Free Programs and Activities
- The Ottawa Public Library runs free programs (Babytime, Toddlertime, Storytime etc) at many (if not all) of the branches. You need to register but they are totally free and in my experience, really captivating. There is a mix of singing, reading, playing with musical instruments and interacting with puppets.
- Charlemagne Preschool Resource Center in Orleans offers a free drop-in playgroup every morning from 9-11 am and Mondays and Wednesdays from 1-3pm There are lots of toys and activities. It's mostly free play and there is a break for 'circle time' which is similar to the Library's program. Then there's snack time (bring your own) and more play. There are also some birds to look at
- La Coccinelle in Orleans offers a French language only playgroup on Friday mornings. I haven't been yet but plan to check it out so I can give more feedback at that time. They also host a variety of workshops.
- Boomerang Kids runs Strollercise year round (except for in the suburbs for the winter). Details at their website
The animal barns at the Canadian Agriculture Museum are free from November 1st to February 28th
- The Canadian Museum of Nature has free admission on Saturdays from 9am to 12 pm and free admission at all times for children 3 and under. In addition, you can go to the library and take out the ‘nature card’ which allows for free general admission for a family if you wish to go on a day other than Saturday
- The Canadian War Museum offers free admission Thursdays from 4pm to 8pm, International Museum Day (Monday May 18th this year), Canada Day (July 1st) and Rememberance Day (November 11th). In addition, Canadian veterans and their guests (up to three) always get free admission as do members of the Canadian Forces (with ID)
- The National Gallery of Canada offers free admission to the permanent collection Thursdays after 5pm and free admission to children 12 and under for all exhibits.
The Canada Science and Technology Museum offers free admission on International Museum Day ( Monday May 18th this year) and on Canada Day (July 1st) in addition to free admission for children under the age of 4.
- Park-ticipate is a free program at public parks that runs weekdays and is for children aged 4 to 10. City recreation staff lead children in sport, crafts and games following the week’s theme. Info currently on the site is for summer 2008 so keep looking back for this summer’s update.
There are many wading pools across the city that are supervised and host daily activities and special events which includes a Water Play Program aimed at introducing swimming skills and water safety to children. They are free to use and a fun way to cool off in the summer. There’s one right by my work! They are not open all day long so check the site for locations and hours.
- Katimavik Preschool Resource Centre offers drop ins every weekday for children 0 to 6 years of age and their parents and caregivers from Kanata, West Carleton, and Bells Corners
- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday (caregivers only) and Friday: 9am-11am
- Wednesday: 11am-12:30pm and 1pm-2:30pm
- The Ottawa Catholic School Board has four locations for drop-ins. They are open every weekday and as far as I know, there is no limit to how often you can attend per week. They are for children aged 0-6 and a ‘light nutritious snack’ is given.
- Divine Infant - 8100 Jeanne D’Arc Blvd. Orleans 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
- Our Lady of Mount Carmel - 675 Gardenvale Rd. Ottawa 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
- Prince of Peace - 1620 Heatherington Rd. Ottawa 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
- St. Elizabeth - 1366 Coldrey Ave. Ottawa - 8:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.