Lasting two weeks or more, winter break allows kids ample free days away from the structure of school. Here are eight ideas to make the most out of the time that families have together. Each one involves learning and creativity, is budget-friendly, and can be done without packing up the kids to head out of the house.
- Hold a cooking or baking challenge: Kitchens can be the center of family life at the holidays, full of baking and meal prep. For fun, add some challenge by scouring cupboards to see what kinds of items haven’t been used in a while and incorporate them into a meal. Or research a winter recipe from another country and try to execute it. The whole family will benefit by trying something new.
- Make a homemade holiday movie: Watching a lot of holiday movies? For a change, encourage kids to make one of their own using the video recorder on a cell phone. This activity can be adapted for any age group and can be as simple or complex as they want to make it. Either way, the learning opportunities are endless. Kids can practice theatrical improvisation, have fun writing their own stories, build teamwork skills by writing as a group, and use art skills to develop their own costumes and sets. Kids who are interested in computer programs can edit the video and add music or special effects.
- Create unusual holiday gift tags: Kids love painting with unconventional materials. Make one-of-a-kind holiday gift tags with paint and homemade stamps and brushes. For this project, apply paint with various kinds of macaroni, cut a shape into a potato or apple for a stamp, or use toothbrushes or cardboard pieces as a brush. The tags will become a unique way to personalize any gift.
- Make predictions for the future: In preparation for December 31st, spend some time considering what the next year will bring. Talk about historic events of the past, the latest in developing trends and technology, and family changes. Encourage kids to write down or draw their ideas so that everyone can revisit them on the next New Year’s Eve.
- Elevate your hot chocolate game: Liven up snack time or improve a chilly afternoon with a hot chocolate bar. Have interesting ingredients on hand such as mint, nuts, candy canes, flavored marshmallows, or cinnamon red-hot candies. Kids can also experiment with different chocolates as a base.
Did you know that December is designated as Stress-free Family Holidays month? It’s understandable. The uptick in activities, obligations, and errands can make everyone stressed and harried. On the bright side, there’s ample opportunity to practice managing stress. The last three ideas on this list may help:
- Read out loud each day: Spend time together reading a holiday or winter story out loud. The activity is a welcome break from stimulation and develops reading skills. Some families enjoy this so much that they choose to continue it throughout the rest of the year.
- Try mindfulness practice: Mindfulness practice is a simple activity that can offer relaxation benefits for everyone in the family. Examples include taking time for deep breathing and pausing for a moment to consider your surroundings.
- Set up a holiday home spa: Find some home treatments and enjoy using them together. Easy ingredients for a wrap, foot scrub, or face mask can often be found right in a cupboard. They include coconut oil, olive oil, oatmeal, sea salt, and brown sugar. Or take turns giving each other a peaceful shoulder rub.