We love March. It means March Break and the return of two of our family’s favourite experiences – TIFF’s digiPlaySpace and the TIFF Kids International Film Festival  on offer at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto.

This year’s edition of digiPlaySpace (until April 22, 2018) offers a mixed reality adventure with over 20 installations for kids from 3 to 13. (PS – parents in TOw definitely won’t be bored!) We love it because it shows that technology is more than just touchscreens, social networks and video games. It’s where kids (and adults) can dance and jump as much as they click and code.

During March Break you can up the fun with a screen (or two or three) as part of the TIFF Kids International Film Fest (March 9-18, 2018). There are hundreds of screenings over the ten day festival.

We had a sneak peek of both and here are five of our favourite must-see’s:

1. Paper meets digital – The Sketch Aquarium is an all-ages hit. Participants colour a sea creature, scan the drawing and watch it swim and interact in a massive digital aquarium. (For ages 3+)

Trip tip: Bigger kids should head next door for some coding-friendly installations like the RotoRing (For ages 8+) . For the littles, there is an oversized book of the Gruffalo. But be sure to download the free Gruffalo Spotter AR app where you can track the footprints of creatures hidden throughout the exhibition. (For ages 4+)

2. Digital flamingos –Dance with flARmingos live motion capture gives participants a flamingo avatars where they can dance with virtual flamingos on the big screen. (For ages 3+)

3. Digital masks – Before or after your visit, stop by installation Mas que la cara (translation: “more than the face”) in the main lobby near the entrance to the TIFF store where a screen uses facial recognition and live video to capture a computer-created to your facial features. My boys spent a long time watching how the computer creates different digital masks. (For ages 6+)

Trip tip: It’s in the main entrance, so it’s free.

4. TIFF Kids Opening Night Party & Film on Friday, March 9th – the kick-off of the TIFF Kids’ International Film Festival features food, fun, access to the digiplayspace and the screening of White Fang. (Ages 8+)

Trip Tip: Want to see a bunch of films all at once? We had a sneak peek of a the Loot Bag Jr Rebel Tales, a series of shorts from around the world. My 5- and 8-year-olds LOVED it.

Here’s an example of COIN OPERATED, one of the animated short films:

5. Pancakes, Waffles and Film on Saturday, March 17th –Breakfast served in the TIFF Lounge with a 30th anniversary screening of the classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit. (For 10+)

Trip tip: TIFF’s website let’s you search titles and choose films according to grade and age. 

Still not sure? Thanks to TIFF Kids for these reco’s according to age: 

Recommended for ages 3 and up
Maya the Bee – The Honey Games dirs. Noel Cleary, Sergio Delfino
Anchors Up – Boats to the Rescue dirs. Simen Alsvik, William John Ashurst
Gordon and Paddy dir. Linda Hambäck

Recommended for ages 4 and up
The Incredible Story of the Giant Pear dirs. Philip Einstein Lipski, Jorgen Lerdam

Recommended for ages 6 and up
The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island dirs. Daniel Chuba, Mark Dippé, Wonjae Lee

Recommended for ages 7 and up
Nelly & Simon: Mission Yeti dirs. Nancy Florence Savard, Pierre Greco
Next Door Spy dir. Karla Von Bengtson

Recommended for ages 8 and up
Supa Modo dir. Likarion Wainaina
Children of Genghis dir. Zolbayar Dorj
DHH dir. Manish Saini
Lotte & Luise:  Twins on Board dir. Lancelot von Naso

Recommended for ages 9 and up
Double Trouble dir. Marta Karwowska
The Famous Five And The Valley Of Dinosaurs dir. Mike Marzuk
Rock My Heart dir. Hanno Olderdissen

Recommended for ages 12 and up
Almost Famous dir. Marco Carmel
Zombillenium dirs. Arthur de Pins, Alexis Ducord