Attention Toronto Moms and Dads, there is good, clean, hands-on fun to be had at the FringeKids! Club on the lawn of the George Ignatieff Theatre which is part of the University of Toronto campus. We got lucky this year! With these outdoor activities conveniently located just steps from the theatre entrance, the kids can grab a show and get in some puppet-making before heading home. Overall, the FringeKids! Club is a great place to get fresh air and exercise for young bodies and minds, and make new friends. And it’s all done without touchscreens!
Free Activities for Kids from 10 AM to 5 PM
From 10 AM to 5 PM until July 12, the FringeKids! Club welcomes you and your little ones who can dress up, draw, shoot water guns, build Lego structures and more–all free-of-charge! Here’s why I think the FringeKids! Club is the place to be for the under 12 set.
Blind painting: Sit your junior theatre nut down and have them stare at a still object while an artist spends one minute–not a second more–drawing their portrait as a contour painting. The rules? The “blind” painter draws using one continuous line, never lifting up her pen, and she looks only at her subject–never the paper. The results are wacky but impressive!
Splatter painting: Thanks to 4cats.com, budding artists can make splatter-painted bookmarks. The process is simple: Spin a wheel, put in a few drops of their favourite colours and whee! In seconds, they’ve made a colourful, one-of-a-kind bookmark.
Lego and Duplo: The building block table comes complete with imaginative FringeKids! volunteers. I saw kids, parents and volunteers alike digging through the Lego box, creating homes, moving figurines about, and chatting away.
Arts and crafts: When I stopped by the arts and crafts table, there were paperbag puppets coming to life. This table is well-stocked with markers, straws, tape, glue, scissors, paper, and instruction books. Again, the volunteers were cheerful and welcoming. Time to get creative!
Bouncy castle: Boing! Boing! Boing! Who doesn’t love bobbing up and down and falling over? My little pal was determined to get in as many jumps as possible before and after our show. But be aware that this kid-pleasing castle is set up only on weekends.
Costumes: Kids don’t have to wait for Halloween to be a princess, elephant, ladybug or SpongeBob. At this dress-up station, you’ll see costumes, masks, hats and other cool accessories. There is a even a mini-theatre for those who seek the spotlight! What a great introduction to the imaginative world of theatre!
Water play: The FringeKids! Club has a few wading pools for water activities. Our youngest friends can blow bubbles, spray each other with water guns, go fishing and dump water from one pool to another. It’s a refreshing activity for a hot July day.
Concerts and workshops: See the FringeKids! Club schedule to get information on special events. There is live music as well as workshops that include dancing, clowning, improv and story-telling–great for getting those creative juices flowing. Some lessons are free-of-charge, and some require payment.
What really makes the FringeKids! Club an enjoyable place for families are the volunteers. Everyone in an orange T-shirt is sweet, patient and friendly. They make the effort to greet each child with a smile and a few words of encouragement. What does this all amount to? Once you bring your kids to the FringeKids! Club, it’s hard to get them to leave!
- The FringeKids! Club is located at the George Ignatieff Theatre (10 Devonshire Place).
- The Club runs until July 12 from 10 AM to 5 PM.
- Entry and activities are free-of-charge, although donations are appreciated at certain play stations.
- Refreshments can be purchased.
- The schedule for the FringeKids! shows as well as FringeKids! event and workshop information are available on the Fringe Festival’s website.
Photos by Catherine Jan