Raise your hand if the idea of your kids being home from school for a week is terrifying. I’m right there with you, mama. That’s why I have a plan.
Next week Smalls is out of school for Spring Break and we’re going to paint the town. Or at least, we’re going to try. I’m on a budget, and I want to make sure that the activities we do are not only fun, but they’re either healthy or educational.
Since the boys have very different interests (Smalls is a science geek while The Baby is fascinated by anything with an engine), we’ll be doing a few things for each of them. My criteria are that the activity is within a reasonable drive of home (no more than an hour), and it happens outside, if at all possible.
Barring rain, which we’ve seen a lot of this week. Luckily (if we can trust the meteorologists this time), next week is supposed to be beautiful.
Seems obvious, right? Probably because it is. Playing at the park is a no-brainer for most moms, but for my family sadly it doesn’t happen often enough. There are a bunch of great parks close to home, and we plan to play at least three of them over the week.
To make sure that the boys stay entertained (and don’t meltdown), I am taking a page from my mom and setting my timer for 90 minutes. My mom always told us that we had to leave while we were still having fun, and as a kid, I thought she was mean. As a parent, I think that she’s flat out brilliant.
For my boys, the 90-minute mark is when they are tired enough that meltdowns start. They likely need a snack, need some water, and need to rest.
We are blessed to live about 20 minutes north of Galveston Island, which has absolutely beautiful beaches. Since we have a State Park Pass (best thing ever!), we can visit Galveston Island State Park for free.
I have a bag of beach toys that we can bring to build and dig. Our beach trip will likely be a bit longer than our other park outings, so I’ll make sure to pack some sandwiches, fruit, and freeze-dried vegetables for the trip.
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
I’ve been living in Texas for over 6 years, and you know what? I’ve never been to Rodeo. I know, I know. I totally suck. This year, we’re going to change that. I’ve already downloaded the RODEOHOUSTON mobile app (it’s available for iPhone and Android) to make sure we don’t miss a thing! Y’all. This app has an interactive scheduling tool, parking information, map information, and the ability to create an agenda personalized to my family’s interests using the “My Schedule” function. It’s a dream come true.
Some of the attractions that are on my schedule include the OXY AGventure, which has a fully-functioning milking parlor.
We’ll also be stopping at The Junction, which is a kid-friendly area of the Houston Livestock Show. It’s located directly behind Rodeo Plaza, near the carnival, and features rides and games designed for the Show’s youngest visitors. I’ve already signed Smalls up for the Pedal Tractor Pull.
The Pedal Tractor Pull is located in The Junction and children 4 to 12 years old compete in a pedal-driven tractor driving contest. Smalls is going to freak.
As I mentioned, this Spring Break we’re definitely on a budget, so we’ll be visiting Rodeo on Wednesday. Every Wednesday during the Rodeo, adults only pay $5 to enter NRG Park and seniors, 60 years of age and older, and children, 12 and younger, get in free. That means Rodeo will cost us just $10 (plus food and ride tickets).
Rodeo runs March 7 – 26. Grounds passes are available for adults 13 years of age and older for $10; for children ages 3 to 12, $5; and for children ages 2 and under, grounds admission is free! Visit rodeohouston.com to learn more.
The last thing we’ll be enjoying is one of our favorites. I love the Zoo. There are so many different species of animals to explore. Smalls loves the reptile house (much to my dismay), and I love visiting the elephants and big cats. Jonathan the Lion is awesome and so much fun to visit.
I love that the Houston Zoo has a splash pad. If it’s hot, I can pull out the kids swimsuits (yes, even in March for those of you who don’t live down here) and we can cool off. If it’s not quite warm enough, the children’s section of the zoo has a great playground and interactive exhibits, and the gorilla area has some awesome drums and huts that we can explore.
There’s plenty of walking involved, which ensures naps for everyone. After all, isn’t that why we take them places?
So that’s it! My awesome Spring Break plans. I’ll get in plenty of walking (which means that I need to remember to wear and sync my Apple Watch). Plus, with most of our outings, I can make sure to bring healthy snacks, like freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, RX bars, and bottles of water.
What are you doing on your Spring Break this year?