With spring break swiftly approaching, many families are scrambling to book trips or make plans to entertain the kids while they are off from school. Planning your family’s spring break doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. Many families opt to take a “staycation,” and enjoy events and attractions in the immediate area. Need inspiration for planning your staycation this year? Here are some ideas.

1. Spend time in nature. One of our national treasures is our national and state park system! Many people pass signs for these parks all the time, but a staycation is a perfect time to follow the sign and see where it takes you.  The seemingly endless activities offered at state parks includes camping, fishing, biking, hiking, nature tours and educational programming, horseback riding and more. Visit Discover The Forest to find state or national parks near you and add it to your itinerary.

2. Play and learn. Kids want to spend their spring break having fun, while parents want the learning to continue while school is out. Visit a children’s museum, and you’ll get to have both! Many children’s museums are perfect for spending a day exploring, doing hands-on activities, and maybe even getting as little messy. The Association of Children’s Museums has a directory of museums nationwide. Also, check with your library. Many offer museums passes that allow you to visit certain museums for free or reduced cost.

3. Take a ride. Spring break is the perfect time to be outside enjoying the weather after a long winter. Going on a family bike ride is a great way to get outside and do something healthy. The Traillink website features an interactive map of trails all over the country, and their features and amenities. Pack a picnic lunch, and enjoy a day n the trails.

4. Have a movie marathon. Rainy days don’t have to be washouts. If the weather isn’t cooperating, plan a movie marathon. Move all the furniture out of the way, throw some blankets, pillows, and cushions on the floor, and get comfy. Parenting Magazine made a list of the top 20 movies for families. Top off your day by ordering a few pizzas and popping some popcorn.

5. Learn more about your neighborhood. Have your kids ever wondered what does on behind the scenes at the firehouse? Most organizations like police stations, rescue squads, fire stations, post offices, and even local businesses and restaurants are more than happy to accommodate a quick tour for you and your family. Call in advance to schedule. It’s a great way for your kids to learn more about what people do all day.

6. Have a craft day. Kids are naturally creative. Take a day to head over to your local craft store, stock up on some supplies, and spend a day creating. Here are some ideas from Parents Magazine to get you started. When the crafting is over, make a space in your home to display the results. Your family will enjoy admiring the creations.

7. Get cooking. During a regular school/work week, mealtimes are often a rushed affair. Dedicate a day of your staycation to some fun experiments in your kitchen. The Food Network has a whole section of their website devoted to cooking with kids and offers fun ideas and projects. The best part is that your family can sit down to a meal together that your kids helped to create.

8. Go for a swim. While it may still be too cold for outdoor water activities, many local hotels, YMCAs, and swim clubs offer daily passes for those who would like to enjoy open swim. Pull out some pool toys, swim suits, beach towels, and pack a snack for your spring break swim adventure.

Spring break is a great time to bond, and have fun with your kids. Enjoy the week, take lots of pictures, and end your spring break by creating a collage to commemorate all the fun you had!


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