Spring Break Staycations
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Good Times1 of 11
By Emili Vesilind
Whether you’re looking for ways to entertain your kiddos or simply have a bit of time off from work (score!), you don’t have to hit the road this spring break to have a good time. Enter the staycation: a vacation spent in your hometown. We’ve rounded up ten meaningful activities that just might improve your mental health, relationships or even, well, the world.
Organize for Japan2 of 11
Scores of survivors of Japan’s tsunami and earthquake are still in need of basic shelter and warmth. So why not organize a neighborhood-wide yard sale and donate 100 percent of the profits to ShelterBox, an international disaster relief charity that’s been delivering emergency shelter, blankets and other basics to the devastated country? Get rid of unwanted stuff, help a nation — a win-win, indeed.
Train for a Cause3 of 11
If you’ve ever wanted to train for a marathon, there’s no time like the present. And Team in Training, the marathon program that benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, offers training groups all over the U.S. that simultaneously raise money for cancer research — an experience that makes crossing the finish line all the sweeter. Visit the Team in Training website for more information.
Start a Time Bank4 of 11
It’s an old-school concept: help a neighbor when they need a favor and they’ll have your back when you need your dog walked. But time banking, which has members trading units of time with other members of the “bank,” makes the process more organized (and always equitable) by tracking everyone’s time spent doing favors on a designated website. Visit TimeBanks.org for instructions on how to get things going.
Plan a Wellness Week5 of 11
If your job regularly has you tied up in knots (or stress-eating to beat the band), use your spring break to reconnect with your body by preplanning a “wellness” week — seven days of restorative activities such as yoga, massage, hiking and healthy eating and sleeping. Enlist a friend or coworker to get your chat on while in down dog. To find yoga classes near you, log onto YogaFinder.
Start a Book Club6 of 11
Feed your mind this spring break by starting a book club that focuses on all those books you slept through in college — a la Madame Bovary and The Jungle. Find reading group guides and discussion questions for most classic novels at ReadingGroupGuides.com. And after every book conquered, plan a popcorn-heavy Netflix night to screen film adaptations for the group.
Go Green7 of 11
With Earth Day fast approaching on April 22, it’s a great time to green-ify your house (and household activities) for good. Print out this checklist, which includes tips such as switching out traditional light bulbs for energy-saving Compact Fluorescent Light versions, and divvy up the duties with your kids and hubby for an interesting, uber-educational activity.
Camp Out8 of 11
Get in touch with your outdoorsy (and unapologetically juvenile) side by camping out under the stars in your own backyard — with gal pals or your honey-bun. Pitch a tent, uncork some wine, make a fire, toast s’mores and feel the stressors of day-to-day life slip into the surrounding darkness. Just don’t get burned. Find instructions for building a campfire at LoveTheOutdoors.com.
Talk to the Animals9 of 11
Nothing makes you feel more warm and fuzzy inside than volunteering at an animal shelter. And shelters all over the country are desperate for dog walkers, cat snugglers, bunny wranglers and even envelope stuffers. To find a list of your local shelters, visit Pets911.com.
Get Crafty10 of 11
Nine straight days in the house with the kids could drive even the most patient mom to the brink of insanity. So if you’re planning to hang at home this spring break, plan in advance for a monster family art project. Crafty Kids Playhouses manufactures inexpensive, eco-friendly white cardboard playhouses just waiting to be festooned with paint, glitter and Magik Markers. Nab a mini-house or order up a standing rocket ship — both work better than a baby-sitter.
Start Composting11 of 11
Teach your kids about recycling by creating a compost pile out back. First, dig a hole around four feet wide and fill the bottom with loose dirt. Then progressively pile in the biodegradable waste (banana peels, day-old salad, etc.). When the soil morphs into an ultra-rich fertilizer, have your tykes repot a few plants using the mineral-rich dirt. Visit MasterComposter.com for further tips and tricks.