I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to spring break – sort of – a little – maybe not so much. Now that I’m home full time, I’m looking forward to not having to drag myself and two teenagers out of bed and then out the front door for a week. I’m looking forward to doing a couple of things with them locally that are free or inexpensive (remember, I’m not working outside the home). I’m not looking forward to the possibility that my kids (or one of my kids) will become dysregulated due to the lack of routine. I know I cannot afford my youngest kids the freedom to come and go during the break like I could with their older brothers. (That would be way too scary and trigger their abandonment issues big time.) I also can’t arrange a bunch of playdates – at least not for The Princess. She’s struggling enough. The last thing she needs are several other kids coming and going or a bunch of sleepovers. (I’m thinking one, maybe two max.)
Since the kids will be home with me much of the time during break, I’ve come up with a list of things to do when the “I’m bored” monster rears its whiney head. Read through to the end – there’s a surprise waiting (but don’t skip ahead!). Maybe some of these ideas will work for your teens:
Helpful Things to Do
*Clean out the kitchen cabinets – Go ahead, put the spices in alphabetical order. Take everything out of the frig and wipe the shelves down. And while you’re at it, wipe the cabinets down, too.
*Go through your drawers and closet and pull out all the clothing that’s too small or that you just never wear so we can get it to someone who can use it, or take it to the thrift shop.
*Go through the books and pull out the ones you’re too old for now. We may keep some. We may donate some.
*If your kid is gentle enough and good with electronics: Take the side cover off the PC tower(s) in the house and use one of those air can sprays made for electronics to clean out all the dust that’s collected inside the tower.
*Rearrange the furniture in your bedroom. Get your sibling to help you. (Ah, team work!) Now help your sibling.
Crafty Things to Do
*Make an easy (and so cute) button bracelet out of old buttons and a piece of elastic (uses thread and easy hand sewing).
*Make some button barrettes with store-bought barrettes, buttons, and a hot glue gun.
*Tie dye some old tee shirts (pull them out of the pile the kids gathered when they went through their drawers and closets to clean them out).
*Find six rocks of similar color and size – flat, smooth ones work best. Take craft paint and paint an “X” on three of them and an “O” on the other three. Now you have a tic-tac-toe game to play on the driveway – just draw a grid with a piece of chalk and use that same grid over and over. OR – for rainy days, take an old pillow case and glue felt strips on it (with fabric glue) in the shape of a grid. You can store the stones inside the pillow case.
*Make a rolled paper (from magazines) cross.
*Make a fabric collage.
Things to Brighten Someone’s Day
*Make up “Random Acts of Kindness” Baggies. Get some snack size baggies and put a few pieces of candy or a couple of mints inside. Write a one-sentence note of encouragement. Put a few baggies in your bookbag to take to school and give one to another kid (or teacher) who looks like they’re having a rough day. When you give it to them, only say, “Just because.”
*Take one of those baggies to the widow who lives across the street and knock on her door. Ask her if you can help her by getting the dead leaves out of her bushes – or if there is something else she’d like you to help with (take Mom along to knock on her door with you).
*Take one of the baggies to the young mom down the street and ask her if she’d like a little break. Offer to play ball or draw on our driveway with chalk with her little ones for an hour.
*Call your church or local rec center office and ask if there are some odd jobs you could do for them around the building one afternoon.
*Walk around the block with your sibling. Take a couple of trash bags and wear some work gloves. Pick up any trash on the sidewalks or in the gutters.
Quiet Things To Do
*Roll coins. Pick out the wheat pennies as you go along (makes the task more interesting and it lasts longer).
*Draw a comic strip about . . . (pick something that would interest the child).
*String popcorn and then put it on a tree outside. Watch the birds (and squirrels) come!
*Find some pine cones, put peanut butter on them and roll them in birdseed. Hang them from a tree. Again, watch the birds come!
*Write a note to your pastor or principal and thank them for the job they do. Mail it in the “regular” mail.
Fun Things To Do
*Make tattle monsters out of tissue boxes. (Since you know the kids will get on each other’s nerves and you don’t want to hear it all day.) Have them write any tattles on a piece of paper and put it in the monster’s mouth. At the end of the day, pull out the tattles and decide which ones are worth having the monster tell Mom about. Put those back in his mouth and give it to Mom to handle however SHE chooses. (Always use the caveat that anything dangerous should be brought to Mom’s attention IMMEDIATELY.)
*Make emotion stress balls. Use balloons, Playdough, and a Sharpie.
*Plan and arrange a scavenger hunt. Invite 2-3 friends to participate. (Get Mom’s approval for what’s on the list.)
*Pitch a tent in the backyard. Invite 2-3 friends over for a “camp out.” So what if it’s March. Do like the Boy Scouts and dress appropriately and bring a warm sleeping bag.
*Have an airplane making/flying contest. Look up designs online with Mom.
Add Your Own
Okay, my brain is starting to hurt. Play along, please! Add your own ideas below. I’ll put all the names of those who comment below into a basket and draw one name on the first day of Spring Break (here it’s March 17th). The winner will receive a $10 Amazon gift certificate from Trauma Mama T. Want another chance at winning? Share this blog post link on Facebook and comment that you did so. Get another chance by telling about this post on your own blog. (Again, tell me in your comment that you did so.)