The Victoria Day long weekend may be the unofficial start of summer, but it’s often hit or miss on whether Mother Nature decides to be cooperative. We’re not big campers – at least not until the younger ones are older and a little more independent, and I’ve never understood the impulse to rent a cottage or head to a resort when it’s potentially too cold to do many of the activities. We tend to stick close to home on the Victoria Day long weekend – we don’t do public fireworks shows because they’re busy and crowded and almost always on Monday night when the kids have school the next morning.
We do have sparklers, although sometimes the kids lose interest before the spark even goes out. I’ve come up with an easy way for younger kids to hold a sparkler that reduces the chance of them getting burned by the hot metal and costs almost nothing to make. I take an ice cream cone – just one of the plain ones – either the cup style or the cone style depending on what I have on hand, stick a big marshmallow in the bottom of the cone and put the sparkler in the Marshmallow. The kids can hold the ice cream cone instead of the metal end of the sparkler, and voila! No chances of little hands getting burned by the sparkler.
The biggest challenge I face on the Victoria Day weekend is remembering that the stores are closed on Monday, so I can’t just pop out to pick up things like lunch supplies. Other than that, it’s kind of nice to be able to tell the kids that the stores are closed so we can’t go to the mall, pet store, or toy store.
There’s usually at least one day of the three that’s nice enough for the kids go play outside with friends or for our family to take a walk together to a park. A package of sidewalk chalk is an inexpensive way to keep kids occupied for hours outside. We usually break out the bikes on the May long weekend too, and cleaning them up is a great way to spend an afternoon. Bubbles are another perennial favourite activity – so long as they’re kept away from the baby! You can buy big jugs of bubble solution and refill the smaller bottles that you give to the kids from the big one. I typically keep the small bottles about half full – enough that the wands are easily coated, but not so much that it’s a huge mess if someone spills it.
If the weather is really nice, we might even have a picnic lunch outside. It’s not going to be a super fancy picnic lunch – in fact, it’s probably going to be peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on paper plates because it’s one of the few times they can have PB&J for lunch since they can’t eat it at school. The kids like the change of eating outside, and I love that there’s less mess to clean up, so it’s really a win-win situation. If it’s a really warm weekend, we might break out the sprinkler or even just the hose to cool down but it hasn’t been warm enough to justify it for the last few years.
Does your family have any long weekend traditions that are easy on the wallet? Let me know!