School’s out which means you likely have some antsy bugs at home that are eager to be kept busy! Here is a list of some of the best things to do in Toronto with your kids.
- Tobogganing (ages 6-12)
This activity is a winter classic. Canadian Tire sells toboggans and “magic carpets” for a reasonable price. Some of our favourite hills include the hill at Birchmount Stadium in Scarborough, Christie Pits park, and Riverdale Park West.
2. Ontario Science Centre (2 and up)
The Science Centre is a great way to get out of the cold while keeping your children learning and busy all day. Good luck trying to get your kids to leave!
3. A Nutcracker Christmas at the Castle at Casa Loma (any age)
This holiday event runs from December to early January. Kids can meet Santa, do arts and crafts at Santa’s workshop, and meet with wintery mascots.
4. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada (any age)
Another great way to escape the cold is Toronto’s very own Ripley’s Aquarium. This collection of fish and sharks will keep your kids occupied for hours.
5. Ice Skating (4 and up)
Another classic holiday tradition your kids will love is ice skating. There are many indoor ice rinks in the city, but some of our favourite outdoor rinks include Nathan Phillips Square, the Bentway Skate Trail, The Harbourfront Centre’s Natrel Park, and the Ryerson Community Rink.
6. Young People’s Theatre (ages 5-12)
Why not take your kids to see some live theatre? The shows playing this winter are “The Adventures of Pinocchio”, “Jungle Book” and “You and I”. The best part is you can also sit back and enjoy the show!
7. The Royal Ontario Museum (ages 5 and up)
The ROM is another perfect way to entertain your kids for the entire year. This holiday season you can find 3 different featured exhibitions.
8. See a Movie (4 and up)
This holiday season you can bring your kids to films such as “Frozen 2”, “Playmobile: The Movie”, and “Abominable”.
9. Gingerbread House Making Workshops (5 and up)
Gingerbread house workshops let you keep the mess out of your house. President’s Choice’s Cooking School in Loblaws around the city provide excellent workshops.
The winter season is a popular time to celebrate a variety of holidays around the world. Here is a list of some holidays that families share together around the globe:
Hanukkah is a holiday celebrated by Jewish families for 8 days starting on the 25th day of Kislev. They light a candelabrum called a menorah, lighting a new candle each day. They celebrate by singing songs, playing with a top called a dreidel, and by eating yummy foods like potato pancakes called latkes and jelly-filled donuts called sufganiyot.
Diwali is a Hindu festival of lights celebrated on the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika (sometime between mid-October and mid-November). The festival lasts 5 days and is a celebration of light over dark/good over evil/knowledge over ignorance. The festival is associated with the goddess of prosperity, Lakshmi. It is celebrated with fireworks, decorations including intricate flour and rice designs beside shrines, candies called mithai, and gifts.
Kwanzaa is a holiday celebrated in countries around the world with an African diaspora to honour African-American culture and African heritage. The celebration lasts a week and culminates with a feast and presents. They light 7 candles in a kinara; each candle symbolizing the seven principles of Kwanzaa. This holiday was first celebrated in 1966.
4. Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year, or the Lunar New Year celebrates the first day of the new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. It was traditionally a celebration of ancestors and deities. The holiday has a variety of regional customs and traditions, but there is usually a family gathering and feast, red envelopes filled with lucky money, and traditions of cleaning the house in preparation of the holiday.
Christmas is a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus. The holiday is celebrated on the 25th of December with a feast, gift-giving, and decorating of a tree.
In Finland, families light a single candle on the eve of Christmas beside the graves of loved ones.
In Ireland, children go door to door singing while holding up a stick topped with a holy bush and wren.
The winter is filled with many more joyous holidays celebrated around the world. They are the perfect time to spend quality time with the family, eat delicious food, and stay out of the cold!
Scrap the Invite Cards
Your child’s birthday comes once a year, but that doesn’t mean that you should stop being kind to the environment! Why not throw an eco-friendly party for your child that can inspire their guests (and their parents) to be more environmentally conscious? Let’s save the environment– and your wallet! Here’s how:
Why not scrap the disposable invitation cards and opt for Evites and other digital invitations? Evites will go right to the parents’ inboxes and there is a huge selection of cards that will adorably fit your theme.
Say No to Loot Bags
Loot bags are so been there, done that! Plus those cheap toys (not to mention their packaging) goes right into landfill. If you are giving away party favours, make it something your guests can make themselves and use again like tie-dye shirts or pottery art better yet something consumable. Your guests will have fun making these favours and you will save on waste because these gifts won’t end up at the bottom of some toy box.
Giving to Charity instead of Gifts
Make donating to charity in lieu of giving you a gift easy for your guests. At the same time supporting a wonderful cause. Choosing a cause with your child also teaches them giving back and caring. A great site to check out is
Food and How to Serve It
Avoid using single-use utensils and flatware! Instead use your own cutlery and opt for food that doesn’t need plates; for example, pizza and homemade cupcakes make for a nice plateless cake substitute. Also, avoid providing your guests with juice boxes and plastic water-bottles.
Entertainment and Activities
Face painting is a great activity for guests and does not produce any waste! It’s environmentally friendly, and your guests will love it! Eco Glitter is totally biodegradable and will not end up sitting at the bottom of the ocean as regular glitters do.
Be creative and create an eco activity such as crafts that are from recyclable items or can be recycled or baking, kids LOVE baking. Play good old fashioned games like Freeze Dance, Simon Says, and Limbo – you’d be surprised how much FUN these simple, silly games will keep kids happy.
By: Madelaine Hodges
Summer is just around the corner and so are those summer parties! Host an outdoor party this summer that your guests (and their parents) will remember for years to come with these summer themes!
- Pool Party: Pool parties are classic and great for kids 8 and up. It will keep your guests occupied the whole party long. If you don’t have your own pool, many community centres accept bookings for birthday parties. If you are hosting in your own pool, be sure to have an adult supervisor at all times!
- Hawaiian Luau: Decorate the backyard with tikis and tropical flowers! Hire someone to teach your guests how to hula or play music from Moana and play freeze dance. Hand out leighs and have your cake match the theme.
- Beach Party: Whether you invite your guests to the actual beach or host it in your own backyard, this theme is a hit! Blow up some beach balls and play volleyball. If you’re baking a cake yourself, blue icing and graham cracker crumbs make for perfect water and sand. Let the kids decorate their own flip flops by purchasing fabric markers and white flip flops.
- Summer Olympics: Bet you haven’t seen one of these yet! Invite your guests to come wearing the colours or jersey of their chosen country, and set up some obstacle courses in the backyard or in a nearby park! Let the kids compete and at the end, award everyone with cupcakes decorated like gold medals!
- Wilderness Explorers: What’s more fun than a scavenger hunt? Let the kids have fun in the backyard by setting up a puzzle that involves teamwork and problem-solving. Your questions can even challenge your guests knowledge on the great-outdoors. Have a jungle themed cake!
- Garden Fairies: Invite your guests to come dressed as garden fairies! Let them play pretend in the backyard. Play freeze dance and let them decorate their own fairy wings with glitter. Have a fairy themed cake!
- A Bug’s Life: Hand out magnifying glasses for the kids to go on a scavenger hunt with questions about bugs! Or set up bug themed crafts. For the cake, use Oreo crumbs for the dirt, chocolate pudding for the filling, and gummy worms to decorate.
- Fossil Finders: In your own sandbox or at a local park, burry fake bones and other treasure. Have the kids collect the “bones” they found to build a dinosaur. White fondant for bones and graham cracker crumbs for sand make for a perfect cake.
- Movie Under the Stars: This party works best if you own a projector! Set up your projector in the backyard and a big white sheet as the screen. Pop some popcorn, put out some blankets/chairs, and put on a kid friendly movie!
- Road Hockey Party: Set up some nets on your driveway, a ball, and pick up some cheap sticks from the dollar store. You can decorate the cake to look like a real ice-rink. (This theme can also be substituted for a basketball theme, with basketball nets, and a cake decorated like a quart.)
All of these summer themes can be taken to the next level of fun with our face painting, balloon animals, caricature art, and glitter tattoo services!
While it might not seem an enormous endeavour, sometimes providing something for your guests to do, especially children, can be a challenge. That’s where hiring a professional might come in handy, someone to take some of the work off of your shoulders and keep your guests occupied during the festivities.
To start with, you will need to decide on a theme because this will often inform your decision on entertainment. Having a backyard party – a bouncy castle might be in order? Throwing a princess theme party, a professional Princess will fit the bill? Doing an animal or zoo theme, a face painter or petting zoo would be suitable entertainment?
- Consider the age of your party goers. Babies and tots might not respond well to clowns or a life-sized mascot. It might be best to find an activity that’s more age appropriate. A musical entertainer or puppeteer might be more suitable for children under three. If you’re unsure, ask the entertainer their ideal age range.
- Decide if your party will be indoors or out. Some entertainers like clowns and illusionists work best inside, while carnival attractions like popcorn and cotton candy machines work best outside. Balloonists and face painters, meanwhile, will work well both in and out of doors. Just make sure to provide ample shade. Also plan a rain day alternative, just in case.
- One of the best places to search out entertainment is on the internet. Keep these things in mind when looking: How long have they been in business? Is their website in order? Do they offer pictures or a portfolio of their work and testimonials from past clients? Do they have a favourable rating on social media? These will provide good clues into how professional the entertainer is. Also, feel free to ask for references.
- Ask if the entertainer carries their own insurance. While an independent performer might not, a reputable business should have this.
- Get a quote ahead of time so that there are no unexpected surprises. Get payment terms from your entertainer; is there a deposit required and what types of payment will they accept?
- Make sure to discuss with entertainer the time they will arrive, what, if anything they will need you to provide. For instance, a face painter will usually require a table and two chairs, plus access to water, a magician will likely need a table and some quiet time before hand to set up.
- In most situations, tipping is optional, although most entertainers will always appreciate it.
Tired of the same old birthday party and theme party ideas. Why not give one of these fresh and unique theme party ideas a go for your next celebration. It doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, just a little bit of creativity on your part and your guests young and old will love it!
Here are some great ideas, using food, décor and games to tie in with your theme:
Flamingo & Pineapple Party : A great alternative to the Luau, this theme works great outdoors and in. Just add some inflatables to your table, tropical fruit and bright pastel décor for this fun festivity.
Pancakes and Pyjamas : Perfect for sleepovers, make breakfast a late-night meal with this fun theme party idea. Great for teens and tweens, create a pancake and waffle station with all of your favourite toppings, add in some movies or a dance party to make your party complete.
Under the Sea Mermaid Party : Get creative with buried treasure chests filled with chocolate coins and beads, seafood themed treats, seashell and pearl décor in purple and turquoise colours. Your little darlings will be delighted.
Host a Spa Day for Kids : Great for kids of all ages, but especially teens and tweens. Break out the face masks, bath bombs and nail polish! Offer up healthy snacks, smoothies and herbal teas, this theme is all the new-age!
Tea Party for Tweens : Dust all your tea sets and fine bone china and set a table with fine linens. Serve up tiny tea sandwiches, pastries and bite sized treats with pink lemonade or iced tea. Host your party in the garden for a memorable setting, fitting for even a queen.
Troll Party: Everything old is new again, and Trolls are known for throwing an awesome party. Tie in their rainbow colours into your décor and food and don’t forget the glitter!
Gone Fishing : What better theme party for your little outdoors man/woman. Tackle this theme with some edible bait like worms-n-dirt, set up fishing rods and nets in a kiddy pool and offer up snacks in tackle boxes.
Lumberjack Party : With red and black checkerboard table linens, some rustic décor and good eats, this theme will delight your guests. Tie in some fun lumberjack games to make this party complete.
Safari Party : Perfect for kids of all ages, bring out their wild side with this fun theme idea. Use jungle theme décor colours like green, brown and yellow or an animal print theme for your table. Have a face painter or balloon twister on hand to create jungle animal faces/animals.
Camping Party: Overnight or for just a few hours, this camping theme is sure to be a hit. Have a small camp fire where the kids can make smores or just make them in the oven. Sing camp songs or tell stories around a fake fire.
Kids love loot bags, you know, those little bags filled with toys and treats that they receive at the end of the party. Only trouble is, many of the keepsakes are dollar store items that just end up in the garbage. Loot bags can also be expensive and stressful for Mom’s and Dad’s when planning a birthday celebration.
Here are some loot bag free party suggestions that will keep costs down but still create a memorable experience for the kids.
- Hire an entertainer like a balloonist, face painter or nail artist. This form of entertainment is fun or kids of all ages. Not only will your guests experience a one-of-a-kind experience, they’ll have a short-term souvenir from the party which can be captured long term in pictures.
- Offer a T-shirt around a theme or colour printed with the birthday child’s name. Not only can they wear the item at the party, but they’ll be able to wear it again and again. Check out these customised T-shirt options here.
- Make a keepsake craft. There are hundreds of affordable ideas available, you just have to use your imagination. Work your craft around a theme, like these adorable popsicle stick Minion or monster crafts, superhero popsicle heroes or these paper bag monsters puppets. In a fun craft for preschoolers, use fruit loop cereal to craft a necklace or rainbow, or create a great eco-craft like these two versions of bird seed ornaments using cookie cutters or oranges. Or get messy with one of these paintable options: woodland birdhouse craft or monogram letter art.
- Rent something cool from a party rental supplier, like a bouncy castle for younger kids, an arcade game or pinball machine or photo booth for older kids, or a popcorn machine or cotton candy maker for an outdoor event or carnival themed party. Local companies offer delivery and set up too!
- Host a treasure or scavenger hunt with an ultimate prize. Not only is searching for the treasure through a series of clues a fun-filled activity, but the prize can include edible items like wrapped candies, chocolate coins (doubloons!) and small packages of chips or cookies. Depending on the age you can also offer keepsake items like colouring books and crayons, Play-doh (for the younger set), baseball, Star Wars or Pokeman cards, dollar store gift certificates, and drugstore products like lip gloss and nail polish (for tweens and teens).
- Donate to a charity at the request of the birthday child and give each guest a thank you note telling them a little about the charity and what difference their donation made. Check this site out for free party invitations and ideas.
Children inspire our designs and come with face painting suggestions that are both creative and bold. But without fail, we have our tried and true favourites that always are a big hit with the kids. With vibrant colours and bold designs, these 10 favourite face painting ideas have withstood the test of time.
- Princess Crown – Fairy tail princesses are always a popular favourite with our little clients. Add some glitter and a bit of bling to create the perfect finishing touch.
- Butterfly – These beautiful insects look great in all colours of the rainbow. Full face, half face or cheek art, it a favourite with kids of all ages.
- Tiger – The tiger is by far our most popular animal face. Perfect for both boys and girls, from toddler to teen, tigers come in all colours but by far the most popular traditional orange with black stripes.
- Cat – Simple as a kitty nose and whiskers to a full face design, the cat is an adorable feline favourite and one of our most requested faces.
- Dog – They come in many breeds and colours, our puppy dog faces are a great introduction to the face painting novice and popular with toddlers.
- Spider-Man – My spidey senses tell me that Spiderman is one awesome super hero with a huge fan following. With its bold red, white and black design, it’s always a party pleaser with the lil’ tykes.
- Batman – Next to Spiderman, Batman is easily our next most popular superhero. The dark night bat mask is perfect as a half face, cheek art or just as a simple hand design for newbies.
- Rainbow – Always a popular request, we add some unique touches to create a memorable look. You might just find a pot of gold.
- Shark – Kids love fish of all kinds, but the shark is an ocean favourite. Only as scary as your imagination, this face is a popular request from boys and girls.
- Flower Crown – It may not be the sixties, but our hippy flower crown is far out. Add some sparkle for that added groovy look.
Need some help coming up with ideas for your child’s next birthday party? Happy Faces Party has curated our top 20 kids’ birthday party themes to get you started. You don’t have to break the budget; you’ll find many do-it-yourself theme ideas on Pinterest for décor, food, party games and more or check out the party section of your local $ store. Here are some helpful suggestions:
- Disney Princesses – Have all of your guests dress as their favourite Disney princess. Offer up tiaras to your little guests (or make it a craft!), play their favourite Disney theme songs (like Frozen or Beauty and the Beast) and have a face painting station complete with glitter and gems or Sparkle tattoos.
- Pirate / Jake the Pirate – Include a treasure hunt into your theme party using a pirate map that includes a “buried” treasure. Keep the them going with loot bags filled with pirate patches and telescope and have a balloon twister on hand to make swords.
- Super Heroes – With Marvel being more popular than ever, Batman, Superman, Spiderman and Captain America are always a hit with the kids. Face painting works in great with this theme.
- Star Wars / space – there’s no shortage of Star Wars party theme ideas. Complement your party with light saber balloons.
- Ninjas / Mutant Ninja Turtles – Decorate with the room with colourful patio lanterns and balloons (or use a red/black Ninja color theme), serve snacks like candy “Sushi” and fortune cookies in Chinese take-out containers with chop-sticks, and offer Ninja bandanas, toy nunchucks and ninja daggers in their loot bags.
- Summer Fun – Why not turn your backyard into an ultimate fun zone. Include an inflatable like a bouncy castle and a water feature like an outdoor sprinkler or slip and slide. Pack loot bags with sidewalk chalk, skipping rope and bubbles for the ultimate in outdoor fun.
- Dora/Diego – As your guests arrive, offer each a backpack full of useful items and a map of a planned adventure. Complete the theme with a volcano birthday cake.
- Disney’s Airplane / Cars – Complete theme with easy to find décor items and loot bags.
- Thomas the Tank Engine / Trains – Calling all engineers. Decorate your little one’s party with easy to find décor: plates and cups, banners and balloons. Offer each child an engineer hat, red bandana and train whistle and have an adult dress up like Mr. Conductor. All aboard!
- Dinosaur / Jurassic Park – Using a sand table (or sandbox if outdoors), have a dinosaur dig with plastic shovels and tools, coloured play sand and assorted plastic dinosaurs and bones.
- Yo Gabba Gabba – Have the kids dress as their favourite character. In the theme, have a dance party with a DJ, play statues and offer up prizes.
- Spongebob Squarepants – Decorate the party like Bikini Bottom with a Tiki theme decor. Serve crabby patties and drinks in plastic coconut glasses with paper umbrellas along wit Patrick and Spongebob cupcakes.
- Video game theme (Super Mario Bros/Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong) – Rent and arcade game or host your party at a kid friendly arcade. Create food and décor around the theme: Pac Man Birthday cake, game console ice cream sandwiches or cookies and Creeper fruit punch.
- Scavenger Hunt / Easter egg hunt – All kids love a hunt inside or out! Make clues to keep the game challenging and offer up an ultimate “prize” that everyone can share.
- Jungle/Zoo/Madagascar – There are so many options for décor including party hats, banners, plates and cups and table cloths (or create your own!). Offer a balloon twister to create fun, keepsake animals or hire a professional face painter to paint lively monkeys, tigers or giraffes.
- Spa/glam – Offer your junior guests a spa feel by including sparkle tattoos and a “mani/pedi” nail painting station.
- Hockey/sports – there are tonnes of NHL ideas (or other sport leagues for that matter) that can inspire your theme party: from hockey pennants and Stanley Cup centre-piece decor, to hockey puck cup cakes or hockey jersey cookies or an ice rink theme cake, you’re sure to create a memorable party for your little league player.
- Carnival/Circus – For the biggest impact and for a memorable party for kids and adults alike, set up a “big top” tent, rent a real popcorn or cotton candy machine, and serve hotdog or corn dogs and corn on the cob. Have a balloon twister on hand for added entertainment.
- Spy/Detective – Create a detective mystery and have all of the kids involved in solving the clues. Offer the kids walkie-talkies and other toy spy gadgets.
- Fairy – Have your little guests come dressed as fairies or have on hand fairy wings, tutus and sparkly wands for quick dress-up. Set a delightful table for a fairy tea party with little sandwiches, cupcakes and pink punch. Decorate the table with flowers, butterflies and fairy dust.