By Mariam Mazhar
March break panic has set in! Not heading to a sunny beach? Neither am I but I have set up some do’s and don’ts for March break that will not break my bank and will keep the kids busy and happy. If you cannot take days off from work; do not fret. There are many different half and full day camps available depending on your child’s needs and interests. You can choose from sports, arts and crafts, robotics or academic-based camps. But if you are a stay at home mom or you are lucky enough to take some time off here are some good suggestions or you.
Do not wake up early
Your kids have been working hard for past ten weeks (yes it’s been a while since winter holidays ended). They have been occupied with homework assignments, their music lessons, soccer practices and what not. Let them sleep in and let them rest their tired bodies. Remember a mommy’s body also needs rest so please hide your alarm clocks.
Do not hate the cold
Spring is just around the corner. And even if it doesn’t get warmer over the March break do not hate the last bit of snow, rather enjoy it. Go snow tubing, skiing or skate boarding and end your winter with some wonderful memories. If you find it pricey go tobogganing on the nearby hills.
Do not stay indoors
Your body needs daily dose of exercise. Bundle up your kids and go for a morning walk. Look for early signs of spring, listen to the birds chirping, spot some squirrels under the bush and keep your fingers crossed for some sunshine.
Do not plan something for everyday and every moment
A healthy amount of boredom is okay! Don’t constantly rush in to alleviate boredom. This will help motivate your child to find new ways to entertain himself.
Do not spend too much
Even if you are not travelling, having kids at home means pizza nights, trips to mall and march break camps. If you have the luxury of staying home with kids during March break than you can cut that extra amount of spending by cooking with your kids and attending these free fun activities:
Spring Break at Indigo
Indigo|Chapters is holding FREE in-store spring activities across Canada. Daily themes include: Dr. Seuss, Lego, Klutz crafts. (Check chapters.indigo.ca for further details)
Tip: Get there 15 min before start time to get a good spot.
Sugar bush and Maple Syrup Festivals
The trees will soon be tapped and now is the time to layer up and get out seeing how maple syrup is made. Generally a low budget outing. For more details check out our previous article on the Maple Syrup Festival.
The Home Depot Kids workshops
I don’t know if these are across Canada, so please contact your local store. The kids’ workshops are a great opportunity to build something with your kids. The activities are FREE and usually can be made within an hour.
Toys “R” Us Spring Break events
Toys “R” Us has spring break events. Check online or call before heading the store and some events might not be free or might require to purchase the material or toys.
Public libraries will be holding free Spring break events (in Toronto they offer both English and French events). Check your local libraries. Some events might require prior registration.
Public Swim & Skate:
Some community centers offer free swimming and skating (or for a toonie) during March break.
Tip: Go 15 minutes ahead of time to avoid disappointments
Visit your local mall
Another great spot to find free activities is your local mall. Check your local paper or mall websites for daily events including crafts, stage shows, science fun, concerts and more.
Tip: leave your credit cards at home to avoid extra spending
Plan your summer garden
Visit your local nursery or hardware store to buy seeds and required tools. Whether the garden is a large plot in the backyard or a few planting pots off the back deck, give each child an area of responsibility/opportunity. Allow them to plan what they will plant for the growing season.
Movies for cheap
Some cinemas show classics and old children’s movies for toonies. Check cinemas in your city and the screenings available.
Whatever you choose to plan for your kids, make it fun and memorable. After all that’s all that matters.
About the author:
Mariam Mazhar is a teacher by profession, with a passion for kids, cakes and creative writing.