Though winter has been brutal, spring is coming as it always does. This means it is time to plan for spring break. With children home from school, planning some fun activities for the whole family is key. The following are suggestions to keep this spring break fun and affordable.
Taking two or three kids to the movies is expensive. An alternative is to let the kids select a movie on demand from the cable company. Drape curtains over the TV and choose one child to open them when the lead in music begins. Arrange the area in front of the TV as if it is a theater and let another kid be the “usher” showing everyone to his or her seats. Set up a “concession stand” and let the kids choose who runs it – if you are already out of children this is your job. Pop some popcorn and put some other healthy treats out. Give the kids some play money to buy their treats and make signs with prices for the items on the stand. This is a very fun and affordable way to spend some quality time with the family and the kids will have a blast not only watching a movie but also playing theatre.
Kids naturally have the entrepreneurial spirit. This is why lemonade stands have endured forever. This is a great opportunity to also teach your children about giving. Have your kids choose a charity to which they give all proceeds from their venture. To make it even more fun, let each of your kids have a friend sleep over. The night of the sleepover, hold a planning session where they decide (under your guidance) product, price, and the charity they will benefit. Then prepare the items needed to set up the stand, signs about the product, the price, and the charity. Playing store for real is great fun for kids, and they are so proud afterwards when making the donation.
While going out for dinner might be on your spring-break agenda, it is not a nightly routine for most of us. So, since we have to cook anyway, why not open a restaurant? This works two ways so you can use “playing restaurant” twice. The first way to play is that you are the cook and server. The second way to play is to have the kids be the restaurant staff. The only props needed are play money and menus, plus a scratch pad to write out the bill. For a richer experience, you could also pick up some aprons for the kids to wear.
For Older Children
Kids who are too old for some fun family time most likely are in a funk as friends may have left town for spring break. Kids from middle school through college feel this way, but with a little guidance, there is a ton of stuff for them to do. Assigned reading for school is often tedious, suggest they visit the library and find a book they would enjoy reading. It is free, fun, and educational. Or, suggest they give some time doing community service. Before spring break hits, guide them to calling the local animal shelter, nursing home, a political campaign they have interest in, a museum, the library, or even Habitat for Humanity. While your teen may groan at first, point out, they will meet new people and be helping the community you live in.
No matter what their age, you can find fun alternatives to the family vacation for your kids’ this spring break.