JHCS Quill

December 9, 2022 - John Hancock Charter School


Winter Break Ideas

My kids' winter break starts this week and I am slightly concerned with how I'm going to keep them both busy. I asked my creative parenting friends, who were willing to share their ideas for keeping their offspring occupied over the holiday break. Here are 30 ideas to try this season. Some may even keep your littles occupied for more than five minutes.

1. Go outside. As one mom told me, "There's no bad weather, just bad clothing." Invest in some quality outerwear, bundle the babes up and hit the trails (or the sidewalks). Or stop by your local playground, which will probably be much less crowded than in the warmer months. Fresh air and exercise? You're killing this parenting thing.

2. Make muffins. They're easy enough for toddlers to help with and are best enjoyed straight out of the oven, which checks the instant gratification box. Bonus points if you can sneak a fruit or veggie into the batter.

3. Create a scavenger hunt. Give the kids the first clue, which will lead them to the next clue and so on. At the end have some sort of "treasure" for them to find, or a treat such as a coupon for an ice cream sundae, which they can cash in that evening.

4. Embrace old-school electronics. In an effort to tear her kids away from their screens, one mom bought each of her kids an MP3 player and loaded it with Disney tunes and history podcasts. Don't forget the headphones...unless you like hearing "Part of Your World" on repeat all day long.

5. Peep some crazy good Christmas decorations. Every town has at least one neighborhood that channels Clark Griswold come holiday time. When it gets dark, go for a drive and embrace the magic of the season.

RELATED: 17 Virtual Winter Activities for Winter Break

6. Sign up for online activities. If you haven't checked out KidPass yet, now's your chance. They have tons of fun online activities for kids over winter break—think everything from violin lessons to sushi-making!

7. Play pretend. Research has shown that pretend play promotes creativity and the ability to tell stories. Play restaurant, doctor or even princess at home!

8. Create a time capsule. It's been a year to remember. Fill a box with mementos from 2021, then hide it in your house. Your kids will love looking at it in the years to come.

9. Have a family movie night. See a movie at the theater (we're excited for Sing 2) or sign up for Disney Plus and have a movie night at home!

10. Challenge one another to a board game. Even better: introduce your children to a classic from your own childhood. Sorry or Game of Life, anyone?

RELATED: 25 New Christmas Traditions to Start This Year

11. Take a field trip to a craft store. There'll be lots of after-Christmas discounts, so stock up on craft supplies and kits and then get your craft on at home.

12. Read together. One of the best ways to pass the time on a cold winter's afternoon is with a book. Pick a book you haven't read yet (or one you've read a million times!) and host a story time.

13. Write a story. Have older kids pen a tale about what they did over the holidays, then ask them to illustrate it. Younger kids can draw a picture of their favorite holiday tradition.

14. Go skiing or sledding. If you live in a place that's cold enough to snow, hit the slopes.

15. Make snowflake slime. If you haven't already banned slime from your home, whip up a wintery version with this recipe.

RELATED: 5 Easy Holiday Crafts to Make with Your Kids

16. Put on a show. Have your kids come up with a script and costumes. Then grab a seat on the couch and watch the performance.

17. Or make a movie. Let your kids use your phone (for filming purposes only) and have them act out a story with their toys (dolls or Lego people make especially good characters.) Send the finished product to your family and friends.

18. Make snow graffiti. If there's snow on the ground, channel their inner Jackson Pollack and let them color in the snow. You can buy snow markers or create your own with food coloring.

19. Make birdseed ornaments. Encourage a visit from our feathered friends—and kill some time crafting—with these birdseed ornaments.

20. Make pizza. Buy some dough or use this easy recipe to make your own. Then, let everyone choose their own toppings and declare it Pizza Night.

RELATED: 10 Family Board Games We're Obsessed With

21. Play cards. You likely already have a deck on hand and there are endless games for kids of all ages. Start out with Crazy Eights or Concentration for younger kids and let the older ones play Rummy or poker.

22. Make playdough. It's super easy and the cooking process will engage the kids even further.

23. Look at old photographs. Get out your old photo albums and have fun reminiscing with your kids. Or if most of your photos are digital, let your kids help you organize them into photo books.

24. Create an indoor obstacle course. Put away the breakables and turn your living room, playroom and/or basement into the set of American Ninja Warrior. (Or simply grab some tennis balls and have your kids toss them into a toy bin while climbing over the couch.)

25. Convince them to clean. Tidying up a room is much more appealing if you can make a game out of it. Give them a space to clean, set a timer, and offer a reward for the fastest or most thorough job. (Watching them scurry around while sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee is optional.)

RELATED: 8 Ways to Toddler-Proof Your Christmas Tree

26. Let them go swimming. In the bathtub that is. Put on bathing suits, fill up the tub, toss in some toys and let them splash around.

27. Have an indoor picnic. Let your kids choose the menu, pack a basket and set up a blanket on your living room floor.

28. Set up a spa day. Cut up some cucumber slices for your eyes, give everyone a robe (or comfy pajamas), and spend a few hours lounging around the house. Make a DIY face mask, give each other mani/pedis, and sip hot chocolate or tea.

29. Go bowling. You can set up a makeshift one in your basement by lining up empty plastic bottles and using a tennis ball to knock them down.

30. Make friendship bracelets. Whether you use beads, embroidery floss or soda can tabs, friendship bracelets are super fun (and time-consuming) to make.

Taken from https://www.mommynearest.com/article/30-ways-to-keep-your-kids-busy-over-winter-break