Save money and time with these fun spring break tips
For many parents, having the kids out of school for a week can have major implications for your monthly budget. This is especially true for families with multiple children. For a little over a week, you’re suddenly faced with more meals, more recreation, and possibly even child care.
Here are some practical tips to make sure that spring break doesn’t break the bank.
Visit the Farmers Market
Start spring break off right with a visit to your local farmers market the first Saturday that the kids are out of school. Farmer’s markets are economical and educational adventures. Talk to your kids about how local producers bring their fresh food to sell, and how your business makes your community better by supporting these agricultural entrepreneurs.
More importantly, you can save some cash by stocking up on extra, healthy food at the great prices that farmer’s markets offer. You can leave with a haul of fruits and veggies well below supermarket prices. Throughout the week, the kids will have fresh fruit snacks and you’ll have plenty of vegetables to make a healthy dinner.
Hit the Parks
Venturing out to local parks and beaches is one of the most cost-friendly ways to celebrate spring break. If you have the time, get the kids in the great outdoors. It will be a surprising adventure that reminds them about the world beyond their LED screens.
Make sure phones and tablets stay at home. Prep the kids with some sunscreen. If you’re visiting a part, take notebooks have them practice drawing some of the flora and fauna you see. Or, do some work ahead of time and print out a checklist for a “nature scavenger hunt,” where your kids can scout out local plants and animals in a mini wildlife adventure.
For more outdoor ideas, check out our guide to cheap and educational summer activities.
Coordinate with Other Parents
Supervision during spring break is an expensive concern for many parents whose work weeks are filled. Coordinate with other parents to form play groups or share the cost of a safe and vetted supervisor or spring break camp. Its much easier for most parents to take one day off of work than the whole week, so consider a schedule where five parents each volunteer to take care of the kids for one day.
Host Movie Nights
You probably limit TV time during the week to ensure the kids get their work done and have plenty of rest. When the books close for Spring Break, however, it’s a great time to allow a little more entertainment. Grab some low-sugar snacks and a few bags of popcorn. Set the kids up with a movie you’ve vetted and allow them to stay up just a little past their bed time. If you can find a family flick on your streaming service, you’ve filled up a couple of hours for less than ten dollars.
Parents may also find it valuable to pick a film with meaningful themes that they can discuss with their children after the movie is over. Asking probing questions about the characters, plots, and morals can help teach kids to think critically about art, movies, and books. It also ensures that entertainment is balanced by education and thoughtful reflection. And, good conversation is totally free.
Capture the Memories
Encourage your students to capture memories from spring break adventures. While phones are a cheap way to take snapshots, grabbing a few disposable cameras will keep kids unplugged and create a nostalgic experience. Toward the end of break, get the pictures developed and make a quick run to a dollar store for some scrapbooking materials. Then, set the kids up to put together a mini-book that tells a story about their break.
Having structured fun and making sure the kids are occupied and fed doesn’t have to be a financial strain. Build on these ideas and tailor them to your kids’ interest for a relaxing break on a budget.