Do you have a plan or are you still in denial that this looong “spring break” is actually happening? Yes, if your kids are in school, they likely have e-learning, but what else do you have planned? Chores and lots of organizing sounds like an amazing plan to me, but really? In my house, that would last 30 minutes and would likely involve someone running away, stomping and pouting, or intentionally doing something incorrectly so they don’t have to complete the work themselves.
If you’ve got 4 weeks of staying home with your kiddos and with just the right ideas, you can keep your days simple and make the best of your time!
Check out our list of ways to spend time as a family without spending a lot of money, keeping everyone healthy & safe, and actually having fun this spring break!
1. Color a picture for the elderly or sick children – since visitors are prohibited right now, it would truly make someone’s day to receive something handmade in the mail. If you don’t know of anyone to send something to, label it “Grandfriends” or "Child Who Could Use a Smile" and put a letter inside the envelope for staff to give it to someone who needs it the most.
2. Donate - there are so many people and places locally and globally in need right now who could use your help! Teaching your children how and why to donate things that no longer serve a purpose is such a vital part of making this world a better place. Check out our Giving Back page for places to take (or send) your donations - including a few that have free local pick ups!
3. Random acts of kindness – do or make something for a neighbor, a friend you would like to get to know a little better, or someone that you don’t know at all. Another idea is to leave a bottled water and snack for your delivery/mail carrier with a friendly note expressing your gratitude or just spreading joy. We have several more random acts of kindness ideas here for you!
4. Pick up trash/recycle at a local park or throughout your neighborhood – make it a game! Give them each a collection bag and see who can gather the most or who can find the most unique items.
5. Earth Day is April 22 - teach your kids about local service projects and other ways to recycle and make the world a better place! Check your local city services webpage for ways that your family can get involved. If you are local to Fishers, IN here is a great local resource of upcoming events for you!
1. Throw a dance party – have your kids come up with a theme, create invitations (this is the craft part!), decorate, and then dance, dance, dance!
2. Go on a nature walk, hike, or bike ride – play I Spy, Simon Says, or Follow the Leader to make it interactive and fun.
3. Play America's Test Kitchen or The Price is Right – have your kids rate different healthy foods and quiz them about food groups or origins. Do a blind taste test and see if they can guess what they are eating! Another idea is to line up a few of your kitchen gadgets or food items and see if they can guess what the items are used for or how much they cost.
4. Host an Olympic Games – get outside (if you can) and find a new sport or activity to throw in such as frisbee or burpees. Balloons are always fun additions to incorporate into your olympic games. Create teams with team names and colors. Create an obstacle course and have prizes for all who participate. Grandparents make a great audience!
5. Park time fitness - Make good use of your time at a new park. Parks have so many options when it comes to getting a workout in while your kids play. You can use a horizontal ladder for pullups. A park bench or jungle gym landing works perfectly for push ups. You can use the stairs on the jungle gym to do stairs….just going up and down repeatedly to get your heartrate up. Get creative with the equipment and use your own body weight as resistance.
1. Send someone in your family a drawing, letter, or homemade card in the mail – yes I’m talking snail mail! It’s always so fun to receive something in the mail, no matter how young or old you are!
2. Bake or cook something you never have (or make) time to make – this is your chance! St. Patrick's Day is approaching, let your kids help make something fun for this colorful holiday. Here are a few St. Patty's Day treat ideas to get you started! Or if you're not up for baking or cooking something outside of your usual, make a typical family meal a little fancy. Having mac & cheese? Throw on a nice table linen (or have the kids make personalized placemats) , set the table, turn on some Sinatra and make it a candlelight dinner in!
3. Teach your kids something new around the house. Whether it be a new chore, having them help with dinner, or just explaining or showing them how something works, giving them just a little bit more knowledge/responsibility can go a long way and possibly spark new interests.
4. Find areas in your home that need improvement – make it a game! Ask your kids to go through each room and have them rate each area they think needs the most improvement or which areas have “too much stuff”. Have boxes or bins ready for your helpers to decide which items need donated or that no longer serve a purpose in your home. Getting them involved is KEY! Check out our Giving Back page for a few of our favorite places to donate to.
5. Finish a project you’ve been wanting to finish – Having “helpers” can be a little too much help sometimes, but your kids watching and helping you actually complete a project around the house, helps them understand the importance of finishing what they’ve started. Lead by example and show them how good it feels to get things done!
1. Cardboard boxes/toilet paper rolls – these are seriously my FAVORITE because the options are endless! Don’t have any cardboard boxes? I’m sure a neighbor or a local retail store has some you can have! And if you have some, but they’re already broken down, let the kids work on taping them back together! Make a house or building – cut out a door a windows . . . and add several rooms if you have enough boxes. Throw the kids some art supplies (crayons, markers, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, pom poms to name a few) and let them get creative!
2. Camp days - have specific days that include camp days and let each child pick from a list you all create together.
Art camp day - crafts, painting, custom t-shirts, rock painting
Sports camp day - local trail hike, indoor or outdoor sports, bowling with any objects, dodgeball, kickball
Game camp day - board games, card games, hide & seek, four-square, horse, hot potato, juggle circle, spud, red light green light, simon says, pretend to be
3. Build a fort, grab some popcorn, and take a virtual museum tour – these 12 world famous museums offer virtual tours you can take at home! Or go indoor camping - pitch a tent, grab your sleeping bags and flashlights, make microwave s'mores, and have a slumber party! We like to read about different insects and trees we would find in the woods if we were outdoors.
4. Scavenger hunt or geocaching - Our family absolutely loves adventures and going on any sort of hunt so these types of activities are our favorites! We have gathered lots of different scavenger hunt and geocaching resources and ideas for you to get started.
5. Science experiments - There are so many great science kits on the market, this one is a favorite of ours. We have spent many hours on the gemstone dig and the dino dig kits as well, both a huge hit with our boys! We also love to create our own experiments by using different objects from around the house. Here are a few experiment ideas to help you get started!
All kids are different and not every child is going to want to do every activity you suggest. I have two boys at home and they have completely different interest! Let them take turns each day who gets to pick the activity for the day and they will look forward to it being their day. Most kids will find at least one activity on this list that is interesting to them.
Just remember, at the end of the day, your kids favorite toy is you. Put your phone down, get creative, and be present. This extra long break is definitely nothing any of us (well most of us) expected or dreamed would ever happen, but it is happening and we need to make the best of it. Tomorrow is never promised, so let's live for today and enjoy these moments while we can.
If you and your kids try any of the activities above or have other great ideas you would like to share with us, we would love to hear them!
Remember to take pictures and tag us on Facebook or Instagram @thesimplelifeindy! Can’t wait to see what your spring break looks like!