"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind."
Khalil Gibran

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring Break Staycation

If you are like me, you may have at some point in time felt the pressure to plan an exciting Spring Vacation for your family.  After all, some of your friends are flying to Hawaii with their families to enjoy surfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling...  Your Sister and her family are going to Disney World with the whole family.  And last you heard, your child's best friend and their family will be driving to the Grand Canyon with an itinerary to stop at all the historical stops along the way.

And now you are sitting in a room with a group of other parents, all eyes on you, waiting for you to answer the inevitable question, "What is your family doing for Spring Break?"

Not everyone can go on big vacations over school holidays.  Some cannot afford a trip due to finance.  Some families don't have the time, Mom and/or Dad are unable to get time off work to schedule a 'family' vacation get away.

Did anyone ever tell us that we MUST take our entire family on expensive vacations to exciting destinations each year?  (Rhetorical answer = NO!) What do we think will happen if we don't provide our kids with an exciting adventure that rivals everyone they know?  Will we have our names removed from some mystical book of 'good parenting'? 

The answer is "Of Course Not"!  Some have overcome the desire to beat the Jones' and their fancy destination vacations, so to speak, and yet they still feel a pressure to provide some sort of exciting experience for their kids over the break, filled with constant activity.

I would like to suggest that you give yourself permission to throw out those pesky expectations. I have read that in prehistoric times, spring break was a time to celebrate the fact that you survived winter!  Whahoo.....we made it alive!

I should say that as a homeschool Mom I can relate with good humor that I am am celebrating that I lived through this much of the school year!  My son is doing well and I have not yet completely lost my mind.  Score!

For me, Spring Break is a time to relax, rest, regroup, have fun with family, and then prepare for the last leg of the school year.  Some years we may plan a get away, but it is not necessary.  This year for instance, we are staying at home.  We have a relative staying with us who is my son's age (teenagers) and we are just having day to day life without the work and constraints of a school schedule.  

My goal is not to ENTERTAIN for a short period, but rather to EXPERIENCE memories together that will last a long time.  These memory making activities don't necessarily have to cost a lot of money.  We happen to be fortunate enough to live on the coast, which offers many outdoor activities that are free or of little cost.  Also, our kids don't have to be entertained 100% of the time.  This is real life, you just don't always get what you want.  (Ouch...hard lesson to learn)

So far the boys have been hiking, played with sand discs at the dunes, shot at clay pigeons, and we hope the rest of the week will hold kayaking, fishing, and some very unscheduled goofing-around!  That's it....nothing spectacular, but something wonderful.  Isn't the goal to enjoy yourself with your loved ones?

If you don't live somewhere that you have activities to keep you and your kids having fun, look up some Birthday party games....who said they can only be done at a Birthday party?!?  NOBODY!  Go outside and play some games together!  Which games you play would likely depend on the size of your kids.

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Hide and Seek
  2. Tag
  3. Tug of War
  4. Scavenger Hunt
  5. Obstacle Course
  6. Make a Pinata
  7. Make a fort
  8. Have Relay Races
  9. Water Balloon or Egg Toss
  10. Sack Race

You can make spring break fun, without extravagant locations or expenses.  I hope you are able to take some pressure off yourself and just enjoy some time with your kids!  No apologies.....just memories!

Now, when you are asked what your family plans to do this Spring Break, you can say, "We have planned a fun filled Staycation"  (Staycation = an at home vacation).  And if you need more activity ideas, simply Google 'Staycation Ideas' and you will have lots to choose from.

I wish you all a happy, low-stress, memory making Spring Break!