Are you stressed and frazzled during winter break? We’ve got 4 things kids can do while home from school!
Hopefully now that the holidays are over you are feeling less stressed and ready to relax. Sometimes when you have kids, that’s not always that easy. You may be envisioning wearing pajamas all day, everyone sleeping in, playing peacefully with Legos, coloring books and video games, but in reality, we hear those 2 words way too often during winter break – “I’m bored.” Here are 40 things you can do with your kids during winter break.
Around the House
- Have a play date. Invite a friend over for a few hours to share new toys, or maybe visit for lunch. Theme your date into something fun such as a pajama day date and serve breakfast for lunch, or encourage your guest(s) to wear super hero costumes.
- Clean and donate. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays over and the new toys and clothes exploding in your home, now is the perfect time to encourage kids to help clean out their old toys and clothes and donate them. We seem to become overgrown with stuffed animals. I gather all of them and throw them into a pile in the hallway. My kids pick and choose what they want to keep and what they want to donate. It actually works surprisingly well.
- Plan a day to build a fort. I’ll admit, fort building sometimes drives me crazy! My kids always want the space completely covered, they want every single blanket we own draped over the chairs and all those blankets tend to slide off and fall down. So instead, I plan a fort building day. First thing in the morning we grab all of the blankets and pillows we want and use chip clips to keep the blankets in place on the backs of chairs. This way, when the end of the day comes, we put everything away and it’s back to normal in my living room.
- Put together a puzzle. I’m not just talking any puzzle, I’m talking a BIG puzzle. I love grabbing a 500 piece puzzle from the dollar store and occupying my dining room table for about three days (I’m a bit of a puzzle junkie and will binge on it) and encourage everyone to help. Even little hands can help sort colors and find pieces to put into a pile.
- Make cookies. I know what you are thinking. How can you possibly think about more sweets during winter break! Well, if you didn’t get a chance to make your favorites, or simply want some more, encourage the kids to help. Consider picking out a new recipe and encouraging all hands on deck! With the rush over, this is a great time to teach some of the children how to use a mixer and measuring cups with your supervision.
- Plan a meal. Maybe this sounds a little complex for some families, but planning a meal can be as simple as planning a pizza night! Try this super easy 2 ingredient pizza crust and get the kid’s input on what toppings to put on the pizza.
- Start a new book. I use reading as “down time” in my house. I pick a time every day during winter break to “chill out” with a book. Everyone has to participate, when the alarm on my phone sounds, we turn off the tv, grab a book and our favorite space and read. For the younger children who cannot read, we read together or they quietly look at books. If you’d like to stick together as a family, consider starting and reading a chapter book aloud. This is a good time for everyone to re-set as the day goes on. Depending on your situation, chill time can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour. Often, the older kids often get into a book and extend their chill time all on their own.
- Play old classic games. Remember playing the card game war? Or hangman? What about when the carpet was hot lava? Or charades? What about Win, Lose or Draw? These are quick and easy games that require little or no equipment and will provide lots of laughs for every family member!
- Have a photo shoot. This activity can be done indoors or out! If you are inside, I like to encourage my models to dress up in their best costume and pose for the camera. We work on serious, funny and crazy wild poses! You don’t need a fancy camera! Use your cell phone and you’ll be surprised how fun this can be. Make sure to grab a selfie with your models just before you’re done.
- Have a fashion show. An indoor fashion show is always wildly funny at our house. It often leads into a bit of a talent show or musical presentation when my kids go wild with dress up clothes and once I “introduce” them, they often pick a quick talent to show off. And yes, sometimes they dress as “mom” and imitate the things I do and say!
- Have an indoor dance party. I absolutely love these. They usually start when I’m in the kitchen making lunch or dinner and turn on a little music while we are getting ready to eat. I then bust a move while I’m adding peanut butter to bread and it moves into a full fledged dance party, complete with loud music and fun!
- Have a Family (Dance) Workout Session. Head over to YouTube and check out “Just Dance Kids” and cue it up on your smart tv, laptop or computer. The kids follow along to the dance moves and burn a little energy while in the process.
- Have a Tea Party or Indoor Picnic. If you have all boys, or your kids are “too old” for a tea party, consider making a fun snack tray and taking it into the living room and eating it on TV trays or a blanket on the floor.
- Practice your Magic. Look up easy online tutorials and YouTube videos on how to perform simple magic tricks for kids.
- Home Spa Day for the Girls. Take time to pamper yourself and the ladies in your life with a fun and simple at home spa day. Grab some warm soapy water to soak your nails and toes, and polish them with your favorite nail color. Add some fun smelly lotion and you’ve got a fun day of pampering with your daughters.
Around the Community
- Visit the library. During winter break, libraries often have different activities for children of all ages – story times, building clubs, and special activities pepper the vacation week when kids are not in school. These events are often free of charge but be sure to check with your library to make sure pre-registration is not required.
- Rent a DVD from the library. A great community resource for movies is your local library. PLUS they are often a buck or less to rent and with that rental fee, everyone can pick out a new movie.
- Volunteer at an Animal Shelter. Just because the holidays are over, doesn’t mean dogs and cats don’t need food and water! Plus, those felines will need someone to play with and dogs will need walking until they get adopted, so consider packing up the family and lending a helping hand.
- Help a Neighbor Shovel. This might not sound fun, but if the entire family gets outside on a winter day and helps a neighbor shovel their sidewalk or clear their driveway, it will be done in no time and you’ll feel great about helping out!
- Volunteer at a Food Bank. It’s possible with all of the holiday donations, food banks need help getting back on track, with organizing and keeping everything in order. Call ahead to make sure they are open and see in what way you can help. Perhaps you can bring a few donations from your own home.
- Remove Christmas Decor. Is their a neighbor that needs help with their outdoor Christmas lights? Is your church looking for volunteers to help take down the holiday decor? Consider lending a helping hand to those within your community.
- Go Sledding. Find the best community sledding hill and take advantage of the white fluffy stuff. Jump into the car and grab your sleds and bundle up to have some fun. You’ll be making snow angels and speeding down the hills in no time.
- Go to the park. What? The park? YES! Go to the park in winter! Bundle up in your warm gear and hit the slide, swings and jungle gym at your community park. You’d be surprised how much fun it can be in winter (slides + snow pants = speed)!
- Start A Snowball Fight. “Hit” your neighbors with our fun snowball fight! With no actual snow, the kids will have fun gathering unique and exciting winter items to share with family, friends and neighbors while being sneaky and delivering their goodies.
Affordable Days Out
- Spend your Gift Cards. Visit stores that you received gift cards from and buy something for yourself! This might be a great time to grab things on sale. Just stick to the budget and don’t go too crazy!
- Watch a Movie Matinee. Movies before noon are often much cheaper than movies later in the day. Take advantage of a less crowded theater and beat the crowd while watching a fun new movie.
- Go out to Eat. Often on Sundays and Mondays local restaurants will have “Kid’s Eat Free” nights when a parent purchases a full-priced meal. This is a great advantage to not have to cook, and get the entire family out for an affordable meal together.
- Groupon and Living Social Deals. If you’re like me, you went over budget on lots of things this holiday season. So take advantage of online coupons and look for local deals to bounce houses, movies, trampoline parks and pottery painting places to take the kids. You’ll be glad you got out of the house for a few hours.
- Attend a high school sporting event. Most schools are closed over winter break, but there are sometimes a few sporting events going on near the end of winter break. Take the family out to cheer on your school and support the local athletes.
- Go Swimming. Check with a local hotel during the week of winter break and see if they offer open swim days. Usually they do for a very nominal fee. Or contact your local pool and see if they have any family open swim days.
Creative Days at Home
- Make Crafts. Even though the kids should NOT be saying “I’m bored!” over winter break, you know they will! We have lots of easy and affordable crafts to make with the kids. Consider making these DIY Bird Houses, crafts using recycled K-Cups, or a paper plate craft! Anything to keep the kids from saying that dreaded BORED word!
- Make Thank You Notes. This is something I’m very passionate about. I make my children send out thank you notes for any gift they receive. It can be a simple page they color in a book or an elaborate cut and paste card. Or just a store-bought thank you note. Or these awesome watermelon thank you notes that all recipients love to receive. (Use markers instead of paint and they’ll look just as great). This is also a great way to teach children how to address an envelope, which is a very important life skill.
- Science Experiments. Have you ever tried some simple science experiments? My friend, Alea, over at Premeditated Leftovers has some easy and fun experiments for kids of all ages to do. This slush beverage is great, you can use snow instead of ice cubes! Or try this disappearing egg. It takes a few days, but you can see bubbling action right away. And if you have more than one child, make several, because they will love playing with the egg.
- Make a Creative Station. Grab all hands on deck for this easy creative station (that doubles as an amazing homework space) for little hands. Keep all of their items in one place and put any new art materials Santa brought for Christmas in the mix.
- Make a fun treat. I’ve just recently had to tell my kids the difference between a snack (healthy choice) and a treat (sugary specialty) and now they ask for a snack before they ask for a treat! But we love to make fun things. Whether it’s easy Trolls Cupcakes, or a fun snack mix, or frosting and graham crackers and some leftover candies, my kids love helping to make treats.
- Make a Kindness Pot. This is an easy and fun activity for kids. They can pick any colors they want and when they are done, they can put a small plant in their kindness pot and give it to a friend, neighbor, teacher or family member.
- Enjoy Indoor Snow! The kids will love making this 3 ingredient indoor snow! This is an easy project with great sensory options for the kids. Shape it into almost anything and thankfully it never melts!
- Put On an Animal Puppet Show. Make a raccoon and fox popsicle stick craft, attach a stick for a handle and put on a fun puppet show. The kids don’t need an elaborate set up! Have them stand behind the couch or hide under the table.
- Slime Time. Make your own rainbow glitter slime to play with! This is a great activity for any age! Even the adults will love helping squeeze the goo in their fingers.
- Make Lip Balm. We have a fool proof 2 ingredient lip balm recipe that will keep your kid’s lips hydrated during these cold winter months.
What are some of your favorite winter break activities to do with your kids?