Well, it’s that time of year…a full week plus of vacation from school. It’s Eater/Passover break time, and the kids are restless. And to top it all off, Day 1 is being sogged up with a downpour of rain. Some places in the tri-state are expecting almost 8 inches of rain!! Are you kidding, where are the locusts then? Frogs? Really annoying telemarketers that always manage to call as your butt hits the chair for dinner?
If you are not going away, you have to try to keep the kids occupied. TV is a nice option, but it can’t, and shouldn’t, fill the entire week’s worth of free time. The kids would be a huge mess.
Here’s what we plan on doing this week, assuming the weather picks up and we get back to that nice Spring weather we were having when the kids were IN school.
1) Go to the park. This is so easy and so affordable (free, I assume), that it has to be the #1 option, no? My kids could spend the entire day there. The park is about 1 block from the house and has all you need, including a boatload of little ones my kids’ age. Some people bring some lunch, but we tend to go before or after lunch. It works well. Our park even has basketballs, soccer balls, etc. just lying around for the kids to use. In the summer, there’s arts and crafts every day at 10AM and organized game right after. It’s great, it’s like a free day camp.
2) Go to a kid’s museum. We are about 5 minutes from a good one, the Long Island Children’s Museum. The kids LOVE this place. They ask to go to this almost as much as Disney (almost). There are games to play with, exhibits to make them think, and just plain old fun…like a whole section dedicated to playing with bubbles. Most children’s museums in the country are a nice mix of education and fun, and many are also pretty affordable. The LICM, for example, costs only $75 per year for a family of 4 for unlimited entrance for a full year. You can’t really beat that.
3) Take a day trip. Sure, you have to spend some cash on gas, etc., but it’s really not too much for a day of fun with the family. I’m sure wherever you are located, there are some great places to visit maybe 1 to 2 hours away by car that you haven’t been too in a while, or perhaps never. Go to Google and search on family friendly places in your area. You may even be able to check out the local or state’s visitors and tourism boards. They are generally pretty helpful. Wake up early, get the kids ready and roll. You could stop for breakfast on the way. Maybe make a stop mid-trip. Get there for lunch and take some time to plan the next few hours. You can also pick a town that’s close to a lot and have lunch there. Plan up until dinner. Eat and head home from there. It should be more than enough time to see and do a alot. The kids will be wiped out and maybe even fall asleep in the car. By the time you get home, it may be bed time.
4) Go into “The City.” I would think that there’s a good portion of you out there living in the suburbs, not too far from a major city. Many of the parents may even commute to work everyday in the city. For us, we live maybe 20 miles from Times Sqaure, so it’s very easy by train or by car to get into NYC. Like most cities, there’s likely a world of things to do that may not be available in your town. Take advantage. It’s great for the kids to experience something different…tall buildings, more people walking around, just a more energetic way of being. It’s amazing how different the city is when you are there to enjoy it with your family rather than going in to work and back. Plan the day and enjoy it like a tourist. Even take a city tour, you’d be surprised how fun that could be. I know we had a great time doing it with some out-of-town guests we had last year. You feel like a kid going into the city for the first time. The kids will get a kick out of even the most minor things and will have a great time, too.
5) Take a class. Check out some local shops. You’d be surprised how inventive people are. There’s a local cupcake place by me, The Cupcake Corner, holding ceramic painting and cupcake decorating classes over the break. It’s inexpensive and easy to do. Plus, the kids will love to make some art, make a mess, and eat some sweets. There’s things like this all over, you just sometimes have to be proactive in seeking it out. Check out the local paper for stores and/or ads, too.
I know a lot of this seems pretty obvious, but many of us don’t take the initiative to go ahead and do it. I think if you try it, it will be great for everyone and will make the long week seem that much shorter. Good luck.