Read books with your child. You and your child can take turns reading out loud to one another. This can help them practice their reading skills and gain confidence for the upcoming school year.
Teach your child how to swim or sign them up for swimming lessons. Check out the offerings at your community recreation centre; oftentimes, they offer free or lower cost swimming lessons.
Be a tourist in your own city. Explore Old Montreal, enjoy free tastings at Jean-Talon or Atwater markets and check out artwork at museums across the city. (Most museums offer free open hours once week. The Museum of Contemporary Art, for instance, is free on Wednesday evenings between 6 and 9pm, with a free tour being offered at 6:30pm.)
Treat your child to ice cream. A Montreal favourite is Ca Lem on Sherbrooke Street. They offer fun, creative ice cream flavours such as Smores, watermelon swirl, Nutella, strawberry-lychee and black sesame. They also launch a new limited edition flavor every week!
Go to street sales, local fairs and farmers markets.
Visit the beach. There are many beaches situated near the city, such as Parc Jean Drapeau and Cap. St Jacques Nature Park.
Go to the zoo.
Go to La Ronde.
Attend the Montreal Cirque Festival in July. Head to St. Denis Street for free events, open to all families.
Attend the Mini Rogers Cup at the Olympic Park. (July 21st, 23rd and 24th; open to all.) On the first day, children will have the opportunity to play tennis and interact with a player from the Women’s Tennis Association. The finals take place over the weekend, with kids under 12 competing for the title.
Attend the Just for Laughs Festival.
Make popsicles or smoothies.
Organize a lemonade stand with your child. This can provide practice with math skills and people skills.
Exercise with your child. Activity ideas include taking walks, hiking, biking, jump-rope, playing Frisbee or playing in the sprinklers (a summer favorite.)
Go to Parc Jean Drapeau. They offer a wide range of activities from the Aquazilla water park, to boat rentals, to public art and swimming just to name a few.
Have a barbecue with your family and friends.
Have a picnic at Beaver Lake. The mountain is teeming with activity during the hot summer months. Take a spin on the paddle boats. go on a walk and enjoy the abundant park and picnic areas.
Attend free outdoor concerts, such as les Francopholies de Montreal from June 14th to June 22nd.
Explore the Montreal Mural Festival from June 6th to June 16th.
Organize a crafting activity. Tie-dye old t-shirts, make bracelets, press summer flowers, paint rocks…
Make sidewalk chalk murals.
Watch the fireworks at the Old Port. This is a summer classic – grab a poutine or quick dinner and enjoy the fireworks show with your family.
For more ideas, be sure to check out the following resources!
Summer is an opportunity for kids to grow, play and enjoy their free time. This is also a good time to encourage your child to explore new books. Reading at home can help children sustain and improve their reading skills during the summer months. Make reading part of your everyday routine –before bed, in the car, at the park and during vacation. Check out these suggestions on getting your child excited about books.
Tips on Raising a Young Reader1
Read together. Read aloud to your child and encourage your child to read aloud to you. This gives your child a chance to practice pronunciation and work on difficult words together.
Tip: Try switching who reads aloud each page – you read a page, then your child. This can be a good tactic if the book is challenging for your child. Help the story come alive by using different voices for each character.
Let your child pick. Give your child the freedom to choose the type of book they want. When they pick a subject they are interested in (animals, sports, non-fiction, comics, fantasy) it will help them engage in the story.
Tip: Sign up for a Montreal Library card and create weekly outings to the library (find your nearest library). This gives your child access to a range of books, reduces cost of buying new books and may become something you both look forward to each week. Librarians are also great places to get book recommendations.
Discuss what you read. As you are reading, stop and ask your child questions about the story. This interactive style of reading can improve your child’s language skills and will give you an idea of their level of understanding. Older children may prefer to read on their own. You can still engage them by asking them questions about the books they are reading.
Questions to start your discussion:
• What do you think will happen next?
• How do you think the character is feeling now?
• What did the character learn?
• What would happen if…?
• How would you feel…?
Be a role model. Let your child see that you are reading, too. Kids are copy cats! If you show your child that you value reading, they may grow to love reading, too.
Choosing a summer camp for a child can often be difficult, but it becomes especially demanding when your child has mental health challenges or special needs. Here are some recommendations from Jane Bourke, our program’s coordinator and family therapy specialist.