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Since Easter falls so early this year, spring break starts during March. Being Wisconsin, it make be 60 and gorgeous or we may get a foot of snow – who knows?? Whatever your plans for the week, we’ve got you covered with some suggestions. Taking a road trip? We’ve got suggestions to keep the kiddos busy in the back seat. Staying home? We’ve got some fun activities you can do there as well – and some of them are even a bit educational. (Shhh – don’t tell the kids. They’ll be having so much fun that they won’t even notice!)
Road Trip Activities
Here are some fun things for kids to do to make the long car ride a bit more fun.
Old Fashioned Car Ride Games
I’m a huge fan of the old car ride games from when I was a kid. Road trip BINGO, word searches, and the license plate game all bring back fun memories from my own childhood trips up and down the East Coast. Here are some easy and free printables to make playing even more fun. You can even laminate them after printing them out so you can use them over and over again!
Wow – video games have come a looooong way since I was a kid! Not only can you now bring them with you, the graphics are amazing. The DS system has always been a standard on our car rides, but the NEW Nintendo DS XL brings portable gaming to a whole new level. The system not only has the expected 3D graphics (now with face tracking) and larger screen, but it also boasts C Stick for enhanced controls and built-in amiibo compatibility and NFC support. Nintendo has also added some really cool entertainment options like Netflix and Hulu. With built in video and photo cameras, it is the perfect vacation accessory! (Don’t forget to grab the new Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam game!)
PlayKids is filled with over 200 videos, shows (like Peppa Pig and SuperWHY, and educational games. They are constantly updated and can be played even when no internet connection is available. Subscriptions are $6.99 a month or $29.99 for 6 months.
Fun Spring Break Activities at Home
Goji Play (2nd generation)
As much as I say that I’m not going to let Josh play video games all day during break, Goji Play is the one exception to my rule. I LOVE that it incorporates the video games Josh loves with actual, real exercise since the game will stop if the users’ movement stops! (Josh loves playing it on the treadmill or the elliptical.) If the weather winds up being cold and rainy, I know he will still get all of his excess energy burned off while having tons of fun. All 16 of the games can be downloaded to a phone or tablet for free and include boxing, bike riding, arcade games and even trivia! I’ve been known to “borrow” it and use it as well!!
Cubetto is a great introduction to coding for kids aged 3 to 7. It allows children to program a small wooden robot using “code” that consists of blocks that instruct the robot to go in various directions. This block-based language plays like a toy, but forms a flexible and powerful educational experience. To children it’s playtime – but it’s also a fun and effective way to introduce core programming concepts like debugging, the queue and recursions, all before they can even read and write.
Having a pet helps instill responsibility in kids. Having a pet that goes through amazing stages of development and metamorphosis sparks curiosity and learning even when out of the classroom! The Insect Lore Butterfly Garden arrives with five tiny caterpillars which will eventually change into beautiful painted lady butterflies. The kit contains everything you need – the caterpillars with their food, a pop-up mesh habitat, and the tools to feed the butterflies once they have hatched (just add sugar and water).
Spikeball is the perfect game for children and the whole family. A mashup of volleyball and four square, Spikeball is played with two teams of two players serving and hitting the ball off the net for a series of volleys until one team reaches 21 points. The object is to hit the ball onto the net in such a way that the opposing players cannot successfully return it. The sport is not limited by locale and can be played indoors and outdoors, anywhere from gymnasiums to beaches.