Winter break is the second longest respite from school, only trailing the summer months. Having a long break in the middle of the school year is nice, but it can present a few predicaments for students. The long winter weeks away from school can sometimes get a little boring — but there are things you can do!
A task that every parent should take seriously is keeping their kids entertained during the winter break. This will help them keep forward momentum for when they inevitably make a return to school. Otherwise, they’re likely to become sluggish, disengaged, or even develop some mild cabin fever that will drive the whole household insane.
When your kids are entertained, they’re less likely to cause trouble and drive you up the wall. Here are a few ideas you can implement this winter to keep everyone happily busy until school resumes once more:
1. Help Them Try Their Hand at Baking
Baking is very popular this time of year and with good reason. Colder weather keeps you inside longer, and freshly baked goods are sure to warm up your body and soul. Your kids can stay busy by helping you out with some holiday goodies 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 tend to taste better when you’ve put the work into them.
In addition to stocking the cupboards with tasty delights, baking is a great skill to pass on to your kids. When they’re older, they will be able to prepare meals and treats on their own. They’ll be grateful for that when they have kids of their own someday.
2. Ask Them for Help With Decorating
If you haven’t put up your winter decorations, get your kids to help. This will keep them occupied for a good amount of time and help you tackle a big project. They may even have a few good ideas you hadn’t considered prior.
There are plenty of decorations worth putting up this time of you. You can get into really specific holiday decor to get into the festive spirit. Or, if you’d rather, you can put up generic decorations such as snowflakes and snowmen to celebrate the times.
Since they helped you put the decorations up, you can also ask for their help when taking them down. Now you have two different activities to put on their schedule that help you out with yours.
3. Go See the Holiday Lights
There are tons of creative light displays for the holiday season. You don’t have to travel far to see some fun decorations in your hometown. Taking your kids to see some of these lights can make for an entertaining family outing every once in a while.
One activity you can do is drive around a neighborhood and rate all of the houses you see and their decorations. You can judge them on 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 that are decked out in lights and decor that you can walk through. Some houses rig their lights to play along with music, which makes for a very entertaining show you can watch in the comfort of your vehicle.
4. Organize a Secret Santa Event
Everyone loves receiving gifts, but giving presents to others is an even more important part of the holiday season. It teaches children about the importance of caring for others. Plus, it’s an activity that even the smallest of children can understand is a Secret Santa gift exchange. Each member of the family is assigned another to get a gift for without them knowing.
Set some ground rules before starting a Secret Santa exchange. For example, consider setting a budget for each participant, so each gift is at a similar price point. You can set other rules, such as allowing people to trade names or not, as you see fit.
You can even extend a challenge to kids to pay for their gifts with their own money. This will teach them lessons in working hard, budgeting, and a greater understanding of what items cost. The gift they give will also feel more personal since they had to make a sacrifice in order to give it.
5. Participate in Service Activities
There are a lot of people who are stuck in unfortunate circumstances that make it difficult for them to enjoy the holiday season. These individuals and families might not have enough money to buy Christmas presents or don’t have a place to call home. Participating in service activities that help others that are down is the perfect way to make the holiday season special for all.
Use local resources to find community groups and events. You can volunteer at a soup kitchen, gather up canned goods to make a donation, or even shovel the snow from an elderly neighbor’s driveway. Few things will help you and your kids feel better during the holidays than by spreading some goodwill.
Serving over the winter break is a wonderful family tradition to instill in your children. So many good qualities and traits can be developed by making an effort to reach out to others. Even doing something of this caliber once a year will be beneficial to their growth and development.
6. Encourage Snow Days
When there’s a lot of snow outside, there are two main options presented. The first is to bundle up indoors all day and play video games, which a lot of kids today will default to. The second is to take advantage of the temporary weather and have some fun in the snow. Do your best to encourage the latter!
There are plenty of fun activities that can only be pursued in the wintertime. Hold a snowman-building competition, help the kids build a sledding track, or even rent some snowmobiles for the weekend. Your kids won’t be able to do this throughout the rest of the year, so make some memories before it’s too late.
The best way to end a snow day is with those cozy, lazy activities. Have some hot cocoa and a Christmas movie ready for the kids when they get back inside. Lounging around 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 you have to force them out of the house. There are some worthwhile activities that you can find online. Start an internet search to find some 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 wouldn’t otherwise be accessible.
Some kids can easily entertain themselves. Others need some encouragement or at least some direction away from their devices. Using these techniques and any others you can come up with will help fill winter breaks with more positive activity.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Victoria Akvarel; Pexels; Thank you!
Student at UC Berkeley, currently working on a degree in Electrical Engineering/Computer Sciences and Business Administration. Experienced in CSX, productivity management, and chatbot implementation.