You can feel it in the air. Even if there is no one in your household finishing a school term right now, you still remember this as the ahhh moment. You start fading out of thinking/school mode and go into vegging out vacation brain.
Summer is the time when we all slow down – be it because of the effect of the heat on our bodies or the effect of it on our minds. We go into that relaxed island mentality and we barely cook, do as little housework as possible, read escapist books and sit on the balcony and watch the world go by.
However, exercising your brain during the summer can be part of the fun. Adults and kids (if you can get them to ignore the computer games) can reach for models, puzzles and mind challenging board games which can be played alone or with friends or the family.
Think of what a sense of achievement you or your child could have if they wile away some of those summer hours building and then flying a model airplane. Why not start a model railroad setup, with the whole family pitching in to build it and craft the scenery. Model railroading is a growing hobby and can be a lifetime one.
Udisco, 4668 Decarie Blvd. at Cote St. Luc Rd. Phone: 514-481-8107. Hours: Monday to Wednesday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday 9 a.m to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. http://www.udisco.com We are fortunate to have Canada’s largest distributor of hobbies right on our doorstep, and especially lucky because it is open to the public at wholesale prices. You can get up to 70% off list prices on plastic and wood models, radio controls and planes, boats, cars and trains. All the accessories needed to play, such as precision tools, motors, fittings and balsa wood are there as well. Children’s crafts, paint-by-numbers and repairs to trains and radio control equipment can all be found here. Once school starts up again, remember this place when the kids need to do their school projects and dioramas.
Boutique Strategie, 3423 St-Denis at Sherbrooke St. Phone: 514-845-8352. Hours: Monday to Wednesday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m www.strategygames.ca Children’s crafts, paint-by-numbers The Chess and Math Association offers this gaming shop with sets from $2.95 to $1,500 (a carved wooden set that sits on an electronic board) along with ones using the Peanuts, Simpsons, Alice in Wonderland, Star Wars, etc. There’s a wall of chess books, CDs and mind challengers like Risk, Cranium, Axis & Allies, Scotland Yard, Settlers of Catan and puzzles. Profits from the sales to the non-profit association, which offers camps, chess clubs and lessons. www.chess-math.org.
Jigsaw Jungle, 2379 Guenette, Ville St-Laurent at Dobrin. Phone: 514-331-3389. Hours: Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. http://www.jigsawjungle.com From toddler to grandpa, jigsaw puzzles (priced $20-$400) fascinate. For those of you who enjoy challenges, try the double sided ones, ones that angle the puzzle differently than the photo, spherical ones, those shaped like a bird, the whole Sistine Chapel or the biggest – all 24,000 pieces. Find what you want at the web site (they are not on display in the warehouse), call and then come in and pick it up in this warehouse. You can buy a roll-up surface to work on or have puzzles glued or laminated on things like place mats or napkins. For summer fun there are blow up and deflatable kites.