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Keeping the Kids Busy Over Spring Break Without Blowing Your Budget

Updated on March 15, 2009

All over the United States it is spring break time. You either love it or hate, I have found. Many parents struggle with bored kids and wonder how they will ever survive. Instead of spending a small fortune entertaining them, lets talk about some things you can do to make spring break fun for everyone while still staying in your budget.

First, realize that it isn't our job as parents to entertain our kids. I have one child that thinks it is, but really it is not. I like doing things with him, but I can in no way devote 24/7 to keeping him entertained. Accepting this has forced him to come up with his own entertainment and allowed me to get over the guilt. So you might want to plan a few fun activities for your children over spring break, but leave plenty of time for them to come up with their own plans.

Having some theme days during this week will give children something to look forward to and the whole family can get into planning the events. It could be a game day, or a movie day, or a pajama day. One year we had a pioneer day and lived the whole day without using any electricity and playing games and doing activities from pioneer times. We even cooked our dinner over a fire. The kids had a blast, it actually saved me money, rather than spending money and we all learned a lot.

Plan something special. Get your kid's input and pick one or two things that everyone wants to do. Maybe they want to go swimming, or to McDonalds. They might want to go to an indoor amusement park. If you can swing this in your budget it can be a lot of fun and if you make it a special treat once a year it is all the more appreciated. If you have memberships anywhere, now is the time to use them. Go to the zoo, the museum, the farm, the science center, etc. Pack a lunch and make a day of it.

Teach your kids something new. Having a whole week is plenty of time to tackle something new. Maybe your daughter wants to learn to sew, or you want to teach your child to do their own laundry. It might not be fun, but it is an opportunity for your child to learn a life skill that will help them for years to come. Maybe you want to help your child with their table manners. Practice all week and at the end of the week go out to eat to celebrate.

Of course spring break can't be all about the kids. I know when we have a week off we try to get projects done around the house. Involve the kids and it will get done faster and then you can celebrate at the end with a trip out for ice cream. There are plenty of entertainment opportunities at home and you should look there first. Plan a couple of special outings (based on your budget) interspersed with lots of at home fun will make spring break fun and relaxing for everyone involved and shouldn't cost much at all.

Get outside if you can and celebrate the warmer weather.  Go for a hike, to the park, for a bike ride or just a walk.  Just get out in nature, it truely is soothing to the soul.  Most outdoor activities are free as well, making them an even better option.  Most importantly, spend time together and have fun.


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    • profile image

      Ky mom 

      7 years ago

      I'll tell ya what happened to the good ole days, we live in a world filled with child molesters/rapists, and serial killers(to name a few).... I am afraid to let my child out of my sight. All it takes is the right opportunity for these people, and your child may never be seen again. Even with a group of other children with your child, they can be abducted. My child only goes outside in her fenced in back yard, that is locked up like a fort with my 90lb dog, or when I am right there watching her every move.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      maybe some parents are overprotected and wont let thier kids go out and come back at dusk

      my kids dont have atrompoline in the backyard and they have a swimming pool but it is too cold to go swimming and we aretrying to save money so my kids will probally be doing nothing

    • LondonGirl profile image


      9 years ago from London

      I agree, throw 'em out, they'll come back when they are ready to eat!

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 

      9 years ago from West Coast

      Jennifer great ideas! I have to agree with Florida Keys. I remember going out early and not coming in until the street lights came on. I think that families are now slaves to technology; television and video games. Luckily for my family we have a backyard and my kids love to play all types of games outside.

    • Florida Keys profile image

      Florida Keys 

      9 years ago from Jewfish Key Florida

      What happened to the good old days? I lived in a neighborhood with lots of kids. We left the house early in the morning and had so much to do. After dark you'd hear the moms calling their kids who would reluctantly head home. Occasionally we'd go back out after dark and play games like "kick the can". Entertainment was free and wii or xbox for us....and much healthier for it. Too many parents use the video babysitter to raise their kids today. I'm happy to see you suggesting activities to do "with" your kids.


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