Fun things to do with kids on spring break

Heidi McIndoo, MS, RD, LDN

We all know it’s coming, but still it seems as if spring break has arrived too suddenly and you have no idea how to keep the kids occupied for the whole week. Here’s an assortment of fun activities to get you started. Some are family-based, while others, depending on the age of your kids, can be done with little to no adult help.

Science experiments

These activities are so much fun, the kids won’t even know they’re learning science during spring break! Look for more fun ideas online or at your school’s annual science fair.

  • Elephant toothpaste: Make a crazy foaming concoction out of hydrogen peroxide, dish soap and yeast. This elephant toothpaste experiment is fascinating for kids and adults, and is enhanced with food coloring.
  • Rainbow carnations: Your kids will love turning white flowers into colored ones by placing them in water dyed with food coloring. Use any glasses or bottles you have for your rainbow carnation experiment — even empty water bottles should work.
  • Naked eggs: Nothing indecent with the naked egg experiment, just something cool to see. Using household ingredients, you can see through an uncooked egg, right to the yolk. Plus, you can do all kinds of fun things with the egg, including bounce it.
  • Tornado in a bottle: My kids and their friends kept making these tornadoes over and over again. Duct tape works fine for this tornado in a bottle experiment; just put enough on so it doesn’t leak.

spring break geocache kids

Outdoor activities

Depending on where you live, you can do all sorts of activities outside. Some require no equipment, but for those that do, check your local REI or outdoor store for rentals.

  • Geocaching: Geocaching is fun, no matter what the weather is doing. Your kids won’t realize they’re learning important navigational skills. All you need is a GPS or smartphone. Then hit a local park to find treasures left behind by geocachers who came before.
  • Snowshoeing or cross-country skiing: This one is great for the half of the nation that’s been covered in a blanket of white. Even hiking through the snow can be fun for families; just pick an easy, non-icy trail and pack a thermos of hot cocoa.
  • Rollerskating or roller-blading: Try these fun-in-the-sun activities if you’re in a warmer climate. Prefer bigger wheels? Look for paved trails in your area for bike rides or scooter strolls.
  • Disc golf: More and more local parks are setting up Frisbee golf courses. It’s a fun family activity that gets you out in the woods, and the rules can be adjusted based on the ages and throwing abilities of your family.


Indoor time

  • Family game day: Everyone takes turns choosing either a board game or video game to play. There are only two rules: 1. Everyone must play. 2. Have fun.
  • Tie-dye day: Sure, many of us have tie-dyed t-shirts (but if you haven’t, now’s a great time to start). Why not try pillow cases, tank tops, socks, bandanas, or anything else. Craft stores usually have kits, and often have t-shirts and bandanas too. Don’t forget to pack your 40% off coupon before you hit the store.
  • Indoor camping: Unroll the sleeping bags on the living room floor, get out the flashlights and turn off the phones (no TV or computers, either). You can play card games and tell camp stories. For meals, you may need to use some modern conveniences like a stove, but serve up camping fare like franks and beans and finish the day with s’mores — made in the fireplace or outdoor fire pit if you have one. Check out these easy indoor s’mores if you don’t.
  • Movie day: Grab some blankets, pop some corn, cuddle on the couch and let the movies play. Or try making your own movies. Have the kids write a script, create props and get the extras — stuffed animals and dolls allowed. The kids can take turns filming (using a video camera or cellphone). Or, set up a camera on a tripod and use dolls or Legos for some stop-motion animation. Once the movie wraps, everyone can enjoy watching it together.
  • Kid swap: This is great for working parents. It’s the same idea as the DIY summer camp. Find a friend (or two). Pick one day you get all the kids and another day you send your kids to your friend’s house. You each get one full day without kids to do whatever you like (or get some work done), and the kids have a fun-filled play date. The more friends you involve, the more “free” days you get. 
  • Be a tourist: Find a nearby museum, tour or other popular attraction that you haven’t visited and make a day of it. Check Groupon or other coupon sites, as well as your local library, for any discounts or passes before heading out.
  • Clean out and donate: Help the kids go through their toys, games and clothes to weed out those they’ve outgrown or no longer use. Find a local shelter or charity that could put to use the items that are still in good condition and donate them, or sell nicer items on Facebook Marketplace or a consignment shop. While you’re at it, take some time to clean our your closets and cupboards as well. Getting rid of clutter is a financially smart move because you can write off charitable donations, earn money for items you sale and save you from buying a lot of organizational furniture to fit all your stuff.

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