After school programs aren’t what they used to be. Sure, there are the typical city run fitness/play programs and the regular karate-type classes, but there’s a whole new kind of educational and skills-based programming for kids. Depending on your neighbourhood and especially budget, the new options for after school extra curricular classes are super cool!
Can’t beat Free!
Toronto Public Library:
From science-based Makers Clubs to knitting lessons to craft courses, the library hosts many free after-school and weekend programs for kids. The offerings change often and are different around the city at various branches, but if you’re on the ball and get into your branch to register early enough, you can get your little ones doing something productive after school, for free!
Search your branch: Programs & Classes >
Art Gallery of Ontario – FREE After Three (ages 14+)
Youth ages 14-25 can visit the AGO for free after 3pm from Tuesdays to Friday and take part in free programming from graffiti/aerosol art-making, skateboard building, stop-motion animation and break-dancing workshops. Plus, there are ping pong tables out in the Commons every Friday!
The After School Opera Program – Canada Opera Company
For less than $15, children ages 7-12 can hang out and learn about many aspects of opera including singing, acting, directing and set and costume design through hands-on experiences at one of five locations around Toronto for 10 weeks.
City of Toronto, Parks & Recreation
A couple of times a year, thousands of moms wake up at 7am to join in the race to get their children signed up for swimming, skiing, dance and sports. The City of Toronto’s recreation programs are varied and affordable, and consist of weekly programs for children of all ages in community centres and schools all over the city. Prices are affordable, and there are even a few community centres that are 100% subsidized although I these courses fill up within minutes of registration opening.
Mad Science (North-west Toronto)
Kids can mess around and learn about rocketry, magnets, polymers and even the science of toys and make cool things like model rockets, periscopes, Mad Science putty and more. $110 for 8 weeks
The Pine Project – Wilderness Survival Skills (West end)
Kids meet up in Toronto’s west end and participate in games, stories, ancient wilderness survival skills, naturalist studies and adventures while having a ton of fun. Lessons include archery, gathering, fire lighting, emergency survival techniques and tons more! $220 for approx. two months. Participants are asked to commit for full year.
An Investment in Your Kids
Toronto Tool Library (Danforth/Coxwell)
Maker workshops and programs include robot making, Minecraft fun, an electronics scavenger hunt, vortex cannon construction, making ice-cream with liquid nitrogen, and more! $275 for 8 weeks.
The Circus Academy – 3 locations in Toronto
Kids learn how to juggle, stilt walk, be a clown, climb ropes and swing from hoops. Approx. $30/class – drop in available.
MakerKids (Dundas St. West/Bloor)
Kids learn creative hands-on projects using electronics, 3D printing, robotics, woodworking, sewing, crafting, Minecraft, programming, and more. Minecraft Tuesdays ($10/hr) or $2-300 for 8-week programs
Girls Learning Code- Downtown Toronto
Pixels Program for teens: girls learn how to hand code a website from start to finish, how to research and create user experience, how to design user interfaces, and how to imagine their own digital products and start-ups. $900
Inventors: Kids will leverage technology to brainstorm, research, prototype and build a creation that will help change the world. $355 +
Other cool after-school options: There are so many programs and courses in Toronto that I can’t possibly list them all, but do a Google search depending on your interests: drama, art, yoga, sports, pottery, rock climbing or cooking. As well, there are many not-for-profit organizations like the YMCA and community centres (check in your area) that offer after-school programming for kids – see drumming, leadership, empowerment programs.