Spring break is often associated with expensive activities like tropical vacations or day camps. However, with childcare expenses, home repairs, and tax season just around the corner, March can already be an expensive time for families without the additional cost of extravagant spring break adventures. If you’re trying to stay true to a budget, you might be afraid of disappointing your family when it comes to spring break activities. But, cutting back on your spending doesn’t have to mean cutting back on the fun. For inspiration, we’ve pulled together 8 activities that are fun for the whole family and cost little to nothing!
1. Go Geocaching
Why not get into the exciting world of geocaching? Geocaches are containers (or caches) of any size hidden all around the world and marked only by their GPS location. Some caches might be easy to find whereas others can involve complex puzzles in order to reveal the cache’s final location, but all of them are full of little treasures and a log where people record their adventure finding the cache. Show your kids that there are mysteries around every corner. Download the Geocaching app and track down the nearest (or most interested) location in your community! Help your kids pick out some fun but small items to trade as SWAG (Stuff We All Get) and make sure to bring a pen to write about your adventures in the cache logbook. Just don’t forget to follow the geocaching code of conduct: pick up any trash you find on your adventure and when snapping that victory photo, make sure you don’t capture the cache’s location to keep the mystery alive!
2. Visit Local Parks
Here in Canada, we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by nature, even in our biggest cities! This spring break, why not take the whole family (pets included) to explore the great outdoors? Websites like AllTrails are full of detailed information on local hiking paths including distance, difficulty, and if they’re dog or bike-friendly! Whether you’re a family of avid outdoors folks or are lacing up your hiking boots for the first time, there’s a hike (or stroll) out there for you!
3. Go Living Room Camping
Spring break doesn’t always mean a break from harsh winter weather. If that’s the case, why not bring the outdoor adventure indoors? Gather your coziest blankets and pillows and build a pillow fort! Help your kids decorate it with lights, stuffed toys, and maybe a DIY decoration or two. Then turn the lights off and have a camping adventure in the safety (and warmth) of your own home. If you have some extra time, you can even make some trail mix with your kids’ favourite treats to fuel you through the process.
4. Build an Obstacle Course
An obstacle course is a great way to help your kids get their energy out when playing outside might not be an option. To make one, take warm-weather toys (hula hoops, jump ropes, traffic cones) or just some painter’s tape and pillows and build an at-home obstacle course! It’s a great way for kids to use their creativity and problem-solving skills, plus it will give them tons of activity as they try to perfect the course. If you want, you could even add a prize for the winner, like choosing the family movie or board game for the night.
5. Do a Science Experiment
Spring break doesn’t mean learning comes to a complete halt. Why not have some educational fun by performing a science experiment? There are tons of cool experiments you can do with your kids using ingredients you probably have lying around the house. Anything from a baking soda volcano to a rocket made from a pop bottle (with adult supervision) can be so entertaining for your kids that they won’t even realize they’ve been learning all along. Check out some super easy home experiments at sceincefun.org.
6. Try Snow Painting
By this time of year, the snow can feel more like our worst enemy than an ally, but when it comes to providing entertainment for our kids, the snow-based activities are endless. One activity is snow painting. Fill up some spray bottles (either from watering your plants or empty cleaning bottles) with water and a bit of food colouring and turn your snowy backyard into a canvas! Kids can paint the entire yard (instead of the wall) at a low cost and with minimal clean-up.
7. Have a Scavenger Hunt
Easter isn’t the only time for a scavenger hunt. Choose from plenty of premade lists online or make one for your own home. A scavenger hunt can even be a fun addition to some of the other activities on this list like looking for different leaves while on a hike or finding camping supplies around the house. It’s also great for long car rides if you are planning to visit relatives over the break or go on other day trips.
8. Visit Your Local Library
Libraries are an amazing resource for communities, kids, and parents. Throughout spring break, libraries across the country hold a wide range of awesome activities for kids and entire families to take part in, so consider visiting the events page of your library’s website to see if there’s anything your family might be interested in. Even if your local library isn’t hosting any big events, borrowing a few books, a movie or even a video game could provide your kids with endless entertainment at no cost to you!
There can be a lot of pressure to make big purchases and spend money on extravagant experiences over spring break, but it’s still possible to create a unique, and unforgettable experience for your family while on a budget. Take some time to learn what your kids are interested in and incorporate those ideas throughout your spring break adventures. Ultimately, Spring Break is meant to be a chance for families to relax and spend time together, and that is completely free!