Spring Break is almost here! While exact dates vary, most schools have at least two days off, if not more, sometime in March and/or April. And while vacations to faraway places can be super fun, sometimes that doesn't work for everyone's schedules and/or budgets. And there's nothing wrong with having no budget for spring break, or for having a budget that works for your family and spending it! The good news is that staycations can be super fun and can work into small budgets and large ones, and short time frames and large time frames! Here are my top hacks as a mom of four kids from baby to teen for making a spring break staycation tons of fun!
- Have a dance party (or several!)
- Make a Spotify playlist of songs your kids love and dance around together or try mine. if you have tweens or teens, let them show you the cool new moves and laugh together at your attempts. Mine think it's hilarious to watch me dance (I'm really bad at it and have so much fun trying anyway!) and to join in on the silly fun.
- Pajama Day
- Sleep in and wear pajamas all day! You could also pair this with a spa day, and do things like braid hair, paint nails, play with makeup, do homemade facial masks, etc if that sounds fun to you and your kids--my oldest daughter would adore this! My boys prefer to pair this with video games and pancakes for dinner.
- Let kids set the agenda
- Literally let your kids pick any free and safe activity they want to do and do it with them! take a break from chores and go have a tea party with your preschooler, build a couch cushion fort with an 8-year old, play Xbox with your teen or whatever your kid's dream day is! Your kids will probably surprise you with how many fun ideas they can come up with for free entertainment together.
- Visit local parks
- Check out a local park or playground! One of my favorites is Stone Park and the outdoor playground at the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center, and spring is a great time to see the nature starting to wake up and probably enjoy a wild hike in the muddy woods (bring your boots!) Miracle Field is closed during winter, but if your spring break is after it opens again for the season, it's arguably the best playground in Siouxland and your kids will love it. Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve is also a great place for scenic views and a fun playground in the area. For any of the parks in the area, if weather permits, bring your lunch with you and make it a picnic day!
- Visit free museums and attractions
- For indoor entertainment, local admission-free museums and attractions can serve up big fun! The Sioux City Art Center, Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Sioux City History Museum, are all free and open to the public. The hands-on kids room at the art center is especially fun for young visitors and is FREE just like the rest of the museum.
Low-cost ideas (up to $25)
- Snack on local treats
- Popcorn, candy, and drinks usually are easier on the wallet than a full meal, but still let you sample some fun flavor that you don't have to cook or clean your kitchen to get to enjoy! Koated Kernels popcorn from Jolly Time Popcorn, Bings from Palmer's Candy, and elaborate milkshakes from Velpa are some of the treats I'd personally love to try this spring break! I also want to try a Crumb vs Sugar Shack cookie battle sometime!
- Get a new puzzle
- Find a puzzle that's slightly challenging for your crew's skill level and see if you can work together to complete it before break is over! Then, glue it together and frame it as a fun memory of your staycation fun. Book People and Thinker Toys both a nice selection of puzzles to work.
- Do a craft
- Make something creative and new together, whether at home, at a free Sunday Makebreak at Michael's, at a Sioux City Art Center Saturday workshop, or at Pickled Palette pottery studio. If you need inspiration, search for the "fair book" for your county fair and pick from the open class kids fine arts events. The Woodbury County Fair website was down last time I checked, but they have events for about any craft or art project you can make, and most have a size restriction of 3 feet maximum in any dimension. Or enter the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center spring 2023 bison art contest, or Book People's 2023 Kids Bookmark Art contest!
- Let kids set the menu
- Assign each kid each a meal during spring break to choose the menu for and let them know what the options are within your budget, time frame, and skill level. Then whatever they pick, make it happen! Involve them in the cooking if their age and skill level make that a fun possibility. Mine love to pick breakfast for dinner and do not care one bit if that's just-add-water pancakes and simple scrambled eggs! And I put this under low cost because food isn't free, but this could easily be something that does not add to your daily budget for what you would've spent on any random day (or might even be cheaper than your usual meals!) And don't forget to have the kids help with kitchen cleanup too!
Worth it ideas
- Buy some new toys
- If you've been considering or planning some new fun items for your yard, this is a great time to actually make that purchase to get maximum enjoyment out of them for the whole warm weather season, whether that's something as simple as some new balls, chalk, and bubbles from the dollar store to a new basketball hoop, bikes pickleball set, or patio furniture. Your kids won't know or care that you were already going to buy this stuff--they'll just be excited to enoy it with you!
- Or if the weather's cold, do the same thing for your playroom. What needs refreshed, like toy food for the play kitchen, new clothes for a beloved doll, or a new video game for the favorite console?
- Check out local restaurants
- There are so many great local restaurants that you probably haven't tried yet, and old favorites you haven't visited in a while. Introduce your kids to your local faves, or have them try some new ones together! Two on my list to try are Monterrey Mexican and Duckie's in Merrill.
- Hit the town
- Check out local kid-friendly attractions like the bowling alley, arcade, or trampoline park. Day/single session passes are usually around $15-25 per person in 2023, although rates vary. There are also tons of local events happening every week, so check out my March 2023 and April 2023 events posts to see which local events you may want to attend with your family!
- Buy a museum membership
- Museum memberships can be surprisingly affordable. In Siouxland, some great options include the Mid America Museum of Aviation ($60 per family per year), the Sioux City Railroad Museum ($50 per family per year), and LaunchPad Children's Museum (starting at $152 per family per year)