Keeping Your Kids Happy Over The Lengthy Holiday Break

Hello from a part-time homeschool mom! My kids homeschool 3 days a week and I head into the office the other 2. I’ve made a situation work, that I wasn’t ever expecting to find myself in. Life happens and because of that I’ve gotten pretty good at helping my kids find activities to occupy their time. I personally don’t homeschool over winter break. I allow us all to take a rest and revive so we can finish of the school year with strength. So, without the schedule of school, keeping kids engaged and entertained during winter break can a challenge. Done correctly, it can be a fun and rewarding experience. Here are some activities to consider that will keep them busy and make the most of their time off:

1. Winter Crafts:

   Engage their creativity with winter-themed crafts like making snowflakes, creating paper snowmen, or designing winter landscapes. I have fond memories of making a Christmas countdown chain. Cutting the strips, circling them through, and ultimately ripping them off as I counted down to Santa’s arrival. Pinterest has so many cute crafty ideas! You can also buy craft kits and boxes from Amazon.

2. Baking and Cooking:

   The holidays always seem to come with extra baking. Why not include the kids in all the mess making fun! Have them help you in the kitchen, baking cookies, making hot cocoa, or preparing simple meals together. You have to do it anyways, make some memories as you do it.

3. Movie Marathon:

   Organize a movie marathon with their favorite winter or holiday-themed movies and snacks. This year, we started a new tradition. Christmas Movie Sundays! We lay a picnic blanket in front of the TV and eat dinner while we watch a Christmas classic. About halfway through the movie, we bring out the popcorn, hot cocoa, or other special treats. It’s a fun and easy way to connect and share the classics with your kids. Not to mention, some of the best snuggles come from setting the phone down and cozying up together.

4. Indoor Scavenger Hunt:

   Set up an indoor scavenger hunt with clues and small prizes hidden around the house. We recently went to a birthday party and the weather wasn’t cooperating. The parents set up a Pokémon hun in their living spaces and the kids had a blast!

5. DIY Science Experiments:

   Conduct simple science experiments at home, like making snow slime, growing crystals, or creating a snowstorm in a jar. You can buy kits or make a playdough volcano, add a little baking soda and a little vinegar. Heck, I use this combination to clean my sink from time to time. The kids LOVE watching it bubble up from the drain.

6. Board Games and Puzzles:

   Play board games, assemble puzzles, or try out new family-friendly card games. This one falls more up my husbands wheel-house but I join in from time to time. Set out a puzzle for the whole family to do together. My husband will sit down to do one and before you know it, everyone is gathered round, working together. Some of the sweetest memories happen in these moments.

7. Outdoor Adventures:

   If weather permits, go sledding, build a snowman, or have a snowball fight. If you live in a mild climate, like me, head for a nice walk along the beach, or around a local lake.

8. Reading Time:

   Encourage them to read books they enjoy, either independently or as part of a family reading session. My husband recently started reading the first Harry Potter book with our kids. It’s a fabulous bonding moment. If you have other things to get done, invite your older children to read to the younger. Some of my favorite moments have been happening upon my daughter reading to my son.

9. Arts and Crafts:

   Explore various arts and crafts projects, such as painting, making holiday decorations, or creating winter-themed drawings. Finding crafts that require minimal supervision is a bonus!

10. Family DIY Project:

   Collaborate on a family DIY project, like building a birdhouse, creating a scrapbook, or painting a mural. There’s no shortage of projects around our house. Including the kids in digging in the yard, or painting a small space are great ways to get done your to-do’s without sacrificing family time.

11. Nature Walks:

   Bundle up and go for nature walks to observe winter landscapes, tracks in the snow, and seasonal changes. My extended family does a monthly hike followed by dinner. It’s become something I look forward to doing!

12. Learn a New Skill:

   Use this time to introduce them to a new skill, whether it’s knitting, playing a musical instrument, or learning a craft. If your kids have an interest you’re not proficient in, odds are, YouTube can cover for you!

13. Indoor Obstacle Course:

   Create an indoor obstacle course using cushions, pillows, and other household items for a day of active fun. Sure there’s usually a mess to clean up at the end, but the enjoyment the kids have is worth it!

14. Write and Illustrate:

   Encourage them to write stories, poems, or even start a journal, and add their own illustrations. For older kids, this is a great independent activity. For younger kids who can’t write yet, they can still illustrate and dictate to you before or after.

18. Plan a Mini Winter Vacation:

   Plan a themed “staycation” day where you explore a different country’s culture through food, activities, and movies. It’s budget conscious and exposes your kids to the great big world that’s out there!

Remember to strike a balance between planned activities and unstructured downtime. Winter break is an excellent opportunity for kids to relax, learn, and have fun while spending quality time with family. Scheduling every minute of break is a surefire way to burnout. No matter what you end up doing over your break, I hope you have a memorable one!



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