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Statewide Travel 1

reThink Spring Break Planning


I can’t be the only mama panicking about how we will survive spring break, let alone summer vacation. This is our first year with a kid in school, and I know we all need a restful week, mainly since he is used to being entertained all day by a very creative and energetic teacher.

As I’ve been thinking about our five days of freedom and how to strategically keep us all alive, full of snacks and still happy, I’ve tried to “re-THINK” our Spring Break week. I know he will still get up early and be hungry for lunch at 10:30, but it doesn’t have to be a week we survive; I think it could be a week we make special memories that he may always remember. I’m also open to the fact that he may never remember anything we do, but be grateful for our time together.

So, how can we reTHINK Spring Break?

  • reLearn – museums and learning time
  • reMake – crafts
  • reFresh – cleanout
  • reSearch – explore and go on a community scavenger hunt
  • reDo – go on an adventure or outing

Others may find that this is a week to reSchedule everything and have a chill week at home with no plans or expectations and lots of space for “YES if you want to.” While my family needs a plan to survive, I know that is not everyone’s mode of operation. Having space for nothing gives you space for many plans and maybe only the things you want to do.

How can you create space in your time for Spring Break

  • Don’t say yes to anything before 10 a.m. – don’t make early commitments that have you rushing in the mornings like you do on a school day. 10 a.m. is typically a time late enough that people are already up, have had coffee, and have removed the brain fog. But you may find it easier to say we aren’t committing to any morning plans.
  • Don’t make plans for anything in the afternoon – maybe your group is morning people, and you will be up whether it’s a day off or not. Instead, flip the script and don’t go anywhere in the afternoon and stay home to read, binge-watch shows, or chill and play games together.
  • Don’t use the week to complete all your appointments – whether it’s the doctor, dentist, or haircuts—the goal is to remove the obligations and scheduled plans.

  • Set aside 1-2 things you want to accomplish in the week, and then don’t have any more expectations beyond that.
  • Plan to accomplish nothing! – some of us must schedule margin to achieve it!
  • Don’t commit ahead to anything with other families or friends – no one needs to take this personally; it’s OK to say we will do things by ourselves this week. Or, if something comes up at the last minute, you can say yes, but only if you want to!
  • Do whatever you feel like that day – ask your children each morning over breakfast, whatever time that is, what they want to do that day, and say yes where you can. They may want to do nothing, go to a specific destination, watch a movie, have lunch at a restaurant you typically say no to or hang with a friend. Having no plans gives you extra space to say yes, whereas you usually say no.
  • Put no expectations on yourself – this does not have to be the week for the vacation of a lifetime. You’ve accomplished much if you do nothing but slow down and spend time together.

How do I look at Spring Break planning differently?

As we stated above, it is OK to reThink how you approach spring break planning. While the ideas here are just an outline, know there’s no perfect way for every family to spend spring break together.

reLearn – museums

Every corner of Arkansas has spots to learn. You can use the outdoors as a classroom, visit a regional museum and learn about your roots, or spot a unique experience that will make your kids squirm.

reMake – crafting day and hobby experiences

Check your local maker spaces and see if anyone is offering classes. This is a great time to check out a local art gallery and then come home and use supplies you already have to reCreate something you saw. Stock up on craft kits from a dollar store or hobby store. And it’s never too early to start working on projects to enter the county fair. Everyone in the family could tackle the same project and see how it turns out, different and the same to each other. You could separate and come back together later to show what everyone made.

reFresh – clean out and bring back the clean

Set aside a day, or maybe the whole week, to refresh your home and do a little spring cleaning! Write slips of paper for cleaning projects around your house. Set a timer and get busy. Once the jar is empty, everyone can take a break and do something special as a reward.

You could also use this reFresh day to clean up your outdoor landscaping, plant your summer vegetable garden or move around a winter pile of clutter.

Let me suggest going ahead and taking your first donation trip to get the “to donate” items out of your home. Your clean spaces will be a great reminder to your children of the reward of hard work.

reSearch – explore locally and go on a community scavenger hunt

Set a day for local exploration or even a fun day trip. You could invite another family for a competitive community photo scavenger hunt. Pick a location to meet/start, set the rules, pass out your photo list, and ensure everyone knows the time and place to meet back together.

Another way to think about this is to live like a tourist in your town. Are there destinations you’ve heard others mention or seen on social media? This day is about trying something new locally that you’ve wanted to discover. Include your meals in this plan. Is it time to try a new coffee shop or drink destination? Maybe there’s a new pizza place, burger spot or local dive that might be cheaper on the lunch menu. Or take it easy and go out for an afternoon treat at a new creamery, popsicle shop, or bakery.

If eclipse planning has shown us anything, the world is coming to Arkansas, and it’s time for us to explore our local experiences in new ways.

reDo – go on an outing or get out and explore Arkansas

Whether you do a full-day trip or catch something from one of the areas above, get those kids out of the house! It doesn’t have to be the last day of the week, but it could also be a reward for a week of hard work and rest.

I try to keep a note on my phone of Arkansas destinations to try, and these are the days when I like to look and see what we can quickly check off. We load the car with a picnic lunch and extra snacks. It’s much easier to head to a destination when you know your kiddos’ bellies are full. Sometimes, we grab an activity bag with a frisbee, ball, glove, football, bubbles, and sunscreen. With a destination in mind, we can sometimes turn down “brown sign” recreation area roads or see what else is happening there.

These spontaneous days are usually our favorite adventures. So, where can you go?

Images used with permission from Arkansas Departments of Park, Heritage, and Tourism.

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Keisha (Pittman) McKinney lives in Northwest Arkansas with her chicken man and break-dancing son. Keisha is passionate about connecting people and building community, seeking solutions to the everyday big and small things, and encouraging others through the mundane, hard, and typical that life often brings. She put her communications background to work as a former Non-profit Executive Director, college recruiter and fundraiser, small business trainer, and Digital Media Director at a large church in Northwest Arkansas. Now, she is using those experiences through McKinney Media Solutions and her blog @bigpittstop, which includes daily adventures, cooking escapades, #bigsisterchats, the social justice cases on her heart, and all that she is learning as a #boymom! Keisha loves to feed birds, read the stack on her nightstand, do dollar store crafts, cook recipes from her Pinterest boards, and chase everyday adventures on her Arkansas bucket list.

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One response to “reThink Spring Break Planning”

  1. […] is a perfect time to get outside, and the Arkansas River Valley boasts many opportunities. If Spring Break was any indication, people are ready to get outdoors and explore, but they are open to staying […]

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