Sports are an easy way to keep kids both healthy and active. Parents will find that Toronto has a wealth of organizations and facilities that feature programs for children in all sorts of sport and activities.
The City of Toronto is a great place to look for such activities, as they run a range of instructional and drop-in programs in a variety of sports. Although they offer them for all ages, the city has focused on providing kids with opportunities to participate in physical activity when they’re not in school, whether that might be on the weekend or in the summer.
Some of the instructional programs offered include baseball/t-ball, basketball, floor hockey, golf, gymnastics, martial arts, soccer, tennis and volleyball. These are offered at locations all over Toronto — parks, community centres, arenas, and school gyms.
For example, the Kids CAN-BIKE Camp is a cycling camp for children aged nine to 13 which provides a full week of bike riding; teaching kids bike-handling skills necessary for riding safely on the road, as well as checking and maintaining their bike.
The city also offers a range of drop-in programs for kids that take place on an everyday basis. They can be great for kids looking for a little less structure, or maybe have an afternoon to kill.
Drop-in sports include basketball, ball hockey, soccer, tennis and volleyball. These usually take place at community centres across the city, but check their website for details.
Beyond that, there are dozens of places for parents in Toronto to find kids sports programs. All of the city’s major sports complexes have camps and programs for kids, especially in the summer and on March Break.
One such location is the Downsview Park Sports Centre, which includes the Hangar Indoor Recreational Facility. This huge multi-purpose complex offers both indoor and outdoor fields to play on, as well as specialized facilities for things like skateboarding, rock-climbing, squash and soccer. In turn, each of these facilities offers specialized programs and camps for children.
Other such complexes with kids programs include the Toronto City Sports Centre, which features an air-supported dome structure used all-year for soccer, indoor baseball, flag football, and even golf.
They also offer a “multi-sports” program aimed at teaching children the fundamentals of sports. Soccerworld is another indoor field facility located within the waterfront Polson Pier complex, and they offer youth soccer training for more advanced individuals.
One of the most popular sports in Toronto, if not the most, is hockey. Instructional programs and leagues for all ages are hosted in arenas all over the city, with a large number of instructional programs for kids in the summer and on March Break.
Toronto operates over 40 rinks, while there is at least that number of private rinks as well. Programs offered here range from those for beginners to those aimed at grooming your future NHL stars.
One such organization, Canadian Pro Hockey Clinic, offers dozens of types of classes that teach power skating and hockey skills and are available year-round including winter and summer camps. Learn more at www.cphc.on.ca.
In addition to the programs run by the city and those by individual facilities, there are several large organizations in Toronto dedicated to providing children with recreational activities and leagues.
Sportball is one such group, offering non-competitive sports programs for ages two to ten. As with many of these organizations, they offer a variety of individual sports as well as a multi-sport program which introducing children to the fundamental concepts and skills behind popular sports.
Other institutions like the University of Toronto, York University and Seneca College all offer programs as well, often with the benefit of taking place in state of the art facilities.
Keep an eye out for classes and activities being offered through places like this, as they tend to get snapped up more quickly than others.
Beyond the most common sports, there are also classes and programs available for others like horseback riding, gymnastics, martial arts, swimming, golf, cycling and even bowling.
The best place to begin looking for kids sports programs in Toronto is with the city, but other good resources to check out include the Sports Alliance of Ontario and KidSport Ontario.
Also, organizations dedicated to specific sports such as Hockey Toronto, the Ontario Cycling Association and the Ontario Tennis Association.
When signing kids up for camps and programs in any sport, one thing to remember is to always pay close attention to the difficulty level involved.
The best thing a parent can do is put their child in a program that is suitable for their skills. It’s simply not as fun for kids if they are out of their depth, and it’s harder for them to learn as well.