Guerilla parenting: playing at Staples

by Zach

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.

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10 Comments

Filed under Free, Outings, Services

10 responses to “Guerilla parenting: playing at Staples

  1. We went and wandered around the aisles of that exact Staples the other day when it was miserable out, just so we could get out of the apartment! Our 20 month old is still in a stroller, but was happy to have some new things to look at, while we broswed fire proof lock boxes.

  2. Krista

    Kettleman’s bagels on Carling is a particular fav of my 3yo. He can watch them make bagels forever!

    Canadian Tire is also good – especially if you can get one of the “driving” carts. That plus a tape measure for each of my kids to play with while we shop makes them very happy.

    I’ll have to remember Staples…

  3. My fav is one of those big box pet stores. The kids love them and we can easily kill hours in there.

  4. eisangel

    #1 favourite of littlest boy is Petsmart. Walmart is a close second because of all the toys 🙂 Biggest boy could spend entire days at Home Depot collecting pieces of wood off the floor and watching forklifts.

  5. Oh man, no. I do not let the boy touch anything on shelves at the store unless it is going in the cart to buy. I hate the whole no, put that back, don’t touch thing. He’s not really old enough to really understand though. Maybe if he was older…

  6. Teresa

    We hit the “guinea pig store” (Petsmart) every now and then at my daughter’s request. Animals to look at, squeaky toys to squeak. Fun, fun, fun! Other favourites: gardening centres/nurseries, Chapters (Gloucester Centre), farmers’ markets.

  7. Isabelle

    Shoppers Drug Mart is particularly popular with my 4 yo because of the mini carts he can push himself. Plus, there’s always something you need to buy there, so it ends up being a useful trip.

  8. Any mega hardware store with ride on lawnmowers.

  9. petsmart for sure.

    and the o-train ride to southkeys, a visit to chapters and back again. total cost? $3 for the adult, if you manage not to buy anything at chapters!

  10. Pingback: May : what you might have missed « Kids in the Capital

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