Five ideas for March Break fun

by DaniGirl on March 16, 2009 · 3 comments

in Fun for kiddies

We’re booked solid for March Break this year with my brother and his family in town, but these are some of our favourite ways to fill time when everyone is home from school.

1. Digital camera scavenger hunt

You don’t need to use a camera for this – the low-tech version is just as fun – but the kids love the added element of the camera. Make up a list of things outside like “blue car” or “tall tree” or “mail box” or whatever is in your neighbourhood, and then set the kids free to find the things as a team. It can be as short or long a list as you think they have the attention-span to complete, and by using the camera you don’t have the problem of what to do with the stuff they collect (a problem we’ve had with other scavenger hunts, and on a daily basis simply because my kids are natural scavengers!) Rainy day or freezing cold outside? Make it an indoor scavenger hunt with things like, “Daddy’s socks” and “blue shampoo bottle.” printed some great ideas for scavenger-hunt inspiration last fall if you’re stuck for ideas.

2. Beads

Last summer, in those long days of late August, I trundled the boys off to the bead store in desperation for something to do. I had no idea we’d stumbled upon one of our favourite craft ideas for the year. Don’t just buy bulk beads from the craft store, though; bring them to an actual bead store and let them pick four or five “special” beads from the bins, and then make up the difference with pony beads or other plain beads. Last year, Tristan loved one particular ceramic bead painted in a blue abstract and a musical note bead while Simon loved his soccer ball and yellow doggie bead. You can also get a mixed bag of discards… they loved the ones that looked like crystals in a bag I thought was rather uninspiring. Letter beads are also a hit if you don’t mind forking over a bit more cash.And make sure you don’t choose the cord that is plastic and stretchy – it’s impossible to knot. Get nice thready cord.

When they finished making necklaces for everyone in the house and bracelets for Granny and Papa Lou and the rest of the extended family, all the Webkinz got new collars and we made enough bookmarks to last a year. They LOVED the bead craft!

3. What’s in the bag?

You need a bag about the size of a shoe box for this. A fabric bag is best, like a shoe bag, and a recyclable shopping bag works well, too. You have to do a bit of advanced legwork for this one. Collect a bunch of stuff that has interesting shapes, sizes and textures. Dinky cars, a carrot, a bar of soap, a sock — whatever! One at a time, put an item in the bag and see if your child can guess what it is by feel alone. So simple, and surprisingly entertaining. We always end up laughing.

4. Treasure maps

This is similar to the scavenger hunt. Our nanny made up a treasure hunt for each of the boys for their birthday gift, with ten rhyming clues leading them throughout the house. If I didn’t love her before this, when I read the work that had gone into her clues I knew she was terrific. Sample: “Under the place you sit to dine, you will find clue number 9!” The treasure at the end can be something small, because it’s the hunt that makes up the fun. If you’re feeling less wordy, you can just draw a treasure map with a nice big X that marks the spot.

5. Magazine cut-out books

I could spend hours doing this when I was a kid. Find some old magazines and catalogues destined for the blue box, and some construction paper. Cut pictures, words and letters out of the magazines to create a little story book. So simple, but creative and entertaining.

That’s my top five. (I’m toying with this as a new category for the blog: “five things”. Stay tuned to see if anything comes of it!) Care to share with the class? Got any other ideas for March Break fun?

(If you’re in Ottawa, you might also want to check out my post from last summer, 40 fun family freebies.)

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Loukia March 16, 2009 at 8:07 am

Have done number 2 and number 5 with my 3 year old. My son loves beads! And we love making little books out of construction paper and cutting out pictures from magazines, etc. Very fun!
We also recently made the entire solar system out of play-doh, including Jupiter’s 63 moons! Seriously, I should post this picture on my blog.
Other fun ideas for this week? The Aviation Museum is fun, we were just there this weekend! Children’s Museum is my fav, and what else… the wave pool!

2 colleen March 16, 2009 at 3:14 pm

You are such a creative woman!

3 Barbara March 16, 2009 at 5:51 pm

I’ve had beads on my list of “things we’ll do when Reid is older” but maybe she is old enough already. Now that my plan for a visit to the AGO and Toronto Zoo, not to mention time in a hotel pool, with a cousin is coming together for this weekend, I’m wishing I’d planned for a trip to Mer Bleu Bog – a place I only seem to think of in the fall (when it is beautiful but I think spring would be good, too). I like the digital camera scavenger hunt and treasure map ideas but we’ll have to wait for a visit for a cousin.

I’d recommend any or all of the museums, too, but early is better for such popular attractions. The libraries seem to have lots on this week as well.

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