Spring break is always a welcome and coveted time for students. For parents, it is often hectic, a time of taking off work or finding babysitters to cover the change in routine. Whether you’re taking your students on a trip this spring break or staying home, we’ve pulled together fun, easy, and cost-effective ways to enrich your child’s time off from school.
At Envision, we’re all about hands-on learning; so let’s start there!
Hands-on Experiences & Experiments
Unlock the wonders of chemical reactions by creating a volcano. It’s as simple as combining vinegar and baking soda, or if you’re more ambitious and have outdoor space (and goggles!), you could do the Mentos and Diet Coke explosive combo.
To make a volcano, you’ll need materials for the body of the volcano. You can mix papier-mâché, use modelling clay, or even dirt. Just be sure to leave a hole in the middle for the volcano’s innards. Next you’ll need a small container to put into the volcano, a film canister, a small cup, etc. Add two spoonfuls of baking soda into your container, a spoonful of dish soap, and 5 drops each of red and yellow food coloring (optional). Add 1 ounce of vinegar and watch your volcano erupt! You can find all types of materials online about the history and science of volcanoes to go with the experiment. Be sure to prepare a clean up plan if you do this experiment inside.
For the Mentos experiment, you can use any carbonated beverage, but Diet Coke will give the biggest reaction. Try pulling a bunch of different carbonated beverages and comparing the height of the reaction. Open the two-liter bottles, drop in a Mento each, and stand back. Be aware this experiment is messy, so definitely prepare it outside, and as mentioned earlier, we highly recommend goggles.
You can also do some less explosive experiments such as a lava lamp made from vegetable oil, water, food coloring, and Alka Seltzer. Read how to do this and other experiments in our Earth Science Week blog.
Field Trips in Your Hometown
Often there are hidden gems just down the street. Take a trip to your local zoo, a museum, or even a new park. If you live in a small town or rural area, go on a nature exploration. Check out a local creek, or make a bug box out of a jar. Hikes on local nature trails or on new city streets can hold all kinds of new wonders and surprises. You can even create a scavenger hunt, having your kids collect or take pictures of a list of items, such as types of leaves, bugs, or even random objects, like a red button or a window with 9 panes. The sky is limit!
Create Your Own Silver Screen… Outside
What a better way to mix up spring break, than watching a movie in the great outdoors? With smartphones, you can project a movie with a shoebox and a magnifying glass, or if you want to make this a regular family tradition, you can purchase a projector for as little as $20. So hang a sheet, construct your projector, lay out a blanket, and grab a bag of popcorn.
Explore Foreign Cuisine
Has your household tried Chinese food? How about Tibetan food? Or Australian? Check out your local restaurants for a new cuisine, or even better, find a dish from a different culture and make it at home with your kids. You could make Swedish meatballs with lingonberry sauce (Thanks, IKEA!) or Korean bbq or even another state’s signature cuisine, like gumbo from Louisiana or South Dakota’s state dessert, Kuchen.
While you enjoy your meal, talk about the customs of the country the meal is from. What is the landscape like? What language do they speak? Do they celebrate any special holidays?
Activities on Vacation
Enjoy the Local Scene
This one is pretty obvious. If you’re traveling over spring break, odds are you are doing so to get new experiences. Check out local museums, zoos, aquariums, parks, and more. You might also plan a hike path, whether in nature or in an urban setting, to take in as many sights as possible.
And don’t forget to check out national parks in the area. While there are 58 official national parks, there are 418 national park sites that you can explore across the country!
Experience the Local Flavor… Literally
Trying local cuisine is one of the top reasons to take a trip. Whether it’s munching on grasshoppers in Bangkok, slurping down BBQ in Memphis, or sampling Key Lime Pie in the Keys, every spot has its own unique chow.
Compare and Contrast
Lastly, one great activity to do with your kids is compare your vacation spot to home. Getting away is always a goal of vacation, but what makes this trip’s destination special? Is it the food? The scenery? The activities? And most importantly what parts can you bring back as a family to diversify your home life?
So, whether you’re stay-cationing or vacationing this spring break, make the most of it! Be sure to tell us how you intend to spend your time off in the comments below.