Winter break starts this week and I know a lot of parents are concerned with how they’re going to keep kids busy, active, and engaged! Well, I have some suggestions for you.
1. Bake! Muffins and cupcakes are easy enough for toddlers to help with and are best enjoyed straight out of the oven, which checks the instant gratification box. You can even go for a healthier option and sneak some fruit into the batter!
2. 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, like an extra Christmas present!
3. Go looking for Christmas lights. 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.
4. Watch a holiday movie as a family! While I usually steer away from screen-time here, a family movie night can be a great tradition in the holiday season.
5. Play pretend. Pretend play promotes creativity and the ability to tell stories. Play doctor, chef, fairytale, or anything their little minds desire!
6. Create a time capsule. It's been a year to remember. Fill a box with memories from 2021, then hide it in your house. Your kids will love looking at it in the years to come.
7. Do a fun educational activity, like this one on shopping for the holidays!
8. Challenge one another to a board game. Even better: introduce your children to a classic from your own childhood. Monopoly or Sorry anyone?
9. Take a field trip to grocery store to shop for Christmas dinner! Teach kids how to organize a grocery list, and for older kids- how to budget!
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. Go skiing or sledding. If you live in a place that's cold enough to snow, hit the slopes.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. Make homemade ornaments for your tree! Memories and crafts.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.)
20. 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.)