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5 spring break activities for kids that you can do at home

Travel isn’t always an option for spring break, but the kids will be out of school whether you have plans or not. If you’re looking at a week at home and are thinking of things to do with your kids, we’ve got you covered.

Staying at home doesn’t have to be boring — far from it! With these spring break activities for kids, you’re going to create family-vacation memories without leaving town.

Mama Belle and the kids / Shutterstock

Science experiments

When they’re home on vacation, it is the perfect time to try out those science-fair moments you remember from your childhood, like the baking-soda volcano. Or, you can make some slime, see if you can put a pin through a piece of tape on a balloon without popping it, make a lava lamp, and (if you’re feeling really adventurous) stick some Mentos in a bottle of Coke. You can look up countless experiments to do, but it’s also fun to just wing it and throw things together in your kitchen and see what happens. Have some basics on hand: Food coloring, vinegar, baking soda, soda, and vegetable oil.

Scavenger hunts

This is a classic, and there are many ways to do it depending on your kids’ ages and what’s available in and around your home. Want to get outside? Go to the backyard or a nearby park and have your kids check off nature items like pine cones or squirrels when they spot them. It doesn’t get any easier than writing up a quick list and sending them outside to run around with an activity to keep them occupied. You could step it up a level by placing your own items from inside around the outdoor hunt space for them to collect in a bag and bring back in for you. Stuck indoors? The same ideas apply. Either have your kids mark on a paper that they’ve seen certain items (something red, something with batteries, etc.) or have them collect the items and bring them back as proof of a successful hunt.

Virtual field trips

Can’t go to an aquarium? Bring the aquarium to you! Choose a theme for each day of spring break and watch videos and do crafts related to the theme. For an underwater theme, you can take a virtual tour of an aquarium on YouTube, read books about fish, make a fish tank out of a cup, and break out some new bath toys. Plan ahead with library book requests, and if your kids are old enough, you could even have them email professionals in the field (just use the contact form at a zoo’s website, for example) to ask questions. If you search online for “virtual field trips,” you’ll find endless options like the livestream of the Old Faithful geyser or the virtual field trip to Ellis Island. Many museums, like the National Museum of Natural History, have their own virtual tours available on their websites, so search around based on your child’s interests.

Olga Pink/Shutterstock

Indoor camping

It’s fort time! This is your chance for an indoor picnic and for imagination to run wild. Cook hot dogs and s’mores (on the stove), pretend to watch for animals while you play forest sounds, and have a no-TV or no-electronics rule. If you have sleeping bags or a tent, break them out of storage and go all out. Even without a real tent, this is a great opportunity to drape a blanket over some chairs to make one.

Plant a garden

If you have any outdoor space for a garden bed, take advantage of the warming weather and the time off to get a garden started outdoors. If you don’t have a yard, you can plant in a window box (depending on your housing situation, you can hang it out a window or rest it on a windowsill). If you live in a city, you can find an urban community garden for a plot, too. No matter where you plant, let your kids take the lead in planning what they want to grow. Flowers? Herbs? Vegetables? Help them think about planning the seasons, choosing the colors, and learning about your local climate and native plants. They can take responsibility for watering them after the vacation is over and eventually enjoy the fruits of their labor.

The idea behind all of these suggestions is to work with you already have at home. Tap in to your kids’ interests and let loose to explore with them. When you do, you’ll all have a fun spring break.

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Sarah Prager
Sarah is a writer and mom who lives in Massachusetts. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, National…
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