Spring Break without Breaking Bank
Spring Break is scaring me this year. Honestly, there’s no way I can spend a few hundred dollars a day over Spring break. It seems everytime we get in the car and go anywhere, it costs more than $100/day. Sometimes, it’s that just to get in the door. That being said, I’ve been brainstorming some fun thrills for spring break on a dime. Here’s my top 10.
* Load up and go to a local park. Take a picnic lunch and let the kids play. If your kids think they are too old for the usual park then find a nature trail, a skate park, go hiking, or have a scavenger hunt. (big kids can take roller blades, bicycles or skates and hit the sidewalks). We have a new skate park that is a huge hit. Lucky me, it has a playground for my little one also.
*Get kids involved in the community. Ask your kids what charity means the most to them. Take a day and visit their headquarters. Kids can collect items to donate and you can take them along with you. The bonus here is that you just might get your garage, their room, or closet free of some of their clutter. (shhh…don’t tell them your counting on it)
*Go fishing. Baiting hooks isn’t exactly my idea of fun, but I have agreed to do it one day. (any volunteers wanting to do the dirty work are more than welcome to come along). No one likes to fish? go to the lake and feed the ducks, take a walk for an hour or so. Take along a camera and let them be in charge of it as you walk along. You may be surprised what they enjoy taking pictures of.
*Give the kids a movie marathon day at home. We’re expecting rain for spring break (more than we’ve had all month). Homemade tents, movies, games and popcorn will surely pass the rainy day.
*Tweens want Freedom. Hate to break the news to you but hanging with mom is no longer “cool”. Well, it’s also not cool for me to take my 10 year old and drop her off at the mall or movies and hope for the best. We’re working on “freedom issues” (a whole other blog post!) but I have managed a good idea. She’s having dance parties in my garage with a few girlfriends on Friday evenings. They bring their music, take out some drinks and snacks, I’ve set up a table they can “hang out at”, I back out the car and close the door. They promise not to play the music too loud. Those girls are out there for hours! For spring break, she’s inviting a couple friends from school to come and join her and the neighborhood kids. After setting a few ground rules, this works wonders to give her freedom and me some peace of mind to know she’s safe. It’s a hit with the kids. I’m sure for spring break this will take place more often than just Friday night.
*We’re planting a garden together. Small, of course. It will be a fun outdoor day. Gardening is work but by giving them some control of what is planted and where you arrange things, they will help out and have a good day with you. You can have a container garden just the same. We planted herbs a few weeks ago from seeds, same idea. It’s a fun project, they like to eat what they grow, so it’s another win-win!
*Go to the mall and make it a scavenger hunt. The buddy system must be in place. No kid is alone…ever! I am in the store while they go look at something else. She and her friends have a list of things to find and either snap a picture with their phone or buy but they can’t pay more than ____ for it. Text each other, meet up at the door and walk to the next store together. Kids love this. Time to eat? hit the food court!
*Have a spa day at home. Pedicures and manicures. Bright colored polished. (lemon, lime green, orange, blue, pink, black, glitter polish, neon colors…they love those). Let them paint and design whatever they wish. Add some more fun by having hair accessories and letting them play with styles. This is fun with a small group.
*Hit the craft store. I find things online that they can make, some supplies you can buy at the dollar store if you don’t already have at home. Set up the project inside or out and let them get to work. Homemade sand art? necklaces/bracelets/rings? building an ant farm? Making stepping stones? building a bird house? Painting? whatever their interest, they will enjoy this.
*Let them earn some extra money. Weather permitting, pay them to wash the car. Throw out a few soaker balls while your’re at it. Playing in the water is the best day for kids.
One last suggestion: Ask them if they’d like to plan an activity? Give them a few boundaries and then go and do what they come up with. This is how I initially found our new skate park in the first place. Kids have a radar for what’s new and what their friends are doing for cheap fun.
Hope that you can enjoy some of these ideas and they help take the anxiety of money off your plate. I have found that times at home with projects like this are not only fun, they are a great bonding time with my children. During the course of day, the conversations that come up may surprise you. Relax and enjoy the week with them.