It’s almost here! Spring break! If you’re not going away during this break, filling kids’ time during spring break is always a challenge. Here are a few ideas for active, creative fun.
You can make this kite together and then try flying it! You will need wooden dowels, one shorter and one longer (such as 2 and 3 feet), a large brown paper or white plastic trash bag, and ribbon. Tie or tape the shorter dowel partway down the longer dowel to make a cross. Cut the trash bag open, flatten it, and draw an outline around the dowels. Have children decorate inside this kite shape. Then cut out the kite, leaving a margin. Tape the dowels to the back of the decorated paper or plastic with packing tape. Fold the edges over and tape them down, making sure the ends of the dowels are taped securely. Cut ribbon about twice as long as the kite and tape it to the bottom point. Tie several short pieces at intervals along the tail. Attach the end of a roll of string to the kite where the dowels cross.
A fun activity easily adjusted to children’s abilities is an obstacle course. This is ideal outdoors but also works indoors. You can make the course just a few “stations” or longer. Create obstacles and other supplies from whatever is available: sofa cushions, stuffed animals, etc.
The course can incorporate various movements. Walking can be following a marked path, stepping over something (or inside a hula hoop), “walking a tightrope” (a line on the floor), or squeezing between two objects. Kids can crawl under a table, between cushions, or through a large box. Add jumping/hopping too: children could proceed to a certain spot and then do several jumping jacks or a somersault. Other actions include pushing/pulling/carrying something, bouncing a ball, or tossing beanbags into a trash can. As children get the hang of the activity, they may enjoy timing themselves.
Putting on a Play
Kids love to put on a show! Spring break is a great time to do a longer activity, or you can keep this simple. Have children pick a favorite story and list the characters. Talk about what they say and do at the beginning and then what happens next until the end. Decide who will play each character (children can play more than one part). One character can be a narrator who remembers the story well (or follows a picture book). Others should practice listening to the story until their character is mentioned and then walking “on stage” and saying their part. Remind children to sound and behave like the character (e.g. big and scary, sleepy).
To make the activity more theatrical, choose an area that has a place the audience can sit and a way for kids to enter and exit the “stage.” Kids can use their imagination with props and scenery or draw some on chart paper. They may want to make a mask for their character(s) and find a “costume” to wear. However simple or elaborate, this is a fun activity to videotape!
Paper Bag Pinata
You don’t have to wait for Cinco de Mayo to enjoy a piñata, especially this easy version! You can use a paper lunch bag, gift bag, or grocery bag. Decide how children will decorate the piñata before you fill it – drawing is easier on a flat surface, but wrapping streamers around it may be easier when full. The piñata should be filled only partially so it is not too heavy; fill the remaining space with crumpled paper. Fold and staple the bag closed, or punch holes and gather it.
For a traditional Mexican look, kids can use tissue paper strips with a wide fringe cut on one side, gluing them around the bag (starting at the bottom) and attaching crepe paper streamers that hang down. Make sure to let the glue dry well before hitting the piñata!
A traditional spring favorite, a simple egg hunt can work in your own space with little planning. The activity can be done in a park, a front or back yard, or designated rooms indoors. Hunting in snow can be fun as long as it’s not deep or slushy. For any location, think about safety issues like nearby traffic and tripping hazards.
You will need about 10 eggs per child. There’s no need to buy Easter baskets; kids can use any container or could decorate a basic bag, basket, or pail. And think outside the candy box – treats inside eggs can include stickers, small toys, or a ticket for a special prize.
You can adjust for age in several ways: give smaller children a head start, limit the eggs a child can find, create teams, or have different ages search in different areas/rooms or for different-colored eggs. Hide the eggs in obvious or trickier places depending on age, and make sure kids understand the rules (including off-limits areas where none are hidden).
To lengthen the activity, have children take turns looking. (You can also hide the eggs more than once.) Vary the activity by giving kids a simple picture “map” of where eggs are or having them look for an egg marked with the letter their name begins with.
And, remember to have fun~