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Celebrate Spring break at home with these creative ideas

Written by Shelley Hill Young
Photographs by Corbett Tripler

A girl bounces off a diving board into a pool. A boy, tucked into a cannonball, is about to hit the water and make a big splash. At the beach, a dad and toddler duo catch a wave. These are the sights one would expect to see around town during Charleston’s warm spring days. But this year, the scenes are of children posing on whimsical sidewalk chalk drawings by creative mother of two Corbett Tripler, who was looking for ways to bring a sense of fun to time relegated at home due to COVID-19 (see more of Tripler’s chalk drawings). 

Tripler’s colorful photos of her family and neighborhood kids have become a local sensation, drawing the attention of other families searching for ways to keep their children entertained while at home for weeks. The imaginative mom says she was trying to help ease the boredom of a neighborhood child when she drew a boat in sidewalk chalk, invited the girl to pretend she was sailing away, and snapped a photo. The next scene was of an Olympic balance beam. That’s when neighbors and their families taking evening strolls started to take note and wanted a turn; even the adults and pets got in on the fun. 

Tripler posted the photos on her small James Island neighborhood’s Facebook page, inviting others to get in on the action. She drew pool and beach scenes, places where children no doubt wanted to be during the beautiful Lowcountry spring weather, but couldn’t, not this year. “It started a trend,” Tripler says. “It just seemed to give us a bright spot. It brought us together as a neighborhood.” 

Tripler says while the art attracted a lot of neighbors, they were careful to practice social distancing and not gather as a crowd. “Each (scene) would happen over the course of several hours as people would take their walk in the evening,” she explained. “Everybody policed themselves very well.”

Tripler kept the art simple and used thick chalk for the drawings, consulting Instagram (look up hashtag #chalkthewalk) and Pinterest for inspiration. She used a stepladder to achieve the vertical point of view and perfected the perspective using the Photoshop app to fill in and saturate the color and the free SKRWT editing app to add even more height. Next up, she says, are a roller coaster and a bunny carrying an Easter basket.

This week, as families have had to cancel spring break travel and gatherings, we suggest having fun with these creative ways to make the week feel special, even when you’re at home:

  • Use sidewalk chalk and tape to create bright mosaics on your driveway or sidewalk.
  • Dye Easter eggs and hide them in your backyard.
  • Build bunny houses using graham crackers, icing, coconut, jelly beans, and Peeps.
  • Color Easter eggs (SEE OUR FUN CHARLESTON TEMPLATES) and put them in your windows for other kids to spot as they walk by. (Children also are coloring rainbows to offer hope and putting stuffed teddy bears in their windows for other children to find.)
  • Get out the jump castles and water slides. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
  • Temps are expected to be in the 80s. Cool off by making homemade popsicles, ice cream, milkshakes, or shaved ice.
  • Decorate cupcakes or cookies (several local restaurants including Sugar Bakeshop and Baguette Magic on James Island are offering kits for delivery).
  • Have ice cream delivered to your door. Check out Cirsea (Red Orchids), Charleston Pops, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, and Off Track ice cream.
  • Trace each family members’ hand on different colored paper or poster board, cut them out and glue them on top of each other with the largest on the bottom to remember the time you spent together.
  • Make a time capsule (physical or virtual), writing each family members’ ages and favorite activities you did together, what you ate, favorite songs, TV shows, or movies, and what you’re most looking forward to when it’s safe to go out. 
  • Create your own board game using chalk or pieces of paper laid out in the driveway, write instructions to do a challenge or move up or back on each square, roll some dice, and see who gets to the finish first.
  • The City of Charleston Recreation department is offering a virtual spring break camp. Sign up on their Facebook page.
  • Go on a virtual visit of the South Carolina Aquarium at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on their Facebook page.
  • Visit gibbesmuseum.org for prompts for young artists and a link to coloring pages.
  • Visit explorecml.org or the Children Museum’s Facebook page to watch your favorite museum staff members lead children through arts and crafts activities.
  • Go on a virtual tour of the Charleston Museum or learn about a mammal spotted often around the Lowcountry and make a cute craft at charlestonmuseum.org.
  • Have storytime or play games with Charleston County Public Library.
  • Make a playlist of your children’s favorite songs and have a dance party in the living room.
  • Take a “trip” to Disney. Dress kids in their favorite costume, make Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes or your own Dole Whip, watch classic Disney movies, or have a Disney sing-along.
  • Ask your children to practice their photography skills, taking photos of interesting sites around the home and yard.
  • Take a Zoom dance, art, or music class.  
  • Record your children singing a song or performing a dance or skit and share it with friends and family.
  • Teach your children to cook a meal, change a tire, or create a budget.