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How to celebrate spring break without going anywhere

Diane Ashoff has a background in mathematics and a keen eye for baby name trends. She lives with her husband and three children in Florida.

Here's how to enjoy a spring break staycation with your kids

Feeling the pressure to make this spring break count? You don't have to drop a lot of money or go on a fancy vacation — you can make your own fun with a spring break spent at home.

A week off with kids who are used to the nonstop stimulation of school can seem endless. How to keep everyone amused and get them properly worn out come bedtime? We came up with five great ideas to make this spring break fly by, no travel required.

Explore overlooked local fun spots

It's family field trip time! If you've lived somewhere for several years, you might be overlooking activities beyond your usually traveled routes. Is there an updated exhibit at the children's museum? A brand new splash park on the other side of town? Even a different mall play area can seem like a novelty for small children. Venture a bit outside your comfort zone to find some new activities on the local scene.

Hit up the library

Libraries often plan activities during spring break beyond their standard fare. Keep an eye out for special puppet shows, story times and craft activities. Take this opportunity to teach your children more about the library and encourage them to choose books they normally wouldn't. Need to spice this one up a bit? If you have a large public library system, trek the kids to a branch they've never visited before. Even if they don't have special events planned, your kids will be fascinated by their different displays and varied selection.

Go on a nature scavenger hunt

You may not even have to leave your own backyard. In fact, aim for not having to leave your house at all, and send the kids out back to retrieve a list of wacky nature objects. They can look for pinecones, leaves of certain colors, smooth rocks — whatever you can come up with. Make this science-based scavenger hunt challenging enough to keep them out in the bright sunshine as long as possible, but not so difficult they ask you questions every few minutes.

Give each day a theme

Pirate day? Pajama day? Anything your kids are into, make a day of it. Structure meals, activities and outfits around the day's theme. Before spring break starts, let the kids make some suggestions for what kinds of themes they'd be into. Try to balance the schedule with both silly and educational themes to make the most of your days together.

Fill a jar with ideas

No matter how much you plan, you are bound to be hit with "I'm boooored" more often than you'd like. Solution: Create a boredom jar. Brainstorm a bunch of simple activities (a mix of chores and fun), write them on slips of paper and keep them in a jar. If your kid comes to you because he can't come up with anything fun to do, direct him to the jar. It makes whining a bit of a gamble, and pretty soon you might find your kids stop requiring you to inspire their entertainment.

More on spring break

Spring break challenges for working moms
Break through spring doldrums: Hands-on learning
Moms share: My family's best spring vacation

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