Today’s post includes a number of spring break staycation ideas, designed to keep parents sane and kids full of fun.
Friends—my kids have spring break next week, and that means THERE IS NO SCHOOL.
I don’t have day care for the week, so it’s up to me to sort out their activities. In my house, that means coming up with adventures for each day, lest my children stay in their pajamas all day reading books and begging me for screen time.
I’ve decided to come up with a “staycation” filled with a blend of activities to appeal to my 10-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter—and me, too!
If you are also looking for ideas for next week, read on. Even if you don’t have a school break coming up, tuck this post away for summer—it’s coming soon!—as these suggestions will work then.
Yea, yea, get outside, run around. Not very original, you think? Maybe not original—but it works, people. Go to a playground you’ve never been to before, or visit a national park where kids can bike, run, and explore. The good thing about this suggestion is that you can do it every day and the kids won’t get bored.
CHECK OUT YOUR LIBRARY.
Libraries aren’t only for books. The children’s programming at local libraries can be fantastic, and often libraries increase activities during school breaks. During April break, the library in my town, for example, is running a superhero training for young kids, a family movie night, and themed-story hours. The best part? All of these events are free. Plus, libraries offer reduced price or free passes to local museums.
In addition to activities, if you have book lovers in your family like I do, consider spending an afternoon hanging out at your local library, curled up with a book. This is a good option for parents like me who need to get some work done during break (sounds impossible, right?). Tap away on the laptop while the kids dive into a graphic novel or a great non-fiction read.
GET SOME CULTURE.
Speaking of museums, many of them offer kids’ programming during breaks. For example:
- The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, which is free to kids under 16, will have daily activities for kids the week of April 16 that are included with admission—plus PEM has two interactive exhibits—Playtime and XYZT—that kids will enjoy;
- The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston will have free drop-in events during April break, including storytelling, musical performances, family tours, and art activities; and
- The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA will host activities for kids, aged 5-12, April 18-20, from 1 to 3 PM (free with admission).
LOOK CLOSE TO HOME.
What does your town’s recreation department have planned for spring break? How about the local YMCA? Spring break is typically a time when community-based organizations anticipate the desire of parents to keep their kids active and involved and increase their offerings. These events can be an affordable option, and often are drop-off, an appealing perk for parents.
GIVE ME ALL THE FURRY CREATURES.
The #1 most anticipated adventure of our staycation is our day at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. The zoo, we recently discovered, is home to red pandas—the best animal in the ENTIRE WORLD, explains my daughter. Thanks to the generosity of Zoo New England, which provided me with tickets to visit the zoo, my daughter will stand, nose pressed against glass, wishing she could smuggle all the pandas home with her. When we manage to pry her away from the red pandas (it’ll be very hard, I know), we’ll check out all of the other activities the zoo has planned for school break, including National Bat Appreciation Day (April 17), an early opening for the Aussie Aviary (April 16-20), and even a four-day camp for the wildlife explorer in your house (April 17-20).
MOVE AND GROOVE.
Feeling a bit concerned that I wouldn’t be able to come up with a week’s worth of activities my kids would like, I asked my son and daughter for what they’d like to do. They came up with something unexpected: roller-skating! This brought back so many memories of 1980s era roller skating parties, a time when the hair was big and teased and my biggest worry was making it around the rink without crashing into anyone. Well, the latter is still a concern, but thanks to the magic of Google, I found a roller skating rink that is running open skate hours during break. I’ll be the one hugging the wall and trying not to fall, as my kids whiz by. If roller-skating isn’t an interest of your kids, consider open swim hours at a fitness club near you; often they sell one-day passes for non-members. Or, visit a rock climbing gym, where your kids can belay all day.
A highlight of April break is that it corresponds with Patriot’s Day, a uniquely Massachusetts holiday. It’s when the Boston Marathon runners show us all what grit is, it’s when the Red Sox play in Fenway Park with cheering crowds that can be heard for miles, and it’s when spring officially arrives. Families gather along the 26.2 miles of the marathon to cheer on the runners, and it never fails to inspire (perhaps not to run a marathon, but you know what I mean). There are also many Revolutionary War Era events that day, including battle reenactments in Lexington and Concord. For your staycation, consider looking into local events—whether it’s cheering on athletes reaching an awe-inspiring goal or friends and neighbors making history come alive.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST.
Oh, and I can’t forget one of the other favorites of our upcoming staycation: pizza for lunch, an afternoon spent in a darkened movie theatre, and ice cream afterward. You can also recreate this “lunch and a movie day” at home. It’s a good option to have in your back pocket should the weather turn poor.
Will I make it through the week? What did I forget? Let me know in the comments, and enjoy your break!