Wow, is it March Break already? It snuck up on me this year! Sadly, it looks like we won’t be wearing t-shirts outside for March Break 2013 like we were last year (although that was a bit unnerving, lovely as it was.) For me, the hardest part of entertaining the family for a whole long week out of school is scraping together the ideas and inspiration, so here’s a whackload of ideas to motivate you!
Monday: Tourist Day
When’s the last time you visited the Parliament Buildings or the National Gallery or browsed the shops on Sparks Street? I know, “browsing the shops” and “rowdy six year old” are not usually compatible, but there’s something about being outside and wandering the shops on Sparks Street or the Byward Market that makes my kids a little easier to wrangle. Maybe lunch in the Byward Market (have your kids enjoyed a Zak’s milkshake yet?) with the promise of a Beaver Tail or a stop at Sugar Mountain afterward? I find my kids will put up with just about anything if they think they’ll earn a bag of candy at the end of it. Or visit a corner of town you rarely see, like the Glebe or Westboro – might be a fun shopping day with an older child.
Tuesday: Expensive Day
Not that lunch downtown or boutique shopping isn’t expensive, but if you really want to blow a wad of cash on a day out, there’s plenty of fun ways to do it. My kids adore Funhaven, with its bumper cars and laser mazes and ticket-dispensing games of chance. The younger crowd will love Cosmic Adventures, and for the very youngest climbers, there’s A Gym Tale (which is really not too expensive at all.) Other great ways to spend time and money are the local movie theatre (check out Rainbow Cinemas for a less costly cinematic adventure) or indoor putt-putt or bowling, all on our list of favourites. For older kids, consider Midway Funpark, Laser Quest or maybe Coyote Rock Climbing Gym? And a visit to Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo never fails to delight my boys.
Wednesday: Stay at Home Day
I’m a big believer in the idea that kids (and adults!) need unstructured down time. Why not take a day and stay in your jammies all day long? Borrow a DVD from the library, or maybe a couple of video games, and spend the day playing together. You could even go old school and have a board game tournament. Our newest favourite games are Catan Junior and Yatzhee, and it’s a huge relief to find games that all five of us can play together. The roads are dry, maybe break out the bikes or play some driveway hockey? Or maybe you can have a crafty day, or baking day. Kids don’t need a lot, but they do love it when you’re spending time with them.
Thursday: Fresh Air Day
It’s perfect maple season weather this week – just above freezing during the day and just below freezing at night. I can’t imagine letting a March Break go by without at least one trip to a sugar shack. Our favourites are the Log Farm and Stanley’s, but there are lots more to choose from in every corner of the city. If you’re not a maple fan (gasp!) consider getting out of the house anyway. If you’re a long time blog reader, you know I think one of the best ways to spend a late-winter (early spring?) day in Ottawa is with a 30 cent bag of bird seed feeding the chickadees on the Jack Pine or Lime Kiln trails. At the time I’m writing, there is PLENTY of snow out there – why not check out one of the city’s many tobogganing hills! If the weather is poor, consider getting some exercise indoors at one of the city’s three wave pools – admission for a family is only $5.50 per person.
Friday: Learning Day
One of the things I love most about living in Ottawa is that there is no shortage of excellent family adventures that entertain both kids and parents for a reasonable cost, and have a great learning component so neatly hidden that the kids will never realize it’s not pure fun. There are the museums of Nature, Civilization (with its excellent Children’s Museum), Agriculture, War, Science and Technology, and Aviation. (Did I miss any? Wow, so many!) Also wonderful (and FREE!) is the RCMP Musical Ride Stables – if you haven’t been out there yet, consider adding this one to the top of your list!
Phew, that ought to keep you and the kids entertained for a week!
Okay, bloggy peeps, now you fill in the blanks. What are YOU up to this March Break?