Most Sonoma County schools will be closed for the week March 19-23, meaning that many families will be taking advantage of the time off and head someplace fun and exotic. But for the rest of us, that means being held hostage by bored kids who have nothing to do, expect us to entertain them, or are bent on causing trouble to entertain themselves.
Which means you need to put a plan in place NOW.
Because there is nothing worse than overwhelmingly bored kids, a calendar of activities is your first plan of action. Grab your kid and start brainstorming a few things to do during their week off of school. You won’t want to overplan since it’s important for them to have some downtime while they’re off school. But each day should have at least one thing to look forward to. Why? For one, it helps them have some form of schedule, just like during their school weeks. And two, it gives them something to anticipate each day.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Plan a scavenger hunt. Send the kids on a hunt, armed with a list of fun items (a heart shaped rock, a purple sock, a yellow piece of yarn, a drawing of a clover, a stuffed bear, etc). Or for the kids who are really into a good mystery, create intrigue by giving them a clue that leads to another clue, which leads to another clue, which leads to a…you get my drift….eventually leading them to the “buried treasure”. The hunt can take place in your house, through your yard, or for the older kids, all throughout the neighborhood.
Grow your fun. It’s seed planting time, the perfect pastime to include even the little ones in. Have them help poke holes and place seeds in the dirt. Fill a water pail and let them sprinkle water on the new plants. Teach them about why worms are good, help them identify weeds, help cultivate their green thumb. For slightly older kids, this is a great chance to learn about growth. Help them to plant their own mini garden by starting seedlings in small containers. Place them near a posterboard and have them record how much they grow each day during the week. And for those kids who would love their own garden in their room, a terrarium is a super cool way to give that to them. Think you need to buy some expensive kit? Think again. You can make a terrarium out of just about any kind of container – soda bottle, large jar, old fish tank, glass vase, even an old lightbulb! You can use exotic looking plants, and create scenes using figurines. The most complete website I’ve ever seen for making your own terrarium is at stormthecastle.com/terrarium.
Rearrange/redecorate their room. A kids bedroom is where they are king of the castle. It tells a story about who they are, what they like, and it’s where they’re in charge. So why not help them elaborate on that by changing things up in their domain? Move their bed to the other side of the room, or against a different wall. Place their artwork or cool pictures they’ve clipped out of magazines on the walls. Put a mirror on the wall and give them free rein to scribble their favorite quotes around their reflection (it wipes off). And here’s a secret: you’ll be tricking them into a little spring cleaning as they also go through the things they have and get rid of anything they no longer need.
Teach them to bake. It’s possible the weather might not be that great next week. No worries, that just means it’s perfect for baking! My favorite recipe with young kids is the Basic White Bread Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens. There’s nothing like kneading the warm yeasty dough, or the smell of it baking in the oven. And it will make a perfect addition to your dinner that night.
Have a day of arts and crafts. Admittedly, I’m not a very crafty person. But I do know there are tons of crafts out there that young kids would love to do – more than I can even list here. Thankfully, I don’t have to because the folks at TipJunkie already did. They collected 38 different ideas from 38 different bloggers, sharing crafts that range from apple stamping to homemade puffy paint (to the left, by ChalkInMyPocket.com) for the tub. Check it out at tipjunkie.com/crafts-boredom-busters.
Play outside. This is a no-brainer. If the weather is nice, take advantage and get the kids out of the house. Your house will stay cleaner, and you’ll go slightly less crazy. Go for a bike ride, take a hike, have a picnic, search for wildflowers, grab a camera and have at it… The options are as endless as the sky is huge. Best bet, grab another family and make it a playdate. Just remember to wear your sunscreen!
Local Spring Break fun:
A little known fact is that Third Street Cinemas holds $3 movies at their theater. For that price, you can take the kids AND their friends! Check out their movie times on the Press Democrat’s events calendar.
G&G Baking Class
The local market will be hosting a class just for 6-9 year olds where they’ll be making sweet little cupcakes, learn frosting and piping techniques, and allow students to take their creations home to share (or just eat on their own). Class is $35. Register at gandgmarket.com/classes/spring-break-baking-class-just-for-kids-age-6-9.
Sur La Table Cooking classes
Kids and teens can learn cooking and baking in Sur La Table’s 3-day Spring Break cooking camp. Kids will be taught the basic fundamentals, and learn a few fun dishes to create. And teens will be introduced to meal preparations, knife skills, seasoning, and more. This is a great way for your child to become comfortable in the kitchen. The classes are held on Monday 3/19 – Wednesday 3/21 (kids: 10am-12pm, teens: 2-4pm), and are only $120 per student. To sign up for the classes being held at the Montgomery Village Sur La Table, visit surlatable.com.
Spring Workshops at the Charles Schulz Museum
Spring Break will hold plenty of fun things to do at the Schulz Museum! Kids can turn their own Snoopy doll into a pirate, princess, or other fun character. They can launch rockets, or anything else that can fly. They can ice skate, create a painting, make their own comic book, and even learn how to draw mystical creatures. There’s something going on every day of the week at the museum. But space is limited, so you’ll want to hurry to pre-register for the event your child wants to attend. Visit schulzmuseum.org for a list of classes, and call (707) 284-1263 to reserve your space.
Sonoma County Family YMCA
Kids aged 6-12 can enjoy fun baking projects, arts & crafts, games, songs, skits, and more at the fantastic activities the YMCA has planned for the whole week of Spring Break. Designed for mostly entertaining indoors during the cold and unpredictable weather plaguing this week, the Y will keep the kids busy all day long. Located at the the following schools: Yulupa & Olivet in Santa Rosa, Monte Vista in Rohnert Park, Grant in Petaluma, and Prestwood in Sonoma. Dates are March 19-23, 7am-6pm. Cost is $42/day. For more information, or to register, please contact the Sonoma County Family YMCA
Program Office at (707) 544-1829 or visit them at www.scfymca.org or 1207 College Ave in Santa Rosa.
What will your family do during spring break?