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How to keep kids busy over a long weekend

The long weekend is calling you…can you hear it?

It begs you to make plans out of doors; the fact that many spend the May long weekend shivering in tents or sticking brave toes into chilly lakes often going overlooked. Who cares about cool weather when three days off beckon you?

Our May long weekend often sneaks up on us.  Somehow a cool spring and busy calendar can thrust June upon us before we are ready – and then we regret not getting outside more often in May.  I’m the one saying I love to sip my coffee outside when it’s cool – so why haven’t my mornings been spent on the deck?  It’s hard to say, but routines die hard and our kids definitely keep our pace on the marathon spectrum.  It was so much easier to just pop outside and back in when I wanted before kids!

A large assortment of bubble blowers

Now if I try, I must announce to two children that I plan to go outside, then await the onslaught of chatter – they want to come, they want to blow bubbles, they want to get the toys out, is there sand in the sandbox, what shoes should they wear, they want their other hat – you get the idea. A peek at the weather says we are due for some rain, but that clearer days should arrive by Sunday and Monday.  So what to do with these children of mine?

They want time on their bikes, and both are set up with new ones that will fit for the year already.  Be sure to ask around or check your local used site for used bikes if you are in need – there are good deals to be had as kids do a lot of growing over the winter.  Do some research online first to get an idea of sizing suggestions for kids’ bikes, and how to choose a bike that will work for your child.

A new bike just waiting to ride

Their love of dirt and fascination with nature make them natural gardening companions, so perhaps they will tag along as we buy flowers and herbs to plant this weekend.  A cool, rainy start to the weekend is perfect for planting, then we could set up the rest of their toys and other backyard items as the weather improves.  Kids getting fresh air, the garden getting some tender loving care, and being set up for a summer’s worth of fun under the sun would definitely be a worthwhile way to spend a weekend.

We’ve also recently purchased annual memberships to a few local attractions.  If you have kids, I strongly encourage you to look into doing the same.  It’s a good feeling to not only support a local feature that makes your city a great place to live, but to have unlimited access all year ‘round to come and go as you please.  Let’s face it, some outings with kids go off without a hitch, others seem bound for disaster from the first preparations.  An unlimited pass allows you take advantage of nice weather and cooperative kids but also makes it bearable to head home early on the days that just don’t seem to be working out.  Oh, and if you do the math, most annual passes pay for themselves by the time you have visited a site two or three times, and some are even transferable to other locations or attractions, so pay attention to the details.

Simple plans sometimes work best for families with young kids, but I’ll share a secret – I look forward to them being older and able to manage busier days.  When they can cart their own stuff, make it through days without naps or getting overtired, and sleep wherever is convenient, our options will explode.  My mind sees weekends spent out of town or camping.  There are a ton of used campers and RVs available for sale in the spring – could one of them be ours in the future?  Could we be that family? Remember, long weekends are busy at popular campgrounds and tourist attractions.  If you can think of something unique to do, or find something off the beaten path that might still interest your family, you have a better chance not sharing your weekend with half the population of your hometown.

I’d love to hear your long weekend plans – do you wait for hot weather to hit before planning weekend trips, or do you head out in May and cross your fingers?  Do you entertain your family at home, or start packing the car two or three days in advance to just get out of town, in any direction?

Writer, editor, recovering chocoholic. Most often found writing, drinking coffee, and chasing kids. Find her on Twitter @littlemissmocha.

2 Responses to “How to keep kids busy over a long weekend”


Spent my day doing yard work YESTERDAY, (hoping to avoid the crowds at Garden Centres) so now everything is prepped for my two year old and I to do some planting: vegetables mostly. She is calling it all “My Garden,” and is excited to see how we grow food. I’m excited too!

I hope she does get a lot of outdoor time as well. Makes bedtime easier!

We also plan to purchase a BBQ and set it up, then hopefully have family over to try it out on Monday. If able we may go to see the fireworks in town.


Duncan Faber

We keep our kids busy with audiobooks. They’re far more engaging than dvds and tv, and it gets them interested in tv. There’s lots of great sites where you can download original stuff, instead of the same old public domain stories like Red Riding Hood. This is a good one where you can download original stuff for free.


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