Attractions & things to do for the kids in your life

TORONTO FUN BLOG

Red Rocket Coffee on Wellesley

Laughing corner

Hopscotch, anyone?

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I don't know if this sidewalk painting survived the winter but last fall, I took this picture of a hopscotch game sponsored by the Red Rocket Coffee at 154 Wellesley, Toronto. How cleaver to attract troller moms!

There's a unique little park just north of the café off Homewood Avenue: Wellesley-Magill Park. Very modern, filled with polished boulders and adorned with a marvelous metal cut-out fence.  

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Ed's Real Scoop

Laughing corner

Ed's Real Scoop in Leslieville keeps us entertained in the waiting line.

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Very cool vibe all year-round. Note that it sits right next to the Red Sandcastle Theatre, a 50-seat independant theatre managed by local artist/singer/playright Rosemary Doyle and offering independant plays. Also very cool vibe all year-round. Expect family plays when school is out.

Ed's gelato (which you can bring to the theatre) and a play = great combo!

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The perfect boy

Funny Bits

That's the "sperit"!

The_perfect_boy_torontofunplaces.com

This Toronto teen knows a good thing when he sees one. Can you imagine a whole series of photos like this one for students to discuss in class? There's more (funny bits) where it's coming from. Check my board on Pinterest: 

http://www.pinterest.com/NathaliePrezeau/funny-bits-take-a-break/

 

Lego Movie TOP-10 fun trivia

About movies | TOP fun lists

No writer's block for the creators of the Lego Movie!

We went to see the Lego Movie with our 16 and 20 year-old big kids. Rotten Tomatoes gave this a 96%  rating, which made it a sure bet with teens and young adults. We indeed had a great time and really  enjoyed the quirky humour and fantastic visual effects. Any Lego fan will be pleased with this movie.  (More about Vaughan Mills' Lego Discovery Centre)

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The movie synopsis from the official movie's website is the following: An ordinary guy named Emmet  (Chris Pratt) is mistaken as being the Master Builder, the one who can save the universe. With the aid  of an old mystic Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), a tough young lady named Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), and  Batman (Will Arnett), Emmet will fight to defeat the evil tyrant Lord Business (Will Ferrell) who is bent  on destroying the universe by gluing it together.

Here are the top-10 pieces of fun trivia I found about this movie. I think you will appreciate leaning  this before before seeing Lego Movie or watching it again when it comes in DVD (Sources:  cinemaclock.com, tvtrops.org, screencrush.com)

1. Some sources say that the movie is fully CGI (Computor-Generated Imagery), some others that it's part stop-motion  and part CGI. I think this article offers the most satisfying answer (mostly computerized, with elements of real  sets): http://screencrush.com/making-of-lego-movie/

2. Attention to detail: The Warner Bros and Village Roadshow Pictures logos in the opening are made up of Lego bricks.

3. Everything in the movie was designed to look as if built out of LEGO pieces. This even includes effects like water, fire, laser bolts, explosions and smoke. For instance, the lasers are actually transparent LEGO rods (commonly known as "Lightsaber blades"), while smaller puffs of smoke are LEGO ice cream pieces. This is in contrast with the direct-to-video LEGO movies and cartoon series, in which parts of the sceneries and most of the effects were made to look realistic.

4. The numbers seen with the pieces when Master Builders were assembling their free form models are the official Lego Element ID's (or part numbers) for each of the components used in each of the models.

5. Benny, AKA the "1980-something space guy", a Minifigure from LEGO's classic Space line, has a broken helmet and a worn-out, scuffed logo on his suit, similar to how many real-life vintage Space Minifigures look after decades of being used. The helmet is even shown to be cracked at the same spot where the real-life LEGO piece would usually break.

6. Various Lego characters, either original or from licensed properties, make cameos or play bit parts. These include, among others: Johnny Thunder (from the Adventurers line), Lloyd Garmadon the Green Ninja (Ninjago), C-3PO, Han Solo and Lando Calrissian (Star Wars) the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dumbledore (Harry Potter), Gandalf (Lord of the Rings), Shaquille O'Neal and the NBA All-Stars (Sports), Lion Knights (Castle), and many characters from the Minifigures series. But, the directors couldn't get all the licensed characters they wanted (such as Marvel UniversePirates of the Caribbean and other Disney properties).

7. Lord Business (the villain) is president of Octan, a fictional gas station brand that first appeared in 1992 and has since been featured in numerous Lego sets. His cape is in the shape of a tie.

8. What an appropriate and funny line in the theme song for a Lego movie: "Everything is better when we stick together." (The song actually plays a role in the movie!)

9. The Lego Movie cost was approx. $60 millions. It made approx. $70 millions (just in the USA) in the first weekend it was released.

10. Warner Bros is preparing for a potential sequel.

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Scene at Lego Discovery Centre in Toronto.

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Family Day Weekend 2014

Fun winter

My personal pick of the crop for Family Day Fun in 2014

Family Day means we have one extra day to do things with the kids so this is of course a good time to visit the usual suspects. But it's also our chance to do something special. I've looked at the line-up of events and activities for this year's Family Day weekend to find the fun opportunities not usually offered in other times.


The Sound of Music major sing-along with vocal warm up!: At Mississauga Living Arts Centre, Saturday Feb. 15 at 2 p.m.

The classic movie Sound of Music on a large screen, with subtitles for the songs, vocal warm-up session with a host, props. And you can dress-up for the occasion (baroness, goat herder, nun, etc.). It seems to me like the perfect activity to do with teens! The xperience is almos 4-hour long (inlcuding an intermission). $25/adults, $15/kids

SoundMusic1-1

HarbourKIDS Skating Festival: At Harbourfront, Feb. 16 and 17, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This FREE event will be packed with cool activities, starting with Le Patin Libre involving very cool dudes offering skating improv and interactive rink animation. There's the regular quality craft activity offered on the weekends at Miss Lou's Room and plenty additional craft activities on the premises. There's the FREE show RAPunzel in the Studio Theatre. And of course, there's FREE skating in Natrel Rink (you can rent skates for a fee and have your own skates sharpened). The festival ends at 5 p.m. but the rink is open daly at least until 10 p.m., a lovely way to admire the city lights at night. Oh, I was forgetting, Monday Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. is also the date to see one of Harboufront's FREE Music with Bite (see details below). I invite you read my post on 5 TIPS to better enjoy your visit to Harourfront during the construction.

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FREE concert on cushions: During the Music with Bite at Harbourfront on Monday Feb. 17 at 1 p.m.

The concept of Harbourfront's cushion concerts offered in Brigantine Room is perfect for kids. They get to casually sit on cushions (there are chairs for parents in the back) and listen to uality music, topped with cookie and milk during a Q & A session to speak with the musicians after the performance. Monday Feb. 17 will feature a duo of percussionnists (Brennan Connolly and Dave Robilliard) armed with vibraphone, drums and more. 

Snow fort building: At Fort York, Feb. 17, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Snow fort building with the help of staff! Hot chocolate, roaring fire and treats. And a 1812 drill class (these are lots of fun, bring your camera). Price (excluding tax) Adults: $7.96, Seniors (65 +): $4.87, Youth (13-18 yrs.): $4.87, Children (6-12yrs): $3.76, Children 5 and under are Free

Playground in a barn with skating and tobogganing as a bonus: At Bronte Creek Provincial Park, at least until enf od February, weather permitting. 

Even if it does not offer special Family Day activities, I think this is a fabulous winter activity for the long weekend. There's something for everyone. And their Play Barn is awesome year-round. Bundle up and enjoy.

Bronte_Creek_Provincial_Park_winter

Irish Ceilidh preceded with Irish dance tips: At Montgomery's Inn, Feb. 17, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

An Irish dance lesson for the whole family so they can better enjoy Irish Ceilidh (dancing social gathering) going on from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. We've been to one of these dance gathering, they are a blast! 

Largest indoor inflatable playground: Toronto Kids-Fest, Feb. 16-17 (not Saturday!); Hamilton Kids-Fest, Feb. 15 to 17; AND Family Fun Fest: Feb. 15 to 17. 

Don't get confused. There are two places offering inflatable strucutres during Family Day weekend. Toronto Kids-Fest (TKF), is 60,000 sq. ft., twice as big as Family Fun Fest (FFF), in Downsview Park and was the first to offer a massive playground filled with inflatable structures. I attended the Toronto Kids-Fest two years ago with two teens and it was non-stop fun for them. They had a ball (litterally, their favourite attraction was a structure with a giant ball knocking them to the ground). Both Fests cost $25/kids. (You get $5 off online with FFF.) Kids 1 and 2 years old enter for free at FFF but are charges $15 at the TKF (with enough age-appropriate structures to be worth it). Adults pay $8 at FFF and $5 at TKF. (Hamilton's Kids-fest is $18/kid.)

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Gallery-wide game of Clue: At the AGO, Feb. 17, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The regular admission includes all-day dance party in Walker Court, a visit of the brand new Kid's Gallery to see their first interactive exhibition "Just Like Me", all kinds of crafts and activities in the Weston Family Learning Centre.

Sneaker arts and craft activities: At Bata Shoe Museum, Feb. 15-16-17. Special arts and craft activities included with admission.

This is another museum I like to visit with kids on special occasions. The craft activities are fun and shoes are way more interesting that one would think (I don't need to explain this to my girlfriends)>

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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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