Over the March break you might want some suggestions of activities to do with your kids that are both fun and educational. We got some great ideas from our partners at SickKids that families can do together, and are mostly free.
Use the time to get to know the community you live in – the people and the places. Have a plan for every day, but be sure to build in some downtime. After all, it is a break!
Here's a list for the week, in this handy chart.
Why this is important
Okay, it’s still winter, but don’t let that stop you from bundling up and heading outdoors. Visit a local park and have a small picnic. Bring a bag with you and encourage your kids to pick up items, such as rocks and sticks, to bring home and use for Tuesday’s Junk Box Adventures.
Bring plenty of water to keep you hydrated, and a thermos with soup or a hot beverage to keep warm.
Taking the time to explore the nature around you gives your child a sense of community and sense of belonging as well as an appreciation for the great outdoors. Playing outside in the fresh air is good exercise and helps reduce stress.
Get ivolved in a neighbourhood clean-up initiative, for example picking up litter in the park, and use this as an opportunity to teach your kids about being environmentally responsible.
Participating in a clean-up initiative helps kids feel pride in their communities, and builds their sense of belonging. It will also promote self-help skills which you can expand on at home.
Junk Box Creations
Use whatever your kids collected on Monday, along with whatever you have in your Junk Box - toilet paper and paper towel rolls (a great way to talk about recycling), glue, paint, construction paper, to make all kinds of creations.
Since you’re home, today may be a great day to make homemade pizzas. Pre-cut peppers, onions, mushrooms, pepperoni and cheese, and allow your kids to make their own. Creative and delicious!
Using the different junk box items in his art creations allows your child to express himself in his own way. This builds your child’s confidence in exploring new ideas, places, and experiences. And encouraging your child to help make the pizzas lets him know you value his work, and builds his sense of independence.
Many community centres offer more programs during March Break as well as more flexible times. Find out what your local community centre is offering this week and take advantage of the skating rink, pool and other resources that may be available.
Participating in programs like free skate or swim is good exercise, fun, social, and allows your child to build these skills which can increase confidence.
Libraries offer a number of programs during March Break (and they are free!) Check out what your local library is offering – there may be a story time event or a reading by your child’s favourite author. Libraries are also community hubs, so they’re a great place to see other people in your neighbourhood and find out what else is going on.
Water and turkey/chicken/ham sandwiches (whole grain breads and wraps are best) are easy to pack and eat when spending the day out at the library or elsewhere in your community. They’re also a good choice at home.
Libraries have a lot of books to choose from, smart staff who can make appropriate recommendations, and literacy events that are creative and fun. This makes kids more likely to want to learn how to read and write. It’s also a great way for kids to learn how to communicate their interests, and gives parents some tips on how to engage kids in reading at home.
Set up a play date where your child can visit with a friend for the afternoon, and invite that friend over to your place on another day.
Play dates are important for building social skills such as learning to take turns, share, communicate, and show empathy. This is also a chance for your child to interact with her peers in a place she is proud of – her home. And by setting up one play date at home and one away, that means parents get an afternoon off to do something for themselves
Watch a Movie and Role-Play
Sometimes sitting at home enjoying a movie hits the spot. Allow your child to choose an age appropriate movie. Be sure to ask questions during and after the movie, and encourage your child to role-play.
Cucumbers, carrot sticks, cheese and crackers are healthy movie snacks.
Like books, movies can introduce new ideas and lessons about life. But it’s important to follow up by asking questions and engaging in role-play. Encourage your child to act like a favourite character, or come up with different endings to the story. Coming up with alternatives increases your child’s communication and problem-solving skills.
Visiting pet stores is a fun way to see animals that your child may not see often, or ever. Encourage your child to ask the store clerks questions about the animals they seem interested in. Keep the conversation going on the car ride home and at the dinner table.
Pet Stores are like a local zoo where your child gets to see animals they may not see very often. By encouraging conversations about animals, your child begins to think about the needs of other living things, such as food, water, shelter and love!
Ask your child to help you plant seedlings. Your child can plant the seeds and pack the dirt in small pots to be ready for summer.
Keep hydrated with water or juice, and enjoy snacks like apples and granola bars to keep you energized.
By letting your child help you with the seedlings, he learns that you trust him with tasks, and that builds his confidence and self-esteem. Plus he learns about nature, and the care of living things. He will feel proud that he helped make that plant grow.
Many museums offer reduced rates in the evenings and during holidays. Places such as the ROM in Toronto, Ontario and The Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, Ontario are just an example of places you can go.
Learning about different people, places and things from different time periods in our history helps build critical thinking skills, empathy, self-awareness, and acceptance of others. And seeing different forms of art, from paintings and drawings, to sculptures and architecture, instills a sense of creativity and thoughtful expression.