Monday, March 11, 2024

Spring Break Ideas for Kids and Teens


With spring break approaching, parents can start to feel overwhelmed with how to fill their kids’ days and how to handle the break in routines and schedules. It can be even more challenging in the case of families with Highlighly Sensitive Children or children and teens who struggle with BIG feelings.

That being said, it’s important to remember that there are also benefits to taking a break, as it provides a time for children’s and teens’ brains and bodies to rejuvenate and if offers the opportunity for families to reconnect and reset. Suddenly having no routines and much less structure means, on the one hand, that we need to plan ahead and try to create some kind of loose schedule to make the time easier to handle, and on the other hand, that we need to let kids have good old fashioned free time. Instead of focusing on empty days and no obligations, think about how to make this time fun for you and your kids AND how to give your kids the space to figure out what to do on their own. Spring Break is a good opportunity to take advantage of some newfound quality time and independence. 

Here are some ideas that can help make the most of your time! 

Get outside! Spend some time connecting with your kids outside, enjoying the fresh air. Why not plan to plant a garden with your kids, letting them help decide what plants they want and going over how to grow and take care of a home garden. 

Get those creative juices flowing! Buy some sidewalk chalk and spend some time drawing with your kids. With younger kids, you can play games practicing writing words and letters, or build a visual story together, which will give you a front-row seat to their imagination and inner-world. For teens, let them show you their art skills. Another option is getting a bunch of magazines together and making a collage with your kids - perhaps of summer “dream” vacation idea or family values, or getting together in the kitchen to try out a new recipe!

Move your bodies! Physical activity and movement is always a good idea, especially when time off school can easily turn into more time with electronic devices. Create an obstacle course to do with your kids, or set up Olympic games for the family with teams for different countries and various tasks and events. 

PLAY! It can be easy to fall into patterns. Why not take advantage of this time with less school responsibilities and just enjoy playing with your kids. Break out the board games or teach them a new card game that you played when you were little. Let your child or teen teach you something new.

Indoor Fun! We know how frustrating it can be to feel like the weather is not suitable to get outside, but there are a ton of things you can do to bring the excitement indoors. Build a fort or set up a living room slumber party with sleeping bags on the floor. You can also dedicate an afternoon to going through old family photos or videos, or put together a time capsule to bury or put away until next year at the same time. 

Let Them Figure It Out! As parents, we always feel like we have to make sure our kids are doing something constructive at all times. Nope! Breaks are a great time to let children and teens be bored and figure out what they want to do. Maybe you set the boundary of “no electronics” then let them loose. Kids are way more creative than we parents think. Giving them some free rein to figure things out for themselves is hugely beneficial to their self-esteem and independence, too!

While it can be helpful to have a loose plan, or at least some ideas to offer up during the time off school, giving kids some freedom is tremendously valuable, too. The most important thing to do is try to keep an open-mind and prepare to go with the flow. This can be a great time for mental decompression for both you and your kids. Simply being able to try new things and laugh alongside your children and teens can be great for their development and the time-out from “real life” is a gift that we should aim to enjoy to the fullest!