Was there ever a better year to explore the wintry wonders in the great outdoors? A nature program held outdoors is one of the safest ways to experience an in-person group class or club this season due to COVID. At these winter programs, kids can learn winter survival skills like fire-building and shelter construction, learn about local wildlife, or just have fun playing in the snow.
Season start dates below are for the first winter class/club session in each season. Depending what you choose, your child’s program may start later.
Nature Nut Outdoor Club
Location: Evergreen Brick Works
Season Start: January 9, 2021
The goal of these year-round 8-week programs for ages 5–10 at Evergreen Brick Works are to foster a connection with the local natural world and increase ecological literacy. All programs are outdoors and incorporate arts, movement, culture, and community. Parent-and-tot programs and a full-day Nature School are also available.
High Park Nature Centre Winter Clubs
Location: High Park
Season Start: January 5, 2021
Hiking, environmental stewardship, outdoor games, and learning naturalist skills are all part of these 5-week programs run by Nature Centre staff. Options are available for ages 6 months to 12 years. Drop-off for ages 6 and up, with caregiver for ages 6 and under. Homeschool programs are available too.
The Pine Project Outdoor School
Locations: Stan Wadlow Park (East York), Etienne Brulé Park (Baby Point)
Season Start: January 4, 2021
The Pine Project is an organization dedicated to nature education and connection, offering year-round programming for kids and adults. At Outdoor School, kids learn wilderness and naturalist skills and about local wildlife, play games, and learn survival skills like fire-making and shelter-building. Weekday and weekend full-day and half-day options for ages 4–13.
Locations: Toronto (various) and online/at-home
Season Start: rolling
This is a free kids’ membership program with monthly in-person nature adventures and environmental stewardship activities in different parts of the city. Members can also access an online portal with nature videos, games, DIY scavenger hunts, and more.
The Nature School at Kortright
Location: Kortright Centre for Conservation (Vaughan)
Season start: January 9, 2021
For younger children (ages 2.5–5), the Kortright Centre offers an 8-week, 3-hour Saturday or Sunday nature program where kids engage in outdoor creative play as well as shelter-building, whittling wood, cooking on an open fire, and more.
Tentative/TBD Winter 2021 Options
These programs typically run, but this year is not typical and they have yet to announce their 2021 winter programming. We will update this as information becomes available.
Kids In the Woods Initiative
KIWI is a nonprofit that runs outdoors/nature programs for kids in Rouge National Urban Park.
In Fall 2020, Earthbound Kids in Uxbridge ran a successful Adventurous Learning program for ages 4–8 incorporating nature, STEM, and outdoor play. TBD if this program will run for winter 2021.