March Break (or Spring Break if you’re out West) will be here before we know it. It can easily become a highlight of your family’s year – even if you are not travelling south.
I have been the March break coordinator for my children, and their cousins for several years now, with ages ranging from 3 years old to 13 years old this year. With a little planning, and a lot of creativity, we have a formula that works well for us. Here are our best tips for planning a March Break Staycation for kids of all ages.
Plan a Memorable March Break Staycation On a Budget
Start with a Master Calendar
I draft a schedule, share it with each family and make adjustments as needed. We take turns hosting simple lunches and chauffeuring different age groups of kids to their events.
Libraries are More Than Books
We ADORE our library for March Break events. Prices range from FREE to $. We are lucky to have a large library system that offers March Break programs with a lot of variety. Be sure to register in advance if required. Here are a few favourites:
3-5 year olds
Storytime by amazing authors like Lana Button
11 years +
Stop Motion animation
A Little Free Goes a Long Way
Do an internet search of Your city + March break + Free to find items in your area. Also check parenting sites such as KidsAroundCanada.com and narrow your search by city. Our local curling club offered free trial lessons and the boys even met Kirsten Wall.
Check Local Stores and Malls
Visit local retailers who host children events to draw families in. We enjoyed:
Indigo: free crafts and activities
Home Depot: free building workshops for kids
Malls: free reptile and science demonstrations
Fun for a Toonie
Our city often offers March Break swims and skates for a toonie. Bundle up or suit up to get moving as a family.
Savour the Little Things
Of course, a week off school does not need to be jam-packed with events. Find a balance that avoids restless kids or overscheduling. We love our leisurely mornings and prefer afternoon events, but find a rhythm that works for your family. And don’t forget to savour the little things. Take a walk, have a snowball fight or have a sleepover in the living room.
If you are coordinator of a Staycation, you will need a little reprieve along the way. Check out this post for ideas to pamper yourself on a budget. Or search up restaurants where kids eat free so at least you don’t have to cook one night.
Carefully Select Screen Time
Chances are your kids will be asking to see a movie over the March break. Check out local libraries, churches and this post to get ideas for free movies in other ways.
Consider a Splurge
Each of our kids is allowed to pick on “splurge” event. Here are a few of our most memorable treats from over the years:
Loblaws Cooking School: 2-3 hours of hands-on cooking lessons for $13-$20 per child
Gymnastics: 1 day of drop-in gymnastics $20 for 3 hours
Indoor Rock Climbing: $25 for half a day of climbing
Laser Tag for a group with a Groupon: $13 for one game for 6 players.
Join with Another Family
March break is such a highlight for us because of the time we spend with extended family and friends. Buddy up with a friend who has kids of similar ages to do a few outings together. Maybe you could each plan one event, or even host a get-together at your home. There is strength in numbers!
Involve the children in planning so they will be excited about their March Break staycation. Take advantage of free or almost free events and your wallet will thank you. And don’t forget to take pictures to capture this memorable holiday.
What is your favourite March Break tradition?