10 Spring Break Ideas for Dads on a Budget

For dads who share custody of their school-age children, spring break presents an opportunity to spend some extra time with them. Even though most dads can’t get the whole week off work or afford a getaway trip, there are some easy ways to plan something special with your kids for their much-needed spring break. There are likely plenty of things to do right in your own backyard.

Consider these simple and inexpensive spring break activities:

  1. Baseball game. Spring break often marks the start of the baseball season too. Whether you have a major league team in your town or just a high school one, take the kids out to enjoy some peanuts and Cracker Jack. Show your kids how to use an official baseball scorecard or come up with your own fun games to play alongside the one happening on the field.

  2. Arcade. Find a local spot that has video games and other interactive activities and spend an afternoon there. It’s a fun time to show off some of your own gaming moves and gives your kids a taste of what games were like before smartphones came along. 

  3. Library. There are so many free and interesting things to do at local libraries, but parents often overlook them. Go online to check out what is happening in your own libraries during spring break (there are usually more events than usual going on) and pick a few that will interest your kids. While you are there, pick out a few books to bring home to enjoy as a family. 

  4. Community park. Never underestimate the pure joy of heading outdoors, even to a familiar place. If possible, choose a park that you do not normally go to and pack a lunch. If you have a few days to dedicate to park outings, let each kid pick out a spot that he or she wants to explore.

  5. Themed dinner at home. Kick your dinnertime up a notch by having a special themed meal. Either plan it yourself (from the cuisine to the décor to the music) or let your kids in on the fun and do it together. Even something as simple as “Thanksgiving in March” or a backyard BBQ party will spice up your normal routine and give you something to enjoy together. 

  6. Bowling alley. Let your kids get rid of some of that restless energy by taking them to the bowling alley. Call ahead and find out when the bowling alley has discount time slots (usually during slow times of day) and then plan your trip around that information.

  7. Movie theater. The cost of going to the movie theater can really add up, but spring break gives you the advantage of possible discounts. Go to an early show and save on your ticket price or look for deals online. 

  8. Bike ride. Head somewhere on your bikes together, whether you leave from the driveway or you drive to a different location and spend a half or full day riding. You do not need to have fancy bikes to enjoy this pastime. Just put some air in your tires and give the bikes a quick tune up before heading out. Don’t forget your helmets!

  9. Scavenger hunt. This is something even tough-to-please teenagers will enjoy with the right prize at the end. Set up clues around your home, or make it a destination scavenger hunt in the style of the Amazing Race. Think of silly prizes along the way and something your kids would truly enjoy at the end. 

  10. Local fair or festival. Find out what special celebrations will be taking place during spring break week and then spend a day at one with your kids. Even something as simple as a craft fair gives you an opportunity to get some fresh air and spend time away from home as a family. 

Remember that any opportunity to spend time with your children is valuable. The U.S. Census reports that 2.5 million fathers are single, but it has never been easier to keep in touch with your kids even on the days that you are apart. You should never feel badly if you do not have the money to afford extravagant activities for your kids. What they will remember now and later in life are the times you spent together. Consider the best ways to maximize your time together this spring break and it will be a memorable one.

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