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Mrs. Brinker: Spring break activities

Trips are great and kids definitely can learn a lot, but there are plenty of other things you can do together to build memories.

GREENWOOD, Ind. — There are a lot of schools kicking off their spring break around now, which means that many parents who might not already have plans are scrambling for last-minute ideas. 

13News spoke to education expert Jennifer Brinker, from Greenwood Middle School, to get some ideas at various price points for some spring break fun that's also educational.

Matthew Fultz - WTHR: What are some ideas for parents who need to fill the time with some learning but don’t want to break the bank?

Mrs. Brinker: The good news is there are all sorts of ideas that don’t cost a dime. Honestly, kids really enjoy anything that is out of the ordinary, and there are opportunities for learning all around us. If we get some nice weather, a nature walk can be a really fun activity. Head to a local park or your own backyard and see how many different types of plants you can find. There are free online nature scavenger hunts you can use, too. Break out the sidewalk chalk or pick some up at the dollar store and have art class outside. For rainy days, have a family game day. Build forts inside and watch movies, but pause every now and then to ask your child what they think will happen next or why they think a character did what they did. There are some great comprehension questions that you can throw into watching a show or reading together. Again, the idea is to spend time together doing something different and getting them to use their brains at the same time.

Matthew Fultz - WTHR: What if parents want to spend a little bit of money but don’t want to head out of town?

Mrs. Brinker: We all know that Indianapolis is home to some wonderful museums and the Indianapolis Zoo. If you are going to pay a visit to one of these places, get your child excited about it beforehand by checking out their websites and finding what exhibits look the most interesting to your child. You can map out your day and make snacks ahead of time to take if they are allowed. Be engaged with your child during the entire visit and let them lead the way. Even older kids can enjoy a visit to one of these spots, even if they have been there many times.

Matthew Fultz - WTHR: What about a last-minute trip out of town? Any suggestions for some good spots that are also educational?

Mrs. Brinker: I would highly recommend the National Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. It is about a two-hour drive from Indianapolis. Admission and parking are free, and it is great for kids of all ages. There are some of the earliest prototypes of airplanes there — World War II planes. You can even tour some historical Air Force Ones. It is pretty cool to see. You can take a short trip south to Louisville to check out how baseball bats are made at the Louisville Slugger Museum. I would also recommend a quick trip to Chicago if you wanted to spend a little more. There are wonderful museums like the Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium, or even take a walk around the Windy City to check out architecture. There is something there for everyone.

Matthew Fultz - WTHR:  Any final advice?

Mrs. Brinker: Just keep in mind that learning doesn't just look like trips and museums — playing games as a family is educational. Cooking together with your child is educational. Trips are great and kids definitely can learn a lot, but there are plenty of things you can do to be creative with your kids that they will remember for years to come!

Watch the full 13Sunrise segment in the video player.

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