With Spring Break taking over March and April, many people are planning their destination of choice – opting for snow or sun or somewhere inbetween. But many families are talking about staying right at home, relaxing via a staycation instead.

A few years ago I incorporated the staycation into a learning experience with my children. We expanded it over a summer, but you can easily tailor it down to a week for spring break.

Get a Mental Picture

The idea of a staycation is to explore a country, from the comfort of your home. For this article we are going to choose Greece as our destination of choice. Your computer is your travel agent. Visit Greece on your computer – the acropolis, the beach and Santorini’s beautiful blue roof tops. There are so many pictures online – your children can print them and make a poster for easy viewing. Many places have live webcams as well so you can look around at what is going on in live time. You can find great pictures and videos on tripvisior and YouTube as well as sites specific to your staycation destination.

Make It Fun

Now that you have explored your destination, do a little research and find a game (one that can be made easily or played with cards) that is native to the the country you’ve chosen. In Greece they played checkers, and dice. Of course they are famous for the Olympics. There are great sites for your kids to learn about ancient greek games such as History for Kids and BBC. Now that you know the games of your country, it is time for a staycation game day. You can also look to your country’s favorite sports. For Greece we created our own Olympics sports.

Go Artistic

On the third day of your staycation, gather the art supplies and create pieces that would be local to your country. For Greece we made mosaics. My daughter had a kit with templates of ancient mosaics from around the world, but you can download your own. Your kids will make beautiful art you can display for the week.

Taste-Testing

On the fourth day of your staycation, let’s try some foods from your country of choic. Everyone knows about hummus and it is super easy to make. Another great dip is my Greek yogurt dip.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain organic greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

Mix ingredients and chill for an hour or so. Serve with pita chips.  This recipe is so easy the kids can mix it up alone.  My son love cooking, he says it helps with his fractions.

For more of a main course, try my greek potatoes and a great rack of lamb recipe straight from Greece.

Greek Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 8 to 9 organic russet potatoes
  • 1/2 large sweet yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp oregano

Directions:

Peel potatoes and cut into wedges. Place potatoes to side.  Cut your half onion into long slivers.  Place onions with potatoes.  Mix olive oil, lemon juice, salt and oregano together in a bowl with a whisk.  The kids will love this next step. Toss the onions and potatoes in the dressing and in a baking dish.  Bake in oven for one hour at 350.  Toss your potatoes every 15 minutes while they are baking.    There will be a lot of dressing and you will want to keep spreading that wonderful flavor.

Bessie’s Greek Rack of Lamb

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 3 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup bread  crumbs
  • 2 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
  • 7 rack of lamb room temperature
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • pepper to taste

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 400.   Trim rack of lamb of fat.  In a small skillet heat oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking.  Cook shallots with pepper to taste, stirring until golden, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and boil until liquid is evaporated.  Remove skillet from heat and stir in bread crumbs, thyme and pepper to taste.  Season lamb with pepper and arrange, ribs side down, in a small roasting pan.  Spread meat side with mustard and pat on crumb mixture evenly.  Roast lamb in middle of oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until meat thermometer registers 135 for medium-rare.  Carefully transfer lamb to a cutting board and let stand 5 to 10 minutes.  Slice lamb into chops and serve.

Kids love trying new foods especially when they help make the wonderful concoctions.

Wrap It Up

To wrap up your staycation, invite friends over so your kids can show off  what they have learned and created,  games, crafts and food that they have made.  We learn so much more when we teach others.