Spring break has arrived! Even if a fabulous family vacation isn't in the cards, you can start planning a few fun and eco-friendly staycation ideas! There are plenty of ways to keep the kiddos entertained during a full week off from school -- and you can find many right in your own neighborhood or backyard. If long days of "Mom, I'm bored!" give you a mini panic attack, relax. We have seven unique and eco-friendly ways for you to enjoy your spring break close to home without spending a lot of money. These ideas pack a huge fun factor for the entire family, so read on and get ready for a great, green spring break!
1. Plan a Staycation
Spring break is the perfect time to plan a staycation close to home because regardless of where you live it will likely be warm enough to enjoy the great outdoors. If you live near the mountains, plan an afternoon of hiking. If you live near the ocean, plan a snorkeling and beach-combing trip. Regardless of where you live, there are undoubtedly fantastic outdoor activities that you can enjoy — even if they’re the winter variety like snowshoeing and skiing — the possibilities are endless. Even a camping trip in your own backyard will get your children excited about a spring break at home.
2. Plan a Volunteer Day
A great way to start spring break is by finding a way that your family can volunteer for a great cause together. Whether you sign up for a beach or hiking trail cleanup, collect items for a local food or clothing drive, or donate your time to helping someone in need or to clean up your community – you and your children will feel a sense of happiness knowing that you helped make our planet a better place to live.
3. Make Frozen Treats
Springtime is the perfect time to start experimenting with your own frozen treat recipes. It is amazing the concoctions you can come with when giving fresh organic fruit, juice, vegetables and yogurt. Simply toss the ingredients in a blender and blend until thick and smooth for a fresh organic smoothie. You can also simply pour fresh organic juice into reusable cups, adding a wooden treat stick and then pop in the freezer for yummy frozen pops. And if your weather is still frozen, well, consider a frosty dessert one way to embrace the cold!
4. Have an Outdoor Read-a-thon
Instead of spending the afternoons watching television or playing video games, get your children reading outside. Gather up a large blanket, pillow for each child, a snack and a great stack of new library books and head outside. Pick a large shade tree to spend the blanket and pillows out on. Then give each child a stack of books and a snack – we think it’s the perfect way to relax after a busy day of playing outside. And you get a quiet chance to catch up on that great novel you have been wanting to devour. If it’s too cold for reading outside, set up a reading nook inside or take an all-day trip to the library.
5. Teach Your Kids about Money
Let your children spend a day earning their own cash. Help them set up a simple stand outside of your home to sell their wares. Whether it is lemonade, cookies, play dough sculptures or the copies of a comic book they wrote – they will delight in preparing the stand and selling their goods to make a little extra money. It gives children great satisfaction to feel the pride and accomplishment that comes with owning their own “store.”
6. Visit an Animal Shelter
If you are thinking of adding a new animal friend to your family – adopting a pet from your local animal shelter is the best way to go and spring break is the perfect time to do it. When you adopt an animal from a shelter your children make a new best friend and you give an animal a second chance at a wonderful life. The weather is warm enough outside to potty train a new pet and the children are home for the entire week to help with getting the new pet settled in. Even if you aren’t looking for a new pet, children still enjoy visiting the animal shelter and it gives the sheltered animals a chance to be held and played with. Call ahead — you may be able to spend the afternoon volunteering by walking several shelter dogs.
7. Plan a Strawberry Patch Picnic
Springtime equals strawberries and a delightful way to spend a spring day is at the strawberry patch. Children love to search for and pick fresh, bright red strawberries. Before you head out for the day, pack a picnic of shortbread, whipped topping and drinks. After the children have collected the strawberry bounty, rinse off the strawberries and have surprise strawberry shortcake on the spot. Just remember to pack a cutting board, knife, plates and forks and enjoy!