Spring Break at Home: Activities for Spring Break Staycations
By now, home and school routines are likely well-established. The days may still blend together, making it necessary to have a calendar nearby, but as March arrives, it brings with it the promise of spring—and a break! Although traveling vacations may be on hold for a bit longer, that doesn’t mean spring break activities have to be more of the same routine. There are plenty of fun, engaging activities families can do at home to take a break from their daily studies.
Set out to learn about healthy eating this Spring Break. The Smithsonian Science Education Center has a fun interactive game, Pick Your Plate! A Global Guide to Nutrition, during which you can build healthy meals from eight different countries. It’s harder than it looks! After you’ve learned about some of the different foods, you can try making one of the dishes from the game or learn more about visiting that country. If you want to try growing vegetables but don’t have the space for a garden, there are a few ways to grow vegetables from kitchen scraps! This PBS Modern Gardener video about generating food from kitchen scraps and this article from KidsGardening.org both offer tips on how to grow veggies in containers on the kitchen counter.
Explore our surroundings
Spring Break is a perfect time to learn more about the local community. Whether you’re new to the area or you’ve lived there your entire life, a beyond-the-backyard scavenger hunt can lead to unique discoveries! All ages can research simple things about their community—start with statistics, such as size, population, number of schools, year of founding, etc. Then, extend to bigger questions: Where does your local food come from? Where is your local news broadcasted? Where is your biggest source of water? Where are the centers of culture closest to you? Where are there outdoor artist representations? What are five of the biggest local non-profits and whom do they serve? Where do your utilities come from? After the initial research is done, students can visit these places to create a photo journal or a virtual walking tour to learn more.
Virtual walking tours may not be able to replace the experience of visiting a city in person, but they’re a great way to familiarize yourself with a destination before you arrive. There are plenty of walking tour videos on YouTube, including New York City, Paris, Florence, and Tokyo. If you are feeling adventurous, check out The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks.
You can also create a virtual walking tour of your community by mapping the route using an activity app or one of Google’s many offerings (Tour Creator, Google Earth, or Google Maps), highlighting the sites you researched along the way. Alternatively, you can take pictures or a video along the route, put them together in a slide show or movie, and annotate the chosen sites with the interesting tidbits of information you’ve learned. Consider the following:
- Would a new visitor get an accurate picture of the must-see destinations based on your walking tour?
- What makes your hometown or neighborhood unique?
- Why did you highlight some sites on your tour while leaving out others?
- How have you seen your neighborhood or hometown in a new light?
- What has changed in your neighborhood throughout the past year?
A bonus – students can share their walking tour when they return to school and explain why the location they documented is special to them. They can then share their walking tours with far-away family and friends and explore the community together!
This year, let Spring Break be a departure from daily routines. Staycations may be a necessity at the moment, but that shouldn’t keep a sense of adventure, learning, and freedom from defining this year’s Spring Break. At the very least, the question of “What did you do during Spring Break?” will have a fun answer!