Staying home for spring break

FUN IN WINTER: Even though the temperatures might not be toasty warm, you can still enjoy the great outdoors with your family. (Courtesy photo)
FUN IN WINTER: Even though the temperatures might not be toasty warm, you can still enjoy the great outdoors with your family. (Courtesy photo)

By Shannon Lindquist,

Michigan State University Extension

Spring break is right around the corner. If a trip away from home isn’t in the plan this year you can still plan a great spring break and just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, you’ll find you didn’t have to look further than your own back-yard!

● Gather your family together and read the options from Michigan State University Extension and start planning.

● Home town field trips can be interesting and fun. Make a list of possible resources, call and ask if they would let you bring your kids to see what goes on behind the scenes. The local grocery store may let you watch a truck unload. The hospital may give you a tour of one or more departments.

● Plan a “stay in your pajamas day.” Make this a day for no schedules and no electronic devices. Turn off the TV, DVD player, computers and cell phones.

● Stock up on books or magazines, locate games you haven’t played in a while and enjoy each other’s company. You might be surprised at the conversations you’ll have with each other!

● While the weather conditions for outdoor activities can be iffy in Northern Michigan even during spring break week, with a little planning and flexibility, you can still have outdoor fun. Have you visited one of the great lakes in winter? You may not be searching for Petoskey stones but you will discover a whole new landscape to enjoy.

● Hiking trails still covered with snow? Borrow or rent some snow shoes. Take a picnic lunch; as long as you have a dry place to sit, a picnic in the snow is great fun.

● Pack for a camping adventure in the basement or living room. Bring back the art of pretending with a camp fire made of orange and red paper. Provide everyone with a flash light to “write” on the ceiling.

● Let the kids be the chef for a day by letting them plan and make dinner. One of my favorite memories is the dinner my three nieces prepared. Out came the table cloth, fancy dishes and cloth napkins. They even created name cards. The menu included boxed macaroni and cheese with canned chicken soup, soda crackers and juice. Three faces shone with excitement and expectation when I was ushered into the dining room. It was a five-star dining experience that still makes me smile!

● Many hotels with indoor pools have public swimming hours with a flat fee per family. Swimming during late winter/early spring is usually a treat for everyone.

● Hold a talent night. This could be just for your immediate family for invite friends to participate. Silly prizes could be awarded and the evening could end with healthy snacks.

● What about swapping houses for a week with relatives? The city kids can spend the week in the country while the country kids spend the week in the city.

● Have a craft day from recycled items. Sites to visit for idea: Crafts made from stuff and junk and Treasures from trash.

You’ll be amazed at the ideas that come up by using your imaginations and including your kids in the planning. Remember, even though you are home try to let go of the pressures of everyday chores and obligations as much as possible; the laundry can wait until the weekend. Most of all enjoy this time together and plan activities that you don’t always have time for when school is in session.

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension.

For more information, visit To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888)-678-3464.