Scattered through the school calendar each year are a variety of school's out days. Some are teacher planning days, some are holidays and others are early dismissal days.
The Lynchburg City Schools calendar lists 25 school's out days and 10 early dismissal days for the 2013-2014 school year, not including high school early dismissal days during exams.
Parents may not always be able to take the day off on all of the school's out days, but many parents are able to take vacation time to enjoy some bonus days with the kids during the school year.
Here are 10 ways to spend a school's out day with the kids that won't break the family bank.
Take a hike together. Pack water bottles and granola bars or trail mix for snacks. Head to the Alpine Trail at Riverside Park, the trails off the Blackwater Creek Bikeway, the Ivy Creek Greenway at Peaks View Park or the Appalachian Trail. You can access the Appalachian Trail from many overlook areas on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Take a bike ride. Head to Percival's Island with the kids. For the mountain bikers, try the mountain bike trails in the Bill Foot Recreation Area on the lower level of Peaks View Park. There's also great biking trails at High Bridge Trail State Park in Farmville and Falling Creek Park in Bedford.
Sort through and donate stuff you don't need. Go through your family's clothing or toys to find items no longer needed. Donate to a local charity to help others as you declutter your house.
Visit a museum. This activity may cost a little more, but your kids will learn while having fun. Lynchburg Museum will teach your kids about local history. Amazement Square offers hands-on learning and fun for kids of all ages. The Maier Museum at Randolph College is home to several thousand works of art.
Take a road trip. Head to Roanoke, Richmond, Danville or Charlottesville for the day. If you have more than a day, try Virginia Beach or Washington, D.C. You'll enjoy new activities and adventures in a different location.
Spend time with family or friends. Let each of your kids invite a friend over or get together with a group of friends for a day of fun. Visit your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles or cousins for the day and make family memories together.
Spend the day at an indoor play area. FunQuest Family Entertainment Center often holds school's out specials. The kids can enjoy a day of free play at Kids Cove at Thomas Road Baptist Church. Putt-Putt Fun Center offers lots of activities for the kids. Bounce About offers fun for kids up to age 12. Bring out the artist in your child at All Fired Up in Forest. Kids can choose a bisque piece to paint and use tools to complete a unique masterpiece.
Pack a picnic lunch. Take your lunch with you to the Peaks of Otter, the Blue Ridge Parkway or one of Virginia's state parks. Find a scenic picnic area to eat lunch, then go for a walk to explore the area.
Play at the playground or park. Bring a frisbee, soccer ball or football along. Join old friends or make new friends as you play on the swings and slide. If you haven't been to the newest playgrounds at Riverside Park, Linkhorne Elementary School or Heritage Elementary School, you're in for a treat.
Enjoy a day of fun at home. Bake cookies, brownies or a cake. Pull out your craft box and make something new to decorate your fridge or shelf. Play board games together. Dress up in old costumes. Let the kids make a fort in the family room and watch movies. Pop popcorn to enjoy for a treat.
Mix and match these 10 ways to have fun. Let each child choose one activity or write down activities on slips of paper and draw from a jar or box. Set a timer and let everyone pitch in for 15 to 30 minutes to pick up in the house before you start your activities.
Put dinner in the crockpot so you will have more time to enjoy the day. Your kids will never be exactly these ages again. Have fun making memories. Be sure to take plenty of photos to enjoy later.