You need a game plan for when the kids are home during holiday break. Check our list of 20 easy ways to fill your kids' holiday break to make the best of those winter days at home.
1. Christmas Crafts for Kids from Becoming Family
"Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season this year to sit down with your kids and create some beautiful and fun crafts. Use this time to laugh, share, and talk about the real reason for the season – all while making memories that will last a lifetime. Here are five fun projects to get you started!"
2. Indoor Camping
Put up the tent indoors and let the kids sleep in their sleeping bags. Turn off the lights and only use flashlights. Serve hot dogs for dinner and s'mores for dessert.
3. Date Swap
Set up a swap with your friends who have kids around the same ages. The kids will get two play dates and you'll get a date night. Your kids will love to have the play time with friends and you'll love having alone time without the kids.
4. Christmas Themed Sensory Experiences to do at Home from Indy With Kids
"Looking for some fun easy Christmas activities that will keep your kiddos busy during the holiday season? Here are my top 5 DIY activities that can be reused throughout the season."
5. Jigsaw Puzzles
Pull out all the puzzles you have and work together to complete them. To mix it up, ask your neighbors and friends to borrow new ones or check a second-hand store for a cheap, new puzzle to finish as a family.
6. Indoor Obstacle Course
Build an indoor obstacle course throughout your play room or living room using pillows, yoga mats, laundry baskets, pool noodles, etc. Try taping crepe paper or string along the hallway or masking tape on the floor as part of the course.
7. Library Scavenger Hunt from My Kids' Adventures
"A Library Scavenger Hunt will give your kids a reason to explore your local library in a way that they never have before. Hopefully along the way, they’ll discover some gems that they didn’t know the library possessed."
8. Build an Indoor Fort
Challenge your kids to build an epic indoor fort. Challenge yourself to join in.
9. Make T-Shirts - How To Stencil with Freezer Paper from Swoodson Says
"I’ve used this technique to stencil my own shirt and shirts for my son – it is so versatile."
10. Clean, De-Clutter and Donate
Not all of your holiday break needs to be spent doing fun stuff. Involve your kids in the process of cleaning and clearing out old toys and clothes. Find a local shelter to donate the items. Having new toys from Christmas will make it easier for your kids to let go of some well-loved toys.
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11. Make Crayon Hearts from Crayon hearts
"Seriously, these were SO easy to do and the girls had a blast. And believe me, I’m not the craft mom I imagine all kids want. THIS is easy. And fun."
12. Pajama Day
Who says you have to be productive? Dedicate a day to pajamas only. Have your kids make a dinner menu with just breakfast items. If they are able, have them help prepare breakfast for dinner.
13. Potions and Kitchen Concoctions from The Risky Kids
"I’m going to focus on ways you can encourage messy play with common kitchen items. My kids are always asking if they can experiment, in which “experiment” is a code for dumping kitchen ingredients together and seeing what happens...Would I rather they read or draw or play a game together? Yes, but they need this kind of play, too."
14. Day Trip
Spend the day in as a tourist in your own city. Or, take a day trip to a nearby small town or big city.
15. Lights one Last Time
Most light displays are up through the New Year. Make a stop for a peppermint milkshake and then go for a drive to see holiday lights one last time. The crowds will be lighter than they were leading up to Christmas. Win, win.
16. Reflection and Goal Setting Worksheet from Moritz Fine Designs
"With a new year upon us, it a great time to have everyone in your family take just a bit of time to make some goals for the new year! It would be a great idea to make a night of it. Celebrate the past year and look forward tot he new year with a fun family dinner, a few games and a brief time to reflect and goal set!"
17. Make a Time Capsule
Gather up some small items from 2016 - school pictures, mementos from trips, written memories. Have the kids decorate a box or jar and hide it somewhere in the house.
18. DIY New Year's Eve Party Ideas from One Good Thing by Jillee
Plan a New Year's bash for your kids and their friends. It doesn't have to be a midnight party - schedule it in the afternoon for a countdown at 12 p.m. on New Year's Eve.
"This year the girls and I decided to get a jump on things and came up with some fun and festive ideas for ringing in the new year that don’t take a lot of time or money! Now we’re ready for the New Year’s Eve sneak attack!"
19. Jump Start Your Christmas Craft for Next Year
You know that one craft you wanted to do with your kids - making handprint ornaments or the DIY advent calendar? Yeah, the one you didn't finish this year. If you didn't get it done, don't stress. Use an afternoon to make an activity with your kids.
The holidays are a great time to serve others. Look for a family-friendly service project in your area and do it while the kids are out of school. Many communities have projects to pack food for the hungry that allow you to bring kids as helpers. Nursing homes are also a great place to visit with kids who can sing a few songs or even play an instrument.