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Five Alternatives to Video Games for Kids on March Break

While most adults would love their own March Break—lying in front of the TV for a week, being sustained by crackers and juice, never knowing when day became night—it’s actually a perfect time to get our kids out in the world, or at least upright. (Once you’ve got the mittens on them, they won’t be able to hold a controller.)

Here are five alternatives to video games for kids on March Break:

1. Sport

A few laps around the Emera Oval in Halifax will do wonders for getting those heart rates up, burning off excess energy, and learning to share (slippery) public space. With multiple skates a day from early morning to early evening, you can work this free activity into your schedule with ease.

Soccer Nova Scotia’s popular March Break camp is being held for five mornings at the Soccer Centre in Halifax, where $145 will get you a ball and a t-shirt to go with your week’s play. Or forgo organization altogether: Grab a sled/toboggan/Krazy Karpet, climb the nearest hill, slide down. Yell “wheeeee!” Repeat for hours. Don’t forget the helmets.

2. Make

Art is expression and expression is important. Dig out your high school guitar, tune up the old piano in the rec room, dust off the drums, and encourage your youngs to go nuts (perhaps invest in some good headphones first).

If music isn’t your thing, pile on the crayons and paper—you can join in on this particular activity, since adult colouring books are all the rage. Give the kids a canvas to paint, a handful of clay to mould, some pencils to sketch with. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia will host its annual Family Sunday on March 13, offering interactive paint and sculpture opportunities, while Ross Creek Centre for the Arts holds a number of week-long art, writing, theatre, and science workshops for ages five to 18 at its beautiful facilities in Canning.

3. Read

There are 78 libraries across Nova Scotia—including one very popular, award-winning community and culture centre in downtown Halifax—so there are lots of places for your kids to catch up with the works of JK Rowling, Oliver Jeffers, Ann M. Martin, or whichever young adult novel will be a hit movie next year. Membership and borrowing are free.

4. Cook

Engaging and involving your kids in the kitchen is a good way to encourage healthy eating and for them to learn general cooking skills.

Start with a trip to the grocery store or market, armed with a list, and let them help pick out the ingredients—this part could double as a lesson on healthy eating, reading labels, buying local and supporting our farmers.

At home, give them jobs like washing and peeling produce, stirring sauces, and utilizing a meat thermometer. Mix it up each night with a different kind of food—Mexican Monday, Teriyaki Tuesday, We Eat Salad on Wednesdays…

5. Game (classically!)

No screens allowed. Light up their brains with timeless board games that involve on-the-couch/on-the-spot problem-solving (Jenga), proper spelling knowledge (Scrabble), and investment strategy and hotel management (Monopoly). Or break out an old-fashioned deck of cards, enjoyable for all ages—and there’s more to kids’ cards than 52 Pick-up and Go Fish. Here are 30 games to get you started.

Your turn: Share your ideas for fun family March Break activities in the comment section below.

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