Ahh, feel the relaxing breeze, smell the fresh Spring air, listen to the obnoxious whining of children who claim they are utterly bored! Yep, that’s right folks, Spring Break is right around the corner, for us it is next week. I am shipping my kids off to Disney World, but in case you don’t plan on letting Mickey Mouse babysit your munchkins, here are 10 free and low cost alternatives that can help you save money and put an end to the whining this Spring Break.
1. Take a Tour of Local Parks and Playgrounds
Do you know how long my kids will play at a local playground? Neither do I. It is like the “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop” question, no one knows because they aren’t willing to test it out. The bottom line is, kids love playgrounds and a trip to a different local one each day of Spring Break will keep them occupied and happy!
2. Get Creative in the Kitchen
Have some cookies you need to make for a bake sale? Even if you don’t, set different stations up in the kitchen and lead a cooking class for the kiddos. They will get to help make delicious treats or even dinner and you get a break from the whining. Want to add in a little extra magic? Have the kids make cupcakes or cookies to take to a nursing home and spread a little cheer.
3. See An Early Movie
Most movie theaters offer steep discounts to those who are willing to catch a flick during matinee times. Trust me, your kids don’t care when they get to see a movie, as long as they get to stare mindlessly at the huge screen and be driven deaf by the enormous speakers. Movies are often half price at these earlier times and some theaters may even be offering free movie programs for children on Spring Break.
4. Offer Them a Job
Okay, stay with me now, I promise this is an actual Spring Break Activity. Offer the little ones a job doing different things around the house each day. This will keep them busy so they have no time to complain about boredom and towards the end of the week, they can go splurge and spend their money on an item or experience they have been wishing for.
5. Plan a Staycation
This option isn’t necessarily as cheap as the others above, but it is a lot cheaper than traveling out of town for a vacation. Plan a staycation right in your own backyard. Discover places you have never been and restaurants you have never eaten at. Pretend like you are a tourist visiting your town and let the kids have a hand in planning it to get them more excited. Plan a budget for each day and try to take advantage of free activities as well!
6. Break Out the Board Games
A game day is always fun. You will actually be surprised by how much fun you can have playing Operation and Monopoly for hours a day. Instead of turning on the electronics, gather around the table for some quality family time and have a board game tournament. Let the winner choose what’s for dinner!
Volunteering is free and it gives both parents and children a sense of accomplishment and good will. Spend your free time this Spring Break helping others. Ask around at your local animal shelter or volunteer at the nursing home or soup kitchen. Take this opportunity to teach your kids a valuable lesson about giving back that they will remember forever.
8. Spruce Up the Lawn
Kids love to play in the dirt and Spring brings about some beautiful flowers. Why not let the kids spruce up the yard with a flower garden of their own? You can either purchase seed and let them plant them in an area they clear out, or opt for plants purchased from the garden center. Either way, your kids will have a blast playing with worms and you will have new professional landscaping.
9. Go Camping in Your Own Backyard
Few things are more fun than camping. Telling ghost stories, making s’mores, your kids will get really excited at the thought of camping out in a tent, even if it is right in your own backyard. Don’t have a backyard that is big enough, many local state parks offer free tent camping. Take the kids on a short drive and set up camp under the stars!
10. Make a Spring Break Bucket List
This is perhaps one of the funnest Spring Break Activities of all. Let your kids make a collective bucket list for Spring Break. Things they have always wanted to do, food they have always wanted to try. Let them know that they can’t choose expensive things before you start. No trips to Hawaii for you Junior! Create your list and then spend the rest of the kid’s vacation trying to cross everything off.
Spring Break doesn’t have to be torture for parents and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to entertain the kiddos either. The list above contains just a few of the ways you can keep your children occupied on a budget this Spring Break.
Have any low cost Spring Break Activities to share? Feel free to leave them in a comment below!