1. Le Dolci
Got a cake boss or a pizza lover at your house? Book her next birthday party at Le Dolci. You can choose between two party specials: kids can learn how to decorate six cupcakes or make two pizza: one sweet and one savoury. The cupcake party also includes a pizza meal. The party packages are for 10 kids and both cost $500.
1006 Dundas Street West., 416-262-3400 ledolci.com>
2. DesignHer Co
At DesignHer Co, kids can make their jewellery, design tote bags or decorate frames. Let their imaginations run wild! This party is ideal for kids ages six and up and can even delight your tween. Party packages start at $290 and additional items such as loot bags can be added to the base price. The party is for 10 guests (additional guests can be added for $22) who will spend two hours in the studio creating two projects based on the birthday kid’s choice. As a cute bonus, each guest gets to take home a candy necklace. After all, the best kind of jewellery is the kind you can eat.
1850 Avenue Road Toronto, Ontario., 416-889-4437 designherco.com
3. Toronto West End College St. YMCA
Whether your child wants to scamper around on the play structure, or play sports with her buddies, the West End YMCA has a party package for you. Non-members pay $200 for 10 kids (age three to 48 inches tall) to get their sillies out on the three-level play structure with its bumpers, spiral slide and even a helicopter to hang out in. Down on the mats there are padded building blocks, and staff can also organize a craft (for $5 per child), as well as set up board games. There’s also an adjacent room where cake and other food can be eaten and presents opened. A YMCA employee will set up, take down and supervise. Parents love the wooden bench that surrounds the play area, as they can sit and easily watch (and perhaps enjoy a coffee) as the kids have a blast. The YMCA also offers a sports party, where for $250 (for non-members) you choose a sport like soccer, volleyball or basketball (or more than one) and the staff will supervise or ref as up to 15 kids aged five and up get their game on, then eat and have fun in the teen studio.
931 College St., 416-536-1166 ext. 451 ymcagta.org>
4. Black Creek Pioneer Village
Your little history buff will love a party at Black Creek Pioneer Village, where they can choose from three themes: From Sheep to Shawl, Pioneer Girls or Mystery History Detectives. All three options are hands-on—guests spin their own yarn, dance to tunes from the 1860s and look for historic clues to solve a mystery. The cost is $230 for non-members for up to 20 guests. This includes a one-hour program and then half an hour to enjoy gift-opening, pioneer cookies and lemonade. It also includes admission to the park. If you want to eat, you can pre-order a cake from the Village and enjoy it in the historic area. Otherwise, guests can move to the covered pavilion, patio or a green spot nearby and bring their own food. Some bonus options include costume rental for $7 per outfit and loot bags with historical-themed goodies (like old-fashioned candy sticks and a tin butterfly) for $10 a bag.
1000 Murray Ross Parkway, 416-667-6295 ext. 2
5. High Park Nature Centre
No matter the time of year, your little nature lover will be able to get out and about with a party at the High Park Nature Centre. There are three options; a regular guided party for $275 (for up to 15 kids), a pint-sized guided party for up to 10 younger ones for $275, and a jumbo party for $325 for up to 20 kids ages six and up. All parties feature a nature interpreter who runs themed seasonal programming, like a Nature’s Art Party; Beetles, Bugs and Butterflies; or a Fairy and Gnome Party, which includes songs, games, and depending on the theme, a craft, followed by a hike in the woods. Then it’s back to the centre to enjoy food (provided by the parents) and presents. Staff will make the centre look extra-special with environmentally-friendly decorations, and they also offer cutlery, dishes, napkins and tablecloths and take care of all of the clean-up.
375 Colborne Lodge Dr., 416-392-1748
6. Boulderz Climbing Centre
If your child loves to scramble up play structures, then she might just love rock climbing! This west-end indoor climbing gym has two locations, one in the Junction Triangle and one in Etobicoke, and both offer birthday parties for kids aged five and up (no previous climbing experience required). For $24 per guest (with a minimum of five guests), you get child-sized gear rental, 1.5 hours of instructor time and 30 minutes in a party area to eat and open gifts.
1444 Dupont St. Unit 16, 416-516-6666
80 the East Mall Unit 9, 416-255-6676
7. Action Potential Lab
As soon as kids aged two to 12 step into the Action Potential Lab, which is housed in a 100-year-old building that was once a pharmacy, the birthday kid is handed a lab coat. All the guests get to explore their world through an art project (which each guest gets to take home) that helps explain a scientific concept. Parents can choose from themes—there are three to select from for each age group—such as planet exploration or drawing machines. If your child has a special interest, Action Potential Lab takes special care to incorporate it into the party for no extra cost. (One recent celebration used Frozen as a way to talk about dry ice, and they created fake snow!) And the TTC was made a central part of a drawing machines party (kids built drawing robots with markers for legs and then raced them on a map) for a little transit enthusiast’s birthday. The cost is $300 for 10 children (extra kids are $20 each, with a maximum of 16 kids). Food, drink, plates and cutlery are not included, but decorations, set-up, invitations and clean-up are.
451 Christie St., 416-538-4100
Whether your little maker is into Minecraft, jewelry-making, 3D printing or toy hacking (transforming an old toy into something new with supplies like googly eyes, LED lights and motors), MakerKids has the ideal party for your child. These are just some of the options for shindigs that run 1.5 to 2.5 hours long. Most of the parties are geared to kids aged 8 and up, but there are options for slightly younger ones, too. Cost varies depending on the number of guests and the length of the party, but packages start at $250 for a 1.5-hour-long party for fewer than 10 kids, which includes an instructor-led activity, supplies, party space, one staff member to help with the event, set-up and clean-up. Parents are welcome to bring in their own refreshments such as drinks and cake. Custom topics (like the Star Wars-themed 3D printing party one kid was treated to) are available, too, most costing $75 in addition to the party fee.
2451 Bloor St. W., 647-400-7974
Creative kids aged seven and up will have a blast at an Articulations birthday party. For $350 plus tax, up to 12 children will spend three hours at the studio making an art project and enjoying food and gift-opening. An instructor will lead the guests through a project that the birthday child and his parents have come up with together. Some recent examples have included designing your own creature using modeling clay or oven-bake clay, making a tiny treehouse, and a Sharpie tie-dye party where the kids decorate a bag. Articulations provides plates, cutlery, cups, napkins and décor (including cute bunting!), and parents provide drinks and nut-free food.
2928 Dundas St. W., 416-901-7464 articulations.ca>
10. The Circus Academy East
Juggling, stilt-walking, aerial trapeze and more are part of the fun at Circus Academy East birthday parties. Guests spend a little over an hour trying out their hand at these thrilling activities and then 45 minutes enjoying food, presents and face painting (they also get to adopt balloon animals). Younger kids age approximately two to five use the smaller private studio, and the cost is $245 for up to 10 kids. Older circus stars take over the main space, and the cost is $295. Parents are able to bring in any nut-free food their child likes best.
1300 Gerrard St. E., 647-748-6030
11. Oaks ’n Acorns
Oaks ’n Acorns’ base party package provides access to the main studio areas, including the creative play room, the Duplo zone and the tots gym for $249, as well as a banquet table to gather together guests for food and drink (parents are allowed to bring in food and décor). This play café is designed for little ones, so you know they’re going to have tons of fun even if there aren’t planned activities, but for an extra $90, you can make it a dance party complete with instructor, or an arts-and-crafts party that includes supplies and an instructor. (Another option is face painting for an additional $50.) Kids aged zero to eight will enjoy a party here, as all of the activities are customized to the age of the birthday kid. Parents will love that you can book a barista to make caffeinated treats for the grown-ups for an additional $85.
1856 Danforth Ave., 416-425-3213
Opening soon: 3217 Dundas St. W., 416-604-3300
12. Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre
Thrill your little sports lover by hosting his or her birthday at the same spot where several Pan Am and Parapan Am Games events were held, including swimming, diving and sitting volleyball. It is closed to the general public for the games until September 15, but after that you can choose from three party packages, including: one hour to play in a bouncy castle and with toys, one hour in a dedicated party room, plus a staff member to help for $225; two hours of time on the 41-foot climbing wall for up to 14 guests, plus up to two staff members to help for $300. You can add one hour in a party room to the climbing party for an extra $80.
875 Morningside Ave., 416-283-9458