Staycation: 10 Ways to Entertain the Grandkids This March Break

If you’re not travelling this year, finding ways to keep the little ones amused over the school break can be a challenge. Here, some simple ideas for making this March Break a memorable one, without having to leave home.

1.     Turn your home into a hotel.

You don’t need to drop dollars at a fancy resort in order to take a holiday. Have the kids design their own number signs to post on bedroom doors. Put fresh sheets on each bed and switch up the sleeping quarters so everyone sleeps in a different room. Have the youngest child place chocolate mints on all the pillows before bedtime.

2.     Create a restaurant from the comfort of your kitchen.

Push the dining table against the wall and set up smaller folding tables and chairs. Have ingredients on hand for baking mini-pizzas, chicken fingers and other favourite kid-friendly meals. Let the kids take turns being the server, the cook and, of course, the dishwasher. They could even invite friends over to join the dinner party. Base the event around a particular theme; design menus and co-ordinate dishes ahead of time.

3.     Put on a show.

Have the kids write, direct and star in their own theatre production. Hang an old sheet from the ceiling as a backdrop and set up a mini-stage. Or perhaps they would rather host their own talent show. Help them design costumes and practice throughout the day, then put on the performance at night. Use a flashlight as the spotlight and serve fruit smoothies in tall glasses to members of the audience. Don’t forget to press record on the video camera.

4.     Pretend to be a tourist in your own city.

Bundle up and go outside! Explore new neighbourhoods, take nature walks or visit the park.  Make a list ahead of time for places to visit in, or around, your hometown.

5.     Plan a day trip.

If you want to go a little further, travel to a neighbouring town the kids have never visited before. Head to the local mountains, lake or beach. Have the kids buy a postcard and mail it to Mom and Dad back home.

6.     Become clothing designers for the day.

Rather than spending a day at the mall, let the kids design their own fashion craze. Turn an old pair of jeans into a work of art; with jewels, sparkles, and other embellishments. Search through fashion magazines for ideas and make the task a full afternoon activity.

7.     Go camping.

Pitch a tent in the living room—or just spread out sleeping bags. Eat hot dogs for dinner and make s’mores in the microwave for dessert. Turn out the lights and tell ghost stories or read bedtime stories by flashlight.

8.     Play family scavenger hunt.

Organize a list of items or ask the kids to find something for each letter of the alphabet. You can play as individuals or on teams either inside the house or outside—weather permitting. Have them return the items to a designated spot as quickly as possible, and the first one to retrieve all of the items (or the most items in a given time period) wins!

9.      Become astronomers by night.

The crisp, clear skies this time of year are perfect for stargazing. Have the kids visit NASA’s website during the day, where they can play games and use interactive tools to learn about outer space. Search online for maps of the night sky and print out for use. Dress warmly and set up chairs or a blanket outside. Together, see if you can identify planets, stars and major constellations, or maybe even locate and follow bright comets across the sky.

10.  Visit the local fire hall.

What child isn’t awed by the life of a fire fighter? Call the general inquiry line of your local fire services to book a tour of the fire hall (they might even take drop-ins). Often the tour includes a fire safety lesson as well as a chance to sit in the front seat of the shiny red engine.

A version of this story was originally published on March 19, 2015.