Kids might look forward to breaks, but many parents secretly struggle to keep their children entertained 24/7, especially if their kids are little and need a lot of direction and monitoring. If you have toddlers that you need to keep occupied for spring break, and don’t want to just plunk them down in front of the TV, fret not — we’ve got you covered! Here are eight ideas for spring break activities that you can do with young kids:
Spend some time outside.
The weather is usually warm enough by spring break for your kids to get outside at least some of the time. Brainstorm a list of things that they can do in the great outdoors, from playing explorers in the backyard to having a scavenger hunt at the local park to having a picnic on a nice day. If you have a big family, or your kids are friends with the neighbors, they can also play outdoor games like freeze tag to pass the time. Dress them in cute kid’s clothes that are comfy enough to wear for outdoor playtime. Make sure to keep an eye on the weather, as spring can be unpredictable and things can go from sunny to storming quite quickly.
To you, gardening may be a chore, but to kids, it’s a perfectly good excuse to cover themselves in the dirt while learning about nature, which is pretty much the ideal combination for them. If you have a yard, don’t be afraid to ask your kids if they want to join you. They will probably be thrilled to help you plant the flowerbeds or ride along on the lawnmower. Use it as an opportunity to teach them about seasonal plants or the animals that are emerging from their winter hideouts. If you don’t have a yard, you can still plant a container garden or get a potted plant if you want to teach your children about nature firsthand.
Take a day trip.
Even if you can’t get away for the entirety of spring break, taking a day trip to a nearby town or park is an excellent way to pass the time and get out of the house without having to pack up a week’s worth of toddler boy pants or toddler girl shoes. Look for kid-friendly destinations that are no more than a couple hours’ drive away and offer some unique activities that can’t be found in your own town. If your toddler still needs a daily nap, try to plan your activities and drives around that schedule; otherwise, you will end up with a very cranky kid.
Be a tourist in your town.
If you don’t have any good day trip destinations close to you, or if your kids aren’t up for a day trip yet, consider doing something more local to you. Many residents avoid tourist destinations in their hometown, but it can actually be really fun to check them off your bucket list. Many places such as museums and art galleries may offer discounted admissions for local residents and/or kid-friendly programs on certain days, so definitely check out your options to see if you can take advantage of opportunities like that.
Do spring-themed crafts.
There are a plethora of spring-related crafts that you can do, from dying Easter eggs to making flowers out of construction paper. If your kids are big fans of arts and crafts time, brainstorm a different craft you can do each day of spring break to pass the time. This doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. Many crafts can be done with basic materials that you already have on hand, such as cardboard boxes, construction paper, markers, glue and paint.
Celebrate spring holidays.
There are many different spring holidays across a variety of different religious traditions, including Easter, Passover, Eid and Ramadan. Even if whatever holiday you celebrate doesn’t fall within spring break this year, the extra time off gives you more time to prepare and teach your kids about the holiday itself. Even if you aren’t religious, you can still use this time to teach your kids about the diversity of spring religious traditions celebrated around the globe and use it as an opportunity for cultural education.
Look for kids’ activities in your area.
Many local organizations know when spring break is for the schools and offer seasonal programs to help fill up those weeks. Options include spring break camps, programming at science centers, reading hours at the library and other enriching activities that will teach your kids something even as it helps them pass the time. Do some research to see what activities are available in your area and be sure to take advantage of them so you’re not trying to fill up spring break entirely on your own.
Start thinking ahead to summer.
We know that summer seems really far away right now. After all, there’s still a whole quarter of the school year left! While this may be true, people start planning their summers earlier and earlier, and kids’ programs and vacation rentals will fill up fast. Have a chat with your kids about what they might want to do this summer and start looking into summer programs if you need or want daycare for them. Starting to make plans now will increase your chances of getting a spot in your child’s first choice programs instead of leaving you to cobble together several months’ worth of summer activities on your own
These eight ideas for spring break activities for kids only scratch the surface. Are there any other spring break activities that your kids love? Add them in the comments below so we can all learn from each other!