It’s that time again! The sun is starting to shine out from beyond the clouds, the cherry blossoms are abloom, and kids are about to enjoy an extra long spring break. Some parents may find themselves scrambling for a way to keep kids entertained and busy without their regular routines, but fear not! We’ve compiled a list of fun kid-approved activities that will keep the whole family smiling all break long. Here are 10 ideas for having the best spring break ever.
1. Start a Garden
March is the perfect time to start working on getting your garden in a go-state, and spring break makes for a great opportunity to involve those built-in assistants you have: your kids! Pick up a set of kid-sized gardening tools and set them to work helping you weed and plant. They’ll have fun learning about growth and nature, and they’ll have the fruits…or flowers, or veggies…. of their labour to look forward to. If you don’t have a garden, or if the forecast calls for rain, a windowsill herb garden or simple potted plant is a great indoor alternative. Not sure what to plant? We’ve got some great gardening ideas that are easy for the little ones too!
2. Family Board Game Fun
This one will keep the whole family engaged and involved, particularly if we happen to get some rain over the break. Pull out your board games and have a fun family board game tournament. If you don’t already have some kid- friendly board games, they can usually be found pretty easily at local thrift shops. We’ve got some great suggestions for games for kids 5 and under or for kids 6 and up. Board games are a great way to challenge and encourage the kiddos creativity and critical thinking.
3. Make it a Beach Day
One of the many great things about living in Vancouver and surrounding areas is the sheer number of beaches we have. It might not be bathing suit weather quite yet, but even in spring our local beaches play host to a wealth of fun activities. Wandering the shore, picking up rocks to look for clams or tiny crabs can keep kids busy for ages. Another fun idea is to bring a bucket for kids to collect some of their favourite little shells and smooth rocks and then take them home to use in a craft. Add them to a wooden picture frame with hot glue or for a more kid-helper-friendly task, glue the treasures to sheets of construction paper for a lasting memory of your beach day.
4. Go for a Picnic
A time-tested guarantee for a fun way to get outside and enjoy some fresh air: pack up lunch or dinner and head out for a picnic. Have the little ones help in planning and preparing a simple meal to bring along, then pick a favourite spot such as a nearby playground or beach. Even better if it’s within walking distance! Toss down a blanket, break out the outdoor finery, and bon appetit! Once little appetites are sated, they can run and play to their hearts’ content and you might get to actually finish a meal for a change.
5. Make a Furry Friend
The realities of big city living mean that often, pets are unfortunately not a possibility. However, animal shelters are full of animals that would just love some attention, even that of a temporary nature. Most shelters are glad to have volunteers come in to cuddle the cats and dogs in residence, and older children can often even take a dog for a walk (with parental accompaniment). This is such a fun way to get kids community-minded and thinking about giving back to those in need. Just make sure you call ahead to find out your local shelter’s policies and visiting hours to avoid any potential disappointment.
6. Challenge Them to a Cook-off
Have some fun experimenting in your very own kitchen. Find a new recipe to try out and let them add ingredients themselves… or if they’re a bit older, provide them with “mystery” ingredients and see what they come up with on their own. Invite family and friends over to judge- or simply taste the final products and have a chat about what worked well with their food experiments as well as what could have worked better. They’ll be encouraged to learn more about food preparation and ways they can help in the kitchen, and you’ll end up with some tasty treats at the end of the day! Looking for some kid-friendly recipes to try? How about silly apple bites, yam chips, or blueberry jam almond bars.
7. Get Out in the Rain
Anyone who has lived in the Lower Mainland for any length of time is aware that there are absolutely no guarantees of a sunny, dry spring break. But why let a little rain stop us from enjoying time together as a family? Get out those gumboots and raincoats and check out these fun ways to let the wetter weather enhance your outside time rather than eliminate it completely.
8. Put On a Show
Why not give the television a break and task your small people with keeping you entertained for a night? Encourage them to put together a variety night for you (Grandma and Grandpa might want an invite too). Get them to pick some of their favourite songs, dress up in their favourite clothes, crank the music, grab the hairbrush, and watch them shine. Or, if they’re more Meryl Streep than Lady Gaga, get them to write and perform a little skit using dolls and stuffed animals as their co-stars. This can be a great way for siblings to work together on cooperation skills, and they’ll feel great about themselves when that standing ovation comes.
9. Go Treasure Hunting
Spring break could be a great time to start- or perfect, if it’s already your thing- the art of geocaching. Simply download the geocaching app onto your phone and you’ll find that there are almost certainly caches nearby your home (there are over two million worldwide!). All you need to do is follow the GPS on the app to find the secret cache. You’ll find a logbook to sign to show you’ve found it, and you’ll often a small treasure as well. The idea is to take the treasure you find and leave a small one in its place for the next hunter to find. A small dollar store toy, a drawing, or perhaps one of those shells you found on your beach day all make for great treasures. Kids will have great fun tracking down the caches and can even work them into some imaginary play. Indiana Jones for a day, anyone? Plus, there’s the added bonus of developing both navigational and observational skills.
10. Explore Your City
There are so many great sites to visit in Vancouver, and what better time to check them out than during a few weeks off school? We’ve compiled a great list of ideas for exploring the city. Any one of these fun, hands-on, kid-approved places are likely to keep young ones of all ages busy for a day. Play tourist in your own town and bring the kids along for the ride. You’re sure to all have an unforgettable time and it’s certainly bound to be cheaper than flying to a sun destination!
There’s so much fun to be found in our own backyards. Any one of these awesome spring break activities are bound to keep them entertained, as well as create brand new memories of great times spent together. If you need any more ideas for fun local ways to enjoy spring break, be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Spring Break Fun in Metro Vancouver. You’re sure to find something to do each and every day in order to ensure that 2016 is your family’s best spring break ever!
By: Dayna Wilson