Growing up Swedish and playing in Toronto

10_7_Jacob%20Forsell_IBS_Scanpix_pippiAs a Swedish child, you have plenty of ways to play or “leka med” other Swedes in Toronto. Nowadays, you can easily get Swedish toys and books as well as join in a Swedish playgroup. First, a shout out to the Swedish Church and Pastor Anna Runesson, who started a wonderful program for Swedish kids in Toronto. There’s a playgroup that meets, “fikas” (a must-do Swedish coffee break) and sings Swedish songs. At the church, they have many Swedish children’s books, toys and a craft activity area for kids to enjoy. Anna is even willing to have other playgroup dates at other times, so contact her for more information. She has an active Facebook page where you can hear about the latest events and activities that the church often puts on, many with activities for children of all ages.

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I know as a parent to a bustling and clever little 2.5 year old, I want her to have as many Swedish opportunities as possible. We found her ABC blocks in Swedish at the 100-mile Child store near the Big Carrot in the Danforth area. It was great to find her toys that will improve her growing Swedish vocabulary.
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Besides downloading Swedish children’s programs from SVT Play, we also buy a lot of Swedish books while in Sweden and online. Bokus ships Swedish books to Canada and internationally, both for adults and children, quite inexpensively. It’s a good thing that it’s that easy to get thanks to the Internet age!
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Another valuable resource is the Active Kids Club started by a Norwegian woman named Kari Marie Svenneby, who designs reflectors that can be worn on you and your children’s clothes or placed on strollers, sleds or other ride toys. This is common in Sweden, where days are short during the winter months, and visibility is crucial for safety. She has an extremely informative blog and website about nature in and around Toronto for the active kid or adult. I really like that she endorses the need to “play outside” and that we should be conscious of safety and nature. Check out her website for resources on where to play, as well as her active Facebook page.
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When my daughter gets a bit older, we will introduce her to the Svenska Skolan i Toronto. They are affiliated with a school in Sweden, so they study Swedish in a bit more academic and professional way. Our intention is for our daughter to grow up with at least 2 languages, Swedish and English, so we think this is the best approach if we want her to possibly study in Sweden and we continue to live in Canada, which I’m sure we will. In addition, the Swedish School in Halton and Toronto put on the Lucia procession performances during Christmas time, which is always fun to see. The schools also have their own activities such as camping, skiing trips and film events, which are a great way to connect to the culture and other Swedish kids and parents.
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Looking for places to play in Toronto in general? Toronto has a great number of parks in the city and you can see the closest parks to your area here. The parks are really fun in the summer, as many of them have waterparks, wading pools and recreation centres with family pools, slides and courts. Also, there are a number of indoor play activities at the Toronto libraries and Early Years Centres around Ontario. An Ontario Early Years Centre is a place for children up to the age of six and their parents and caregivers to take part in programs and activities together. They have toys, books and parent groups and classes, which are either very affordable or free! The Ontario Science Centre is also another awesome and educational place for your kids to hang out. Your kids will never get bored here, that’s for sure!

I’m very happy that these reources are available, it makes Canada one step closer to living in Sweden!

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Categories: Living & Traveling, Swedish Culture

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