Egads! March Break is almost here! Have you made your plans? We are still finalizing ours and while it gets harder to be picky the longer you leave your booking, it’s still not too late to book your travel.
Opting to skip the airport routine this year? Fair enough. Staying in your hometown can sometimes offer just as many opportunities for adventure.
Case in point: Last year I was curious about planning for March Break from a dad’s perspective. I interviewed some of Toronto’s hippest dads for my article in The Toronto Star to ask: What are you planning for your kids?
(I wonder what these dads are planning this year?!)
This article originally appeared in The Toronto Star (print) in 2014.
For March Break, there is the tried and true and then there’s what dads do. Ladies know: Leave March Break up to fathers and chances are they’ll surprise you. Heather Greenwood Davis checked in with some of Toronto’s hippest dads to find out how they plan.
THE DAD: ERIC ALPER
Director of media relations at eOne Music Canada The Kid: Hannah, 10, blogger at CallMeHannah.com The Plan: “I’m planning a few days of relaxed enthusiastic daddy-daughter time,” says Alper. Part of that will include showing Hannah some of the places that hold a connection to her family’s heritage, such as Grossman’s Tavern, his grandfather’s old bar, and the Kensington Market area, where he spent time as a teen and his parents grew up. “For dinner, we’ll go to Rancho Relaxo on College Street.” And they will take in a rock show. “[Hannah and I] are seeing Pink in concert to explain a bit more about what her dad does.” The Advice: “There’s a time to hang out with your child, and a time to let them find their own adventure,” says Alper. “You don’t have to plan every minute of the entire week.”
THE DAD: SCOTT STRATTEN
Author of national bestseller UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging. The Kid: Owen, 10 The Plan: The author of two books and a social media expert, Stratten says he’s turning over the reins to his son this week. “I’m giving the kids a list of five places to go, in driving distance, and letting him call the shots.”
The Advice: Put down your iPhone, BlackBerry and laptop! “Try to have a device-free holiday,” says Stratten, emphasizing, “Not the kids, you! At the very least, dedicate chunks of time during the break . . . (so) your focus is on your kids. I know, losing our phones and authority can be tough, but we have this the other 51 weeks of the year.”
THE DAD: FRANK FERRAGINE
a.k.a. “Frankie Flowers” on Breakfast Television The Kids: Gavin, 6, and Matheson, 3 The Plan: Ferragine says he’ll be taking advantage of the snow-tube parks in his area, including Snow Valley, his favourite, over the course of the week.
“With two boys, I always advise going outside and keeping them active.
“This March Break, I will be doing just that, as well as skating, coaching hockey with Gavin, and we hope to go night skiing at least once.” And if sports aren’t your thing? Ferragine suggests picking up a TTC family day pass, then using it to get out and explore Toronto. The Advice: “I hate hearing the phrase, “surviving March Break,” says Ferragine. “First, we have to remind ourselves that, in time, our kids will want nothing to do with us.” “Second, use March Break as a time to explore, excite and tire your kids out so much they go to bed early enough that the adults can enjoy a glass of wine!”
THE DAD: DALTON HIGGINS
Author of Far From Over: The Music and Life of Drake The Kids: Solomon, 6, and Shiloh, 13 The Plan: “Anything that’s not cliché . . . like, signing up for a week-long kiddie arts camp in multi-cultural Toronto. Yawn!” says Higgins. He says you’re more likely to find him playing chess with the kids and teaching them about ways they can save the planet, as well as enjoying a few well-planned naps. “The Bell-Higgins family will be kick-starting and co-ordinating a mass megacity sleep-in.”
The Advice: “March Break is a time to slow it right down,” says Higgins. “Chill out and watch some dusty DVDs, while your kids stay up way past their curfew until Thursday — at which point, it’s time to get back to reality! All households should go hang out at the Toronto Public Library two out of the five days,” he adds. “It’s one of my fave stomping grounds.”
THE DAD: NICK ELIADES
Publisher of Oh baby! Magazine The Kids: Andreas, 7, and Alexandra, 5 The Plan: “What I really want to try with my kids is indoor rock climbing,” says Eliades. “There is a great place in Toronto West called Boulderz Climbing Centre that allows kids as young as 4 to participate. I’d also like to try a yoga class with them. I think it will help to calm them and to teach them to focus.” The Advice: “Don’t sweat it! When I was a kid, my parents didn’t stress about how we spent our time,” he says. “What I would suggest is to be active. Get them outside and moving every day no matter what the weather! Kids that play and move outdoors will likely eat well, sleep better and be happier.”
Your turn: Who makes the March Break plans at your house?