Getting The Most From Spring Break For Kids

kids enjoying the day at a local petting zooLocal Activities For Kids 

Not every family can travel during spring break. And how many of us have truely explored our own local community. We live in Chattanooga, TN, and were amazed of all the local activities we could get involved in when we moved into the area. In Chattanooga we have great parks, a sea Aquarium, a small zoo, camping, and great views, especially from Lookout Mountain.

Like us, many parents may not be able to get the week off of work, or there just might not be enough money in the budget for a trip. But that doesn't mean that your family can't have some spring break fun. There are plenty of things that you can do locally as a family. These include:

  • A trip to the local museum
  • Bowling
  • Going to the movies
  • Rafting or kayaking
  • A hiking trip
  • A day at the park
  • Going to the local game room
  • Sports such as basketball or tennis
  • Visiting local historical attractions
  • Enjoying live theatre or a concert
  • A trip to the skating rink, or roller rink 
  • Live near a zoo? Even if it is a small one it can be a fun activity
  • A picnic at a scenic overlook
  • Finally, see if there are any special events going on. When we did we found that the Circus is coming to town and snatched up a few tickets. This will be my five year olds first circus and he is extremely exicited and I am sure will be an unforgettable event.

Even simple things like a movie night at home or a special shopping trip can make spring break special. Spending time together as a family is the main objective.

These and other favorite activities are great for spring break when you can't travel. Combining one or more of them with dinner at a nice family restaurant will make for a fun and memorable family outing while staying close to home.

Ao, try putting on your tourist hat and check out what your area has to offer.

Volunteering

A growing number of college students are opting to spend their spring breaks volunteering instead of hitting the beach. This is a nice idea for families as well. Doing something to help those in need makes a great family activity.

Although very young children won't be able to do much, school aged kids can often find small ways to help. And teens and preteens can do a great deal for volunteer organizations. Getting the family together for a worthy cause is good for the kids, and it can help them fulfill community service requirements at school as well.

Going on trips to far away places is an option, but it's not at all necessary. Volunteer opportunities can be found close to home. Soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and church groups can always use help.

Spring Break Projects
If you're not going anywhere special during spring break, the family could work on a project together at home. This will accomplish two things: It gets the family together for some quality time, and you can get things done quickly.

Gardens make great spring break projects. Young children especially enjoy digging around in the dirt, and the extra help is great for Mom. If you like the idea of a garden but are unsure which bulbs and seeds you can plant this time of year, buying plants from a nursery will make things easier for you.

Redecorating the kids' rooms is another fun project for spring break. Kids often jump at the chance to decorate their rooms in a theme of their choosing, so they will probably be happy to help. If everyone works together on each room, you can probably get them all done within a week's time.

Arts and crafts are fun to do during spring break as well. There are lots of spring craft projects to be found online and in magazines. Kids can make bird feeders or windsocks. The whole family could get together and paint a mural on one of the walls. Or you could simply supply the art and craft items and let the kids come up with their own projects.

Letting the Kids Do Their Own Thing

Sometimes your kids might want to go on trips with their friends for spring break. Older children may want to stay home instead of going on the family trip. And sometimes a child may have his own ideas about things he wants to do during his time off from school rather than participating in family activities.

It can be crushing when your child doesn't want to participate in the trip or activity that you worked so hard to plan, but sometimes it's best to let him do his own thing during spring break. This is especially true for teenagers, who are trying to develop a sense of independence. As long as the request is reasonable and your child has established trust, there's nothing wrong with him wanting to do something different.

If you're going on a trip and your teen is staying home, or vice versa, it is important that you let him know what is expected of him. Establish times that he should call you if he is away, or plan to call him at certain times if you are traveling. Go over the rules of conduct to make sure he understands them, and then send him off (or leave him home) with your blessing.

Is It Over Already?
Time flies when you're having fun, so it may seem like spring break is over way too soon. The kids may be reluctant to come back home and go back to school. But it has to happen, so the best thing we can do as parents is make it as painless as possible.

If you travel during spring break, try to get back home two or three days before the kids have to go back to school. This will give everyone time to unpack and relax a little before going back to their normal routines. It will also give the kids time to adjust back to their normal sleep patterns.

If you must return the day before school resumes, try to keep the kids from sleeping in the car. If they do, they will not be tired that night, and they won't get enough rest for school the next day. Try to be home at least a few hours before bedtime to give them a little time to get back into school mode.

If your family spent spring break at home, it will be a little easier for the kids to adjust. But if they've stayed up late all week, they too will need to ease back into a more moderate schedule before they go back to school.

Spring break is a grand opportunity for families to have fun and spend quality time together. Whether you plan a trip to a fancy resort, take a road trip to some nearby destinations, or hang out together at home, spring break can be a great time for you and the kids to bond. Planning ahead will help everyone make the most of it.

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