Wondering what to do with your kids this March Break? Use vacation days to give kids memories that will teach for a lifetime.
BY AMY VAN ES
Is it just me or did March Break creep up even faster this year? If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent the last few weeks ruminating on the idea of your kid sitting in front of Netflix all week or dropping a bunch of cash on a generic camp, just so they’ll have something to do.
If this sounds familiar, don’t fret, we’ve got some good news for you: It’s possible to stay in your neck of the woods and still entertain your kids. More than that, you can do this while giving back to your local community and passing on a lesson in compassion to your children.
Need some tips? Try perusing this 5-day guide for parent-approved family activities that will keep energy levels high and bonding time at a max for the ultimate March Break.
Baking is a favourite pastime of many a family. If tuning into Food Network’s Kids Baking Championship is a weekly ritual in your home, then we’ve got the perfect March Break activity for you.
Whipping up a batch of your fave cupcakes and hosting a sale for our WE Bake for Change campaign is a philanthropic double whammy. First, you and your family get to raise a bit of money to help combat food insecurity and assist the nearly 800 million people who do not have enough food to lead an active, productive life. Sit down and talk about the options—research WE’s partner communities and their various international development projects. Use this opportunity to teach your kids about this global issue by exploring WE Villages’ five pillars. Then together, choose one to support.
What better cause to contribute bake sale funds to than food insecurity? The fact is that globally, we produce enough food for everyone in the world to lead a healthy life. Yet, 1 in 9 still go hungry every day. So grab your kids, your favorite recipe (like this one), and bake a difference. Every dollar you fundraise has the power to make an impact on those in need.
Did you know the voice command on your phone was originally designed for people with disabilities, but was later adapted to benefit us all? So was your TV’s remote control. These are both an example of inclusive design, a term used for products and experiences created with all people in mind—and the inspiration behind our WE are One campaign.
Accessibility is a right; if like us you believe this and want to support efforts to ensure individuals of all physical or mental abilities have access to equal opportunities, use March Break as a chance to build an action plan. Bonus, the WE are One campaign is all about inspiring that budding inventor in your family to redefine the boundaries of inclusive design.
To begin, challenge your children to take a closer look at your home. Help them spot the aids and obstacles someone with a disability might have in the space. (I Spy, anyone?) When surveying, don’t discard the little things like grip tape on your front steps to prevent slips or snacks stocked in the lower cupboards so they’re easily in reach?
Next step: consider what’s missing. Think about whether people can move around the space comfortably without bumping into barriers. Assess if all rooms are accessible, like the bathroom.
By encouraging family members to expand their perspective and approach of daily life from another person’s unique view, you’re sharing a valuable lesson in inclusivity. This lesson, will have value well beyond the end of March Break.
If you’ve been cooped up in the house up until now, it’s time to ward off cabin fever. This is the perfect time to step out into the community and get to doin’ good!
Should you and your family already have a local cause you’re passionate about, like your neighbourhood foodbank or a shelter in town, pay them a visit. Don’t have a cause? Start the search with a discussion. Ask your kids where they’ve noticed a need for charitable giving and then help them find an organization dedicated to addressing the issue within your community.
Giving back as a family has a wealth of benefits. Top on the list is how it simultaneously builds a brighter future for your children, while passing on unforgettable lessons in compassion that only deepens the impact of your volunteer action.
This is at the core of living WE at home as a WE Family. As Good Housekeeping’s publishing powerhouse and mother of two Jane Francisco shared during a recent interview with WE, “part of the negotiation [as a parent] is trying to figure out how to help your child find that sense of confidence while providing them with opportunities to give back—which ultimately builds both character and confidence.”
Not sure how to start the conversation about the transformational power of giving back? Check out the pearls of wisdom Jane shared during our interview for inspiration.
This year, share a different type of outing with your children over the break. Skip the cabin rental and head to your backyard for a lesson in homelessness.
When Seattle-based teen activist Bella Steedly was assigned a school project to “step into someone else’s shoes for a month,” she saw it as an opportunity to learn what life was like for other people in her community. “Homelessness is a prominent issue [in my city], so I chose to step into the shoes of a homeless person.”
To get the full experience, Bella spent 30 days sleeping in a tent pitched in her backyard and carried all her belongings in a backpack everywhere she went. “I learned so much about the effects homelessness has on people,” the teen shared in a diary written for WE. “[I] learned to appreciate what I have.”
Help your children understand homelessness in your community and take a page from Bella’s book; spend a night in your own backyard and dig into the realities of homelessness. Our campaign WE Won’t Rest can help. Look to the campaign’s online resources for information about how you can help break stereotypes around homelessness and advocate for a future where everyone has a place to call home.
Some families play B-I-N-G-O, but why not go green and get your environmentally conscious clan to play W-A-T-E-R! Aside from learning about water conservation, this game packs a serious punch of fun.
Water scarcity is an issue that has the potential to affect us all—no matter where your location on the map should fall. For proof, see the headlines around what’s happening in Cape Town, South Africa. Drought and mismanagement of water resources have led to what the government is calling “Day Zero”—the day all taps in the city will be turned off and residents will have to walk to a station to fetch water. Forecasted for this year, the prediction is reminder of what can happen when essential resources are exhausted, but what some don’t realize is that the hardships of Day Zero are already a daily reality for many families in developing countries.
WE Walk for Water is a global campaign that runs in April to bring awareness and aid to those affected by water scarcity. First step to helping solve the issue is join the campaign and plan your walk!
Get your family ready for the campaign by starting right in your home. It’s simple, first create a Bingo card, but instead of number for each box, use water-saving practices to fill in the box. This can include everything from turning off the tap while brushing your teeth to reusing towels to cut down on laundry. Next, let the contest begin! Whoever fills their card by the end of the week, wins.
When it comes to water scarcity and clean water issues, awareness is the first step to change. This March Break, use downtime to study up on a global issue that hits close to home. Your children’s, children will thank you!