Spring Break Ideas (...when you're stuck at home and it's still winter outside)

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For most parents out there reading this, there will be a 5 day vacation coming for your kids in the next week or two. This vacation for your kids will likely mean more work for you, but it can be fun (really, it can) if you organize it properly. 

If you are taking this time off from work - first off, good for you - and second, what do you have planned? If flying south or driving south or whatever sort of getaway you’d like to take isn’t in the cards, check out our list of ways to spend time as a family without spending the kids college funds.

Here's our ideas...

Younger Kids

  • The Big Cardboard Box: Remember when they were 2 and unwrapped a gift and spent all day playing with the box? They’ll still do that, you just need to score them a bigger box. Visit an appliance/furniture store and ask them for a leftover (it may be broken down, but a little duct tape fixes that). Cut the door in it first and throw some art supplies at them - 2+ days of imagination play could be the payoff. 

Our Cardboard Box Bag End, courtesy of a fridge we had to replace.

  • Homemade March Break Camp: Takes a little prep, but pull together an idea per day and make your own home “camp”. Some simple ones - Art Camp (crafts, painting, custom t-Shirts) or Sports Camp (Local Trail Hike, Video Game Bowling, Geocaching) could get you rolling. 

Older Kids

  • Cooking School: Take the week to give your young lady or gentleman some kitchen skills. They can learn chopping and slicing, stovetop and baking (and cleanup). There are many videos to help you too, if your own skills are rusty. Culminate with a meal that they can invite friends over for (keep the menu friend-friendly, or you’ll risk crushing your young chef’s newly developed cooking mojo when the kids won’t eat what they make - I’m sure you know what we’re talking about here).

  • Movie Marathon: Choose a series (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean) and watch one movie/night. Make it an event with dress-up, Trivia, lots of popcorn and whatever else you can get your kids to buy in to. Alternatively, let every family member pick one of their favourites and have your own viewing party and in-house Oscar Awards.


  • Can’t afford a week away - look local. Many smaller hotels can let you be a tourist in your area for very reasonable prices. Do a museum, an in-room movie and a swim in the pool - almost nobody will care that it isn’t Cuba, even if you are only an hour or so from home. Find a Local Events List and get planning.
  • Consider giving Urban Quest a try - $20 for an afternoon of scavenger hunting in a city near you followed by a meal at a mystery location (you choose the price range and pay, they make the reservation and send you the clues).  
  • Local Sports: Cheer on a minor hockey team. Visit your local College or University for a home basketball or volleyball game. Maybe there is an indoor soccer league you can become a superfan of. In fact, you can likely do all of these things for the cost of one NHL ticket.

We hope we’ve given you at least one or two ideas to help fill your March Break. If nothing else, we hope you decide to make a plan for the time. Nothing is worse than the plaintive call of, “I’m borrrrred”, especially early in the week. Having some ideas in your pocket will help stop this before it starts and make everyone’s break fun and enjoyable. 

Help out other readers! Please, share your ideas do you have for Spring Break @ Home below... 

This post was first published March 2013.

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