There are times when I need something to do with the kids that isn’t anything that we usually do, and that is free, or very, very cheap. Often doing something different is for my own sanity. And, usually the novelty keeps the kids, and me, entertained far more than would seem logical.
I suspect that these activities sometimes border on the unusual. For example, taking the kids to Staples. Who takes their kids to a big box store primarily to amuse them? Me, apparently.
For example, there is a Staples at 403 Bank Street. It’s a big building, by downtown standards. And it has a number of characteristics that make it a pretty effective way to pass part of an afternoon:
- unlocked, out of the way bathrooms
- usually not very busy
- wide aisles and pretty good sight lines
- many, many packaged, hard to break, colourful items (the expensive stuff is generally locked away or out of reach – watch out for the computer monitor displays, though)
- rows of desk chairs to try out
- staff that don’t seem disturbed by small children
If you actually need to buy something, that’s great. If not, put something in your hands, and you look like you’re shopping. The kids constantly grab stuff off of shelves and displays, so I usually have to say “we’re not buying that” many times. However, I can also get some extra mileage out of the experience by getting the Boy to return whatever he’s holding to where he got it.
While I certainly don’t want to visit with kids on regular basis, I have to say, I’ve been surprised at how well the store entertains them.
Warning: watch out for the many huge, rolling stepladders the staff uses to reach high shelves. To kids, they seem like immense fun, but are definitely not safe for little ones.
Are you guerilla parenting too? Do you find yourself taking your kids places to play that you never would have imagined before? New suggestions are always welcome.
Zach is the dad of a 3.5 year daughter “the girl” and twenty month old son “the boy”. Zach doesn’t have his own blog but he is blogged about at Capital Mom.