Highly anticipated by students of all ages, Spring Break is that wonderful week-long respite from the rigors of studies. After what often seems like an endless winter season with few breaks from classes or work, Spring Break provides the opportunity for families to spend a little time with each other, whether they stay close to home
or depart on a quick trip to a favorite location or to locations yet discovered. Family-friendly Spring Break activities can range from adventures that take just a few hours to full day activities to trips that will create indelible memories that can be shared for a lifetime.
Here’s a list of 10 family-friendly Spring Break ideas for families to enjoy together:
- Plant a Garden – Spring is the time of re-birth and this is true for the plants outside your house as well. Whether your yard includes just a small patch of grass or acres of green, designate an area that the family can garden and tend together. The trick – of course – is to make this a fun activity. Tailor gardening activities to your child’s age level. All kids love to dig in the dirt but don’t expect perfection. Even the littlest ones can get into the act by tossing some seeds into the holes you’ve dug. Let all the kids pick out what they want to plant, including both flowers and vegetables, and talk to them about how to tend the garden properly, including watering and weeding.
- Visit a National Park – There are nearly 60 National Parks in the United States and tons of National Recreation Sites, National Battlefields, National Monuments, National Preserves, and much more. These are all treasures, ranging from the smallest to the largest and there’s a good chance that one is within a reasonable driving distance of your home. Visiting one of them isn’t very costly and opportunities abound for camping or other low-cost lodging. Many offer Junior Ranger programs for the kids, nature walks, hiking, lectures, and all sorts of other activities that appeal to a variety of ages.
- Splurge! – Okay, so you’ve saved up your money for a great Spring Break trip. But where will you go? Why not pass on the usual beach destinations for something a little more exciting? Spring Break is a great time to take the family to Europe. Prices are lower and crowds are fewer. Consider purchasing a fly-drive vacation and exploring at your own pace. Avoid pre-planned package tours that keep you moving and can be tough on children.
- Explore the City – Need to stay close to home? If you live near a large city, you probably already know just how much there is to see and do there. But often, parents don’t take advantage of all the kid-friendly options in America’s great metropolises. Look for children’s museums, kid-friendly theatrical productions and concerts, city parks, historical sites, and fun places to dine, and treat your kids to a day or two in the city. Urban explorers can also bring along a picnic tote and admire the skyscrapers while enjoying a simple meal.
- Enjoy a Road Trip Picnic – If you’re traveling to a particular destination and want to enjoy a healthy picnic meal along the way (rather than fast food or other usual road-side offerings), pack one up and take it along. Keep your eyes open for a particularly picturesque location or a spot with space for the kids to run around and enjoy some time out of the car. Today’s picnic backpacks and various other picnic totes make it easy to take your meal with you. Nevertheless, a road trip picnic demands a little more planning so that nothing is forgotten. Be sure to bring along:You may want to keep perishables in a separate cooler from beverages as the beverage cooler tends to be opened often and this may cause spoilage. Include a refrigerator thermometer and keep the food at around 40 degrees. Pack the picnic cooler full as it will warm up more slowly this way and food will last longer.
- Plan a Backyard Picnic – Not traveling this year? That’s okay! Brush off the ole’ picnic baskets, wipe off the outdoor furniture, break out the BBQ tools, and get ready for a scrumptious al fresco meal at home. There’s nothing like eating outdoors after a long winter of confinement! If you’re really clever, consider scheduling a daily picnic and choose a theme for each day. Family picnic ideas are plentiful and can be as simple or involved as you’d like. Choose a carnival-themed picnic complete with hot dogs or corn dogs, fried chicken, and maybe even some peanuts and cotton candy. Set up some outdoor games for all to play. Or how about a beach-themed day of fun, with Hawaiian chicken, baked beans, fresh fruit, and fun tropical drinks the kids can make in the blender.
- Go Fly a Kite – The breezes of spring are often ideal for kite flying, even for novices of the sport. Purchase a mid-priced kite or two (not the cheap paper kind), find an open field or beach area, and give it a try. Avoid days that are too windy or your kite is likely to meet with its demise, especially for inexperienced flyers.
- Commune with Nature – The spring season is all about plants, trees, and animals and the coming alive of nature after a long winter’s nap. Look for a botanical garden, arboretum, butterfly conservatory, zoo, or other nature-related attraction near your home. It’s a great way to teach your kids about the world around them. If your children or teens like to draw, consider bringing some sketch pads and let them draw what they see. Hang the finished products on the fridge or elsewhere in your home. For an extra treat, bring along your picnic basket, if permitted.
- Ride a Bike – Everyone tends to get a little out-of-shape during the winter months, especially those who live in a cold climate. So this is a good time to break out the bikes and go for a ride. Cycling is truly a sport everyone can enjoy together. Spring is a good time to take off the training wheels and teach the little one to ride his two-wheeler. Start with short neighborhood jaunts or take your bikes to a favorite destination that includes safe bike paths for novice riders. And don’t forget to bring along your picnic backpack for those hungry travelers!
- Volunteer! – Set aside a day or two of your much-treasured Spring Break to help others in need. Gather a list of organizations in your area that need volunteers and let your children and teens pick the ones that sound most appealing to them. While you may hear a few moans and groans at the outset, most youth will agree that time spent volunteering creates lasting memories and helps put life in perspective. Even little ones can help in some way including filling a box or bag at a food pantry, visit with an elderly resident at a nursing home, or making cards and delivering them to the pediatric ward at the local hospital.
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