Kids in Rochester are lucky to have plenty of fun choices for how to make the most of their upcoming spring break. If you're feeling up for a challenge, put your mind to the test at Puzzlers School-Break Week at the National Museum of Play (1 Manhattan Square), which starts on Friday, March 29 and runs through April 7. You can help piece together "Life, the Greatest Puzzle" by New Zealand artist Royce B. McClure, which is one of the largest jigsaw puzzles ever created. Stretching more than 14 feet, featuring more than 24,000 pieces, and taking approximately 400 hours to complete, "Life" has plenty of room for everyone to make a contribution. Puzzlers Week will also include I Spy games, floor puzzles, smaller brain teasers, and the chance to make your own take-home puzzle. Events are included in regular museum admission: $13 for ages 2 and older, and free for visitors under 2 and all museum members. Visit museumofplay.org to check out the museum's other upcoming events.
Be disgusting, be destructive, and get your hands dirty at the Rochester Museum and Science Center's "MESS-tival," which starts on Saturday, March 30, and continues through April 7. The program will immerse kids in the sick side of science, giving them a hands-on introduction to everything that is messy, mucky, yucky, gooey, slimy, or simply gross in nature and technology. Daily activities include Jackson Pollock-style paint splattering, watermelon drops from the top of the planetarium, hands-on deconstructions of high-tech devices, found-object art workshops, and staff-led blender tests. (Yes, like "Will It Blend?") The MESS-tival is included in regular museum admission: $13 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, $11 for ages 3-18, and free for children under 3 and all RMSC members. The museum is located at 657 East Ave. Go to rmsc.org for other, less messy events.
If you would rather get wet than get dirty, float on over to the YMCA's Splash Week April 1-5, with free water-safety and basic swimming courses for swimmers with little to no experience. At YMCA locations throughout the Rochester area, members and non-members of all ages can learn the buoyant basics, with both morning and evening classes available. The swimmers-to-be are broken up into age groups, from 6 months old to adults. After you've plunged into the deep end and mastered the breast stroke, Splash Week will conclude with family swims on Friday, April 5, 9-11 a.m. and 6-8 p.m. Splash Week courses and swims are free, but pre-registration is required through rochesterymca.org/splashweek. The registration deadline is Thursday, March 28. To find the YMCA nearest you and learn more about Splash Week and other special programs, go to rochesterymca.org.