As the weather turns colder, indoor locations for kid-friendly fun become more and more essential. The Ontario Science Centre has a great indoor play place called KidSpark. I recently attended an amazing playdate there. Not having been to The Science Centre since my own grade six field trip, I was pleasantly surprised at the level of thought and quality that went into the creation of KidSpark. Covering 740 square metres on the fourth level of The Science Centre, it is an exciting, hands-on and innovative area for kids 8 and under to spend some indoor time this winter.
Our first stop was the Toddler Playspace, which was designed for kids 3 and under. This gated area includes a number of soft and hard surfaces for tactile exploration, as well as books, puppets and riding toys. There is a kitchen centre and a colourful assortment of play food and dishes. My toddler had a great time exploring everything this space had to offer.
Our next stop was the water play area and it was a big hit. A large water table allows kids to design fountains and manipulate the flow of water. Toy boats and magnetic fishing rods and fish make for tons of fun. Smocks are provided so your little one can remain dry while splashing in the water. This area was one of the busiest spots we encountered during our visit.
Shop and Play
We soon forgot all about the water, as we discovered the kid-sized supermarket. Filled with mini shopping carts and baskets, produce bins, fully stocked grocery shelves, a dairy section and working weigh stations, this little market packs a big wallop of fun. It even includes a working cash register with a scanner. The role-playing possibilities are endless in the market area and children have plenty of opportunity to explore their imaginations and dramatic inclinations.
Build and Play
Building the foundation for learning about structures, KidSpark offers two great areas for hands-on building fun. Children can create and test their own mini roller coasters using plastic tracks and balls. There is also a two-story playhouse, with removable shingles and four-metre tall working crane, where kids can explore the science behind building.
Make Some Music
Mastering music is a challenging and delightful learning experience. At KidSpark children can explore all kinds of sounds through the use of a mini music studio and a variety of sound stimulating tools, including pipes, strings and drums.
Hands-On Workshops and Presentations
KidSpark also offers a number of stimulating, (free with admission) hands-on workshops and presentations for children. Check the white board as you enter the area to see which workshops are offered each day. The planetarium at the Science Centre is located on the same level as KidSpark and offers a kids’ show about the solar system each morning.
KidSpark at The Ontario Science Centre is a creative and educational indoor play option for those days when it’s too cold to venture outside.
Water play photo courtesy of The Ontario Science Centre.