Spring Break Activities That Challenge Your Children
By Brittany Ricciardi PT, DPT, PCS

Kids Place Central Clinic Manager and Pediatric Physical Therapist

Spring break is just around the corner! Are you nervous? Many parents are often challenged with ideas and activities to keep their children busy. Here are a couple that are not only fun but will help your kids move, challenge their sensory and vestibular systems, and allow them to learn in a fun, hands on environment.

Hiking is a great way to work on strength and endurance all while enjoying the great outdoors. Arizona has a lot of different hiking trails with varying levels of difficulty. Some trails are free, while other mountain parks have a fee. Here are a few fun, family-friendly places to hike:

  • Papago Park has trails that are generally easy and smooth to navigate. Papago Park is situated right next to the Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden.
  • Other fun mountain parks to explore are: Thunderbird Conservatory Park, McDowell Mountain Preserve, and South Mountain. Make sure to bring lots of water, sunscreen, and to grab a trail map and check for trail difficulty before setting off on your adventure.
  • Some mountain parks have various events that they plan monthly, so be sure to check out their calendar to see if anything catches your eye.

Walking around the zoo is a great way to work on endurance while seeing and learning about a variety different animals.  Phoenix has a couple different zoos and aquariums to visit, a few listed below.

  • Phoenix Zoo
  • Wildlife World Zoo
  • Odysea Aquarium which is located next door to the Butterfly Wonderland

Going to a park is another great way to spend time having fun without having to spend a lot of money.  Playing at the park encourages gross motor development by working on strengthening, balance, motor planning, and vestibular development.

  • Friendship Park has 3 different play grounds each tailored to different age groups with items that are age appropriate for kids to play on. The park also has various different surfaces to walk and play on such as grass, sand, and woodchips.
  • Surprise Community Park has a large playground with many opportunities to climb and swing. There is a pond with ducks with duck food available at the park. Right next door there is an awesome library and a pool with a giant water slide.
  • Rio Vista Community Park has a playground, tot lot, splash park, and skate park. There are multi-purpose fields and volleyball courts. There are also ramadas for single use and large group picnics.
  • Sundance Community Park in Buckeye has a park for little kids and older kids with different types of swings and an adaptive swing. There is also a walking trail around the park and a dog park.

Rock climbing is a fun way to burn energy, improve strength, and work on coordination. There are many indoor rock climbing gyms located around the valley. Each location has different price ranges for admission and equipment rentals. Each location also varies on required training before you can climb. Below are a couple of the different options available.

  • Ape Index Rock Climbing gym
  • Phoenix Rock Gym
  • AZ on the Rocks

Want to cool off a little bit? Ice Skating is a great way to work on balance and coordination while having a lot of fun and cooling off on a warm March day. Arizona is home to a couple of different Ice rinks that you can check out. Make sure to check the rinks schedules for open public skate session times.

  • AZ ICE located in Peoria, Gilbert, and Arcadia
  • Ice Den located in Chandler and Scottsdale
  • Arcadia Ice Arena

Another fun way to cool off during the warmer March months is a trip to Flagstaff. Arizona’s SnowBowl is typically open until the end of April and starts lessons for skiing and snowboarding as young as age 4.

Whether looking for indoor options like bowling or outdoor adventures such as boating/paddle boarding on Tempe Town Lake, Arizona has a ton of activities that get your family moving all while having fun.

Have a fun and safe spring break!