10 Great Ways to Help Your Kids Make the Most Out of Spring Break at Home

With the kids gearing up for a week off from school, spring has officially sprung (or has it)? While family-friendly destinations like Orlando, San Diego and Myrtle Beach are surely on everyone's mind, some parents are probably starting to sweat over the funds that could disappear from their bank account. It's in that spirit, along with the fact that no one's immune to today's economy, that we've got 10 suggestions for cost-effective "stay-cations" the whole household can enjoy. So feast on these fun ideas to bring the family together, which in some cases, won't even cost a dime!

1. A downtown destination
Anyone who lives near a major metropolitan area like New York City, Chicago or Los Angeles knows just how much of a cultural melting pot converges downtown. But even in a smaller town, there are usually several mini-excursion opportunities, from strolling through a museum, visiting a local monument, perusing an art display, browsing an antique shop, or trying an ethnic restaurant. It's all just a walk, car trip or public transit ride away!

2. Movie marathon
Plan a full day or a lazy long weekend around a theme and encourage each family member to recommend their favorite flick. For starters, turn to gmc TV for Miraculous March, a whole month of special Easter programming which includes Greatest Stories of the Bible movies and the gmc Original Movie: The Carpenter's Miracle. The possibilities are literally endless, from comedies to adventures, classics or cartoons, while those who truly have a lot of time to pass could even consider an entire season or series of a universally loved television show, such as new episodes of Heartland on gmc Wednesday nights at 9 pm et.

And, for the first time ever, viewers who want a whole library of films that reflect the Christian values they cherish, can access it on demand through gMovies, gmc TV's latest offering of Christian movies.

3. "C" is for cooking
Going out to dinner may mean no clean up, but it's also expensive, not to mention typically crowded on weekends. The family kitchen can be a fun alternative when schedules are clear, especially when everyone helps prepare a dish for the grill or the oven. Pick a theme (Hawaiian, barbeque, or Italian, perhaps), start with some appetizers, get creative with the main course, and like any hearty meal, don't forget desert (a surefire way to gain the attention of even the most apron-shy).

4. Stir up some drama
No, this isn't a suggestion to start a fight with your siblings, but rather to come up with a creative quest that lets everyone adapt a colorful character. Ideas include a murder mystery night, a costume party, movie reenactments, role playing board games and maybe even some good, old-fashioned charades (which never goes out of style in spite of its simplicity).

5. Broadway on tour
Speaking of theatrics, many cities host Broadway tours on a regular basis, which sure does beat having to travel to the Big Apple to compete for the hottest tickets in town. And even if that level of entertainment doesn't exist in your neck of the woods, sometimes local professional or community theatre troupes are every bit as enjoyable (and often less pricey)!

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Andy Argyrakis
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