Once the presents have been unwrapped, the big dinner has been eaten, and company has headed home, the question remains: what are we going to do with the kids for the rest of the holidays?
The recent influx of new presents should be able to entertain them for a little while, but at some point during the holidays you’re bound to hear, “I’m bored!”. We have some simple, inexpensive ideas for keeping your children and grandchildren happy and busy until school starts back up in January!
- Head outside. Keeping everyone cooped up inside is a recipe for disaster. Kids need to burn off excess energy outside even when it’s chilly out, so bundle them up and head off on a nature walk at a local conservation area, a stroll around the block or a trip to the park. If there’s snow on the ground, build a snowman or make snow angels. If it’s cold enough in your neck of the woods, consider making a small skating rink in your backyard. Visit Backyard Rinks for tips and instructions on flooding a rink.
- Plan play dates. You’re not the only family with kids at home over the holidays. Make plans to have your kids visit with friends and family members who have kids the same ages as yours—and make sure to return the favor! Not only will this keep the kids entertained, it’ll guarantee you a few child-free hours to relax and unwind.
- Surprise them! Hold back one or two Christmas presents—like board games, jigsaw puzzles, art supplies or books—that will keep them busy for the better part of at least one afternoon, and surprise them with this “bonus” gift a few days after Christmas.
- Get cooking! If your children are old enough, have a cooking lesson! Kids are more apt to eat food they’ve had a hand in preparing, so this is particularly great for picky eaters. Let them help you plan the meal, go grocery shopping, prep the ingredients and cook with you. For tips and advice, including recipes and activity suggestions for different ages, visit Eat Right Ontario.
- Write on! Sit down and write a story together. If your child or grandchild is too young to write, you can jot down the story as they dictate it to you. Once the tale is finished, have the children draw some colorful illustrations for the book, then make a few copies, bind it (a simple staple at the corner is all you need) and give each child a copy of your collaborative literary masterpiece!
- Dance! If you’re not concerned about a little organized chaos, host a dance party. Have your kids invite a few friends, load up their favorite CDs and let them dance away the post-holiday boredom! All you have to supply are some healthy snacks and drinks.
- Visit the library. A week of unstructured, free time is a great time to get your kids hooked on books! Not only can they browse and borrow to their heart’s content, but also most libraries have free programming for kids. Check to see if yours has any holiday programs that your children or grandchildren might enjoy.
- Go bowling. Not only is bowling fun, it’s a great way to sneak in a little activity and exercise. Five-pin bowling is perfect for the younger set.
- Create a family tree. This is a lovely way for grandparents to spend time with grandchildren, because it will naturally result in lots of family story telling, laughs and rekindled memories. Find My Past has a free, printable family tree template, and ten tips to help get you started.
- Snap some memories. Let your kids borrow your digital camera and instruct them to document the Christmas break. Encourage them to think outside the box, taking photographs of people, pets, landscapes and everyday objects. At the end of the week, have them select their 25 favorite photos—the ones that they think best capture the adventures and fun of the holidays. Print out their selected shots and have the kids create a scrapbook of memories, complete with captions, drawings and embellishments.
For more great indoor and outdoor activities designed to keep kids busy during the break visit Family Education .
410466 CAN/US (04/15)