During the cold, dark days of winter, it can be so tempting to hibernate in the basement and hunker down in your cozy home. But for parents who need to get to work outside of the house, winter break can present a bit of a childcare dilemma.

You need to find dependable, affordable and trustworthy care for your kids as well as encouraging some outdoor activity for at least part of the day to help ensure that your brood gets their daily dose of Vitamin D. In the run-up to and the aftermath of the winter holidays, these are the best winter break camps for kids in Ottawa.

Dovercourt Recreation

Kids can expect to be engaged in all the usual camp favorites like arts and crafts, games and outdoor play but, as Dovercourt boasts an onsite indoor swimming pool, they’ll also have lots of opportunities to splash around. Older kids can also access the rock climbing wall and sign up for video game challenges.

Location: Dovercourt Recreation Centre, 411 Dovercourt Ave., Ottawa
Age: JK–age 9
Cost: $55 + HST

Monkey Around

Kids can run off their pre-Christmas excitement or work out their January blahs at this fun indoor play centre. Experienced, qualified staff lead kids through organized activities, crafts and of course plenty of playtime on the slides, jumping pillow and roller rink.

Location: 1650 Queensdale Ave., Gloucester
Age: 4–10 years old
Cost: $45 + HST

Pawsitively Pets

Future veterinarians will love this winter camp experience in Ottawa where they have the chance to meet opossums, skunks, and groundhogs among other wildlife. Kids will learn about wildlife rescue operations and find out how they can help care for local wildlife.

Location: 5721 Main St., Osgoode
Age: 5–11 years old
Cost: $125- $180 + HST (2-day camp)

Carlton Athletics Sports Camp

Active kids will be spoiled for choice, with basketball, hockey, soccer, dodgeball, fencing and more on offer at the home of Carlton University’s Ravens. Little ones won’t be left out with a more balanced program of sports plus arts and crafts activities offered for those aged 4-5 as well.

Location: 1125 Colonel By Dr., Ottawa
Age: 4–12 years old
Cost: $105 +HST (2 day camp)

Jack Purcell Recreation Camp

When inside, campers can use the heated swimming pool, complete craft activities and cook up something delicious during baking classes. There will also be a day trip out to Cosmic Adventures scheduled, and weather permitting, kids will be able to skate on the outdoor rink.

Location: 320 Jack Purcell Lane, Ottawa
Age: 5–12 years old
Cost: $135 +HST (3 day camp)

Soloway JCC

Day campers will be entertained by special guests here where they can also swim in the indoor pool, conduct science experiments, bake and get creative with arts and crafts projects. There is also an option to sign up for an all-star basketball camp.

Location: 21 Nadolny Sachs Private, Ottawa
Age: SK–Grade 5
Cost: $50 +HST for members, $60 for non-members

Starr Gymnastics

While getting some exercise and developing skills of strength and balance, campers will navigate the ropes and rings, tumble in the foam pit and bounce around on the trampoline. It’s not all high octane physical fun, kids will also have the chance to do some quieter activities like arts and crafts and themed challenges.

Location: 3 locations – including 1140 Morrison Dr., Nepean
Age: 4–12 years old
Cost: $55 +HST

Ottawa Senators Camp

True hockey fans will enjoy the 2.5 hours of ice time per day at this winter camp for Novice, Atom and Peewee age groups. Kids will improve their skating skills and learn how to pass, shoot and master their puck control. When off the ice, campers will be able to play indoor soccer, ball hockey and stretch it out with yoga sessions.

Location: 1565 Maple Grove Rd., Kanata
Age: 5–12 years old
Cost: $265 +HST (3 day camp)

City of Ottawa

The city of Ottawa offers recreation programs for kids on winter break at locations across the city. Programming will include games both in and outdoors, arts, crafts, opportunities to meet new friends and try a range of new activities.

Location: Various locations across the city
Age: 4–12 years old
Cost: From $39 + HST

Rideau Sports Centre

Invite your kids to enter the dome for holiday fun with a sports and team game theme. Campers will be able to play a variety of team and ball games including capture the flag, Nerf Tag and dodgeball, as well as practicing their tennis, soccer, football, and basketball skills.

Location: 1 Donald St., Ottawa
Age: 5–14 years old
Cost: $50 + HST per day

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