The leaves are budding, the birds are chirping and the days are getting longer – spring must be in the air! The buzz around town has shifted from snowy roads and cold mornings to sunshine, relaxation and a countdown to spring break. Ahh, the anticipation of spring break – a time to run away to a warmer climate and unwind – but do you have to run away?

Spring is an incredibly special and humbling time at First Story. Every year at this time I get to meet the families that have applied for a First Story home and I am quickly reminded of just how insignificant my daily annoyances are and just how thankful I should be. As many people pack their bags and head to some tropical destination for an end of the season escape, our families simply dream of a homecation.

It’s easy to forget that not everyone can shell out a bunch of money for a spring vacation and maybe, just maybe, a home is its own priceless hidden treasure. For families who have never spent spring break in a home of their own a vacation can start right at their front door. And for families on a tighter budget, there are lots of fun things to do, other than house chores, if you take a minute to look around.

  • Go Camping at Home – Set up a campsite smack in your living room or for a little more of the experience head into the backyard. Don’t have a tent and sleeping bags? Blankets and sheets can easily be transformed into a fort using clothespins and existing furniture in your house. Cook up some hot dogs and burgers and have a picnic on the floor. Be sure to remember the S’mores. If you haven’t made S’mores at home they literally take about 30 seconds and are so yummy! 1) Gather the standard ingredients, add peanut butter, use Nutella, or substitute a chocolate bar of your choice. 2) Break the graham cracker in half and add a big marshmallow on top. 3) Pop in the microwave for 15 seconds. 4) Add your chocolate bar of choice and micro for 5-10 more seconds. 5) Top with the other half of the graham cracker and voila! One little slice of camp heaven on a plate.
  • Foster a Furry Friend – Offer to watch a friend’s dog or cat while he or she is traveling for spring break. This is a perfect way for the whole family to enjoy time with a furry friend, even if you don’t have the time or resources to have a pet full time. Fostering animals can be a great learning experience too - teaching patience, kindness and responsibility to kids (and adults) of all ages. If you don’t have friends looking for a “doggie day care” head over to your local humane society as they are always looking for people to spend time with the kitty cats and walk the dogs.
  • Discover Your Neighborhood – A neighborhood scavenger hunt offers a fun way for your kids to get outside and explore all the nooks and crannies of their community. One of my favorite blogs is “Run Wild My Child” which has a printable scavenger hunt and tons of other ideas helping parents get kids off screens and outside into nature, one adventure at a time: You can also make a list of activities not far from your house that are new to you: 1) Find and play at a new park. 2) Visit a local garden and take a family photo. 3) Take a suburban hike on the paths and walkways in your home town.

So, remember, you don’t have to travel thousands of miles to relax and recharge; sometimes getting away means going nowhere at all.

#getawaywithoutgoingaway #homecation #springbreak