Taking kids to the Gardiner Museum might seem a bit odd given that it is Canada’s national ceramics museum, and one of the world’s great specialty museums. Kids and vintage clay seems like a dangerous combination but having visited the museum with our 5 and 3 year old as part of our collaboration with Tourism Toronto (where we shared an average weekend in the city for us!) I thought I’d share a little bit about our experience.
Those 18 years old and younger enter the Gardiner Museum for free and so it’s very easy to bring the kids along if you’re planning to check out one of the exhibits. With Christmas heading our way, I was very excited to check out the 12 Trees of Christmas which the Gardiner Museum has been hosting for the last 27 years. Having seen many an instagram picture of previous trees, I was eager to see them in person.
The Gardiner Museum’s 28th annual 12 Trees exhibition kicked off on November 18th and goes until January 8th. The installations, made from natural, recycled, or sustainable materials, include a tower of terracotta planting pots, a tree made from deconstructed cotton dress shirts, a re-purposed wood canoe, and a dreamlike video that takes viewers on a journey through the forest at night.
I highly recommend visiting the Gardiner Museum with kids on a Sunday so that they can partake in the Family Sunday activities. Family Sundays run from 11 am to 3 pm every Sunday, with activities for children to do on their own or with an adult. There are demonstrations at 11:30 am and 1 pm on “clay” activity days. Best part is that you get to take home the creations! Bet the grandparents would love some of these items as gifts!
On December 4th from 11 am to 4 pm the 12 Trees Family Day takes place and similar to the Sunday sessions, there will be crafts as well as cookie decorating and hands-on clay activities. Little Monkey and Baby Boy loved the trees we spotted during our visit, though they weren’t as interested in the actual ceramics on display (obviously). Our double stroller was parked by the front entrance and the kids were free to roam around, which made me a bit nervous initially but I soon realized that most items were behind glass cases, which is great with little ones running around!
Definitely check out the 12 Trees of Christmas if you have the chance! Also for more kid friendly fun in Toronto, check out Yo!Toronto which gives you a good glimpse into what’s on offer at some of the main attractions!