I love having an additional day with my kids, and I love that we do awesome stuff together, but it’s not all on me to bring the magic! Here’s how to get the kids involved to make P.A. Days special.
We like to do “out of town” things on PA Days. By getting out of the school district, there’s a good chance other kids are still in school so line ups and crowds are minimum. #parenthack This P.A. Day we planned to head to Hamilton.
I started out by making a note of the places I would want to take the kids, and of course I sought advice from the experts in our Instagram and Facebook communities. When I had a list of about 8 spots up for consideration, I enlisted my kids. They’re job was to actually plan the day!
Here’s how that worked…
I gave my kids the long list, and asked them to research each of the 8 or so destinations. They had to use Google to find out the following info:
- Admission price
- If they actually wanted to go there
My kids are 8 and 10, so they are net-savvy and this kept them busy – working together – for over an hour. Let’s take a moment and appreciate that.
Once they had determined the details for each destination, and crossed off the ones that didn’t interest them, the girls needed to use Google again to map out our trip. I wanted them to become a little familiar with how close “other cities” really are, and driving times because I’m over hearing “How long until we get there?”
Here’s what our P.A. Day itinerary looked like:
First stop, Hamilton Public Library’s Central Branch – we’re big fans of any library. Next we were off to Limeridge Mall to visit the Disney Store. Then, lunch at 541 Eatery and Exchange – this was my choice! After lunch we’d tie up our skates and head to Pier 8 for some skating, before hitting Grandad’s Donuts on our way home.
Solid plan, kids! I was excited!
Our first stop was the Central Branch of the Hamilton Public Library. We love libraries and visit them anytime we can, and this one has become one of our new faves! We’ll definitely be back! If you’ve never been, add it to your bucket list. When you walk into the library, you see a huge ‘living wall’, one of those walls of plants – and it makes a perfect photo backdrop! Then, up the few steps is an impressive space filled with workstations. If you didn’t know better, you’d think you’d walked into an office! Turn left and head towards the kids section, overflowing with kid-lit for any age. I picked up a ton of parenting resources, my kids made a new list of books to add to their must-read list. We aren’t Hamilton residents, so we didn’t check anything out, but we sure did loiter and read 🙂 One day soon when I don’t have the kids with me I’m going to stroll the Hamilton Farmer’s Market because the sights and smells were so hard to resist!
From there, we drove to Limeridge Mall because my kids wanted to go to the Disney store. This brought about another chance to be self-reliant in their P.A. Day mapping. Limeridge Mall has a touch-screen directory that my kids used to find out where the Disney Store was, and how we get there. I’m notoriously horrible with directions, so anytime my kids can improve their sense of direction, even slightly, I’m all for it!
While the sights and sounds of the Disney Store were impressive, my kids have inherited my frugality, so they were not eager to part with their hard earned money, and they were getting hungry! Our next stop was the spot I was most excited about: 541 Eatery and Exchange.
“541 Eatery & Exchange is a non-profit café on Barton Street East, where you can pay-it-forward by volunteering or by turning dollars into buttons. Anyone can use 5 buttons from the jar each day as $5 towards a good meal, which helps feed those who need help paying, but also nurtures a diverse community of belonging around the table.”
When we walked into 541 Eatery and Exchange, the smells of home-cooking were mouthwatering. The restaurant is big and brights, and filled with a diverse clientele sitting at rustic tables of all sizes. We ordered our food – meatless southwest chili, butternut squash soup, a grilled cheese, a bowl or hash browns and a breakfast burrito. The prices were low and the food was beyond delicious. The girls and I shared everything family-style because with eat bite we keep gushing “Oh my gosh you have to try this!” The food was fresh and homemade and even convinced my kids to let me try to recreate the recipes for chili and squash soup at home! Thanks, 541!
And if you’re wondering if this is a kid-friendly spot, it sure is! They offer colouring and story books, a chalk wall, and even have designated stroller parking. Plus cookies. Kids love cookies, right?!
After lunch and a few murals on the chalk wall, we headed back to the car only to realize, we forgot our skates! Total bonehead move on our part, but on the sunny side, we have a reason to go back to Hamilton! That meant we jumped right to our final destination, Grandad’s Donuts. Hamilton has no shortage of donuts, and Grandad’s Donuts didn’t disappoint! They freshly make the ol’ classics, except way better and way bigger! We picked up a dozen for $14, so the price is right, too! The nostalgia and jumbo sized donuts have turned us into super fans and we’ve already been back since.
Our day in Hamilton was exciting, delicious and something we can’t wait to duplicate again on our next P.A. Day!