Nine whole days of March Break activities… fun for the whooooole family. Yes, it’s that special time of year again… and our third pandemic March Break. The kids are home, you’re too scared of being trapped in a hotel room with your entire family for a week to actually fly anywhere, AND if you have to come up with one more wholesome outdoor activity you’re going into the witness protection program.
Why March Break? Whyyyyyyyyy?
The good news? Things are starting to open up. Restrictions are easing in Nova Scotia and across Canada, and by the time March Break is over, if we play our cards right, we might even be able to see each other’s noses. (Remember noses? And lipstick? Man, I love lipstick. Go buy yourself some NEW lipstick at Sincerely, Skin!)
Despite the coming changes, we all have different comfort levels, and we can all ease back into life at our own pace. You wanna keep that nose under wraps in certain situations, or for a while longer? Do it. We’ve got March Break activities to suit every comfort level.
1. March Break destinations
Let’s start out with optimism. This might be our third pandemic March Break, but it’s also — with good luck and good management — our LAST. Whether your “destination” is across the province or down the stairs, do what works for you. And let’s be honest, if you’re on your way to Mexico or Barbados right now, you don’t need me. (Although I am an excellent Trip Mom, very organized… if you’re looking for one. Just saying. The furthest I’ll get this March Break is probably Moncton. Moncton is nice!)
BUT! If you’re looking for something completely different, something I can almost guarantee you’ve never thought of before, why not TAP YOUR OWN MAPLE TREES??? Seriously! Guidry’s Maple Syrup Outfitters in Halifax has all the gear you need to tap your own backyard maple trees and try your hand at making — YES — sweet, delicious, maple syrup. Nature’s most perfect food. Plus they’ll tell you how to do it, so that’s also good.
Crafty March Break activities
Are you a nifty knitter? A creative crocheter? A handy hooker? Nerds with Needles features hand-dyed yarns in amazing colours and adorable notions and accessories for your yarn-y project. You should also definitely check out Mi’kmaw beadwork designer and jewelry artist Mariah Battiste and her Sundaylace Creations. Mariah’s selection of high-quality beads, gems, and beading accoutrements will have you enjoying this meditative and meaningful art form in no time.
For other March Break destinations like museums, galleries, and outdoor March Break activities, plus tips for keeping yourself on an even keel, check out last year’s March Break blog for some ideas that stand the test of time.
2. Things to do with kids
The kids are home… again. It’s okay, it’s good, we’ve got this. We know what to do: Share them with other people!!
March Break camps
Speaking of things we took for granted in the before-times… camps, amiright? The Homeschooling in Nova Scotia blog has a great list of interesting camps (and other stuff!) for kids this March Break. You can also check out YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth camps, science-y March Break camps at the Discovery Centre, camps at Dalhousie and Mount Saint Vincent, and camps at the Zatzman Sportsplex in Dartmouth… just to name a few.
Enlist the extended family in March Break fun times
However you define family, now is the time to call upon these auxiliary adults. Teens will also do in a pinch. We’ve spent a lot of time together over the past two years, and it’s important for kids to build connections with adults other than their parents or primary caregivers. Family Law Nova Scotia says that “Extended family members, especially grandparents, can assist in passing on cultural teachings and traditions, including language. For example, grandparents can share stories, skills and teachings during their time with the grandchildren. This is also connected to the children’s healthy self-esteem.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. Put those people to work!
Free things to do this March Break
See “extended family”, above.
But also, this: Take turns with friends entertaining kids. Collaborate with three or four other families to make your own March Break camp. Each family takes a day and plans activities for ALL the kids, at home or out and about. And presto! The grownups then get two or three days to work, relax, or whatever.
Go skating! Make a snowman! And Downtown Halifax has this awesome list of FREE (and inexpensive) things to do this March Break, including a ferry ride (yes, it’s free all March Break!) and light projection show at the old Halifax Memorial Library. Oh, and you can also actually go to the Halifax Central Library, which remains truly fabulous and more than just a place to pick up rapid tests.
Sleepovers and spa days
Sleepovers are also super fun. Just saying. This can also be a great way of dividing and conquering on March Break. You take the cousins for a night, and Auntie Erin takes the cousins for a night, you know? And why not incorporate some home spa treatments… let the kids figure it out for themselves. Face mask made of peanut butter? Hair full of egg whites? Sign me up! It’ll be hilarious. If this isn’t your speed, check out vLife’s Beauty providers for product ideas — lots of nice natural stuff, here, too!
And here is possibly the cutest idea ever: The Ten Spot spa on South Street offers kiddie pedicures for $30.00. Imagine those little toes all painted up! Eeeeeeee. I also found this March Break Spa Day for Littles at the Playful Pumpkin Café in Windsor. Adorable.
3. Top outdoor activities
I’m more of an inside person, to be honest, but of course, OF COURSE, it’s important to get outside. How about a trail ride? Horses! Trees! Air! And Benjamin Bridge winery has an outdoor rink — conditions permitting. There’s tons of winter fun to be had in Nova Scotia, even (yikes!!) SURFING.
You can find pretty much every kind of outdoor Nova Scotia experience imaginable here, and even start planning for summer! Ah, summer… it’ll be here before we know it.
4. Food glorious food
Vacations — and staycations — are all about eating, my friends.
Maybe don’t cook this March Break
Last spring, I ran into a friend of mine who was thrilled to be embarking on a staycation. Her plan? Not to cook for a WHOLE WEEK. She wasn’t travelling anywhere (sound familiar?), so she’d decided to treat herself to a week off from food prep. I thought this was extremely inspired. And listen, I know this wouldn’t be in everyone’s budget, but even indulging in a couple of days off from the stove is a luxury.
For your main course, do some research on the Taste of Nova Scotia website, which offers a VERY comprehensive list of restaurants, culinary experiences, and products. And Downtown Halifax has a list of family-friendly places to eat here (just scroll down a bit!). Or pick your own favourite place and go for it. Our guilty pleasure? Taking the young adults to Dairy Queen in Fairview! Nothing like a Flamethrower hot off the grill, with some rings, followed by a Blizzard. Now you truly know me.
The Little Eden Earth Friendly Bakery and Café in downtown Halifax features delicious breads, pastries, cookies, and sweets prepared by a Red Seal pastry chef. And you can find tons of other delicious bread and dessert options on vLife’s Food & Drink provider page.
OR cook up a storm!
The family that cooks together… well, I’ll let you fill in the blanks as appropriate. Cooking together is one of the easiest and most accessible March Break activities you can do. Whatever your approach to cooking for the group, vLife’s got you. Let Axe to Grind spice blends jumpstart your dinner and be sure to grab some delicious and healthy produce from Square Roots, a social enterprise that redirects food that would otherwise go to waste into the hands of people who need it. When you buy a Square Roots food bundle, you’re not just getting yummy (maybe ugly, but still yummy) carrots and apples and onions (oh my!), you’re supporting healthy food for Nova Scotians who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Square Roots also partners with local restaurants and breweries to provide $5 food tokens.
Okay… this one’s just for the grownups… Frckn’ Delicious DIY Gummies. Yup, just add whatever secret ingredient you desire and make your own healthy, all-natural, infused gummies at home with these DIY kits from Chef Kate. You get everything you need: a little silicone mold, a delicious giant gummy to melt in the flavour of your choice, and of course instructions. Just add your own dose of therapeutics, superfoods, electrolytes, terpenes, or natural oils. I have done it and it is fun. Just be careful about licking the spoon! 😉
5. Look to the future!
Looking to the future with hope is one of my top-recommended March Break activities. I have said it and that makes it so.
Spring cleaning and spring fever, summer plans and summer camps… it’s all coming. And March Break can be the perfect time to dream of better days ahead, even if your current plans are modest.
We’re pretty worn out, aren’t we? Sure we are. It’s a hard time, and not just because COVID. Take the time this March Break to dream and plan. Maybe make some of your own good news. You deserve it.