We’re just around the corner from Spring Break. Maybe you have big plans at the beach this year. Or maybe you’re staying close to home, thinking it’s going to be a boring week for you and the kids.
Not necessarily so! There are a LOT of options that won’t hurt your wallet right outside your back door!
Hit the great outdoors!
Weather permitting, we are all about the outdoor play spots. Parks, bike/walk paths, picnic spots all top our list. Pack a lunch, and let that energy run wild. Some of our favorites include Blendon Woods, Highbanks, Inniswood Metro Gardens (no food allowed), Sharon Woods, Slate Run, Walnut Woods, and Dawes Arboratum. Good reason to check before you go: some parks might close some trails or features due to poor conditions or flooding. And something we learned when the kids were little: some facilities don’t open their bathrooms until late March or early April to prevent frozen pipe mishaps, we learned that the hard way one year. Hit the bathroom at home before you go to be safe!
Too cold/wet/windy? (Indoor options)
Weather not cooperating? Hit the indoor play areas. (If you are germaphobic like Mary or myself, bring the wet wipes or hand sanitizer). Bonus! Many are in or near shopping areas, and who doesn’t love a fresh baked cinnamon roll or buttery hot pretzel? Many churches and libraries offer play areas as well!
- Tuttle Mall – lower level play area with tables and chairs for parents around the perimeter.
- Polaris – enclosed zoo themed play area, some children’s stores offer reading times.
- Easton – offering some outdoor (weather permitting) places for you and the kiddos to hang, there are also a lot of stores catering to the young and young at heart.
- Recreations Outlet– their try-before-you-buy playground is always a hit.
Tour and Eat
Getting hungry? Visit some of the local eateries that either offer tours or public viewing on “how it’s made” (some require advance scheduling):
Zoo and Museums
Willing to pay a little more for a fun experience? These fun spots offer both day rates and membership options (usually good for a year).
- Columbus Zoo
- The Wilds
- Columbus Museum (Note: Sunday free admission days!)
- Ohio History Center – We love the Ohio History Center location near the fairgrounds. They are also connected all over Ohio.
Ways to connect with others
Take turns hosting moms for coffee / kids for playtime, check out the discount movie theaters (some offer day rates). Ask for a private-behind-the-scenes field trip at your local bakery, retail establishment, or public service outlet. My kids were intrigued with the police station in town, so we scheduled a just-us look at the 911 call center minutes from our house. We learned a lot! Just make sure you schedule in advance and go through the proper channels.
After all the running around town, you might need a day at home. My friend would sometimes have a “crafting day” for her family. In the morning, throw dinner in the crock pot, and declare the day a day to create! Maybe it’s a Lego competition. Or be bold enough to get out the paint or Play-Doh (or make your own). Whatever the medium, embrace the creative streak in each child and let them create to their heart’s content. We took it one step further a few years ago and turned our dining room into an art gallery for visiting family members. Compliments from grandparents and beaming kids made it worth the effort.
Whatever it is you choose to do this spring break with the littles, enjoy this time before you blink and it’s gone. As for me and my family, our spring break is being spent visiting potential colleges for our oldest, a 17-year-old high school junior! Not far behind him is the 14-year-old. Maybe after the college visits, the 8-year-old and I will escape to a park. You might find me running around with the kids, holding on to these moments. The days might seem long, but the years (oh my), they are short!