SPRING BREAK! Our children cheer and we sigh, because let’s face it, it is hard to come up with ideas of how to fill the week with activities besides YouTube Kids, movies, and the neighborhood park. Never fear; Peak is here! We have compiled a list for you of activities!!! Some appeal to all ages while others are more specific. Enjoy the break and your kids!
Spend an afternoon at one of Dallas’s amazing kid-friendly venues: The Dallas Arboretum, The Dallas Zoo, The Perot Museum, The Nasher, and the Dallas Museum of Art are all great places to explore with your little ones. (High Schoolers, don’t forget your student IDs) If you head downtown, build some time into your schedule for running around at Klyde Warren Park. They’ve got great food trucks to grab a bite for lunch and lots of neat things for your kiddos to explore.
If you’re looking for a day (or two) trip, head over to Fort Worth and check out the Museum of Science and History (http://www.fwmuseum.org/). They have the Omni theater and the Planetarium for some viewing fun and their children’s section is a great way to spend a free hour or two (our kids love playing grocery store and ambulance driver).
If you have older kids, check out the Kimball Museum of Art and Fort Worth’s Modern Art Museum. They currently have new works by Ron Mueck (through May 6th). His amazingly “realistic” figures depict couples lounging on the beach, moms and kids, and emoting faces to name a few. It is a great way to talk about how the pieces make your children feel, if it invokes feelings from a previous vacation, and what feelings they give you. Art is one of the best ways to express ourselves and to have those conversations with the teen that is reluctant to talk with their “lame” parents.
Fort Worth also has an amazing zoo and botanical gardens that are worth a visit if you haven’t been. Wednesdays are half priced days at the zoo; so if you aren’t a crowd person, might want to pick another day. If you kids are into trains, there is the Forest Park Mini Train right outside the entrance. It runs hourly and is an easy way to relax (for the older kids), talk about the scenery (for the little ones), and see parts of the Trinity.
If you have a little more time in Fort Worth, take your kids out to Glen Rose to explore Dinosaur Valley State Park – your kiddos can walk the same path as the dinosaurs did! For older kids, check out geocaching. Think of a scavenger hunt set up by strangers. There are rules to follow, so make sure you are prepared. You will need some trinkets of your own to leave. It can end up being hours of fun. (There is also geocaching around Dallas)
We haven’t been to Spark yet but it seems like it’s all the rage right now. They’ve changed their hours for spring break so go check them out. There is a minimum age requirement, so make sure your child makes the cut before you go. While you’re down in Deep Ellum, if you find yourself with a sweet tooth, head over to Rocket Fizz. My kids love this candy shop. The amount of candy they have is kind of overwhelming in a good way.
Not feeling like a day on the town? Want to stay in your jammies? Plan a puzzle gallery walk – my kids love to do this. We get out all their puzzles and then spend time putting them together and lining the finished products along the walls. Then we act like we are in an art gallery as we viewed and critiqued each one.
If it is a beautiful day, consider having a Nature Scavenger Hunt. This can be a trip to White Rock Lake, the Trinity River, or a nature trail. Don’t want to pack up to go somewhere? Do one in your neighborhood. It’s easy. Simply make a list of items that your child can find in “nature”. Depending on your child’s age, the list may be picture or words. The things in nature can be specific types of plants, trees, acorns, collecting at least 5 different leaves, seeing a duck, seeing 3 types of birds, a squirrel… you get the idea. It is all about getting your kids off the couch and active when they are older. For the littles, it is all about using their senses and building their vocabulary.
Take your teenagers to the mall for a mall scavenger hunt! The employees may hate you, but your kids will have fun! Here’s how it works: give them a list of predetermined items to find in the store fronts (not on people…that would be weird). So like a mannequin wearing a black hat or a picture of someone running. Using their phones, they can scour the mall looking for these items. Reward them with a shake from Sonic if they find them all 🙂 Make sure that they know the goal is to find them all, not to be first. Why is this important? If they are running around the mall, they are more than likely to get kicked out by security. Yikes! But walking around and taking in the sites is totally cool.
This is one of my favorites because it reminds me of when I was growing up. Have your kids become Top Chefs! This can vary depending on your children’s age. When I was a little (3-5 years old) I helped my parents make meals by cutting with a butter knife, looking over the recipes with them, and pouring in the already measured cups. When I was in elementary school I took on the task of deciding what meal we were going to make and I did the measurements and cooking (with parental guidance). Once I was in high school, I had free reign. I got to pick the meals, follow the recipes, and cook! It was awesome to be in the kitchen and be in charge. It made me feel great when my brothers and parents would compliment my tasty treats. Sometimes the meals were canned green beans and chicken nuggets. Sometimes they were salads, spaghetti, and cookies. Nothing too complex, but I thought they were at the time. This is a great activity to keep your kids busy, learn responsibilities, and see how reading/math/science work in real life.
Are your kids super crafty and itching to create? Head over to Joann’s or Michael’s and get a blank canvas and some paint. Spend some time talking through what your child wants to draw and how they’re going to get to the finished product (throwing in a little problem-solving here!). Work with them through the steps of how to get the final outcome they want, rather than just slapping paint on the canvas and calling it a day…or they can do that too. Whatever! It’s spring break, folks!
If you’ve ran through these ideas and you need more, you are a POWER HOUSE. Last stop can be your neighborhood Dallas Public Library, a great place to spend a couple hours perusing the shelves with your kids. Here are some great events the library is hosting at nearby branches:
J.Erik Jonsson Branch (downtown):
BookMarks (at NorthPark):
Audelia Road Branch:
For other library activities (aka FREE!), check out their website: http://dallaslibrary2.org/
What are some activities you like to do with your kiddos when you have bunches of free time?