Spring Break On A Budget

by: Amy Hannold, 247Moms Frugal Living Editor

Frugal, Super Spring Break Fun

Want to have a fun, fulfilling and affordable staycation? The key is prior planning. When you have a plan on paper, you can begin to create memorable experiences. Start now and you’ll be enjoying the Spring Break along with your children.

At Home or Away “Active” Ideas:

Scavenger Hunt: Get to know your hometown, or find your way around a new place with a scavenger hunt. Add a journaling/scrapbooking element by creating a “Photo Scavenger Hunt”. Hunts can be laid out ahead of time (visit the stops yourself to leave the following notes) or simply set out as a team to find historical, nature, or creative “photo-ops”. In parks or at the beach, you can make a list of things to find (blue rock, feather, daisy, tree bark, pinecone, bird sighting, etc.).

Snapfish has ideas for creating a photo scavenger hunt:

http://www.snapfish.com/backyardscavengerhunt

Creating Keepsakes author blogs on her family’s photo hunt:

http://www.creatingkeepsakes.com/articles/family_photo_scavenger_hunt

At-Home Staycation Ideas:

Complete a project: Research, design and complete a fun project. Make stepping stones, crafts, flower boxes, picture frames, scrapbooking, playhouse, etc. Designate this “Fun Project” time as a time to unplug all distractions and focus on spending time together – just as you would away from home.

This Old House Family Projects: Fun, functional project “how-to’s” and videos are free for the viewing. Each project is rated by difficulty, time commitment and cost.

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/info/0,,20168465,00.html

Moose’s Weekly Lesson Plan at NickJr.com: A source for Monthly and Weekly Activities: Each week’s activities include games, printables, learning about the theme subject, book picks, and more: http://www.nickjr.com/

Community Service: As a family, spend some time giving back to your community. Park or beach litter clean-ups, sunshine visits to nursing/retirement homes, collection drives for solider care package supplies, and making cards (or writing letters) for care packages are examples of opportunities to make a difference. Make these plans as soon as possible. Coordinate your schedule with the volunteer work. As a family, you can begin looking forward to this experience.

Escape Day(s): Take a day trip to a neighboring community. Explore their city’s website and local newspaper for ideas. Call ahead to their visitor/chamber of commerce office to receive brochures and potential coupons, etc. Pack fun activities for the parks, pools or beaches. Be sure to bring along fun surprises for the drive and snacks.

Spring Planting: Whether you’re going to grow a garden or try container gardening, spring break is a great time to get started. Research what grows well in your climate. Enlist your children in designing the garden, large or small. Find the containers, seeds, soil, and a cute watering can. Help the kids help plant the seeds and make the markers for what will soon bloom in their garden. When they get antsy for flowers, encourage them to make a collage cut from magazines or their own artwork of their future garden.

Make the Ordinary, Extraordinary: A staycation need not be boring. Make a plan now for each day. Be creative in your themes for each day, and organize a day built around that theme. Themes can be countries (your heritage?), colors, “Upside-Down Day”, Career Day (be a firefighter, with a trip to the fire station), “Place day” (zoo animals: popcorn, and peanuts), etc.

Boosting Your Theme Activities: Utilize your local library, museums, community organizations, the internet, books, movies, music, food experiences, and costumes to create themed fun. Get together with friends, neighbors and family to coordinate some group activities. From the internet, you can find the association or organization (such as dental association or fire fighters) where you could print and/or request free materials for learning and decoration. Find a local high school or college sporting event to enjoy, or try your hand at a new backyard sport.

Budgeting your Spring Break: Begin now by setting money aside every week for Spring Break. If your children can be included in the saving, talk to them about forgoing today’s luxuries on behalf of your upcoming vacation. Be creative in how you can use your resources, both family and community, for the best time you can afford. Consider giving each child a few dollars as their own budget to spend during the week. Staycations can become a family tradition – and a great learning opportunity as well. Your children, as they grow, will learn vital life skills as well as creativity.

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