For Spring Break this year we decided to stay around here and assign each of the kids a day and let them choose the activity or activities they wanted to do for their day.
We didn't set super specific rules and began the process a few weeks before just by brainstorming a list of possible things on a big chalkboard near our dining area. We didn't assign a budget but I think that would be something fun to do to encourage them to work within some constraints - most of the things they wanted to do were things that we do around here from time to time so nothing was super outlandish. It all ended up working out fine in the end and that I had a general idea in my head of how much we were willing to spend overall throughout the week. Most of the kids ended up choosing 1-2 activities and 1-2 meals (lunch and/or dinner).
I loved seeing what kids picked out for their food and activities and how the whole thing evolved - it gave them a chance to be the boss of the day.
Some overall thoughts on this staycation idea:
- Most days we didn't mobilize for the activities until around noon or a little after. This allowed Aaron and I to still get some stuff done (both work + home stuff) and made for a better overall pace for the week (meaning our days weren't packed without any breathing room). During those morning hours before we started our group activities the kids had screen time or played together around the house. They also all kind of just loved being able to chill out and not have to go through the motions of our regular school day routines.
- We were flexible. If a kid changed their mind about where they wanted to eat or what they wanted to do we went with it.
- We went with a Monday through Friday schedule vs. including the weekend days. Five kids = five days. We probably could have done seven, with Aaron and I each having a day, but I liked the focus just being on the kids choices.
- As with any bit of regular life around here there were ups and downs with attitudes and excitement throughout the week. But overall, this was a really, really fun week.
All photos are just from my iPhone and I decided to do them all in black and white. In looking back through my photos, I definitely tried to get a bunch with the whole group or more than one person in the frame. Getting all these people into the frame is an interesting challenge but I love seeing the whole group engaged in life as it's happening.
Anna was up first and she chose swimming at a local pool called Splash followed by a "linner" (lunch + dinner) at a sushi restaurant with a conveyor belt.
Audrey and Isaac eat California rolls. Anna eats salmon sashimi (raw salmon + rice) or shrimp sashimi. Simon orders chicken katsu (panko breaded chicken). Aaron, Elliot, and I eat all kinds of different rolls.
Tuesday was Isacc's day and we had lots to celebrate today as it was also his 12th birthday.
He decided to start his day off with sandwiches from Subway for lunch (ordered via the app and Aaron went and picked them up and brought them back to the house before starting our adventure - keeping it simple).
Paolo showed up - always game for fun. First stop was Dairy Queen for treats after lunch.
Isaac's choices for the day included a trip to Greenhill (our local humane society) to visit the cats and dogs and then he wanted to go to a local trampoline center called Get Air. For some reason I didn't take any photos while we were there (probably because I was chatting with Paolo - ha - it was super crowded) but everyone had a good time (except when Simon's glasses broke in a foam pit and we couldn't find the missing piece - Aaron saved the day by running over to Walmart with the broken pair where they were able to fit the lenses to a different set of frames = crisis averted).
Isaac's choice for dinner was Red Robin - dessert included to celebrate.
We also stopped at Toys R Us on the way home to let him pick out a present. Lego's, of course.
Wednesday was Elliot's day. He had originally suggested camping but was vetoed due to rain and then we talked about doing some kind of camp out inside. We ended up doing a Harry Potter marathon where we watched the first three movies and then the boys woke up on Thursday morning and finished out the series. Take-out pizza for dinner. No one complained about just hanging out at the house and watching movies.
I also ave to tell you that I still love this big brown couch and all the pillows and blankets and people piled on top.
Thursday was Audrey's day. In the morning she and Anna decided to do food challenges which led to "eat it or wear it" challenges in the bathtub. Basically you either have to eat the food or it gets dumped on your head - definitely a game for the bathtub. Yeah. They had fun.
Audrey's day included a trip to Toys R Us where each kid had a budget and were able to pick out what they wanted within that budget. Lots of great math practice happened while we were hanging out there.
After picking out toys we headed over to The Original Pancake House for a breakfast for dinner adventure.
To finish off her day she decided to take me up on the idea to stay at a local Hilton Garden Inn with an indoor pool. This place is literally about 8 minutes from our house but it was so fun to stay in a hotel and feel like we were somewhere else for just one night. With this large of a crew we got two rooms that were next door to each other - this time Simon and Anna and I stayed in one room and the other crew stayed in the other room.
On Friday morning we woke up at the hotel and had breakfast there before starting Simon's adventure of seeing the movie The Boss Baby and lunch at the food court.
Our Cinemark theater recently changed to all these kinds of chairs in it's theater. The perfect place for Aaron to take a nap. We also learned that there's not a food court near this movie theater any longer so we adjusted plans and ate at a buffet that all the kids loved.
We wrapped up the week in the sunshine with a couple hours at home before the kids got picked up for their weekend adventures with their other parents.
We would totally consider doing this again in the future. Such a fun way to spend Spring Break!