Whether you are planning on physical school, virtual school, or homeschool this fall, taking advantage of one or more of the many amazing online after-school programs out there can provide a sense of structure and infuse some fun into this bizarre back-to-school year.
These programs can supplement learning for kids doing virtual school or homeschool; and for those heading back to the classroom, it’s a safe way to explore an interest without any additional exposure outside in-school cohorts.
Most of these programs are based in Toronto and the GTA (or Ottawa) — so if you love a program you can stick with it when in-person programming ramps up again!
Weekly Chess Club
Small-group virtual chess clubs with the Chess Institute of Canada are divided by age group and skill levels. Sign up for Rookie Rooks (SK–Grade 1), Future Masters, for kids with basic chess experience, or Elite for more serious players.
Buddings scientists or anyone with a curiosity about the world around them will enjoy this online science club that covers magnets, optical illusions, and the science behind colours, light, sound, and taste. This is just one of several science programs from Mad Science of Toronto.
Virtual Cooking Academy
Sign up for a month of weekly beginner or intermediate kids’ cooking classes online with the chef-instructors at Rooks To Cooks. Themes include Foods of the World, Lunch Club, and Brilliant Baking. After-school, weekend, and weekday homeschool times available.
Dance & Musical Theatre
Kids ages 2–16 can find a class for them at J’Danse Studio online. Options include tap, jazz, and ballet as well as Creative Dance for toddlers, Greek Dance, Acro, Musical Theatre, and Competitive Choreography for advanced students.
Video Game Design
Artech Camps Canada is a leader in fun STEAM classes online for kids that teach coding and design through popular games and platforms like Scratch, Roblox, and Minecraft
Kids learn the fundamentals of photography and composition in a 12-week online course from Messy Pants Inc. that involves receiving a “photography mission” assignment in a manila envelope at the start of each week.
At acting classes with Great Big Theatre Company, kids engage in playwriting, drama games, creative movement, vocal and visual arts, and more. In addition to the full-group portion of class, kids can work in small-group “break-out rooms” with friends new and old.
Become a Chocolatier
Over the course of four weeks, kids learn the art of chocolate making with expert chocolatiers/instructors at Chocolate Tales. All the supplies are shipped to your home in advance.
Little Readers & Study Skills
This phonics-based reading program from Oxford Learning for ages 3–6 encourages a love of reading with a structured and fun program for younger children. The Study Skills program, for ages 7–12, sets kids up for long-term success throughout their school days.
Visual Art & Design
Choose from after-school or Saturday classes in painting, drawing, cartooning, drama, architecture, fashion design, creative writing, animation, and digital arts at the Canadian Contemporary School of Art. Class times are after school or on Saturdays.
Learn Piano or Guitar
One-on-one virtual music lessons are the way to go if you’re concerned about your child being overwhelmed in a group setting online. Elana Vinnik has been teaching young students for more than 35 years and tailors each lesson to the individual child. She also offers lessons at your home (mask required) in Toronto.
Snapology’s 4-week and 6-week online brick-building classes all focus on a specific theme. Choose from Minecraft Gaming, Star Wars, Poké-Heroes, Science of Superpowers, Brick Art, and even a Digital Escape Room Series—all using nothing but LEGO bricks and your imagination!
Theatre Arts for Kids & Teens
The Ottawa Children’s Theatre has a wide range of classes for budding thespians and other creative types this fall, including Acting, Musical Theatre, Songwriting, Playwriting, Theatre Production, and Improv.
Move your body and learn multicultural drumming patterns from around the world in these popular music, movement, and drumming classes for ages 4–8 from Fun With Music Together. Includes weekly Zoom classes, songbooks, CDs, and video tutorials.
Minecraft, Roblox & Scratch
The experts at Wiz Kid Coding are offering three options for fall: Minecraft Explorer, Roblox Game Design, and Scratch Coding & Game Design. Kids can design and collaborate on creative projects while gaining valuable coding and problem-solving skills.
Brouillet Academy offers a range of options, from fun beginner classes for any age to more academic classes for French Immersion or Core French students as well as specialty courses like Reading Club, Conversational French, and Writer’s Workshop. This fall you can also book online French instruction for your at-home learning “pod”.
The Second City offers a laughter-filled “escape” from the world outside this fall—while still inside—via a weekly course incorporating fun theatre and improv games plus some much-needed social interaction.
Making and Coding
MakerKids weekly fall classes focus on Minecraft, Robotics, Coding or, for younger children, more all-around intro-to-computers and coding through a Mini-Makers course. These STEAM classes teach kids valuable coding, math, and design skills as well as planning, problem-solving, and teamwork.
Book an 8-week session or individual themed cooking classes from The Chef Upstairs. Kids learn essential kitchen skills while making recipes from scratch, like fajitas, Chinese dumplings, and chicken souvlaki.