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It’s finally March, and with the new month having officially started, parents in Canada and the United States are getting ready for Spring Break to come. For the kids, it’s often nothing but excitement and anticipation about a full week off of school. For the parents, it can often be an extremely stressful time. Between needing to find things to keep your kids entertained, to childcare during the days for the 4 out of 5 households without a stay-at-home parent, Spring Break often seems like anything but a week of ease for grown-ups.
While many people go on a vacation somewhere warm like Florida or Mexico, there are limitless fun things you can do from the comfort of your own home, or town.
Go camping in the backyard or living room
Have a tent? It’s time to get it out! If the weather is nice or dry where you live, try popping it up in your backyard, and have a mini camping trip! Stargaze, eat some hotdogs, and maybe even make some homemade smores in the oven!
If it’s not warm enough yet (it definitely isn’t up here in Canada), try popping up your tent in the living room, put in as many extra pillows and cushions you can find, and let the kiddos go crazy with a fun night they won’t forget.
Don’t worry, if you don’t own a tent, make a fort with sheets or blankets over the back of furniture or chairs. Trust me when I say, everything is SO much cooler when you do it from within a blanket fort. This includes snacking, playing with toys, and even just sitting and playing on a tablet is more fun.
Ever heard of geocaching? It was really big a few years ago, though some of the hype has since died down. It doesn’t make it less fun though!
Geocaching is like modern day treasure hunting, except you KNOW there will be treasure, and you even have a map.
It’s simple, download the app (which is free), and it will tell you where there are geocaches in your area. Let your kids bring something small with them, as it’s often like a take-a-treasure-leave-a-treasure system. In this article, Aden shares how to make a geocache with your kids.
If you don’t have any geocaches in your area, though there are often many in most areas, you can always make up your own scavenger hunt.
Picnic in the Park
Okay, it may not sound like the most exciting thing in the world, but spending a full day, or even half a day in a local park with a playground, open space, and maybe even a trail can make some of the best memories. Add in a bunch of fun snacks that your kids can eat whenever they feel hungry and then go right back to playing will make it even better. After all, it’s a known fact that pretty much every kid loves to snack.
Make sure you bring something for yourself too, be it a book, a crossword puzzle, a coloring book, or something else you enjoy. And don’t forget something to sit on!
Try something new to eat
Do your kids like to cook and bake in the kitchen? Try checking out a cookbook (your local library will have tons to choose from if you don’t have any) or some recipes on Pinterest, and let your kids pick what they want to cook.
Make sure you have all the ingredients, and then let them take the reins. Be there to help every step of the way, but if it’s something they can do, let them do it. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect, the goal here is fun.
Ever heard of sensory play? It’s great for kids of all ages, but especially younger kids. As defined by the Cleveland clinic:
“Sensory play focuses on activities that engage your child’s senses, helping them develop language skills and motor skills. It also helps with cognitive growth, fosters social interactions, and encourages experimentation.”
It has numerous benefits, but the most important thing is that it’s fun. Different types of sensory play have an endless capacity for entertainment. Here are a few low-cost ideas that will keep your kids playing for hours.
- Bubbles – Fill your sink or a bin full of warm soapy water (with extra bubbles), and let the explore.
- Kinetic Sand or Play Dough – While you may not realize, these 2 popular activities are types of sensory play, and you can even make homemade versions too.
- Bins with dry and low-cost pantry staples – think things like uncooked macaroni noodles, beans, lentils, rice, or anything along those lines. (P.S. this would be a great use for that bag of dried beans that’s been sitting in the back of your pantry for the last two years that you keep saying you’ll use but have yet to.)
Now that you have the basis for your sensory bin, here are some things you can play with;
- Toys that won’t be damaged by water (i.e., nothing with electronics or batteries)
- Plastic dishes like small bowls and Tupperware containers
- Cooking utensils like whisks, ladles, spatulas, etc.
- Basic craft supplies like beads and pipe cleaners
What are your plans for Spring Break?
Do you have fun activities you remember from when you were a kid or things you do with your children already? What creative ways do you occupy your kids while sticking to your budget? We’d love to hear in the comments!
About Chloe Morgan
Chloe Morgan grew up living with a tight budget. In her late teens and early 20’s all the lessons she’d learned started to slip, like it does for many college age students on their own for the first time, and with their first credit card. As she’s gotten older, she’s started to deal with the repercussions and has taken on a frugal way of living, keeping her costs low, as she pays off debt and saves for her future. Chloe lives in Northern Ontario, Canada, with her cute dog, Rhea.