We all know it’s coming, but still it seems as if spring break has arrived too suddenly and you have no idea how to keep the kids occupied for the whole week. Here’s an assortment of activities to get you started — some are family-based, while others, depending on the age of your kids, can be done with little to no adult help.
These activities are so much fun, the kids won’t even know they’re learning science! I’m lucky that my kids’ elementary school does a science fair every year. It has given me lots of fun ideas.
- Elephant toothpaste: This one is fascinating for kids and adults and it only requires a few simple supplies.
- Rainbow carnations: Use any glasses or bottles you have — even empty water bottles should work.
- Naked eggs: Nothing indecent here, just something cool to see. Using household ingredients, you can see through an uncooked egg, right to the yolk. Plus, you can do all kinds of fun things with the egg, including bounce it.
- Tornado in a bottle: My kids and their friends kept making these tornadoes over and over again. Duct tape works fine for this activity; just put enough on so it doesn’t leak.
Try a new outdoor activity as a family
Depending on where you live, you can do all sorts of activities outside. Some require no equipment, but for those that do, check your local REI or outdoor store for rentals.
- Geocaching: This is fun, no matter what the weather is doing. Your kids won’t realize they’re learning important navigational skills. All you need is a GPS or smartphone.
- Snowshoeing or cross-country skiing: This one is great for the half of the nation that’s been covered in a blanket of white.
- Snorkeling or roller-blading: Try these fun-in-the-sun activities if you’re in a rare area that hasn’t been covered in snow all winter.
- Family game day: Everyone takes turns choosing either a board game or video game to play. There are only two rules: 1. Everyone must play. 2. Have fun.
- Tie-dye day: Sure, many of us have tie-dyed t-shirts (but if you haven’t, now’s a great time to start). Why not try pillow cases, tank tops, socks, bandanas, or anything else. Craft stores like Michaels and AC Moore usually have kits, and often have t-shirts and bandanas too. Don’t forget to pack your 40% off coupon before you hit the store.
- Indoor camping: Unroll the sleeping bags on the living room floor, get out the flashlights and turn off the phones (no TV or computers, either). You can play card games and tell camp stories. For meals, you may need to use some modern conveniences like a stove, but serve up camping fare like franks and beans and finish the day with s’mores — made in the fireplace if you have one. Check out these easy indoor s’mores if you don’t.
- Movie day: Grab some blankets, pop some corn, cuddle on the couch and let the movies play. Or try making your own movies. Have the kids write a script, create props, get the extras — stuffed animals and dolls allowed. The kids can take turns filming (using a video camera or cellphone). Once the movie wraps, everyone can enjoy watching it together.
- Kid swap: This is great for working parents. It’s the same idea as the DIY summer camp. Find a friend (or two). Pick one day you get all the kids and another day you send your kids to your friend’s house. You each get one full day without kids to do what ever you like (or get some work done), and the kids have a fun-filled play date. The more friends you involve, the more “free” days you get. Check out the summer camp story for more details.
- Be a tourist: Find a nearby museum, tour or other popular attraction that you haven’t visited and make a day of it. Check Groupon or Living Social for any discounts or passes before heading out.
- Clean out and donate:Help the kids go through their toys, games and clothes to weed out those they’ve outgrown or no longer use. Find a local shelter or charity that could put to use the items that are still in good condition and donate them. While you’re at it, take some time to clean our your closets and cupboards as well.