Having little ones home from school is always hectic, especially when the winter break activities weather can make using up their energy so much harder. As parents, you know nothing is better to calm a busy little bee than to keep them engaged in an activity. Here are some ways to keep your kiddos entertained and give them a chance to have some winter bonding with you.
It’s never too soon to teach your child the true meaning of the holiday season: giving to others. So when the wind is whipping outside and your kids may be reaching for the coloring supplies anyway, maybe use this time to sit down with them and create some caring crafts. It’s hard to think about, but not every child gets to spend the holidays at home. For some, unfortunately, it’s necessary that they’ll need to be in the hospital during the season.
Thankfully, several organizations are looking for homemade cards to send to hospitals all over the country. So bring out the glitter and the markers, sit down as a family and create a beautiful sentiment for someone less fortunate. You’ll keep your kids engaged in a creative activity, spend quality time together and be able to spread seasonal cheer; it’s a win-win situation for all.
Let’s face it, homemade gifts will always be just a bit more special than something store-bought. With the rise of minimalism, the allure of “stuff” is wearing out. With that in mind, why not opt to have your kids create gifts for friends and family? These can be as simple as breaking out paper, markers, and scissors or as complicated as using air-dry clay.
If you need a little spark to get your creative juices flowing or just prefer to have step-by-step instructions, you can find many helpful guides out there. Whatever you create, nothing will replace the feeling your little one will get when they watch their family open something they made with care.
‘ABC’ Movie Nights
Movie nights are always a great option for winter breaks. It brings the family together while creating a time to wind down after a hectic day. However, if you want to make sure your child is still using their brains during vacation you may want to try ‘ABC’ movie nights. Follow the steps below to shake up a winter break classic:
- Start From Step ‘A’: To start on this letter adventure, you just need to pick what letter you want to start with. You may want to go with the classic ‘A’ start but we won’t judge you if you’d like to go rogue! Maybe you want to have your nights spell out a word (may we suggest ‘HOLIDAY’), or maybe just have your kids have a free for all. Whatever letter you choose, once you have it you’re ready for our next step.
- Everyone Pitches In: Now is the fun part where everyone has to think; what starts with your letter? Have each member of your family be in charge of one of the categories (the movie, the snacks, and the drinks) and start thinking of what items could fit into each category. This is a fantastic activity to get your kids to use their reading skills, especially if they have had a little trouble in school with their reading comprehension. Picking out something for the family will give them the confidence to keep trying until they get it right. Remember during this: lots of praising and lots of ‘good try’s!
- An Example: If you need a little guidance to start you on your way, here’s what we recommend for your ‘A’ night:
- Movie: Arthur Christmas (2011)
- Snacks: Animal Crackers, Airheads, Apples (Dried or Fresh!), Avocado Chocolate Pudding, and Almond Cookies
- Drinks: Apple Juice/Apple Cider, A&W Rootbeer, and Almond Milk.
When your little ones aren’t so little anymore, it can be easy to let them just veg out on the couch. But having your preteen home for the holidays is an opportunity to connect with them through teachable and memorable moments. Whatever your tween is hoping to do during winter break, jump in on the fun with them. They’ll appreciate your enthusiasm for their interests.
Skiing, Snowboarding, and Tubing
Consider braving the cold and trying a new winter sport with your kids this season. It is a great way to get your kids active and pushes them out of their comfort zone, which can be a major confidence booster. Planning is the key to any trip, especially a ski trip. To avoid as much stress as possible on the slopes, do your research on a site like OnTheSnow. It can help you find a resort that’s a perfect fit for your family’s experience level and budget. Before your family hits the slopes, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind to ensure your kids are having a fun time while being safe. As the parent, you will set the example. Here are some things you can do to model snow sports safety.
- Double-check the snow and trail conditions on the resort’s website.
- Always wear a helmet when skiing or snowboarding. One way to encourage your child to wear their helmet is to let them choose one and give them stickers to personalize it.
- Be mindful of other people on the slopes. On the trail, skiers and snowboarders that are ahead of you have the right of way. Practice good etiquette by giving them plenty of space and staying aware of your surroundings.
- Practicing good mountain manners also means skiing and snowboarding with control and responsibility. For the safety of everyone, abide by all signs on the trail, and don’t be reckless.
- Have a meetup plan in case you and your kids get separated on the slopes. You can do this while on the lift or at the top of the hill. Identify a spot at the bottom of the trail where everyone can regroup in case of separation.
A fun and rewarding creative outlet for your young teen is sewing. From potholders, stockings, and pillows, they can learn to make just about anything. They can even go back to school with a new and unique scrunchie or tote bag. Etsy and Pinterest are great resources for finding inspiration as well as downloadable patterns. Before your kid gets to sewing, you’ll want to have the following supplies.
- A sewing machine or sewing needle
- Fabric of choice (Wool-blend felt and cotton are good starting materials).
- Fabric scissors
- Measuring tape
- Wax pencils to mark fabric
- Sewing pins
- Ironing board and iron
Most high schoolers will go into winter break excited to relax and recharge. For some, this might mean scrolling through TikTok or playing video games. This is fine in moderation, but it’s best to try and limit your teen’s screen time so they can get some quality time with loved ones. Here are some productive but fun ways your high schooler can spend their downtime this season.
Knitting has become very popular among teens and young adults lately. The latest trend going around the internet has people knitting and crocheting their own clothes and accessories. This can easily become a new hobby and even inspire some gift-giving ideas. Making hats, sweaters, or blankets for family and friends during the holidays can be fulfilling, all while allowing your child to tap into their creative side. As mentioned earlier, this season is all about giving, so the items they make can also be given to a shelter or donation center of their choice.
Friend Book Club
Many of our teens are glued to their devices to stay in touch with their friends during break. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing- we want to encourage them to communicate and reach out when they’re apart. One fun idea to continue their connection to their friends is to start a virtual book club. The group picks a book, reads a few chapters a week (or day, depending on if it’s a page-turner or not), and talks about it.
If you don’t know where to start, Goodreads will give you book recommendations and a social platform to share your likes and dislikes. This is a great way for friends to enjoy something they like together, even if they aren’t physically all in the same place. It may also encourage your teen to build or maintain their love of reading that they may have forgotten about.
Hopefully, you can take some inspiration from this list of winter break activities for the students in your home. Whichever project your child decides to take on this winter, make sure to take some time and join them. Winter is a time to relax and recharge with family, but that doesn’t mean we can’t also make the most of it!
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