It’s Spring break for many schools over the next couple weeks, but this year, you’re not going anywhere. Having Spring break at home doesn’t have to be boring – and it doesn’t have to be jammed packed with exciting activities. Go day by day, and let the kids make suggestions. Let them have some control over the week – there’s so much they don’t have control over right now.
Stay off your OWN phone except during electronics time. Try not to talk about stressful things (unless they need to). Don’t let them see or hear your worry. Pretend that you’re staying home by choice, and make the most of it. Give extra love – everyone needs it right now.
Don’t worry about school work
My kids have been great about doing school work (they are young, so it’s fun for them). I’m tempted to keep them on a roll since school will be at home for awhile, but I’m not going to. They need a break…I need a break…and it will all be fine whenever they do go back to school. If it’s not until next year, schools will meet the kids where they are. Standards will be adjusted.
Unfortunately, its going to rain some – that’s a given in March and April in Ohio. When there’s a break in the weather, grab your coats and head outside! Ride bikes in the driveway, draw with sidewalk chalk, fly a kite, throw the frisbee, play a sport, eat a meal outside, go for a walk, have a scavenger hunt (tons of ideas online). It’s also okay to play in the rain for a bit if it’s not too cold! My kids still talk about the time we kept riding bikes in the driveway even though it started pouring rain. Obviously if there is a threat or sign of thunder or lightening, you need to head inside.
Take a Hike!
Go for a hike. Shelter in place allows for outdoor exercise and activities. You can still go for a hike in a park or a trail (playgrounds are off limits and closed). Go to one of the awesome metroparks around Central Ohio. Drive to Hocking Hills and hike to one of the waterfalls.
Nature in Franklin County
It’s no secret that we have AMAZING parks with the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. There are so many amazing options, and they will ALL be beautiful. Pick your favorite, or better yet, try a new one and just go for a walk! Find the parks here: http://www.metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/
The Ohio State University Chadwick Arboretum has 60 acres of gardens, trees, and a lake path. It’s calming, stunning, and free.
Best Nature Walks in Delaware County
Preservation Parks of Delaware County consists of ten parks of various landscape. You’ll find plenty of variety among the woodlands, prairies, meadows, streams and wetlands.
Ohio Department of Natural Resources Parks in Delaware County include Alum Creek and Delaware State Park.
Best Nature Walks in Licking County
Licking County offers a system of parks and trails that will be worth the drive. Check out the trail options and programming of the Licking County Park District.
Dawes Arboretum is a great place to explore – whether you plan to walk or drive (or a little of both). The paved trails (open to cars and walking) through the arboretum lead to a variety of ecosystems and gardens. Park at the beginning and spend a couple of hours walking, or drive from parking area to parking area and explore the nearby gardens. My top picks include the overlook above the valley, just past the visitor’s center, Dawes Lake and the Observation tower overlooking the hedge lettering, Garden Gateway (including the Japanese Garden), and Hikes through the Woodlands. Admission is reduced to $5 per car for non-members during the COVID-19 closures.
Black Hand Gorge is a preserve within Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and comes highly recommended for its 10 miles of trails and 4 miles of bike paths.
Have some treats and favorite food
Have dessert after breakfast. Make cookies. Decorate a cake, cookies, or cupcakes. Make s’mores – in the microwave if you have to. Make popcorn and add M&M’s. Have hot cocoa with extra marshmallows. Let them have extra treats – just have them brush their teeth afterwards!
If you are open to getting carryout (some aren’t and that’s okay!), let the kids pick their favorite options. If you’re planning to cook at home, give them more input into the menu. Make something special. Have appetizers for dinner. Have ice cream for breakfast. Let them have more choice than usual.
Play in the rain, have a mini food fight, stomp in puddles, play in the sandbox, dig in the garden, make mud pies, climb trees, paint rocks (or anything). Have them paint your finger nails or toenails (dads aren’t excluded!), do facials together (find kid-safe homemade options here), color their hair with kool-aid (it washes out!).
Let the kids get messy – and join them! They WILL NOT forget the time mom threw out the rules and made a mess. The only rule is that everyone has to clean up!
Do their favorite thing (with them!)
Take an interest in your children’s favorite things – even if you’re not a fan. Whether they are into LEGOS, video games, chess, a sport, art, or whatever – join them for a little bit. Watch their favorite movie, reality show or TV show with them. Let them play their favorite music, even if you hate it (assuming it’s appropriate for the household). Ask them to teach you have to use their favorite form of social media. If your preteen or teen loves makeup and hairstyles, ask for a makeover (serious or silly). Asking a child or teen to teach you something makes them feel valued and useful.
No matter what it is….it’s okay if you don’t enjoy it (fake it!), it’s okay if you’re terrible at it. But whatever it is, have a good attitude about it and don’t make fun of what they enjoy. They may make fun of your efforts or roll their eyes at you, but they’ll love it deep down.
Watch movies and have screen time
It’s okay to watch too many movies or have too much screen time during Spring break – especially if its raining. Being stuck at home isn’t ideal, so be relaxed on the rules. Just make sure they know that rules are back in place after Spring break.
Play cards or games
Most kids and teens actually love playing cards or board games. They may complain initially, but will likely get into it pretty quickly. You have some time on your hands, so play that long game of Monopoly or Ticket to Ride (or other favorite board game). Teach them how to play rummy or euchre – or have them teach you a card game they know. Play War (cards). Teach them how to play Solitaire if they don’t know how.
Have fun competitions and challenges
Come up with fun competitions and challenges. Have a water balloon or egg toss. See how many times each person can hit an inflated balloon in the air without it hitting the floor- or how many long the family can keep it in the air. See who can build the tallest Lego tower, house of cards, or SOLO cup stack. Have a “Nailed it” competition. Challenge them to put on the craziest outfit they can come up with or have a fashion show. Have a blindfolded hairstyle or makeup challenge where the blindfolded person does the hairstyle or puts makeup on someone else – but skip the eyeliner and mascara! All ages can do a blindfolded drawing challenge – even a stick figure can be difficult while blindfolded!
Connect with others! (at a distance)
Walk around your neighborhood and wave at your neighbors. Put a sign in your yard (temporarily) that says “Honk to say Hi!”.
FaceTime or call everyone you know this week. Let them Facetime or call their friends as much as they want. Chat with all of the different households in your family. You can even do Group FaceTime chats to reach more than one household at a time.
Have an Easter Egg Hunt (or 5)
Easter is April 12, 2020, and it’s unlikely things will be back to “normal” by then. Community Easter egg hunts are cancelled, there won’t be any school parties, and Easter celebrations may have restricted to your own immediate household. Gather the plastic Easter eggs from storage (or pick some up if you need to go to the grocery store this week) and have one (or many) Easter Egg hunts. You can have them inside or outside, filled eggs or empty eggs. You can even put slips of paper inside with different rewards (pick the movie for tonight, choose dinner or takeout option, stay up an hour later, pick a game to play, etc).
Count the eggs before you hide them and tell them to keep looking until they find them all (or almost all).
After Spring Break…
Don’t try to rush back into 5+ hours of school at home. Kids learn at all times. Schools aren’t expecting parents to do as good as a job of teachers – most of us can’t even come close. Just as over summer break, it’s most important to keep kids from backsliding. Have them do the assigned work and have them read (or read to them). Don’t stress or fight about doing extra work or spending hours doing school work. Give them some grace. This is a stressful time for kids too, and they need home to feel safe and comforting.
Other articles of interest
- Virtual Events Calendar
- Connect with friends and family in a Group Facetime Chat
- Have a FREE Netflix Party with friends in your own homes
- Community resources and activities in Columbus
- Spring Break: at home edition
- Free at home workout options for all
- Stuck at home? On demand and Virtual Events and Entertainment
- Virtual tours, on demand videos and live streams for kids
- Skip the stores: Grocery pickup and delivery in Columbus
- The most beautiful public gardens in Columbus
- Free or cheap events this weekend in Columbus (will show available and cancelled events)