Free Ways to Play This March Break
Play is an essential part of every child’s healthy growth and development. It is how children come to understand the world and their relationship to it. Through play, children develop the tools necessary for problem-solving, critical thinking, and relationship development. The great news is, play is fun and completely free!
To help your family plan a play-filled March Break, we’ve compiled suggestions for free family fun.
Unstructured and open-ended play is a great way to spend quality time together as a family. It is also a critical part of children’s cognitive development. Unstructured play improves children’s executive function, self-regulation, and memory.
Play Prompt: Provide your children with a variety of open-ended materials. Cardboard, recycleables, pots and pans, or sheets and textiles. Let your child lead this experience. Ask questions like “What can we build using these materials?” or get involved in their play by asking, “What have you made?” and “Why did you choose these items?”
Cooking is a great activity that can involve every family member, regardless of age. For younger children, cooking offers an exciting sensory experience. For older children, it is a great way to practice math and motor skills. As an added bonus, children are also more likely to eat food they have helped prepare!
Play Prompt: Allow younger children to practice pouring and sorting with measuring cups and other utensils. Ask older children to practice their math skills by multiplying or dividing recipes. You can also let children spice things up by choosing their own optional ingredients!
Bundle up! Stargazing is a great learning activity for children and grown-ups, even in the winter! Make memories together while finding constellations like the Big Dipper or inventing stories about your own constellations. Spending time under the stars indulges children’s intense interests, encourages curiosity, and provides them with a sense of perspective.
Play Prompt: Encourage children to use their imagination by inventing their own constellations and telling their own stories. Ask them about what they see up in the sky and what they think space is like. Pracitice naming planets and allow children to share their own expertise about outer space.
Build a Time Capsule
Time capsules are a great way to build family bonds and celebrate important memories. Time capsules offer a unique learning experience by helping children build relationships, develop social narratives, and think about what’s important to them. It encourages children to reflect on their relationship to objects, other people, and the world.
Play Prompt: Ask children what items they want to include in their time capsule and why. Encourage them to think about why certain objects are important and how feelings and memories can be represented by objects. Allow children to help decide where to keep the time capsule and when to open it.
Explore Your City
Visit a new park, iconic landmark, or community destination. New experiences are a great way to build cherished family memories. Check with your local tourism, heritage, or conservation organizations for free family fun options!
Play Prompt: Provide children with a list of possible new adventures and decide as a family where to go. After your trip, encourage children to reflect on their experience and what they’ve learned. Ask them to draw or tell you about their favourite part of their day.