Over the next few weeks, kids around the country will begin enjoying a few days of rest and relaxation courtesy of spring break.  For some families, that may mean heading off to exotic locales to soak in the sun and get a jump start to summer.  But you don't have to spend a fortune in air travel and rental cars to have a good time over spring break.  In fact, there are a lot of staycation ideas that are perfect for families looking to share some memories without breaking the bank.  Here are a few ideas to get you started. 

Backyard campout. Chances are, your camping gear has gathered a bit of dust over the cold winter months.  Brush it off and kick start the camping season with a backyard campout that's light on the budget and big on the fun.  Focus on the most fun parts of a camping trip - roasting marshmallows, snuggling in your sleeping bags, and telling stories by the fire.  If the backyard is still too cold, set up the tent in the living room and melt your smores in the microwave.  

Scavenger hunt. Take a look at your hometown from a different angle by planning a scavenger hunt through town or in a nearby park.  If it's warm enough to get outdoors, make a list of natural objects for kids to find, such as leaves, pine cones, bird nests, or early spring flowers.  If it's cold, move the scavenger hunt indoors by asking kids to search for items in your house such as something soft, something silly, something cold, or something purple.  Give extra points for creativity!

Be a tourist. Most people travel far and wide to visit museums in other towns or states, but have yet to visit the tourist attractions in their own backyards.  This spring break, stop in at your local tourist information center and pick up some brochures for nearby museums, hikes, parks, and other attractions.  Be sure to ask about discounts for locals and spend a few days getting better acquainted with your hometown.

Take your taste buds on a trip. Who says you have to hop on a plane to get a taste of another area?  Treat your kids to a culinary adventure by serving up a different ethnic food each night over spring break. Kids can help with the planning and preparation and the whole family can get in on the fun.  Make a night of it by matching up a game or movie to go with your meal.  'Ratatouille' for French night, 'The Lion King' for African night, or try a game of Statues on Greek night.

Dig in the dirt. Are you planning to grow a family garden or flower bed this summer?  Spring break is the perfect time to get things started.  Take a trip to the home and garden store to pick out seeds and plants or browse catalogs for garden supplies to order.  Over spring break, you and the kids can work on digging up a plot and - if its the right time of year in your area - planting your goodies in the ground.  

How do you and your family plan to spend spring break?

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