Editor’s note: This post was updated March 8, 2023.
During spring break, kids can’t wait to sleep in (fingers crossed), and parents are thrilled at the idea of not having to make lunches the night before school. With a whole week of child-time ahead, having plans in place will make for a stress-free, fun, and memorable break.
Need ideas for home-based activities that don’t include a screen? While many of us would love to start the list with “cleaning bedrooms,” the following is probably a more fun (and realistic) list.
1. Scavenger hunts
An oldie but a really goodie. For the younger crowd, have kids collect items based on colours (such as three red items, three blue items, etc.), and for older kids, items can be collected based on letters of the alphabet.
Go through photo collections, print out favourites, and make a creative collage for a fun and thoughtful gift for a special friend or family member.
3. Unlimited painter’s tape games
One roll of painter’s tape = countless activities. Create a long jump “pit” with several spaced-out lines of tape and see how far kids can jump. Perhaps they get further each time they try! Fashion your very own indoor hopscotch court and used rolled up socks or beanbags as markers. Design a race track for toy cars, trucks, and trains.
4. Fashion show
Unleash your child’s inner diva with a raid of home closets and the dress-up box. Suggest categories for outfits such as stylish or silly. Don’t forget the runway, the music, and the flash of the paparazzi taking pictures.
5. Balloon tennis
Using hands, tennis rackets, back scratchers, pool noodles, or other devices, make your own Wimbledon court. (Strawberries and cream and finger sandwiches are strongly encouraged.)
This squishy, oozy fad is not going away anytime soon. And why would we want it to? Make your own slime using myriad internet-provided instructions. Create slime in different colours and themes.
7. Living room picnic
Spread out your favourite blanket and include the kids in the preparation of their favourite lunch items. Who knows? Maybe after the break, they will make their own lunches! (A parent can dream.)
8. Paper airplanes
There are so many ways to craft a super-sleek aircraft. Ramp up the fun by designing a landing strip. Can you fly your plane into a large pot, a large circle cut out of paper on the floor, or through a hula hoop?
9. House of cards
Skip the Netflix version, grab a pack of playing cards, and see how high your kids can build a tower.
10. Rock painting
With warm, sunny days ahead, prepare to beautify your outdoor space with colourful, painted rocks. Decorate rocks with multiple colours, pictures, dates, and kids’ names.
Go old-school with pillows and blankets, or create a full-day activity by picking up a large appliance cardboard box. Cut out a door, a window or two, and provide craft materials including paint, markers, glue, feathers, ribbons, and stickers for kids to make their very own stylish tiny house. Don’t forget to stock the fort with cushions, flashlights, books, and snacks.
12. Domino run
Pick up a few boxes of dominoes at your local dollar or toy store and set up a domino run. Start small with a straight line of dominoes and increase the challenge with varying shapes of runs.
13. Freeze dance
Think of this as a super way to burn off excess energy as well as an always-fun game. Crank up your kids’ favourite songs and when the DJ (designated kid or parent) stops the music, players must freeze in their spot.
14. Puppet show
With a few craft supplies and a whole lot of creativity, have your kids make their own puppets, write a script, and perform a show. Think Sound of Music without the goats.
Using the official board or your own home-designed version, there is never a dry eye (as in happy, laughing tears) when getting tied up in knots with your friends and family.
16. Obstacle course
When designing an obstacle course indoors or outside, it’s all about movement. Crawl under an object, jump over an object, run around an object, slide between objects, and laugh!
17. Board games
Think the old favourites: Hungry Hippos, Clue, Sorry, Monopoly, Candyland, Snakes and Ladders, and Yahtzee.
18. Indoor basketball
The methods of playing indoor basketball are practically limitless. Have kids toss balled-up socks into laundry hampers, ping pong balls into cups, stuffed animals into hula hoops, etc.
Channel your inner Martha Stewart and bake cookies from scratch. Or channel your inner Betty Crocker and get a pre-made mix. No one is judging!
It takes a lot of skill and coordination to become a master juggler but with a lot of practice with one, two, and eventually, three items found around the house, juggling can become a party favourite. (Just be sure to lock the knives away while looking for potential juggling props!)
Enjoy, and let us know if you have more ideas!