By Yashy Selvadurai Murphy @yashyanthi
online at babyandlife.com
Thinking about art galleries and museums conjures quiet hallways with expensive pieces, rare artifacts, fancy pants hipsters or hoity toity older folks speaking in hushed tones. What you don’t think about are kids. Little animated, rambunctious rugrats. ‘Cause you know… kids and art galleries do not mix. That’s what I thought before I was a parent. I thought the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) was all about the great collections, the awe inspiring architecture, and the fab concoctions at FRANK and swanky parties in the designer event spaces.
Fast forward to my new life… urban married girl with a baby on the hip. I now start noticing children in spaces and places I never noticed them in before. I don’t frequent museums and art galleries as much as I would like to and so it was a pleasant surprise to be invited to the AGO as a
Masalamommas reporter. During my visit I found out that the AGO really is a kids paradise. There’s many adult, children and youth workshops, courses and camps hosted throughout the year and is open to everyone (you can register for the sessions and some are drop-in programs included in the admission fee). Kids can be entertained at art and design camps (from 6 to 16 years), by exploring innovative educational tools at the Hands-on Centre, playing dress up at the Learning Centre or by testing out toys on offer at the shopAGOkids.
I’ve frequented the shopAGO store on many an occasion as it is the perfect spot to find unique gifts and design savvy gadgets from funky USB keys to one of a kind (but reasonably priced) Asian inspired jewelry. And now there’s the shopAGOkids which is a going to be my new best friend.
I no longer need to fret about buying gifts for the wee ones because this store is curated with children in mind. Here you can find the coolest activity sets, most innovative (and hard to find) toys and genius loot bag stuffers on offer for kids aged 0 to 12 years. The best part is that you and the kids can play with the products on offer at the work stations setup at the store.
From beanbags to design your own T-shirts and story books to building blocks, this tiny but mighty space will help you be the coolest mom (or dad, or aunt, or friend…).
After all that creative exploration and cultural revelry everyone can relax at the caféAGO. There’s plenty of adult items (enjoy that glass of wine and get your own creative juices flowing) on offer but there’s also healthy kid friendly favourites as well.
If you’re looking for a way to spend an afternoon (or a day) with your kids (or if you’re the generous kind who has offered to babysit) in a creative, innovative and educational surrounding, you need look no further than the AGO in Toronto. There are many events and programs always on offer and you and the kids can have an interactive fun filled day. Perfect for those staycations, lazy Saturday afternoons or even for special occasions (did you know that the AGO hosts kid’s birthday parties?). What an easy way to infuse your kids with some culture and appreciation for art! For those Masalamommas living outside of Toronto, check in with your neighbourhood art galleries as you never know what’s on offer, sometimes programs aren’t advertised as well as they should be.