For families remaining in town next week, what to do with the kids when they're not in school can be a challenge. We have a few suggestions.
“Spring” or “February” break is entirely up to individual school districts. Time off from the rigors of the regular school routine differs from state to state, and even from town to town.
In Monroe County, school districts traditionally give students — and staff — both a February break, this year starting at the end of school this Friday, Feb. 18, and continuing through Feb. 27. There will also be a “spring” break the week before Easter in April.
For some families, February break is a time to get away to warmer climates or even a favorite ski resort.
To perhaps even more families, however, it means “what to do with the kids” when budgets or work schedules don’t allow for a vacation.
“Since I work for BOCES No. 1, I have the week off, too,” said parent Ann Cunningham, who noted that library activities, sledding and maybe a sleepover are on their “to do” list.
Jenny Bigenwald said she and her husband take time off from work and don’t travel, “but we definitely avoid the museums and any place that attracts crowds.”
Some families don’t plan ahead.
“Half the fun is not having any plan,” said parent Kristine Kirchgessner. “We’ll easily fill the days with a nice combination of activity and laziness!”
The Visit Rochester website perhaps says it best: “With enough activities to fill the entire week, your kids will be asking ‘What’s a remote?’”
Movies. Think not only going out to see a movie at a local theater, but also what you can rent or — we particularly like this idea — handing the kids the cell phone or an inexpensive digital camera with video capability and making your own movie. How about one called “My spring break”?
Museums. While most of the parents we talked so said they try to stay away from the crowds at museums over February break, local museums do have a host of programs, from regular and special exhibits to day camp-style activities.
The Memorial Art Gallery, for instance, is having a February Break Art Day School at its Creative Workshop (mag.rochester.edu).
The Strong National Museum of Play is offering a Fat Brain School-Break Week (museumofplay.org).
The Rochester Museum and Science Center, where you can still see “Colossal Dinosaurs,” is hosting a Vex Robotics Camp (RMSC.org).
Sledding. Monroe County’s Durand Eastman and Mendon Ponds parks seem to be popular destinations to pursue winter activities like cross-country skiing, sledding and even snow shoeing.
Page 2 of 3 - In Irondequoit, families flock to the hills alongside and behind Colebrook School on Colebrook Drive.
Local ice and roller skating rinks also generally have more hours to enjoy those activities.
Libraries. Besides books and more, local libraries host a variety of activities during the winter break. The Irondequoit, Webster, Greece, Pittsford and Fairport libraries often have great activities for the kids,” said parent Ann Cunningham.
Irondequoit’s Evans branch (45 Cooper Road), for instance, is hosting Airplay, a comedy juggling show, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, that is free and open to the community.
Lunch. Treat the kids — or yourself — to a lunch out with mom, dad (or both), or friends. Try a new place, or head to an old favorite. Combine it with a trip to the mall if you dare! If you’re watching the cost, how ’bout just dessert, or out for coffee — hot chocolate for the kids?
Game night. Many families pull out the board games regularly for a “family game night.” Winter break is a perfect time to start a new tradition or expand on a favorite.
Sports. If the budget allows, take in a sporting event, from Rochester Amerks hockey to a game featuring a local college team. “We'll be going to a Buffalo Sabres game as a family on Feb. 20,” said parent Michelle Beechey. “Usually we wouldn't do that the day before a school day.”
Friends and family. The time off is also a good time to catch up with family and friends, whether it’s a friendly sleepover among 12-year-olds or a trek to a nearby town to spend a day with grandparents or a favorite aunt or uncle.
Some families also use the time to catch up on dental or doctor visits. “My 17-year-old has the pleasure of getting all four of his wisdom teeth pulled out during the last part of the break,” said parent Jenny Bigenwald. “Poor guy.”
Camp — daily. Local businesses and organizations also offer a variety of activities. For instance, Glaze and Glass, on Long Pond Road in Greece, is offering a February Break Camp (www.glazeandglass.com/camp.html), including three hours crafts each day; RockVentures is offering a rock climbing camp (rockventures.net) that includes lunch, and the Pieters Family Life Center in Henrietta is offering a Winter Break Fun Club Camp (www.heritagechristianservices.org).
Try something new. Again depending on your budget, Rochester offers a host of activities, from go-karting (www.clubhousefuncenter.com, for instance) to paint ball (nvp-paintball.com for one option) and laser tag (laserquest.com). You can also generally find indoor pools willing to accommodate those with “cabin fever.” Use your imagination!
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