The winter break is the second longest break from school, behind only the summer months. A long break in the middle of the school year is fun, but it can create some problems for students. The long winter weeks away from school can sometimes get a little boring.
A job every parent should take seriously is keeping their kids entertained during winter break. This will help them maintain momentum for when they inevitably return to school. Otherwise, they are likely to become lethargic, disengaged, or even develop a low-grade cabin fever that will drive the entire household insane.
If your kids are having fun, they’re less likely to cause trouble and drive you into the wall. Here are a few ideas you can implement this winter to keep everyone happily entertained until school resumes:
1. Help them bake
Baking is very popular this time of year and with good reason. Colder weather will keep you indoors longer, and freshly baked goods are sure to warm your body and mind. Your kids can keep busy by helping you prepare some holiday treats in the kitchen.
What you bake is entirely up to you. Older children can help with complex recipes such as pies, while smaller children can help decorate Christmas cookies. These treats generally taste better if you’ve put in the work.
Besides filling the cupboards with tasty treats, baking is a great skill to pass on to your kids. When they are older they can prepare their own meals and treats. They will be grateful for that if they ever have children of their own.
2. Ask them for help decorating
If you haven’t put up your winter decorations yet, ask your kids to help. This will keep them busy for quite some time and help you tackle a big project. They may even have some great ideas that you hadn’t thought of before.
There are plenty of decorations worth hanging from you guys this time. You can get into a very specific holiday decor to get into the festive spirit. Or, if you prefer, you can hang generic decorations such as snowflakes and snowmen to celebrate the times.
Since they helped you put up the decorations, you can also ask for help taking them down. Now you have two different activities to put on their schedule that will help with yours.
3. Go to the Christmas lights
There are tons of creative light shows for the holiday season. You don’t have to travel far to see nice decorations in your hometown. Bringing your kids to see some of these lights can be a fun family outing now and then.
One activity you can do is drive around a neighborhood and rate all the houses you see and their decorations. You can judge them by style, creativity and size. The winner can get one of the plates of cookies you prepared together.
Large-scale light shows can be even more exciting. There are entire parks decked out with lights and decorations for you to walk through. Some homes adjust their lights to play along with music, making for a highly entertaining show that you can watch from the comfort of your vehicle.
4. Host a Secret Santa event
Everyone loves getting presents, but giving presents to others is an even more important part of the holiday season. It teaches children the importance of caring for others. Plus, it’s an activity that even the smallest kids can understand is a secret Christmas gift exchange. Each family member is assigned a different one to get a present for without them knowing.
Set up some ground rules before starting a Secret Santa exchange. For example, consider establishing a budget for each participant so that each gift has a similar price. You can set other rules at your discretion, such as allowing people to trade names or not.
You can even challenge children to pay for their gifts with their own money. This will teach them lessons in hard work, budgeting and a better understanding of what items cost. The gift they give will also feel more personal because they had to make a sacrifice to give it.
5. Participate in service activities
There are many people trapped in unfortunate circumstances that make it difficult for them to enjoy the holiday season. These individuals and families may not have enough money to buy Christmas presents or have a place to call home. Participating in service activities that help others who are down is the perfect way to make the holiday season special for everyone.
Use local resources to find community groups and events. You can volunteer at a soup kitchen, collect canned goods to make a donation, or even shovel snow from an elderly neighbor’s driveway. Few things will help you and your kids feel better over the holidays than spreading some goodwill.
Serving during winter break is a great family tradition to instill in your kids. So many good qualities and traits can be developed by making an effort to reach out to others. Doing something of this caliber even once a year will benefit their growth and development.
6. Encourage snowy days
If there is a lot of snow outside, there are two main options. The first is to bundle up all day indoors and play video games, which many kids will default to these days. The second is to take advantage of the temporary weather and have fun in the snow. Do your best to encourage the latter!
There are plenty of fun activities that can only be practiced in winter. Have a snowman building contest, help the kids build a toboggan run, or even rent some snowmobiles for the weekend. Your kids won’t be able to do this for the rest of the year, so make some memories before it’s too late.
The best way to end a snowy day is with those fun, lazy activities. Have some hot chocolate and a Christmas movie ready for the kids when they go back inside. Hanging out to warm up feels so much better after a long day of winter fun.
7. Look for online activities
Keeping your kids entertained doesn’t always mean forcing them out of the house. There are some valuable activities you can find online. Start an internet search to find some that you can sign your kids up for.
There is a lot of variety when it comes to online activities. You can enroll your kids in virtual classes that cover everything from baking to painting. There are also live shows that you can watch online to see performances that would otherwise be inaccessible.
Some kids can entertain themselves easily. Others need some encouragement or at least some direction away from their devices. By using these techniques and any others you can think of, you can fill winter breaks with more positive activity.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Victoria Akvarel; Pexels; Thank you!
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