Family Programs at the Ottawa Art Gallery

by Melinda Buijs

As a parent of a three-year-old daughter, I’m always on the lookout for fun things to do in Ottawa. So when I joined the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) as a staff member this year, I was delighted to find out about OAG Art Camps and free kid-friendly programming, namely the Creative Sundays and Toddler Mornings programs.

Toddler Mornings

Taking place the first Wednesday morning of the month from October to May, Toddler Mornings is a free drop-in program from 10:00 – 11:30 AM at the Ottawa Art Gallery. Families, caregivers, babies and toddlers are invited to explore free creative activities together in a fun and relaxed environment.


Each Toddler Mornings session is organized around a different theme, with a focus on stimulating creativity through touch, colour, pattern and play. The atmosphere is casual and social, and adults can freely look at and discuss art with gallery staff, without worrying that their little ones are bored, fussing, or making too much noise. Strollers are always welcome in the galleries, and free coffee and tea are available for anyone needing a little morning pick-me-up.

I recently took a morning off work so that my daughter and I could participate in the December edition of Toddler Mornings. Special guest Dancing Mama had been invited to lead a salsa dancing session followed by a piñata-making activity. My daughter danced her little butt off, played with the other toddlers and together we created a colourful piñata to take home.

Join the Toddler Mornings Facebook group:

Check out the photos from Toddler Mornings.

Creative Sundays

You can also drop in to any of the free Creative Sundays at the Ottawa Art Gallery. This program is great for anyone of any age who loves to create with their hands. Kids, families, and adults of all ages love to drop by and make art with the staff. My husband, daughter and I have created some wonderful pieces to take home for our family art wall. Each week’s activity includes a free guided mini-tour of the gallery, followed by a hands-on project inspired by the exhibition. Themes have included stencil art, animation, and special holiday themes like a monster mash Halloween edition.


Creative Sundays runs every Sunday from October to May, from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. You don’t need to register, just drop- in whenever it’s convenient.

Join the Creative Sundays mailing list for updates on themes and activities by writing to:

Check out the photos from Creative Sundays.

Art Camps

If you are a parent who likes to plan ahead, then you may want to register for the gallery’s March Break Art Camp or Summer Art Camps. This year’s Summer Art Camps have super fun themes like My Mini City, Space Mission and Imaginary Worlds. These Art Camps are a one-of-a kind creative experience for kids aged 7 to 12. The camps are kept small, so kids can benefit from personal attention in a supportive environment. Content is primarily delivered in English with bilingual staff. Registration is now open.


Check out the fun at the last art camps:

For more information about these family-friendly programs, please contact or 613-233-8699 ext. 250. Ottawa Art Gallery is located at The Ottawa Art Gallery at 2 Daly Avenue (inside Arts Court).

Melinda Buijs is the mother of an active three-year-old daughter named Katherine. She is also a staff member at the Ottawa Art Gallery.


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