36 Spring Break Activities for Families That Are Fun (And Affordable!)

“Budget-friendly” and “fun” can co-exist.

By Brandy Joy Smith

As a mother of two young children, I understand the importance of keeping kids entertained during the much-awaited spring break. But, it takes some real strategy to plan spring break activities that are both fun and affordable for the entire family.

Over the years, I’ve gotten very creative with finding fun things to do with my kids and husband during this week of no school and kinda(?) no work. Because tell me you haven’t noticed the same: the most obvious activities are often pretty darn expensive, too. But before you stress, I got you. Through trial and error, I’ve come up with plenty of ideas that keep everyone engaged and connected. Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities, indoor activities, craft activities, or even little day trips to take with your family, fear not—there are plenty of things to do that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. 

Featured image by Hannah Haston.

mother son snuggling
Image by Teal Thomsen

Outdoor Spring Break Activities 

Depending on where you live, some of the best spring break activities are the ones that can take place outside. As a California mama myself, I am fortunate to have the ability to take my kids on all kinds of outdoor activities that my husband and I enjoy as well. 

1. Picnic with friends. Call up some of your besties (maybe even some other parents!) and head to a park with a blanket and some snacks. A classic that never goes out of style. If you’re looking for recipe ideas, these are our faves.

2. Explore a park in your neighborhood. Go on a nature walk and get to know your neighborhood a little better. Bonus points if you can find a trail that educates you about the land. 

3. Go hiking. After being cooped up all winter, I’m sure we’re all craving a little fresh air. Good news—this is one of the best ways to get it. Disclaimer: a hike may not be the best for kids under five unless you’re okay with adding a little extra weight to your back! 

4. Bike along the beach. Who doesn’t love a good bike ride? Beaches, parks, and trails make for a family-friendly spring break outing that doubles as good exercise as well. 

5. Have a sand castle contest. This is one that my kids just can’t get enough of. Grab some buckets and head to the beach to get your kiddos to show off their creativity in the sand. And if you live where it’s still cold (looking at all my New England friends), snow castles work just as well!

6. Volunteer at a community garden. I love bringing my kids to the community garden during spring break to teach them early lessons on giving back while also allowing them to feel pride in their work.

7. Clean up the beach. Another spring break activity that is simultaneously a great learning experience. Head to the beach, park, or just within your neighborhood to help clean up litter. This is a perfect opportunity to teach your children about the importance of sustainability. 

8. Make a lemonade stand. As classic as it gets. Fun for the whole family and a great way to start training your entrepreneur-to-be.

9. Car wash for a good cause. A neighborhood car wash is a fun way to cool off, help out your neighbors, and give back to a good cause. 

10. Collect and paint rocks. Simple yet effective! Find some rocks in your backyard and paint them into little characters. This keeps the kids entertained, lets them get creative, and provides the opportunity to play with their rock characters throughout the day until bedtime. 

mother son snacking, spring break activities
Image by Ashleigh Amoroso

Indoor Spring Break Activities 

If you live somewhere the sun hasn’t quite come around just yet, you’re still in luck! There are amazing spring break activities that can take place in the comfort of your own home. Here are a few of my favorites that my kids enjoy.

11. Make vision boards. Get crafty while teaching your kids the value of manifesting their goals. For all the instructions, get Camille’s complete guide to vision boarding here. (Trust me, as an adult with dreams of your own, you’ll love this.)

12. Organize a book club. This could mean reading a book out loud to younger children or getting the same book for all members of the family to read. Set a deadline to finish it and make a night out of discussing it when everyone is done.

13. Hook and latch. This is a relaxing hobby that I love, which means my kids want to be involved as well. The best part about this one is that it’s chill and oh-so-quiet. If you’ve never done it before, these instructions have everything you need to get started.

14. Make puppets and put on a show. Inspiring future entertainers! It’s always so fun to see the stories my kids make up.

15. Explore a museum. Museums are a wonderful indoor activity because there’s so much to see and learn. You could spend hours deep-diving into just about anything.

16. Write a play and perform it. Channel your inner Von Trapp family and start a family theater troupe at home! 

17. Have a family movie night. With all the streaming platforms available, it’s well within the realm of possibility to watch a movie a night to keep the kids (and mom and dad!) entertained. 

18. Enjoy a game night. UNO, Go Fish, Rummy, and more! There are plenty of options for a great all-ages games night at home over spring break. For a list of our all-time favorites, see here.

mother daughter cuddling, spring break activities
Image by Belathée Photography

Craft Spring Break Activities

19. Try tie-dye. Anything and everything—shirts, dishtowels, tote bags! Tie-dye is a bit messy but a whole lot of fun. Be sure to take this one outside.

20. Make ceramics together. Find clay at the dollar store and let your kids get creative with shapes. Paint them after for some added fun! 

21. DIY your own play-dough. All the fun of creating with fewer stakes than ceramics. Great for youngsters who just want to squish and shape the dough.

22. Sign up for craft classes. Psst… Home Depot has classes once a month for children of every age.

23. Make a scrapbook. House all your memories in a homemade book full of printed photos. They’ll love taking it out and looking back on all the fun you’ve had as a family.

24. Paint and put on an art show. Who knows, maybe you’re raising the next Picasso.

25. Design costumes and host a fashion show. …or the next Vera Wang! 

26. Mail letters and art to loved ones. Surprise some long-distance loved ones with handwritten letters and drawings to warm their hearts.

27. Make wind chimes. Such an easy activity that can be shown off on your porch for years to come.

mother and sons picnic
Image by Teal Thomsen

Affordable Spring Break Trips to Take With the Family

If you’re looking to get away but don’t have the budget to go on a full-fledged spring break vacation, there are lots of ways to get the same feeling without breaking the bank. Here are a few spring break activities that can make for affordable day trips with the family.

28. House swap. Ask one of your friends if they want to swap houses for a few days. This makes it feel like you’re in a brand-new space without having the pay for a hotel.

29. Camp or glamp. Weather permitting, head to the great outdoors for a few nights and stay in a tent. If that’s not your vibe, cabins are always a fun and relatively affordable option, too.

30. Take a road trip. Make a playlist, pack the snacks, and hit the open road. Even if you don’t have an overnight destination, sometimes the road trip is the most fun part. 

31. Visit a national park. Venture outside your neighborhood parks and hit up one a few hours away for a change of scenery.

32. Go to an aquarium or zoo. My ever-curious children love it, and as an adult, I have to say it’s a good time, too.

32. Explore a science center. This is another educational experience that everyone loves.

33. Volunteer on a farm. For animal lovers and for a change of scenery! Check out farms in your area and see if you and the family can spend the day helping out.

34. See friends in a nearby city. If you have friends or family nearby, ask if you can come to spend the night and explore their area.

35. Visit historical landmarks near you. Getting cultured is a great spring break activity.

36. Rent an Airbnb. Last, but not least, an Airbnb is always a fun way to get away. Not the most affordable, but also not crazy expensive either! 

Happy spring break!