With the summer quickly approaching, it is time to start to firm up plans to keep the kids in your life entertained during the break. While day and overnight camps can be wonderful, there is something to be said for experiencing an event as a family. More and more festivals are catering to families, with diverse lineups and family-specific accommodation options.  Here are some suggestions if you're looking to plan a weekend away.

 

 

 

 

Stratford Festival

This year, the Stratford festival is putting on two musical productions, Billy Elliott the Musical and Little Shop of Horrors, as well as a family-oriented production of The Neverending Story. Stratford offers specially priced children's tickets, for as little as $18.50, depending on the day you are planning to attend.  For each regular priced adult ticket purchased, you are able to purchase up to 4 children's tickets, which can be a great savings. The festival defines "children" as any youth under 18-years of age.

 

 

 

 

Fringe Kidsfest

Running from July 3-14, 2019, Fringe Toronto's Kidsfest has something for kids of all ages and interests. With tickets for children set at 5$ and an inclusive playspace next door to the theatre (admission by donation), it's easy to take your kids to experience some new live theatre. Since some shows can be hit and miss, or simply not appropriate for your age group, there are festival ambassadors near the ticket desk who act as guides, suggesting plays that will suit your group.

 

 

 

 

Hillside festival

Hillside runs every year outside of Guelph Ontario, and seems to get bigger and better with each passing season. This year's dates are July 12-14, 2019. In addition to a robust general stage line up, Hillside offers a family stage, with performances that welcome children of all ages. They also offer a family camping section, which is much quieter although it is a little further from all the action.

 

 

 

 

Ottawa's Bluesfest

One of the largest music festivals in Ontario runs each July 4-14, 2019  in Ottawa's LeBreton Flats. Children under 10 are free with a paid adult admission, which can be a huge plus! The festival has a list of performances recommended for children, although they are welcome at all events. If you attend, be sure to remember to set a meetup spot for your family in case you get separated - it really does get insanely busy! 

 

 

 

 

Music and Beyond

This classical music festival runs at the same time as Ottawa's Bluesfest, so you can combine them into a single trip if you've got kids who like both. Music and Beyond offers programming specifically for children, as well as programs that showcase youth artists. Taking your kids to watch other incredibly talented children perform can open their eyes to possibilities they weren't aware of.  This year the Canadian Children's Opera Company will be producing their fully staged opera, The Snow Queen, which is based on the same fable as Disney's Frozen, as part of the festival.