Inflation or not, spring break is fast approaching for thousands of Quebec schoolchildren. Like food and gas prices, the prices of family activities have also skyrocketed. How to spend a fun and inexpensive school break? Three families reveal their tricks.
Posted at 12:00 p.m
Let the imagination run wild
Jessica Marquis, mother of four children aged 3 to 9, has already made her plans for the school holidays. Alone with her children this week while her husband works, she has two trips planned: one to an indoor amusement park and the other to the bowling alley.
“I can’t afford to go out every day,” says the 36-year-old, who lives in the Granby area. Maybe I’ll add dinner at a chain restaurant. The rest stay at home. »
At home, Mrs. Marquis has become a specialist in role-playing games where the children are free. “I created the framework, but they’re the ones making the games, making up the stories,” she says.
The bathroom becomes the place for a pool party with foam and glow sticks. “I ask the kids to put on their bathing suits, I turn off the lights and the kids have fun! I just have to monitor. »
The living room becomes a cinema for an afternoon. The mother of the family makes counterfeit money out of paper and hangs a menu on a blackboard.
“Each of the kids has to pay for their ticket before entering and choose whether they want chips, chocolate, juice or popcorn,” says Jessica Marquis.
And the kitchen becomes a restaurant. “Actually, I’m spending my leftovers! laughs Mrs. Marquis, adding that she has already prepared a mini obstacle course in the house.
The only downside: the harassment… which sometimes invites you to such an unstructured game. “Conflicts are just as much a part of life as their resolution. »
Simple little pleasures
Françane B. Bertrand is keeping his fingers crossed that the spring break weather will be nice: just cold enough for the snow to stay on the ground, but not too cold. Her plan to keep her three children, aged 8, 4 and 3 occupied, revolves around a couple of winter activities: cross-country skiing and skating.
“I found the gear at fundraisers, thrift stores and the marketplace,” said the 33-year-old Montmagny resident, whose spouse works during spring break. I hope i can enjoy it! »
She has other ideas for keeping her trio busy: playing board games, going for a walk, having fun in the garden. And above all cooking. Cookies, desserts, pancakes… and pasta!
I like making gnocchi with it. If you think about it, it looks like play dough. Children enjoy handling dough and are proud of their achievements.
Françane B. Bertrand
The little ones go to day care as usual for two days so that the mother and her eldest can spend time alone. “We bought some nice nail polish and we’re going to have a spa afternoon, get manicures and pedicures and see a movie,” she announces.
And the trips? Too expensive, she falls. Except one. “We’re going to go to the Musée de la Civilization in Quebec as a family on a weekend day to be all five together. »
Laval resident Nicolas Arsenault and his spouse decide to take a week off during spring break to spend time with their three children, aged 6, 8 and 11. “We’ve had to work for the last three years because of the pandemic, but this year we’re spoiling ourselves,” emphasizes the 40-year-old family man who works in healthcare.
And what will they do with this family time? Outdoors, at low cost. “We like to go to the parks and do anything that’s free, slides, hikes, snowshoeing, skating,” says Mr. Arsenault. He borrows and swaps the necessary equipment with friends who have children of the same age.
He states that he enjoys taking note of the activities organized by the community and decides in the morning as a family what to do for the day.
It’s nice to go there spontaneously, our schedules are so tight every day!
An example ? The Snow Castle Challenge competition where families are invited to build a castle in their backyard, take a picture of it and enter to win prizes.
For a breather, the couple’s three children go out to play board games with neighbors one day — and the next day it’s the neighbors’ children who arrive.
No trip on schedule? none. The couple is saving for the summer vacation. “We can’t do everything and the children understand that. »