By the time Spring rolls around, we have spent a lot of time indoors in Indiana. The groundhog has hopefully given us good news and spring break is welcomed with hopes of family fun, favorite hobbies, and homework free days!
Written By Stephanie Greenwald & Audra Fesler
Free Activities For Spring Break
Enjoy a relaxing staycation while enjoying some of our FREE activity ideas.
Avon, Brownsburg, Carmel, Greenwood, Westfield, all have fantastic parks departments. Love parks and playgrounds as much as us? Make a plan to visit a new park in a different town every day. Check out these mud free playgrounds too!
Our favorite hiking spot with the littles is the Marian University EcoLab. Here you’ll find a wide variety of plants and wildlife. Grab your binoculars and explore these other kid friendly hiking options. Always go prepared! Bringing along extra sets of clothes, shoes, and a towel never hurts.
Easter Egg Hunt
Local churches and parks will be scheduling their annual hunts and just maybe they’ll coincide with your Spring Break! Check out local churches and social clubs for hunt info. Head over to our Easter Egg Hunt Guide to find a hunt near you.
Make a plan and schedule every lunch or snack time over spring break outside. Either in your backyard or at a park with friends. If the weather is a bit brisk for your liking, park the car and pop the trunk or find a picnic shelter to hide under if it rains.
Pump some air in those tires and hit the road. A ride around the block or at a nearby park is fun for the whole family. Check out these family friendly bike trails to keep things nice and smooth for even the littlest cyclists.
Let’s Go Fly a Kite
Spring offers perfect weather for flying a kite. Southwestway Park has acres to run tethered to a kite or windsock. We found plenty of other greenspace areas around Central Indiana to enjoy as well.
We have become experts at D.I.Y. movie nights but for a fun twist we started a movie morning with popcorn or bowls of dry cereal. Donuts or yogurt parfait bars, juice and milk with fun straw cups. Don’t forget to wear the right attire; jammies for the win! This is a fun option for those of us adults who aren’t early birds and prefer to drink HOT coffee without being rushed out the door for fun.
Did your kiddo get a new scooter or skateboard for Christmas? Maybe a pair of roller skates. Head to an area Skatepark and master that Olly and learn some new tricks (or just work on staying upright).
Spring is a great time to try a new sport. Test your skills, arm strength, and accuracy when you launch saucers into the goals. Grab some frisbees or borrow some discs from friends and hit the links at any of these fantastic disc golf courses.
Feed The Ducks
Rolled oats, frozen peas or corn are healthier options than bread for our feathered friends. We have a few favorite spots we love to visit in the Spring to feed the ducks.
It’s never too early to teach your kids how to give back. Check out these local opportunities for volunteering with kids. Your kids could also Collect food and goods for the needy. Set a box on your porch and ask neighbors to donate cans of soup or boxes of noodles. Shoot a quick video of your kids and their goals for your facebook friends to see and give. Make sure you take your kiddo when the donation is made so they can see their hard work going to use.
We love visiting pet stores and checking out the dogs at doggy daycare, the cats up for adoption and all the beautiful fish for sale. Spend some time watching the critters play.
Explore A Nearby Town
No need to get on an airplane for Spring Break; hop in the car and drive across Central Indiana. Visit a new-to-you town for a day. Park the car and window shop, grab a bite for lunch (or pack a picnic). Find the best things to do just outside Marion County—check out Carmel, Greenwood, and Fortville for some out of your ordinary fun. Explore covered bridges, new parks, waterfalls, and caverns all over Central Indiana too.
At Home Spa
Whip up a yogurt face mask, slice some cucumbers for puffy eyes and have the kids lay still for their facials. Find some relaxing music to set the tone. Add a mani/pedi to the mix and you’ve got plans for a relaxing day. Switch things up and have the kids give YOU a spa day.
Board Game Night
Teach the kids to set goals, be patient, take turns and learn how to win or lose graciously with a family game night. Blend in a few card games like “Go Fish” or “Crazy 8’s.” Mix things up and borrow or trade for new games with friends and neighbors.
Make A Stop Action Movie
This will take a steady hand and lots of patience but the results will be worth it. Lego setups, Barbie dolls or any toy would be fun. Not sure where to get started? Check out this easy guide.
Grab a box of vanilla instant pudding and mix it up. Once mixed, divide and add food coloring. Finger paint onto cardboard or thick paper. Perfect for toddlers since they’re likely to stick their fingers in their mouths!
Borrow From The Library
Stock up on new books, cds and movies from your local library. Branch out and borrow a different genre or an old classic you remember from your childhood. Check out the online and in-person library programs to help pass the time as well.
Experiment In The Kitchen
Have the kids grab a few items from the fridge and pantry to whip up some new combinations of favorite foods. Add spices and sauces to jazz things up. Teach them how to use measuring cups, a knife, a can opener and other kitchen gadgets.
Virtual museum tour
Virtual tours were all over the place when we were quarantined. No reason not to “visit” a museum from the comforts of your couch just because they’re open again. Check out The Louvre, The Met, and more.
Make bird feeders
Scoop some peanut butter and slather it one a pine cone. Then roll it in bird seed. Loop a string or yarn around and hang from a tree branch.
Become a “Hoosier Outdoor Child”
See if you can earn your certificate when you read the “Children’s outdoor bill of rights” from the Indiana DNR and complete their list of outdoor activities.
Spring Garden Prep
With warmer weather on the horizon why not get the grunt work done on your garden. Start prepping for the planting season. Have the kids help pull leftover growth from last year and weeds. Hand till the soil mixing up compost and organic matter. Fix any fencing or barriers that need mending. Work together and figure out what you’re going to plant in a few weeks.
War Memorial Tour
Did you know Indianapolis is home to the second largest collection of war memorials and monuments in the United States? Head out for a history filled day when you lead yourself on a tour of the area monuments. Check out Soldiers and Sailors, USS Indianapolis, Veterans Memorial Park to name a few. For a little more Indiana history, check out these Indiana Presidential Locations.
Make a Fairy Garden
Use what nature gives you when you construct the coolest garden in fairyland. Fallen sticks and bark from trees, rocks, pinecones and leaves can lead to some beautiful structures for the neighborhood fairies.
More than just doodling (and we love doodling) you can trace shadows of favorite toys or each other, plan out a fun hopscotch all the way down the sidewalk, lay down and outline the kid’s bodies and let them color in clothes and facial features, or create a huge “chutes and ladders” game on the driveway to play with friends and family.
Outdoor Movie or Game Night
When the weather is perfect we feel the need to be outside all the time. Move your planned movie or game night to the backyard if the conditions are right.
It is so much more handy to sleep in your backyard vs a campground. Camping at a state park is amazing but sometimes there is not enough time or energy. Tents, s’mores, outdoor board games, night insect hike; our backyard is a new world after dark. It is all,literally, at your fingertips in the comfort of your backyard
Those living outside the city limits are blessed to have a more visible night sky. If seeing the stars from your area tends to be a challenge, toss a blanket in the car and head to the country. Download a star chart, lay back and take it all in.
Things tend to pile up and get pushed aside in the winter. Take a day or two and tackle some chaotic areas in your home. Have the kids go through their toys, books and clothes. If things don’t fit, haven’t been read or played with in forever, sell or donate. Spring is the start of so many new things; why not start with less clutter?
Create a Time Capsule
If 2020 taught us anything it’s that things can change in a moment. Snap some pictures, write some letters, jot down your memories and dreams. Then tuck them all away in a box to hide in the closet or attic for a few years.
Our go to kid friendly yogi is Cosmic Kids on YouTube. No need to find something special though; any beginner yoga pose can be adjusted to suit your kiddos abilities.
Learn a Dance
Tik-tok and youtube are full of fun dance numbers that will have you shaking your groove thang. Why not teach the kids a few moves from your childhood too. Can you “Tootsie Roll” do the “Running Man” or “Twist” without breaking a hip?
Kids think everything in the dark is more fun! This is a mix of tag and hide/seek. Play as a team or as individuals. If you choose the team option, one team is “it” requiring everyone on that team to have flashlights; the individual version, only the “it” person needs a light. To “tag” or find someone, the flashlight has to be lighting the person up enough to recognize who they are to call out their name. In the team version, players can be put in “jail” until all teammates are found. In the individual version, once a person is found, they take over the flashlight and become “it.”
I have seen quite a few of these scattered around the park behind my house. They definitely make a walk brighter. Combine this activity with finding rocks at a creek bed while stomping and you have a full day of activities!
Make a Nature Collage
Do your kids love art? Collect, design or build with all things found in nature. Make a frame with sticks, a sculpture with rocks or a collage of flowers.
Paper Airplane Competition
Build them up, let them fly! Flight lengths, largest, most creative or most colorful are all things you can judge. Test how far planes fly on different days. Visit your local library for how to books or find many many videos on Youtube
Build a Fort
Build a fort outside; sticks, leaves, shelter from a tree. Build a fort inside; couches, pillows and sheets. Drap a sheet over the kitchen table and let the kids have their own reading and snack nook for the day.
Make your own bubbles with a few household ingredients then spend the day outside with these fun bubble activities. Even our older kids love bubbles (and us parents do too, honestly)
Snip a few spring blooms and press them so you can enjoy them all year. Sandwich your blossoms in parchment paper and let them sit with a heavy book on top (usually a few weeks). We like to cut around the flower and make a display on the window. You could frame them too!
Creek Stomp Or Puddle Jumping
Kids of all ages have fun exploring creeks and rivers during the long summer days. Grab your rainboots and head out during pleasant spring days too. We have so many awesome places to Creek Stomp around Indianapolis.
Check out art exhibits, sculpture gardens and downtown amenities when you’re on the eight mile long Cultural Trail. Start and stop wherever is convenient for you. Pack a snack or plan on picking up a treat at a local shop.
Write up a list of things to hunt throughout your neighborhood or town. Stick with a theme like nature, vehicles, colors or animals. We love searching for items on our list during our walks around the neighborhood; the kids don’t complain about sore feet and it keeps everyone engaged.
Make a Movie
Big kids can write a screenplay, cast the characters, direct and film a movie. While little kids can help with ideas, props and of course be the movie star!
Get a Makeover
Everyone needs a refreshed look every now and again. Use older or cheap makeup you were going to trash and have the kids give you a makeover.
We still have sports and if you’re a basketball enthusiast this is your favorite time of year. Check out these basketball themed activities, great for anytime of year.
Make a List
Make a few top ten lists of kid friendly things. These are great keepsakes that you’ll have fun reading years from now. Try “10 favorite books,” “10 things that make them laugh,” or “10 places they like to go.” Big kids can write their own lists while littles can tell you what to write.
Use lawn furniture, trees, playground equipment for an outside course or scatter pillows and cushions on the floor, use tables to go under and furniture to go around inside the house.
Paint the Driveway
Use sidewalk chalk or washable paint and make a masterpiece all the neighbors will enjoy. Create your own Jackson Pollock or Picasso for everyone to enjoy.
Write a Story Together
Get your creative juices flowing. One person picks a character, the other picks a location. Take turns building on one another’s parts . See what crazy, silly adventures your characters get into. Write it down or record to retell the story later.
The app is free to download. Go on a search for all the fun characters. Lots of outdoor time and many many steps.
Family & Neighbor Game
Get an old fashioned game of kickball set up with family and/or friends! Visit a local baseball diamond at a school and enjoy the playground while you are there. Ask the kids what they play during recess, take a ball for those rounds of 4 square and other playground games.
Pickleball is similar to tennis but played with a large paddle and ball that is similar to a wiffle ball. Appropriate for all ages and a fun way to exercise, pickleball is quickly gaining in popularity in the United States. Learn all the pickleball basics before you try your first game.
Walks are always more fun with a goal at the end. Give your kiddos a couple options to choose from. Take a walk to the local park or the gas station for a snack. Nothing close to your house? Start off from a downtown area!
Visit Nature Centers
Local parks and nature preserves are a great place to visit nature centers. Full of fun educational animals and activities. Most have a bird viewing area filled with squirrels, chipmunks and our winged friends.
Studies show reading to or with your kids is extremely beneficial! Choose a classic, your favorite book as a kid or let your family vote. Use the slow pace of Spring Break to read in a new place environment; outside, near a creek or in an indoor fort
Visit a Farm
See all the farm animals while showing your family where their food really comes from. There are many great farms to visit, but one of our new favorites is WonderTree Farm in Zionsville. Heavenly Acres Farm is also extremely welcoming and even have campsites. A tour will be provided for free by appointment. Think about supporting their generosity by purchasing farm fresh eggs or an alpaca scarf.
Pick Up a New Hobby
Hobbies can always be hard to start with how busy we all feel. Take advantage of the extra time, be intentional and try something new. Ignite at The Hamilton East Public Library branch offers a TON of options!
With a variety of household items, many minute-to-win-it games can be played! Involve the whole family and have prize bags for added excitement! Visit this Pinterest site for some great games ideas.
Grab a bag, a small metal shovel, a magnifying glass ,some patience, and start your search! Once your family is luck enough to find a geode, you can choose to break it at the riverbed or take it home. Come go prepared for either is the safest bet. Kids (and us adults) will want to see the inside of the treasure pretty quickly i’m sure! Have a chisel and hammer ready; safety glasses on and see what’s inside. Southern Indiana is the most likely to bring success.
You might be surprised by all the waterfalls in our area. Take the time to search; they are so magical. If it’s warm, spend some time splashing around, or just enjoy the beauty of the waterfall. Check out the list of our favorite Indiana Waterfalls.
Create a game plan
Have the kids help plan your week. Try a new park on Monday, grab new library books on Tuesday and so on. Have a few goals and work on checking them off together. This will teach the kids about planning, setting goals, creating an action plan and follow through.
Don’t forget to schedule some “unscheduled” time where everyone does nothing. When we go go go it can be hard to just sit. Often, we are over-scheduled and setting aside a day or two to just hang is a welcome—although at times challenging—sight.
Spring break can be anything you make of it. You can go go go all week or take a more relaxing approach and maybe schedule a few fun outings that are not part of your usual routine. Take advantage of the week and soak in as much or as little as you want. No need to fly to a tropical destination when we have so many amazing and FREE things to do right here.