street_art_DIY_craft



Chew Chew's Diner for train lovers

Open Easter Friday 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., Easter Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Easter Monday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nice complement to a visit to Allan Gardens

One block east of Sherbourne (186 Carlton Street at Bleecker Street), you'll find Chew Chew's Diner, an all-day breakfast restaurant with a train theme. Check their lovely mural on the east side of the building. Inside, posters are lined by the booths to make you fell like you're looking at the landscape along the track.

It will take you less than 5 minute to walk from Allan Gardens to this place.


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Buy the book Toronto Street Art Strolls

Nathalie's tips for a smooth outing

After years of doing all kinds of outings with my children, I can assure you the secret to a perfect outing lies in the details, not the destination.


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