Keeping Kids Busy Over Winter Break

“Every mile is two in winter.”—George Herbert, poet

Most kids love winter break. They get time off school, and they get to do what they want to do. Parents, on the other hand, know that it doesn’t take much for cabin fever to start setting in. When pushed to the limit, kids can bounce off of walls, ceilings, and other places where parents don’t want them to be bouncing! Here’s how to keep kids busy and keep your parental sanity over the winter break.

Tips for . . .

Plan. Plan. Plan.Too often, parents pour all their energy into the holidays and then want to collapse afterward. If you have kids, it doesn’t work that way. Figure out places to go and activities to do throughout the winter break.

Get kids out of the house. Whether it’s going outside, going to the movies, or visiting a museum or zoo, find places to take kids to make the winter break more interesting.

Invite friends over. The day always goes more quickly when kids can spend time with their friends. If kids can’t get to your home, go pick them up and drop them off.

Prepare for uncooperative weather. Part of what makes winter breaks difficult is that you can’t depend on the weather. So don’t. Make indoor plans and outdoor plans (with a Plan B for outdoor plans). Find family fun ideas at here.

• Visit grandparents, aunts, uncles, or friends. Visiting someone else often brightens everyone’s day—including your kids.

Spend time with your kids. Young children don’t need a lot of special events and activities. They love it when you just play with them and bond together.

• If possible, keep your child on his or her child care routine. This helps your child know what to expect and when.

Read picture books about winter such as Annie and the Wild Animals by Jan Brett, Ollie’s Ski Trip by Elsa Maartman Beskow, or The Polar Bear Son: An Inuit Tale by Lydia Dabcovich.

Take a nap with your kids. Many kids this age enjoy this time to snuggle with you.

Visit the library and check out craft or project books. Together, do something your child picks out of a book.

Bake with your kids. Family Fun magazine publishes many child-friendly recipes Check them out here. Try making berry orange sorbet or best turkey potpie.

• Try a science experiment with your child. Buy a science kit or find kid-friendly science experiments here .

Volunteer to drive your kids somewhere they want to go, such as a mall, an indoor water park, or the movies. Take a book or something with you to do if they want you nearby but not too close.

Put boundaries on the electronics. Otherwise, kids this age will spend all their time on a computer, the TV, their cell phone (texting or talking), or using some other type of gadget.

Encourage your kids to connect with their friends. However, make sure they have some supervision since many kids at this age spend a lot of time at home alone.

• If your teenager has worked hard at school during the semester before winter break, give your teenager lots of downtime. Some are exhausted and want lots of sleep. Some want to do more activities of their choice.

Talk through your expectations if your teenager gets invited to join another family on a winter break outing or trip. Talk with your teen’s friend’s parents to learn more about costs, activities, and what type of supervision they will have.

Host a movie marathon at your home. Many teenagers love watching movies, and they enjoy seeing movies with their friends. Make snacks they enjoy eating while watching.