1. Vancouver International Children’s Festival You’ll find entertainment for kids of all ages at the 39th annual Vancouver International Children’s Festival, taking place on Granville Island. Ten performers, from storytellers to breakdancers, will be gracing indoor stages for multiple performances, and there’s also an activity village where you’ll find things like giant board games, circus acts, face painting, origami and more! Younger kids will be enthralled by acts like Mexico’s Asoma, a live theatre experience created for babies and toddlers, and Pekka, a puppet show from Quebec that’s geared to kids ages two to seven. There are also special evening performances where everyone is encouraged to wear their PJs. Tickets to the shows include an activity village wristband, but you can also purchase those separately if your crew just wants to play at the village.
When: May 30 to June 5 More info: childrensfestival.ca
2. Wild Family Nature Club The Canadian Wildlife Federation sponsors clubs designed to inspire kids to explore nature across Canada (anyone can sign up to create a club). This year, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre has signed up to facilitate one of the clubs. On selected dates, an educator from the aquarium will meet families at various green spaces in the city where they can hang out, engage in nature play and ask questions. There will be a theme based on the location you’re exploring (in June, it will be various spots in Stanley Park). The programming for this club is geared to kids ages one to four, but older siblings and other family members are welcome to join. There is no cost to participate, but you must pre-register for each day.
When: June 10 and 24, July 8 and 22 and August 12 and 26 More info: vanaqua.org
3. Whistler Children’s Festival Entering its 33rd year, this festival, which takes place at Whistler Olympic Plaza, is packed with art workshops, performances, creative activities and more for kids ages two to 12, and everything kicks off with a dance party on July 8. One super-cool feature of the festival is the Mentor Program, where kids ages seven to 15 can apply to job shadow a member of the media who is covering the festival (deadline for applications is June 15). Admission is free for kids two and under, as well as anyone 16 and older. Wristbands for kids ages three to 15 are $15.
When: July 8 to 10 More info: whistlerchildrensfestival.com
4. Vancouver Art Gallery Family Fuse Weekend Kids will love hanging out at the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Family Fuse Weekend! With its theme of Inspiration Everywhere, they’ll get to create mini-masterpieces and boogie down to music. The gallery will be the site of all types of family-friendly performances, plus hands-on activities led by Art Agents who will be basing the fun on current exhibits, including Picasso: The Artist and His Muses and Harry Callahan: The Street. This event is free for gallery members and kids ages 12 and under when accompanied by an adult.
When: July 9 to 10 More info: vanartgallery.bc.ca
5. Slumber Party at Science World Get ready for an overnight stay full of spying and espionage fun at this sleepover for kids ages six to 12. The event is full of adventures connected to this summer’s featured exhibition, Top Secret: License to Spy, and includes an Omnimax Theatre film viewing, a live science show, a chance to tour the galleries, activities and more! Tickets, which are priced at $62 for non-members, must be purchased in advanced and kids must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
When: July 15 More info: scienceworld.ca
6. Vancouver Folk Music Festival Parents who love folk and roots music are in for a treat because the Vancouver Folk Music Festival at Jericho Beach Park, which is in its 39th year, is very kid-friendly. Kids ages 12 and under get in free with a paying adult, and they can visit the Little Folks Village on Saturday and Sunday when they need a break from grooving to the music. This area is home to a free-play zone, a creation station where kids can upcycle goods into jewellery and hats, face painting, clay making, water play, roving performers and so much more! And it’s right by one of the stages, so adults can still take in performances while hanging out with their little ones.
When: July 15 to 17 More info: thefestival.bc.ca
7. Abbotsford International Airshow Your little high fliers will love checking out the performers as they demonstrate their fancy flying abilities and cool planes and helicopters at this year’s airshow. If your kids need a break from looking at the sky, they can play in the Kids Zone, which has bouncy castles and arts and crafts. Friday night will be capped off with celebration fireworks, and there will also be food and souvenir stands on-site throughout the weekend.
When: August 12 (evening) 13 and 14 (day shows) More info: abbotsfordairshow.com
8. PNE Get ready for this annual fair, which helps usher in the end of summer in the best way possible: filled with musical performances, an expanded Playland with up to 13 extra rides, delicious food, a celebration of agriculture and so much more! This year, one of the special features is the Angry Birds Universe exhibit, where one of the highlights is a zipline that shoots people of all ages onto foam structures so they can pretend to be Angry Birds. The exhibit also features a laser maze, giant slingshots that let you knock down the Bad Piggies, a planetarium, a climbing wall and other interactive activities.
When: August 20 to September 5 More info: pne.ca
9. Richmond Night Market Take the kids for a night out at this market, which features more than 100 food and retail vendors, entertainment and tons of kid-friendly activities. New this year is the market’s transformation into the Magical Dino Park, complete with 18 dinosaurs that move and roar. There is a special kids’ area with an inflatable Kid’s Zone, a games area and midway rides. Admission is $3.25, but children ages 10 and under and seniors ages 60 and older are free.
When: Open Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m. to midnight and Sunday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. until October 10 More info: richmondnightmarket.com
What did we miss? Tell us about the can’t-miss summer events in your city by emailing us at email@example.com.