By Susan Merrill
A week with no school for the kids can be stressful! But it can also give you a great opportunity to enjoy some family fun. Here are six fun spring break ideas for the whole family.
1. Hit the beach!
For a great many people, Spring Break = The Beach. For good reason. Winter has been cold and gray. Work and school have been rough. No place on earth relaxes the spirit like the coast: bright sun, crashing waves and feet in the sand. Your family will have nothing but smiles.
2. The big parks… and small ones, too.
The Grand Canyon. Yosemite. The Great Smoky Mountains. America is full of natural wonders and beauty. Somewhere within driving distance lies a national park or state park offering endless opportunities for fun and exploration.
Starting in March, America’s great pastime begins another season. The states of Florida and Arizona host teams from all over the nation. Spring training offers fans a much more intimate experience with the sport.
4. The big rig.
How many times have you been on the road with your family and you all see that big motor home next to you and wish you were in it? Make it happen. RV dealers rent those big rigs for surprisingly reasonable fees.
5. Wacky destinations.
America has millions of strange and odd attractions. Most times they are free or very low cost. The Blowing Rock in North Carolina. Dinosaur World in Florida. They offer a balance to the massive and very expensive theme parks. Yet strangely, they give the same thrills and smiles.
6. The Food Tour.
We all love to eat. What is your passion? Seafood? Barbecue? Southern cooking? Plan a road trip hitting some of the very best of the foods you love. Maybe you will drive all over Texas sampling the best of their unique beef barbecue. Or, it could be a trip up the New England coast for classic seafood. How about sitting in New Orleans eating jambalaya in an open air café? Nothing brings a family together better than food.
Tips for a Stacycation
Traveling is not the only way to have a great time with the family on vacation. Turn your backyard into your very own resort destination. You can play all types of different sports such as ultimate frisbee or volleyball. Maybe you will put down an old-fashioned Slip ’N Slide®. Even a sprinkler can keep young kids entertained for hours on end. Think outside the box and come up with your own unique backyard fun.
Our kids, for the most part, are overscheduled. So when spring break rolls around, we all tend to relish the chance to just sleep in and do nothing. While that may be fine for a long weekend, extended breaks need some purpose and a plan. Try these tips for keeping your kids active and engaged with the world around them during school break.
1. Maintain normal hours.
If your children stay up until the wee hours, they’re naturally going to want to sleep all morning. Try to keep the family on a reasonable schedule, even when school’s out so that more can be accomplished during the day. This will also make the inevitable transition back to a school schedule easier.
2. Set aside some tasks for the break.
We all have those things we would get done if we “just had the time.” Whether it’s cleaning out the kids’ closets or getting all those decorations back into the attic, you have a golden opportunity for getting caught up with family to-dos during the break. Delegate portions of each task to the kids and get things accomplished!
3. Focus on service.
Giving our time to others in need is difficult during the school week routine. Make plans during the break to participate in volunteer work at a local shelter or nonprofit. And remember those closets that you cleaned out in #2? You likely have boxes of gently-used clothing and toys that many of these agencies would love to have. Let your children participate in the process of donating those items.
4. Put limits on screen time.
With the lure of computers and around the clock cable programming, the school break can easily become a blur of video games and sitcoms. Use our screen time tracker at imom.com to keep the use of these types of entertainment to a reasonable level and keep kids moving in other directions.
5. Schedule some friend time.
Make plans with fellow moms in advance to have other kids over. It will keep your crew engaged and having fun, and the other parents may reciprocate, giving you some much-needed quiet time!
6. Make a stop at the library.
Your local library is a great resource during school breaks and often schedules story times and other programming specifically for these weeks. Make a trip there to check out a couple of great reads, and hang out for a while to explore. You may be surprised by the variety of options and services available in today’s libraries.
7. Grill Master.
A skill your child should have as an adult is the ability to cook good food. The popularity of outdoor grilling is bigger than ever. Get in on the fun. Spend the week with your kids challenging and expanding your abilities.
8. The Outdoor Project.
Yard work on vacation? Sure! It’s the perfect time to add beauty and function to your home. Take this time to add that long talked about gazebo. That fountain or a garden. Get the whole family involved with the vision and planning. After you’ve sweated it out, head for a swim somewhere.
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