Survive Thrive Through School Vacation
February School Vacation Week; Ah, those were the days! A full week dedicated to lounging around in sweats or escaping the drab of winter to enjoy a tropical oasis. Those days ended for most of us when we entered the workforce. For many working parents, school vacations are not only less than enjoyable, they can be down right dreaded. If you are lucky enough to be able to work from home, the situation may actually present an even greater challenge. It’s easy to be pulled in opposite directions which results in feeling less effective on both ends.
Our best advice when juggling multiple priorities is planning. In this case, the important thing is to have a plan that allows time to get out of your routine and be fully present with your kids. If your work demands are high, you may benefit by partnering up with another parent to cover for each other so one of you has a free day while the other enjoys a day of fun with the kids. Just because you’re a working professional now doesn’t mean you shouldn’t join in on the fun, or relaxation! You’ll be glad you did and so will the kids.
Here are 7 of our favorite “get-a-ways” for school vacation week that are fun and educational for all.
Have a theme day
Be pirates for the day and greet each other with “ahoy, matey!” or just “arrrg!” Transport yourself back to medieval times and don’t just “go to the living room,” but “journey beyond to the living roometh.” Have all the meals coordinate with the theme, too! If you’re having an island day, start the day with a tropical fruit salad packed with pineapple, mango, bananas, and oranges. Take it a step closer to the sandy beaches by sipping coconut water straight for the coconuts with fun, curly straws!
Create a family piece of artwork
Have each member choose his or her medium. One can choose paint, one can have glue and construction paper, another glue and gems, and so on. Grab a big piece of paper and get to creating! If you can’t find paper larger than printer paper at home, a perfect alternative would be to flatten out that big cardboard box that has been sitting in the garage for months. The cardboard is a bit sturdier than paper so more paint, glitter, and glue can be smeared on it. As for the creative process, you can make it an avant-garde free-for-all, or have each person portray themselves with their medium. The result will have your individual elements combined in a artistic family portrait.
Make a movie or TV show
We capture candid moments all the time with our cell phone cameras, but what about a family feature film? Gather everyone together and pick your favorite movie or TV show to recreate. Get the creative juices flowing and make your own movie! Trap a princess in a tower of cushions and film her prince charming coming to save her, fighting off dragons along the way. Get the ingredients together for the family signature dish, throw on an apron, chef’s hat, and create a cooking show. If your family is the competitive type, go head to head in a game show! From creating the set to crafting costumes, everyone can chip in.
Tour a factory
There are factories all over New England that offer tours and give out goodies at the end. Ever wonder how chips are made? Well, go find out! The Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory tour in Hyannis, Massachusetts shows you how a common potato is transformed into a tasty, crunchy, Cape Cod chip. See how chocolates are decorated at the Hebert’s Candy Mansion in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. Get a glimpse behind the scenes of Ben and Jerry’s in Burlington, Vermont. Factory tours usually have the products available for sale at the end, including exclusive ones you can find anywhere else. This can be a tasty and educational experience for everyone! Utz Potato Chip Factory in Fitchburg is closed until April but put them on your calendar now for the April vacation.
Geocaching is world wide treasure hunting. Locate Geocaches, or treasure, using GPS coordinates, or the Geocaching app available for iPhone and Android. The treasures can be located somewhere hidden, or in a popular tourist destination. Once you and the family find the Geocache, you take an item out and replace it with one that represents your family. Take a look through the log book within the Geocache to see how many other people have exchanged its treasures. Make sure you leave it exactly where you found it!
Our schedules can get so clouded that we can forget about taking care of our community. Take a moment with the family to help your local organization. This can be lending a hand at your local church’s food drive, reading to residents at the senior center, or spending time with cats and dogs at the animal shelter.
Build a snow giant
This puts a fun spin on your typical snowman building! Pile some snow together and see how tall you can make your snowman. Mix it up and model the snowman after a cartoon character, athlete, or celebrity. Adding food coloring to the snow can make the snowman more realistic and give it distinctive features. Put a bunch of snow sculptures together to make a winter wonderland.
Whatever you choose to put on your family fun calendar next week, we hope you find the same joy and excitement of school vacation as you did when you were a kid.