Photo: A young girl enjoys painting her own personalized pottery piece at Crock A Doodle where families of all ages can join together to paint and play at their drop-in studio where no reservations are required. Photo courtesy of Crock A Doodle.
Be On The March To Fun Filled Activities This Winter
In addition to providing a much-need hiatus from school for their children, March Break can also be a stressful time for parents seeking to find activities to keep their little ones and not-so little ones busy, outside their structured school environment.
While some families are able to head south and soak up the sun for a week, many others are often looking for activities and events closer to home.
To meet those needs, Biz X magazine has put together a list of activities which, while far from complete, provide some answers to the thorny questions facing many families in the middle of winter.
The following businesses profiled in this feature story can help you beat the winter blues in February and March and also offer some suggestions for things to do during March Break, on your own time.
They include pottery making, rock climbing, hiking through one of the region’s many protected natural areas, taking aim with a bow and arrow, tossing axes at a wooden target and playing arcade games, as well as glo-golf and laser tag.
Many businesses and organizations have special programming events planned for March Break and at the end of this feature you can review our MARCH BREAK CAMP DIRECTORY to see specific events for the week of March 11 to 15, 2019.
These special activities can range from additional programming or simply extended hours to accommodate families seeking to keep their children busy, active and entertained close to home. Just turn to page 44 of this issue to see the directory, but first check out the information compiled in this feature for businesses to visit any time of the year!
Create Unique Hand-Painted Pottery Pieces
For parents seeking an artistic outlet for their children, Crock A Doodle in the Real Canadian Superstore at 4371 Walker Road in Windsor, might be just the answer.
The business, which has been open for just over a year, provides opportunities for people of all ages — not just kids, but also the young at heart — to create ready-to-paint pottery pieces with their own unique designs.
“It’s fun art, not fine art,” stresses Manager Lisa Bowen. “But many of the pieces created by children, their parents and grandparents will be part of their lives forever.”
In addition to daily walk-in business, the store offers birthday parties, themed parties every month and a number of special events featuring characters such as Elsa and Olaf from the movie “Frozen”; Bomber, the Windsor Spitfires’ mascot, and many others.
“Our themed events and parties almost always sell out so you need a reservation for those, but we attract a lot of walk-in traffic as well,” explains Bowen.
Bowen indicates there are drop-off events planned every day during March Break.“This allows parents to drop off their children and pick them up later in the day,” Bowen notes. “The event includes a lesson, a snack, pizza and a pottery piece they can paint and fire.”
Typically, finished pieces can be picked up a few days later.
“We try to have one themed event every month and they are very popular,” Bowen states. “Children and their parents and grandparents paint the pieces together, so it’s a real family project, which everyone loves.”
Birthday parties typically last about two hours and include a pizza party following the pottery-painting process in Crock A Doodle’s private party room.
Bowen adds there are also ladies’ painting nights, corporate events, seniors’ activities and baby footprint parties.
The products used to make the customized pieces are all non-toxic. The paints are water-based and easily cleaned off hands and clothes and all the pottery pieces are food-safe, so can be used in the same way as regular dishes, cups and mugs.
For more information on upcoming events, rates and how to book a party, refer to the website.
Cupid Loves Shooting Arrows & Kids Do Too
Owner Sam Toukan bills Archery Mayhem as “the only place in Windsor where you can shoot at someone and it’s acceptable.”
Located at Central Park Athletics, 3400 Grand Marais Road West, the business has been open since May 2018 and caters to recreational archery enthusiasts from age 10 and up.
“It’s fun, active and competitive,” emphasizes Toukan. “The arrows are fully padded and while you can feel a hit for game purposes, it leaves no marks or bruises and doesn’t hurt.”
Toukan reveals he used to play paintball, but found the pellets left him bruised and sore at times and believes his indoor archery business is much more participant-friendly.
Toukan, who participates in archery combat events across Canada, developed the games and the equipment while studying for his master’s degree in engineering.
“I didn’t feel the equipment I was using was safe enough for use by younger players, so I came up with an entirely new design and everyone seems to love it,” Toukan states.
It was part of a project to design a product or business and then take it to market, remarks Toukan who now works for a major equipment manufacturer as an engineer.
Since Archery Mayhem shares space at Central Park with other sports, events and play times have to be booked in advance, online, (you may also call for a booking).
“We offer special event days, birthday parties, corporate events and individual play or in groups,” adds Toukan.
Fees are $25 per person for 90 minutes, which includes 15 minutes of instruction, with the remainder devoted to games, including “Zombie,” with players who get hit dropping out of the game or “Healer” when a player getting hit gets revived and rejoins the game.
Toukan says that about 50 percent of his customer base is made up of repeat players, which is a good sign for any business.
“As of mid January we’re already taking bookings for March Break and since we compete for space here at Central Park, it’s always a good idea to book early,” he reiterates.
Get In The Zone
If parents are seeking activities that combine the physical with competitive play using arcade games, then Zap Zone Fun Centre on Windsor’s far east side at 1665 Lauzon Road might meet those needs.
Zap Zone includes many different arcade games as well as laser tag, bumper cars and glo-golf, lists Manager Crystal Mansour.
“We’ve been open for 10 years now and it’s a very popular place for birthday parties and family get-togethers,” Mansour expresses. “It gives kids a choice between the popular arcade games as well as more physical activities, which sends them home tired but happy.”
On a recent weekend, the centre was filling up with children attending a birthday party in one of the private rooms just off the main gaming floor, as well as families stopping by for a mid-afternoon break.
“It’s a lot more active than many other places and that’s great for young boys,” says Cynthia Relf, a Teacher who was visiting Zap Zone recently for a birthday party for her son Kayaan. “It’s all about keeping them busy and physically active.”
Relf continues by stating, “There are enough games for them to play and there’s a great variety. I’d much rather bring them to a place such as this than having them play at home with their tablets and I-Pads.”
Mansour says there are no current plans for any special programming over March Break, but suggests parents visit their website for more information on hours and rates.
A second Zap Zone location on the city’s west side recently closed, but will reopen in a new location in the future.
Story continues on PAGE 36.