It's time for Spring Break! If you don't have any plans that are beckoning you to the beach (although I'm sure we all wish we had those plans...), I've compiled a list of fun, inexpensive things to do for a staycation. Next week is Everett's preschool is on spring break, and I was getting a little worried that I would feel kind of trapped at home for a week with nothing to do and nowhere to go. Truth be told, we love to travel, and most of the time I would have planned a trip for the week. However, I think it's really important to be able to make fun at home and explore what's right around at home. I think it teaches kids to be creative with what they're given instead of always needing a new toy or exotic trip to create excitement for them. And let's be honest, I should be flexing my mom magic to make everyday things a little bit more magical :)
Amicalola Falls State Park, in all it's glory.
1. Explore State and/or National Parks.
This is the perfect time of year to visit a state park in Georgia because it's not too hot yet! Come June, you practically need an IV drip to stay hydrated while you hike around, but in April? The weather is perfect (other than the pollen, but hey, you can't win em all). While admission to the park might cost a few bucks, this is a great way to get outdoors with your family and hike, fly a kite and enjoy a packed lunch. A few of my favorites in this area are Sweetwater Creek State Park (we went glamping here once :), Cloudland Canyon State Park, and Amicalola State Park (we hiked this last summer and it was sooo hard!) Also, I like to follow @exploregeorgia on instagram to get inspired about new places to visit in our great state ;)
2. Take advantage of the Local Library.
This might sound a little lame, but have you been to your local library lately? It's worth exploring, especially if you have little kids. Every library is stocked with resources and classes - I had no idea that our local chapter offered so many art & music classes, story time, language lessons and technology-based learning games. Of course, Everett always makes a beeline straight for the giant stuffed animals and then the kid computer (he likes the headphones), but usually I can pry him away to read a few books and try some other activities.
3. Try Geocaching.
Want to go on a treasure hunt? Did you know there are treasures hidden all around you, called "caches", and they are meant to be found? It's a really fun concept! Download the app and go on a "treasure adventure" with the whole family (it's like the first generation of Pokemon Go). If you want to know more about this little activity, you can watch this 75-second video. It helped me realize this is kind of cool and not at all weird :)
Everett learning to throw a frisbee last summer. He makes me laugh so much.
4. Play Sports.
This is not rocket science. Get outside and play! We love to go over to our local frisbee golf course on random week nights, because Stevie is a hippie in his heart and he's teaching Everett how to throw. Play a game that the whole family can enjoy, like wiffle ball (or baseball for those of you with big kids) in the back yard, basketball in the cul-de-sac, or soccer at the park. Sometimes the simple stuff can be really wondrous fun.
5. Back Yard Camping.
Camping with little children can be intimidating, but pitching a tent in the back yard is the perfect solution. You can still use the restroom in the house and cook up a big breakfast in the morning! This is actually a great way to "trial run" a camping experience with your kiddos if you've never taken them before, and it gives you the opportunity to pull out all your camping gear and explain it to them.
6. Explore museums.
Most museums have "free days" during certain times of the month - a list can be found here. I personally love going to the High Museum here in Atlanta, but there are tons of others that are worth checking out, like the Coca Cola Museum (a classic), the MLK Museum, Fernbank Museum and of course, the Children's Museum. Ha, just bring hand sanitizer.
7. Host a Family Film Festival.
It's time for blankets, pillows and popcorn! Vote on 2 movies and make it a double feature with pizza in the living room :) It's not like it's all that different than a Saturday night after the kids go to bed (true story, if you're over here in our shoes), but it's a really fun way to cozy up with the whole family together and watch something fun. We recently watched Finding Dory and Everett keeps asking to watch it again and again.
8. Check out local markets/fairs/festivals.
Our local farmer's market is really fun - there is usually live music and locally-made treats (hi, King of Pops!) to be enjoyed. But each community around the Atlanta area also has a slew of characteristic festivals in their area - check out a comprehensive list of Atlanta-area festivals here. So much fun to be had in the springtime here in Georgia!
9. Go fishing & canoeing.
If you live near a body of water, take advantage of it! Post a quick Facebook message and see if one of your friends has some gear you can borrow. Then trek out to the back yard and dig up some worms for bait (if you have little boys, they will love this). Again, ages of your kiddos matter - I won't be taking a newborn on a canoe anytime soon - but as long as everyone as a life vest, this would totally be an adventure.
10. Go biking and have a picnic.
This one sounds so simple, but it's so much fun. We loved when Everett got old enough to ride on the back of Stevie's bike (this bike carrier and this helmet), and he was totally mesmerized by the experience! Since the weather has started to warm up, they've been back on the bike again lately. We have amazing trails throughout our entire city that we can ride on (one of the reasons why we love living here), but there are also some great biking parks to check out, including Callaway Gardens (where I biked and was so sick last year - that's how I knew I was pregnant!), the Chattahoochee River Trail and the Silver Comet Trail. Pack a delicious lunch and bike until hungry. Make sure to pack lots of water and sunscreen, too.
There you have it! 10 ideas to get your juices flowing, outside of the normal activities like going to the zoo or getting ice cream.
Many thanks to my sister-in-law Lauren, who helped me brainstorm these ideas (so that we don't go out of our mind next week!) Any other ideas you have? Please share in the comments - I'd love to hear from you!
Happy Spring Break, everyone! xox