Cheap Family Activities for Spring Break

Spring break is a great time to enjoy extra time with your kids. The cost of these special activities during this week can be expensive, but a little planning in advance can save you and your family a lot of money without sacrificing entertainment value.

Food and Fun

While it’s unrealistic to plan on going out for food several times during Spring Break, plan to go out once or twice as your budget allows. Use these opportunities to introduce your family to food from different cultures. While visiting Kenya several years ago, I acquired a taste for chapati and ugali that I now get to share with my kids. This kind of outing and exposure to different foods and cultures is worth the money.

A second outing might simply involve a family favorite like wood-fired pizza at a place in town similar to this restaurant in West Linn, Oregon. Pockets jingling with quarters from their piggy banks, my kids play in the arcade while waiting for our meal – this also gives my husband and me a valuable opportunity for conversation just between us.

Family Picnic

Of course, not every food-centered family activity needs to cost money. One of our family’s favorite activities is an outdoor picnic at a local park. Choose a place where there’s a play structure nearby for kids to work off extra energy and to get some much-needed fresh air. If the weather is too nasty outside, plan an indoor picnic, spreading out a blanket in the middle of the living room. Once the meal is eaten, a selection of board games or card tricks can help entertain everyone.

Happy Campers

Camping is another family-friendly activity that can take place indoors or outdoors. If the weather is nice enough, find a campground nearby to save on traveling expenses – the gas money won’t cost a lot, and camping is generally less than twenty dollars a night. Take advantage of hiking trails and nature walks, using a field guide to identify local flora and fauna.

If you’re camping indoors, choose a wide space next to a fireplace if possible. Have everyone help pitch a tent, use lanterns and light a fire in the fireplace for light, and make s’mores. Impose a strict “no electronics” policy to make the most of this time together.

Movie Marathon!

There may be “no electronics” while camping, but a movie marathon is a great idea for a chilly, rainy afternoon later in the week. Movies can be borrowed free from your local library, or they can be rented for $1 each at local kiosks in major retail stores. Research how to rent these movies for free using coupon codes to save even more.

Decorate for Spring

Spring is a time for renewal, usually through symbols of Easter, eggs, and flowers. Using materials already around the house, hold a special craft time where your kids can make decorations to hang on the walls and windows. Put away any winter decorations and bring out the spring decorations, allowing your kids to place them around your home. They’ll love the opportunity to show their creativity.

Plant a Garden

Spring break is a great time of year to sow seeds for future planting as the weather warms up. Whether you’re using planters or a plot of ground, your children can help plant vegetables and flowers to brighten up your home and garden. Teach them how to prepare the soil, plant and thin seedlings, and weed for maximum growth. When the flowers bloom and the vegetables are ready to eat, they’ll be proud to have been involved!

Kelly Wilson is a busy mom and freelance writer. For delicious, authentic gourmet Sicilian-style pizza for the whole family, visit BJ Willy’s, a restaurant in West Linn, Oregon.

photo credit: Bethtt

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