Spring. Break. Is there another word combination in the English language that strikes such fear into the hearts of parents? Your children, home for an entire week with no school, no outside distractions, and often no escape. During this time, many parents choose to take their family on vacation. If you’re like me and won’t be traveling (because you simply can’t afford a vacation or you just can’t imagine having to spend another 13 hours in a small –no matter how big your car is, it’s small after 13 hours–vehicle), here are a few ideas that might help you and your family occupy some time:
Go to your local zoo. Our kids love animals and enjoy discovering new facts or quirks about their favorite animals every time we visit our local zoo. While you’re there, you have the opportunity to integrate a plethora of learning activities into the fun. Try counting the flamingos with your three year old or discuss the effects of logging on the gorilla habitiat with your young adult–the possibilities are endless.
Discover something new at your local museums. Our family has a dual yearly membership to the zoo/science museum that our family loves. We never have to worry that rain will ruin our plans because we can head over to the science museum and investigate mummies or learn how our local waterways are set up.
Visit historical sites and indulge in some of the country’s history. Most sites include an on-the-premises park and/or picnic area to expel some pent up energy or grab a quick lunch. Check out the on-site cemetary (if there is one) and try making some headstone rubbings with blank printer paper and black crayons. We are always pleasantly surprised by what we find when we travel to the past.
Take a hike. Literally. Pack up the family and go exploring local woods, caverns, or fields. Leave your cellphones off (or at home) and leave the mp3 players behind. Find the closest patch of trees (or whatever wild you can) and talk a walk. Talk to your children about the trees, the different animals or plants you see, or maybe just talk to them about life. Take this opportunity to impart some of that wisdom you keep telling them you’ve got.
Visit the local farmers market or open air market. Take a walk on the wild side. Spend a day just perusing the markets and experiencing the vast array of smells, tastes, and cultures readily available to you. Change things up a bit by making a pact with your children to try three new experiences today. You might be surprised by what you discover you enjoy.
Show some love to our State Parks system. During the slow economy, state parks see a steady decline in visiting patrons. These state parks can be local little know treasures harboring such awesomeness as Woolly Mammoth and Saber Tooth Tiger bones and teeth. The facilities are generally clean, offer cheap camping or overnight stays, and can offer a wide variety of family activities such as mini-golf, boating, golf, train rides and more.
Exercise your green thumb. What better way to teach your children about photosynthesis, pollination, and the miracle of life? You don’t have to plant a tree or a whole garden–in fact, a couple of seeds (one for each child) planted in a flower pot can work wonders for providing distraction and learning repeatedly.
Relax. Read a book, watch a movie, or just veg on the couch. You don’t have to go anywhere or do anything to have a good time. It’s important that we, as parents, remeber that kids still just need to be kids. They need to enjoy the “break” in Spring Break.
As with any possible crisis, a little planning and a lot of patience will go a long way to ensuring a pleasant Spring Break!
Do you have plans for Spring Break? Are you going or staying? Share with us! We’d love to hear from you!
image credit: http://0.tqn.com/d/gonyc/1/7/D/R/petting_zoo.jpg
Amanda Henson is the owner of High Impact Mom, a socially aware mom-blog.