Easy ways to occupy your kids… without spending money

It’s Spring Break time. And unlike in years past, I don’t have a single thing scheduled for my kids this year. We’re usually so busy with all our sports and whatnot that I thought a schedule-free week was in order.

That said, I can’t very well let my kids watch TV and play video games all week. No. I have to get creative. I need to find ways to occupy my children without breaking the bank and losing my mind.

Fortunately, I have some ideas up my sleeve that can be helpful for any mom looking for easy entertainment for the kids:

Go for a walk. Each of you chooses a color (green is not allowed). Then keep track of how many items you see of that color—a red leaf, a brown rock, a blue mailbox, etc…  Nothing is off limits.  Kick it up an notch and give the winner a little award at the end of the walk.

On rainy days, build an indoor fort. Use sheets, cushions and chairs. Bring in flashlights and a book and settle in to a good story. You’re never too old for some creative indoor architecture.

Have a Lego contest. See who can build the “best” structure. I usually find a way to make everybody a winner in the end. Maybe one wins for creativity while the  other wins for using the most pieces. Maybe one wins for most attention to detail and the other wins for using the most colors. Something like that.

Go exploring for bugs. Grab a magnifying glass, find the nearest rock and flip it over. You’ll be amazed at how many critters are hiding out under there. Gross for you. Fun for them.

Make a bike path. Using sidewalk chalk, ask your kids to draw an outline of a curvy trail in your driveway or street. Then have them test it out on their bikes, scooters or longboards.

Color. Head to your good friend Google and search for a coloring page of your child’s choice. The sky is the limit. Pretty much everything exists out there: dinosaur coloring pages, Easter coloring pages, monster coloring pages, SpongeBob coloring pages, etc… Need I go on? Have them give the finished product to Dad at the end of the day.

Paint rocks from the garden. This is a nice way to add a little color to your landscaping while involving your kids. Grab some outdoor paint, a few paintbrushes and a couple of smooth, clean(ish) rocks. Watch them paint. When dry, ask them to pick a spot in the garden for their words of art.

Teach the dog a trick. No I’m not kidding. Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks. “Speak,” for example. Take your kids, your dog and a bunch of treats outside and take turns trying to get your dog to bark. Once she does, let the kids give her the reward. Repeat.

There. That should be enough to get us through the week, right? Throw in a play date or two and we’re golden.

That said, I’m open to new ideas. What do you do with bored kids?

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  1. Hi! I found you through the Honest Mom link up. I love your ideas and this is exactly what I needed to find for Spring Break this week. Thank you!
    One of our new cheap activities we do in our house is something I found on Pinterest (of course). We put food dye in vinegar and then drop the colored vinegar onto a cookie sheet dusted with baking soda. Easily at least 30 minutes of entertainment for us.

    • Ooohhh, Jean. I need to try that. My kids,particularly my older one, likes all that science-y stuff. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Ooooh, good ideas! My 4yo loves bugs. We got her a “bug vacuum” for Christmas and she is itching to try it out. Definitely putting that to work over spring break! The Lego contest and bike path ideas are new for me too. Thanks! And thanks for linking up with Honest Voices, Steph! xoxoxo

  3. Courtney says:

    Oh, a schedule free week sounds refreshing! Good for you! I love your ideas and will some of these on our teeny weeny spring break, which is 2 days.

    • Wow, that is a small Spring Break! Did you have a winter break? We did not. We had to give a few days back (MLK Day and President’s Day) because of all the time we missed from Sandy. Fortunately for the kids, Spring Break was not impacted.

  4. We have a teeny spring break, too. I like your outdoor ideas. I’m just hoping it will be nice enough to do them. I’m the mean mom who makes her kids clean their rooms and clean out their drawers of too small clothing.

    • Ha ha… you are a mean mom! Actually, you’re a smart mom. I SHOULD make my kids do that. But instead, I’m the loser always stuck doing it.

  5. Beautiful. Perfect. This overscheduling drives me batty and being that my kids are younger, I doubt we even have half the stuff that is to come. I think it’s wonderful that you are stepping back and taking a genuine break, something much needed, I’m sure!

    • Meredith, I agree. I usually have my kids over scheduled (primarily because they go bonkers when they get bored), but having one week where we’re not rushing anywhere is really nice.

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