February 27, 2013

Spring Break Ideas for Keeping the Kids Entertained

For many families Spring Break is just around the corner and if you are like me, you may be wondering how exactly (since you couldn't afford that week off in the Caribbean)  you are going to keep the older kids entertained while they are home without breaking the bank at the local museums and attractions. I wanted to share my top five fun ideas (one per break day) to keep the family entertained with an all ages focus that won't break the bank. Then I pepper you with 38 more fun activities from Jewelry to Super Heroes- have fun this Spring Break and be prepared for some crafting fun!

1. Make some homemade play-dough. Before you think your kids have outgrown this, think of it as an extension of what they are learning in school. Ancient Greece? Native American Settlements? Create a scene using the play dough as an extension of your curriculum  Since you have control of the colors and consistency- you can get really creative.

2. Stop motion animation. This one is a little harder but not impossible. As long as the camera is fixed, have them use those digital camera bytes to store up some photos of a play-dough creation in action. By moving only a little for each "frame" you can use easy and free animation software to knot those photos together into a mini-play. For the older ones an early success can translate into an entire day of scripting and planning.

3. Get out the camping supplies. Set up a reading tent in the backyard. Let them bring out their favorites and read from the afternoon into the night with a lantern.

4. Make your own sidewalk paint. Create a mural in your driveway! In a large bowl combine 1 cup water with 1 cup cornstarch. Divide mixture into cups or a large muffin tin. Add food coloring to each tin and stir until well combined. Use old paintbrushes, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners and foam brushes to give your little artists lots of different textures and shapes to experiment with! The older artists will surely be creative enough with their own Jackson Pollack impressions.

5. Ginormous paint by number. I saw this on a Pinterest board somewhere (I know you've heard that a lot.) Go by the craft store for an inexpensive paint by number and some bargain bin acrylic paints to match. Jog across to the office supply and have them enlarge that paint by number on a large poster sized paper. Take it home and you have a group activity for an afternoon.


You thought I was done?
I pulled these other awesome ideas from our very own Twitter Feed @EtsyFortWorth They should keep you rolling in ideas all week long:



  1. Make your own 10-pin bowling game! Fun and Deceptively Educational: 10-Pin Addition (Math Bowling) ow.ly/gsWFC
  2. Lunch treat - make Sweet Potato Fries with Sriracha Crème Fraîche ow.ly/gsWzx 
  3. Fun Science outside with the kids- what can be more fun then blowing something up? ow.ly/gsWm6
  4. Fleece Flower Petal Pillows- no hemming and most of the "sewing" is by glue gun http://ow.ly/gsVM4
  5. Ideas for Toddlers: http://ow.ly/gsYYP
  6. A full day of indoor activities for #kids http://ow.ly/gsZ0c 
  7. Make your own chalkboard paint in any color! Easy Cheesy http://ow.ly/gsZ8b Turn any flat surface into a chalkboard!
  8. Craft your own book jacket wrapper- step by step  http://ow.ly/gDiQu
  9. Secret messages and clever cards- make a 3D paper boat with a secret message http://ow.ly/gDjbB
  10. Free PDF tutorial for making a tie for your dog. That's right- and make him snazzy http://ow.ly/gDjyU
  11. Origami stars to fold- maybe to make something like a mobile or a cute bunting!  http://ow.ly/gDR46
  12. Make Pansies from Ribbon:  http://ow.ly/gEGqf
  13. Game to make from an Altoid tin- Magnetic Fishing- Adorably portable!  http://ow.ly/gEGD0
  14. PAINT! Seriously cute hands-on for kids art- craft a masking tape message http://ow.ly/gEGMb
  15. Felt Mr. Potato Head Mat. Super portable fun makes it a winner. Older ones can design new fashions! http://ow.ly/gEH27
  16. Gift box made from a plastic soda bottle- I know, right? http://ow.ly/gXcBB
  17. Step by step knitting #tutorial for a clever Headband  http://ow.ly/gLrF4
  18. Herb Soap Tutorial using the glycerin plus citrus and herbs from the kitchen http://ow.ly/gLshZ
  19. Scrap Ribbon Tag Toy #Tutorial- like the expensive taggies but using my scraps! http://ow.ly/gLstS
  20. Make this clutch using an old book  http://ow.ly/gLsQJ
  21. Wooden Number Magnets for #handmade learning- super cute and easy #tutorial! http://ow.ly/gXfku
  22. Preschool Mock Neck Tie from scrap felt for any special party day  http://ow.ly/gXL5b
  23. Free jewelry video #tutorial -LOVE these Peruvian thread earrings  http://ow.ly/gXLeT
  24. Printables that let you make ordinary bobby pins into adorable bouffant accessories! http://ow.ly/gXf6S
  25. Woven T-shirt bracelet tutorial from #FortWorth artist  http://ow.ly/gXLmc
  26. Faux Pewter Pendants | Polymer Clay #Tutorial | #handmade #DIY #craft http://ow.ly/gXMjq
  27. Fabulous Chip Bezel Pendant | #DIY #handmade #tutorial #craft http://ow.ly/gXMBV
  28. Cute housewarming gift on canvas you can #DIY from wooden letters- http://ow.ly/gYhvZ
  29. Super Hero Stick Puppets- Fun and easy  http://ow.ly/gYhz2
  30. DIY Felt Monsters –  Take-along activity if you add a felt board!   http://ow.ly/gYhE2
  31. Bracelet you can take to wild or demure Triple Cluster Pearl Bracelet http://ow.ly/gYi2h
  32. Mini felt bow brooch design to spice up any outfit in 5 min http://ow.ly/gYid6
  33. #Embroidery on a lampshade you can #DIY. Need I say more?  http://ow.ly/gYiR7
  34. One Old Board Book + New Pictures = Make your own personalized board book http://ow.ly/gYj8k
  35. Paint Something with this easy #tutorial #handmade http://ow.ly/gYjio
  36. Transform basic jeans to designer brand prints #DIY #tutorial #handmade | Heart Print Jeans http://ow.ly/gYjGr
  37. Scrumptious Tea... for the Tub. Make some gifts for later this year http://ow.ly/h9aEA
  38. Grab a spare cosmetics pouch, scrap fabric, and glue gun and #DIY a new clutch http://ow.ly/h9aHI

This post was authored by Sarah at Sima Design. Visit her Etsy Shop (Just Off Normal) for custom engraved wooden toys and gifts or hang out at her blog for fun tips and visual treats.