If you’re a work at home mom like me, you know that things like March Break brings feelings of both happiness and trepidation that you have a whole week of kids at home. Don’t even get me started on summer holidays. I’m really fortunate that my kids are old enough now that they’ll let me log a couple of hours each day in my office so I can still keep things rolling along in my business without too much trouble. But, as a frugal mama, I’m always looking for ways to entertain my children without spending a fortune. I’m a big fan of kids being creative and finding their own fun (they know if they come to me and say they’re bored, I’ll give them a chore!). So, in preparation of March Break, I’ve been scouring the KW region’s best free (or nearly free!) things to do with your kids on March Break. You’re welcome in advance.
Skating at City Hall
I know, I know, we’re ALL over winter by now. If I didn’t have to remind one more kid to put on mitts I’d be so happy. However, we live in Canada and winter is on its way out, just maybe not as quickly as we’d like. So, dust off your skates and zip on over to Kitchener City Hall and do a few more twirls before they close the rink down for the season!
Cheap movies at Cineplex
Run, don’t walk, to the movies this week. Cineplex is hosting March Break Movies this week, where they are showing a different family favourite each day of the week. It’s just $2.99 per person, so hey, although it’s not free you can spend less than $20 and a family of 5 can go!
Craft Bin of Awesomeness
If you have little kids but don’t have a craft bin of awesomeness, you need to go visit your local dollar store (or craft supply) and get some very basic craft supplies. Based on the age of your kids, your craft bin could include:
- coloured paper
- colouring books they don’t see every day
- glue or glue sticks
- glue gun
- pom poms
- foam stickers
- pipe cleaners
- If you’re feeling brave, paint
- popsicle sticks
- empty tissue boxes
- paper towel or toilet paper tubes
- glitter (also known as sparkles from h-e-double-hockey-sticks, so be careful with this one!)
- anything else you can think of!
Kids love making “beautiful crap”. In our home, it occupies like at least 50% of our kids’ free time during the week. I try to let them use their imaginations and create whatever they can think of. Recently, they created play sets and cars for their Shopkins. If you don’t have a craft bin of awesomeness, you might need to shell out a little $$ for it… But then you only bring it out when you need to keep your kids occupied. This keeps it fresh and exciting every time they see it so they’re likely to play with it longer.
Home Depot free kids workshops
Those of us who already know about the Home Depot kids workshops know them to be a great way to spend the time, for free, with your kids – helping them learn DIY skills that will take them far into the future. I know our own kids have attended a number of these workshops and are always so proud of themselves when they’ve managed to use a hammer or screwdriver with success. There’s a different workshop each day of the week for March Break, but you do need to register in advance before attending.
Although post-winter bathing suit wearing can be scary, it’s worth it to see your kids occupied and having fun right? Plus, you’ll tire them out which means you can get away with a little quiet movie time afterward (or a nap!) and you can get some much needed downtime as well. I find swimming is a great way to connect with my kids, and it really is quite cost effective. I do recommend showing up early though, as last year the lines were definitely longer because of March Break.
Nature walk (signs of spring)
The weather is actually supposed to be decent this week! If you need a breather from the four walls of your home, going for a little nature walk through your neighbourhood is a great way to pass time and look for little signs of spring. If you’re feeling organized, you can even create a little BINGO card ahead of time for your kids to mark off which signs of spring they’ve seen.
Dollar Store shopping spree
I have three kids, and they all LOVE scouring the dollar store for random crap. We’re not much for heavy shopping in this household, but in desperation we’ve gone to the dollar store with a small budget in mind and allowed them to pick something out. If you have older kids like me, give each kid a $5 bill and have them practice shopping within that budget (including taxes!). This is a great way to have your kids do math and practice budgeting skills even when they’re not in the classroom.
The KPL has some amazing March Break stuff happening this upcoming week, complete with free movie showings! Plus I always find that the days we visit the library, my kids magically occupy their time with their new books without much involvement from me. This is a win for this work at home mom for sure! Just remember to pack a few dollars’ change for the parking garage so you don’t get stuck in there like I did… Twice. Yes, I’m special.
Centre Court in Conestoga Mall will be home to a bunch of fun activity zones that you can bring your family to! There will be various sports activities, museum exhibits, and even a place to relax with massage chairs. Plus it looks like they’ve opened up their museum to the public for the week, which is always a great place to check out!
Waterloo Region Museum
Speaking of museums, this one isn’t free – but if you were looking to spend some time educating your kids over the break, you can’t go wrong with the Waterloo Region Museum. They’ve installed a new wild weather exhibit which looks amazing! It costs less than a trip to Ikea to get in, which means it’s a win in my books.
March Break doesn’t need to be costly, especially for those of us who are more budget conscious. My kids have done most of these events and have always found it to be fun and engaging for them – this keeps everyone happy and helps the march break pass smoothly and with a lot of memories made!
If I missed something spectacular that is happening in Waterloo Region over March Break, feel free to add it into the comments below – the more the merrier!