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30 Jan, Monday
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Montreal Families

Ten Places for Dads to Take the Kids on Mother's Day (Or Any Other Day, For That Matter)

Mother's Day, here we come!

Mother's Day, here we come!

Dads, it’s go time.

Many moms will swear up and down that they’re really happy with a homemade card, a bouquet of grocery store flowers, or breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day. But, what they really, really want is a jumbo order of peace and quiet. In a bread bowl.

Dads, they want you to step up and take the children away. Just for a few hours.

So, what you need is a game plan … and possibly some socks (we’ll explain later).

Here are 10 things to do in Montreal on Mother’s Day weekend with the kids. One more thing, dads: Dropping the kids off at your own mother’s house doesn’t count.

1. Hit a parent/baby café. For dads with kids age 0 to 2, a parent/baby spot like Kidnasium in N.D.G., Bébé et Compagnie in St. Leonard, Bébélatté in Laval, or Lili Café et Compagnie in Ahuntsic is a good bet. The play areas are contained, dads will get a chance to drink a coffee while watching the munchkins and, if the kids last, buy them something to eat (avoiding at-home cooking and cleanup).

2. Indoor play centres. For kids age 1 to 8, an indoor play centre will entertain and exhaust.  Jungle Adventure (Laval and St. Leonard), Funtopia (Brossard), Fundomondo (Pointe Claire), Kazoom (Pierrefonds), or ZigZagZoo (Vaudreuil) are all good bets for active kids. For those toting a baby, all of these places have an area for little ones, as well as huge climbing structures for kids age 2/3 and up. Fundomondo, Funtopia and Kazoom are great options for parents of two children under 4 — the play areas are enclosed, making it easier to monitor the comings and goings of a 3/4/5-year old, while watching a baby. For older kids, Funtropolis has ball-shooting machines, and both it and Jungle Adventure have trampolines and video games. This is where the socks come in — many indoor play centres require that parents and kids are wearing them.

3. Do the unthinkable: Call another dad. Take a deep breath. Ask your wife for the phone number of one of your friends/relatives who has kids. Call the other dad and see if he wants to do a, um, playdate, either at your house or his house, liberating the two moms for a few hours. Or, see if he wants to meet somewhere with the kids. Talk iPads, hockey, stocks, Star Trek or Star Wars while watching the kids.  May the force be with you.

4. Speaking of the force, Comic-Con – a celebration of comic books and superheroes – is on at Place Bonaventure May 9, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. We took our superhero-obssessed 5- and 2-year-old to the last one and they loved it – there were vintage Transformers, people dressed up in costumes and, of course, wall-to-wall comics. There is also a food court in Place Bonaventure.

5. Take the kids to the Biodôme. The Biodôme is a central, easy indoor outing for kids ages 18 months and up. Kids will get to see lots of animals, fish and birds (the penguins are the best part) and possibly even learn something new. Although children under age 5, with their teeny weeny attention spans, will probably whiz through everything in under an hour, you can stretch the visit by hitting the gift shop, which has lots of toys and books to look at, and the on-site café or cafeteria.

6. Head for a bookstore. The children’s departments of Indigo bookstores are great places to hang out.  At the Indigo Pointe Claire, Laval and Brossard locations, there are Thomas the Train tables and other hands-on toys to play with, as well as areas for sitting and looking at books together. Both of these branches also have on-site Starbucks, so you can grab a latte and browse together for a while.

7. Hit IKEA. If there’s something you need for the house, it’s a good day to go to IKEA, which has child-friendly features throughout the store and in the restaurant. The Boucherville location is bigger and more kid-oriented than the Cavendish one. Both branches have the drop-off children’s play area called Smaland, it’s for children who are between 37 and 54 inches tall. IKEA is also a great place to be at lunch time, because the cafeteria has a play area, highchairs and various kid-friendly food options (plain pasta, meatballs, baby food in jars).

8. Check out the Children’s Museum: Would you relax? It’s not a traditional museum. At the Laval Children’s Museum, kids get to try out different professional roles, including fisherman, police officer, astronaut, grocery store cashier, chef, construction worker and grocery store cashier. It takes about an hour for them to see all the environments. Heads up: Either bring your own food to eat or plan to have lunch elsewhere (there’s no restaurant).

9. Catch a flick: Check the Cinema Montreal website to find out what children’s movies are playing.

10. Get some groceries: If you’ve completed any of these missions and find yourself heading home in under two hours, slow down there, cowboy. Let the kids help pick out some grub or takeout for dinner. You never know … mom could be halfway to Mexico by now. Don’t worry. She’ll be back in time for Father’s Day.

Main photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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