10 Free or Cheap Spring Break Ideas

I know that some schools are starting Spring Break this week (ours is not one of them…).  If we had not moved from Colorado this year, my husband and I would be on our way to Belize for the week enjoying beaches, jungles, under-sea walks, and of course the 20 teenagers we would have brought along with us on the educational tour that my husband organized as a high school teacher.  He has taken students on educational tours to Spain and Peru, but I have never been able to go with him because I’ve always had a nursing baby.  This was going to be my year to go to Belize!  I’m not pregnant and no nursing baby!  But we moved, dang it!!  Instead we are in Wyoming with the snow and wind….

It really is OK though.  I’m glad we are where we are and I’m grateful for the way things have worked out.  I’m sure Belize would have been lousy (this is what I tell myself anyways).

Our Spring Break is the first week in April and we will spend the first part hanging out at home and then head to southeastern Colorado for my Grandma’s 90th birthday party.  We will stop in Denver and have some fun there, but no really big plans this year.  So I thought I would come up with 10 free or cheap Spring Break ideas if you are also NOT going to Belize.

10 Free or Cheap Spring Break Ideas:

    1. Visit local museums.  My two boys that are not yet in school went with me to a State Park visitors center that we have in our town and they really loved it!  It really wasn’t anything overly amazing, but they had such a great time looking at the animal mounts and they haven’t stopped talking about it.  After checking out the visitors center, we played on the playground outside and rode scooters along the trail.  It was new to us, didn’t cost us a thing, and took up a whole morning.
    2. Discover a new hike or walking trail.  Since we are new to this town, almost every trail is new for us.  But I’m sure that you can find an area nearby that you have heard about and never been to personally. Ask around and make a list of new places to check out and then actually go check them out!  Before we moved from Colorado, we had lived there 9 years and the summer before we moved we finally made it to see some local petroglyphs we had heard about, but had never actually been to.  They were amazing and we ended up going there 3 times before we moved.  We just wished we had done it sooner.  So use this as the time to finally go and DO those things you have always wanted to see.
    3. Family yard clean-up.  My kids love to help my husband and I with projects, but we are often in a hurry to do them, so we don’t always take the time to let the kids “help.”  Use a week off from school to let them be your helpers.  We bought our kids work gloves last summer and they love to put those gloves on and help us in the yard.  Unless you are still covered in snow, it’s a great time to get outside and pull out the dead weeds, pick up dog poop from the neighbors dog who always finds YOUR yard to do his business, pick up the trash or leaves that have blown into your yard over the last few months, rake the grass, prep flower beds, transplant flowers or bushes, trim trees and bushes, and whatever else you notice needs done.  I was outside playing t-ball with my son last week and it was my first time in our backyard in awhile and I found a TON of things that needed done, so this will definitely be on our Spring Break agenda!
    4. Family Service Day.  As a family, think of ways to serve your neighbors, friends, or family and actually DO it!  I know that we often have the thought to take cookies to so and so, but I honestly hate making cookies!  It seems like every time I make cookies that I realize part way through that I am out of an ingredient, so I either have to stop what I’m doing and run to the store or look up a substitute for that ingredient or make a different type of cookie altogether!  Then once I finally have the cookies finished it is so hard for me to deliver them before I eat them!!  I’m not kidding! It took me three batches of cookies to finally get some delivered once.  Anyways… use your time off to get those cookies made (make plenty of extras for your family) and then get out and deliver them right away!!  Another service that my family enjoys is picking up pine cones for neighbors.  We developed a great friendship with a lady in Colorado by picking up her pine cones regularly.  She always invited us in for ice cream and she liked to pay the kids for their work.
    5. Swim in a new pool.  This one might require a bit of traveling and possibly up to $20 (depending on price and the size of your family), but hopefully it would be worth it.  Kids love to swim in new pools… have you ever been to a hotel pool with your kids?  We just went on a long road trip for State Gymnastics and stayed in a hotel for one night.  The kids got to swim and that one hour of swimming made the 17 hours in a car over 2 days totally worth it!  There is nothing fancy about a hotel pool, but kids are always excited about it because it’s NEW!  So do some research and find a cool rec center pool that is within traveling distance and make a day out of it.  The kids will love it!
    6. Science experiment day.  There are so many great science experiments on Pinterest that you will have no trouble at all filling up an afternoon.  This is another one of those things that I always want to do with my kids, but just don’t always find the time to actually do!  Have the kids help you make a list of supplies you need, run to the store and buy those supplies, then you could have the kids take turns being your helper for the different experiments.  I created a board on Pinterest just for science experiments and you can follow that board here.  I will also include links to great science kits below that you can use over and over! I used to teach a summer science class and I used these supplies every summer and the kids always loved them!  If you really wanted to go all out, you could get these little lab coats that they will love!
    7. Art Day.  My kids love art! I used to teach an art class (along with the science class) and my kids and I really enjoyed learning different types of art and we created some amazing work!  There are so many resources for you to learn from if you yourself are not an artist.  I would not consider myself an artist by any means, and yet I was able to teach kids how to create some incredible products!  YouTube, Pinterest, and my amazing nephew were my guides. You can do several ideas at home, but it is also fun to take a little field trip to a scenic area and let the kids draw or paint what they see in nature.  We did this during my class and if the gnats had not been so bad, it would have been really fun for the kids.  My favorite YouTube channel is Fun2draw.  My kids love watching these videos and they end up with impressive work. For a gazillion great art ideas, you can follow my Pinterest art board here. I will include links below to the art products that I used and loved in my art class.
    8. Movie Marathon.  Find a series that your family loves.  For my family, that series is Harry Potter.  We are slightly obsessed.  My 2 year old talks about Buckbeak, dementors, Voldemort and “expelliarmus”  all the time to strangers and I think they are a bit concerned…  I haven’t let my kids watch all of the movies yet, but they somehow have convinced me to let them watch the first 5.  I have the remote in hand and skip a lot during numbers 3-5, but they still love them.  You could also include books on tape in the marathon.  This could be an all day sort of thing, or one movie per day as a movie night throughout the week.  Your local library might have all the movies available.  And if you aren’t sure what series to try out, please, please try Harry Potter!
    9. Family game day.  There are so many great family games on Pinterest for family reunions.  But why wait for a big reunion??  As a family, plan a few games and gather all the needed supplies.  Invite another family or two over for appetizers and games.  We enjoy family Olympics, the Amazing Race, Family Fued, relay races, wack-a-cracker, and minute to win it games.  I have created a board on Pinterest for some other fun ideas here.
    10. Go for a Drive.  Simple enough.  It may sound boring to the kids at first, but our kids have come to love our drives.  We don’t always have a plan of where we are going, but we usually have fun along the way.  My husband made up a game to teach the kids left and right.  Every time he drove up to an intersection, the kids took turns directing him to turn left or right.  If they said left, but really meant right then he still turned left.  They quickly caught on which was left and which was right.  It is a fun way to see new places.  We also like to take drives out of town.  We’ve always lived in rural places where we are out of town and in the “hills” very quickly.  We like to take new turns and discover new places in the middle of nowhere.

Writing this post has made me even more excited for Spring Break.  I really should be waking kids up right now to get them ready for school, but maybe I will let them sleep in a little longer…

Here are a few links for the science and art things you might want to try.  I hope you have a nice and happy Spring Break!