If you’re planning on staying local this February vacation, it’s possible (probable) that your kids are already demanding a daily schedule of fun that would rival any number of Floridian theme-park vacations. This is already sounding expensive.

Remember: Fun is free. But just like everything else about parenting, to survive February break without going completely bankrupt, you’ll need to prepare ahead of time.

There are a few tips to keep in mind when planning an outing:

Tip #1: Utilize your local library to obtain free or discounted passes to tons of area museums and other fun spots. Typically you need to call and reserve passes a week in advance and they often go quickly so don’t wait.

Tip #2: Group passes are a great way to get admission discounts. Gather up a bunch of other parents and kids and make a super fun day of it.

Tip #3: Maximize the power of the internet. Before buying tickets to anything, always search for discount codes, ask Facebook friends for coupons they’re not using or check the venue’s website for special deals.

After you’ve done your homework and secured some great deals, sprinkle in a few activities that are a little more financially feasible. It’s always a great idea to plan out what you’re going to do each day so the kids’ expectations are set and you won’t be caught without a plan heading to the arcade to set your money on fire.

With all the snow we’ve had this month, there are plenty of winter activities like sledding, skating, snowshoeing (did you know EMS rents them?) and fort making to enjoy.

My girlfriend, Sarah, in Newmarket and mom of three counts on the outdoors for entertainment. She says, “We always try and take advantage of getting outside and enjoying the free trails in the area. I make up a nature-themed scavenger hunt list and we walk the paths at the Urban Forestry Center or Philips Exeter. It’s a lot of fun and the fresh air does everybody good.”

On the flip side, with all the snow we’ve had this month, there are plenty of fun things to do indoors, too!

“I like to keep things social and plan a potluck lunch or dinner with friends and neighbors,” says Amy, my Dover friend and mom of two. “Everyone brings a dish, the kids get to hang out with their friends and the adults can relax. It breaks up the week nicely and doesn’t cost a lot.”

Most importantly, the key to an inexpensive and fun staycation is to get creative. Maybe making a Shepard’s Pie sounds boring, but not when you don a bunch of silly St. Patrick’s Day garb (now conveniently available at local dollar stores), Pandora some Irish jigs and talk with a brogue all night (you can even YouTube tips on perfecting your accent). You may feel ridiculous, but I promise you, the kids will love it.

For more information on local activities, the best local sledding spots, outdoor trails and daily events, visit SeacoastKidsCalendar.com.

Leave a Reply