Spring into School Programs

The snow will melt, the snow will melt, the snow will melt … Spring is officially here and that means it’s time to get ready to garden! It’s also time to book your curriculum-linked Spring School Program! We’re so excited that even that little bit of snow couldn’t get us down while we’re getting ready to plant.

Lets Get Growing! (1)

Peas, greens, brassicas (that family of green veggies we’re all encouraged to eat like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, cauliflower, kale and kohlrabi), peas, radishes and beets all like a cooler growing season and can even take a little frost. Of course the chives and lemon balm have already poked their heads above the soil. As has one of our favourite spring veggies … sorrel. It’s one of those sour greens but with a green apple zing to it so it peps up your salad without leaving a bitter after-taste.

Bring your class our for a morning or afternoon session at the Children’s Garden. Hands on activities can include planting, watering, compost maintenance, worm holding & feeding (aka checking out the vermicomposter), games and more. There’s always so much to do in the garden during spring. Your class will have fun while learning about soil, plants, animals, insects and organic gardening. Half-day and full-day programs are available. Combine 2 half day programs to make a full day in High Park. Click here for more information.

Let's Go For A Hike!

Spring is also a great time to get out and explore nature as everything wakes up from it’s long winter’s nap. Many trees and plants will start to bloom soon, birds start chirping their songs, and bugs and insects start to buzz. The City of Toronto’s Parks and Ravines are a great place to go for a hike and explore nature in an urban setting. To dig deeper into the mysteries of urban nature in Toronto check out the Biodiversity Booklet Series.

Have an energetic class? A hike program is a perfect way to focus that energy while learning about habitats, animals, plants, soil, rocks, weather and more. There are plenty of hands on activities students will enjoy like plant and animal Identification, storytelling, nature-based science experiments, games, orienteering and more. Half-day and full-day programs are available. Combine 2 half day programs to make a full day in High Park. Click here for more information.

Let's Get Cooking!

Now that spring has graced us with it’s presence that means fresh fruits and veggies start growing in our garden. This means we get to incorporate them in our cooking programs. Fresh lettuce and sorrel for salads, kale for kale chips, chives to add flavour to our whole-grain cheddar biscuits and now we’re hungry just thinking about it!

Bring your class out for one of our healthy cooking programs. Not only will they make something tasty to eat, they’ll brush up on their fractions while their at it! Baking is one of the best, hands-on activities to help review fractions with students. There’s even a reward at the end when they get it right. Other hands on activities include harvesting, estimating & measuring the volume of ingredients, food mapping, safe kitchen practices (including knife handling for older grades), vegetable & fruit identification and more. Half-day and full-day programs are available. Combine 2 half day programs to make a full day in High Park. Click here for more information.

Spots fill-up quickly so book now for your chance to enjoy a little spring in High Park with your students!

ChildrensGardenBrNewCookingNutritionBrNew ExploringTorontoBrNew

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Registration Starts this Saturday, March 5th

Are you ready? Have you looked up your Registration Barcodes? Do you have your Family & Client Numbers ready? Most importantly … do you have enough coffee on hand (or refreshing beverage of choice!)!? This Saturday, March 5th City of Toronto Registration opens for spring and summer recreation programs located in Etobicoke/York District at 7 am.

That’s right Etobicoke/York FUN Guide Program Registration starts at 7 am on Saturday, March 5th, 2016!

So as our biannual tradition goes … it’s time for Registration Preparation! Below you will find plenty of tips and tricks to get you through the registration process (for any City of Toronto Recreation Program) as smoothly as possible.

Click here for Barcodes for Eco Camp Day Camp Programs in High Park

Click here for our Spring Cooking with Veggies Programs at the High Park Teaching Kitchen

Click here for our list of Spring Edible Cosmetics Workshops for Youth


For those of you wondering how the City of Toronto’s Recreation Program Registration process actually works here’s a little run-down:

  • Each district has it’s own registration start date. For Etobicoke/York it’s Saturday, March 5th starting at 7 am (for other district dates click here). Anyone from across the city can register for a program in that district on the start date.
  • You have six options for registering for Rec/FUN Guide Programs. Click here for a description and instructions on how to register for City of Toronto Recreation Programs. For our programs we suggest using the phone (416-338-4FUN (4386) or touch-tone 416-338-0000) or going online in order to have the greatest chance at registering your camper.
  • Our available programming space (especially indoor space) is fairly small so our program size is quite limited. We would love to have hundreds of kids join us for Eco Camp each week but there’s only so much Garden. Also note many other Community and Recreation Centres have issues with space and are unable to hold as many programs as they (and the community) would like.
  • If you do miss out on our Eco Camp we offer a free  Thursday morning drop-in program throughout July & Aug from 10 am to Noon. So please stop by and experience a bit of what our programs are all about!
  • A note about online registration. It can seem impossible to get onto the online registration site on the first day of registration. There is a reason for that … The City of Toronto wants to ensure fair access to programming for all individuals. So there are only a certain number of people allowed to register online at any given time on the first day of registration in each district. This allows people without access to computers (or high speed internet) an equal opportunity to register through the phone. The City of Toronto is committed to ensuring accessibility to our programs for all residents of Toronto.

Another Turtle Break to Cleanse Your Mind Before the Important Stuff!

The Whole Gang

Now that you know the background info, here’s our yearly guide to registering for Summer Camp or any other popular city program. There are a few things you can do to make Registration Day a little easier for you! Here is a list of things to prepare for ahead of time:

  1. One of the most important tips we can give you is to fully register for all camps firstthen at a later time register for any extended care you might need. There will always be enough room in the Eco Camp (and any camp) Extended Care for every camper registered so you can sign up for it at any time.
  2. Start by finding your City of Toronto FUN Guide Registration Family and Client Numbers. If you can’t find them or you’ve never registered for a City of Toronto Recreation Program before please call 416-338-4FUN (4386) and a Customer Service Representative can help you (it’s important to do this ahead of time so you don’t waste time on Sat., Mar. 5th!).
  3. Once you are set to register you can print out or write down the barcodes for each program you are interested in. Barcodes for our Cooking Programs Are Here and for our Eco Camp Programs Click Here. Keep all of your Client/Family numbers and Barcodes together in a safe (but not too “safe” 🙂 ) place for registration day
  4. Bookmark the Registration Information Page where you can launch the Online Registration Site.
  5. Just before 7 am on Saturday morning (Mar. 5th) dial into 416-338-0000 (for touch tone registration) or 416-338-4386 (actual human being) and launch the Online Registration Site. This way you can start hitting redial/refresh right at 7am. It will take a few tries … make sure to be awake enough to stop redialing/refreshing when you finally get in! (I’m guessing if you’re signing up for our Sprouts Camp you’re most likely awake at that time anyhow!).
  6. Once you’re in the system move quickly but not so fast you make mistakes. Also note that the Online Registration Site will timeout if you leave it alone for too long (and when I say too long … I’m talking less than 5 minutes).
  7. Please remember to mark on your calendar what weeks your camper is attending Eco Camp … we often have a number of last-minute cancellations and are unable to fill the spot even though our wait lists are often quite long! 
  8. Once registered you will receive a Camper Information Package in the mail sometime late in April or early May. This package contains forms that need to be filled out and sent back before camp starts and a Parent Handbook to give you all the info you need to know about sending your Eco Camper to camp. Please fill out the forms and send them back by the date stated on the package!
  9. Please feel free to contact us at any time if you have questions 416-392-1329 or kidsgrow at toronto dot ca (spelled out to reduce spam).


A couple other things for your Registration morning checklist:

  1. Coffee, Tea or hot beverage of choice (for us non-morning folk … put everything out the night before so you can wake up just before 7 with caffeine available! For morning folk … please tell me your secret!  How do you do it!?)
  2. Calendar and/or Datebook – The first week of Camp in 2016 is July 4 to 8.
  3. Scrap paper, pen/pencil and/or printer for confirmation codes, etc.
  4. Don’t forget to write it down on the calendar, once registered!
  5. Having someone else around to cook you breakfast while you wait … certainly can’t hurt 😉

Good Luck Everyone and We Hope To See You At Camp This Summer!

Update – Cooking Classes Are Still A Go

UPDATE:  Cooking Classes will go ahead as planned Saturday, February 20th, 2016. We look forward to seeing you there!


We are a City of Toronto program so just in case …

Our Cooking Classes are still a go tomorrow, however, just to be on the safe side if there is a labour disruption with CUPE 79 classes will be cancelled. 

For more information click here for the City of Toronto’s Contingency Plan.

Tips to Get You Ready for Registration!

We’re quickly coming up to that time already! Spring and Summer Program Registration starts Saturday, March 5th, 2016 at 7 am for all Etobicoke/York Recreation Programs (pending a labour disruption). Here are a few tips and tricks to get you ready!

Registration Tips and Tricks

All The Latest in Eco Camp Barcodes!

It’s that time of year … even though we’re covered in a pretty blanket of snow, it’s time to get organized for Summer Camp Registration! Below you’ll find all of our Barcodes for the upcoming Summer Eco Camp Session. We’ll be updating our Registration how to guide soon too. 

Etobicoke/York Spring and Summer Program Registration starts at 7 am on Saturday, March 5th, 2016. Remember this is for programs running in Etobicoke/York … even if you live outside the area but want your camper to attend a program in High Park, etc. you can still register on March 5th.

Please note if there is a labour disruption registration start dates may change.

Click on the photo or click here for a .pdf version of our Barcode page.

2016 Eco Camp Barcodes

High Park Harvest Festival 2015 – Oct. 4th

We’re still not sure how it’s crept up so quickly on us but it’s almost time for High Park’s Harvest Festival! for those of you who haven’t joined us before Harvest Fest is a free afternoon of fun activities, food and fresh air. This is a joint shindig with all our friends in the park including Colborne Lodge Museum and the High Park Nature Centre.

Harvest Fest 2015

The important details:

Date: October 4th, 2015
Time: Noon to 4:30 pm
Location: South End of High Park at both the Children’s Garden and Colborne Lodge Museum
Cost: Free with a few paid activities (many of which are also free) and some great vendors

There are plenty of activities, crafts, vendors, information booths, music and Choco Sol samples! There’s a free harvest lunch served at the Children’s Garden (while it lasts!!) and some tasty treats you can purchase down at Colborne Lodge.

NOTE:  We’re always looking for Volunteers to help out at Harvest Fest … Let us know if you’re interested! 

Other Fun Events We’re Participating in That Weekend Include:

Green Energy Doors Open

Join us for a tour of the Children’s Teaching Kitchen and learn about it’s energy saving features plus it’s sparkly crowning jewel … the photovoltaic (solar) panel array. Click on the link above to see who else in the area is participating in this fun energy filled event!

Date: October 3rd, 2015
Time: 10 am to 5 pm (between 11 and 2 pm you’ll be able to see the Kitchen in action as our Youth Cooking Program prepares the food for Harvest Fest the next day)
Location: The High Park Children’s Teaching Kitchen
Cost: Free

Ontario Natural Building Tour

Every year the Ontario Natural Building Coalition organizes a tour of Sustainably built homes and buildings throughout Ontario. This is a chance to see environmentally friendly building techniques up close and ask questions of the owners. Click the link above to find out more information.

Date: October 4th, 2015
Time: 10 to 4:30
Location: The High Park Children’s Teaching Kitchen
Cost: Free at the Kitchen but other homes/buildings require that you purchase a tour ticket see above link for more information.

We hope to see you all at Harvest Fest!

We’re Officially a Case Study!

Very interesting news! The Ontario Association of Architects has chosen the Children’s Teaching Kitchen as a case study on sustainable design. There’s a lovely write-up on their website about the Kitchen and some great photos from throughout the construction, even some we don’t have ourselves. 

Under the tab “Light | Air” you’ll see a lovely shot with almost the full interior visible. We’re wondering where they’ve managed to stash all the stuff! It’s a lovely photo and shows off what a beautiful building it really is, but to be honest … we really do think it looks better like this:

20140516_092838Peas growing in the window, waterproof smocks for the little ones to help with dishes, an awesome dehydrator donated by a co-worker, an all important coffee maker and solar ovens stashed above the cabinets … plus cool stuff like this:

20140516_092133 Make for an amazing  space for our students and campers to learn and grow (by the way the above is part of a wasp’s nest and those are carrots in the background 🙂 ).

Getting Ready For Fall & Winter Programs

We know it’s still summer but alas we must start talking fall and winter programs. As we’ve said before this summer has fled by at the speed of a hummingbird’s wings! So before fall and winter FUN Guide registration creeps up on us we thought it would be prudent to give you a heads up ahead of time 🙂 

Fall & Winter FUN Guide Registration for Etobicoke/York Programs (we’re included in this at High Park) starts at 7 am on Saturday, September 12, 2015

Yes you heard us right … Etobicoke/York is always on a Saturday and Registration always starts at 7 am. If you’re looking to get into one of the 3 Creative Chefs with Caregiver – Veggies! for the 3 to 5 year old crowd … make sure you’re up before 7 am and be ready to hit redial and refresh on your phone/computer respectively 🙂

Click here to find out how to register.


For more information about our Fall and Winter Programs check out the links below:

Cooking Programs for 3 to 5 and 6 to 9 year olds

Winter Break Workshops for 3 to 5 and 6 to 9 year olds

March Break Eco Camp for 6 to 10 year olds (sign up for March Break Camps happens December 5th for everyone)