School winter break, to kids, sounds like it should be a winter wonderland of fun. But problem is, many of us parents have to work during while the kids are on winter break. And if the kids can't come up with things to do on their own, that could mean too much TV for the kids or added child care costs during winter break. And even if we can take time off, that doesn’t guarantee family fun…at least not without a plan. Check out these strategies for winter break fun.
1. Take a vacation.
A vacation is probably at the top of everybody’s wish list for winter break. Maybe someplace warm, maybe someplace where snow is certain. And the winter school holidays may be one of the best times to go. Since many schools don’t have winter break, vacation destination spots are less likely to be over crowded during winter break than spring break.
But a fabulous winter break vacation
is not in the cards for all of us. If the whole family can’t afford a far-away vacation, consider taking a vacation from work and enjoying all the sights and activities that your city
has to offer. Often local attractions offer special deals during winter break.
2. Invite family or friends for a visit.Inviting grandparents, aunts and uncles or friends to your home during winter break could be fun for all. If possible, you may want to take off some time from work so you can visit with your guests too, but your guests may be able to entertain the kids part of the time while you work.
Of course, having houseguests means extra work for the host, so do your best to plan meals and activities in advance. And choose your guests carefully as some guests are more work than others.
3. Send the kids to winter break camp.
We tend to think of camp
as a summer activity, but many organizations—such as YMCAs, churches, museums, dance and martial arts studios, day cares, etc.—offer day camps during winter break. This is more likely if all the schools in your area take winter break at the same time. Check around in local family-focused publications, and ask friends to find out if there are camps near you.
4. Get some exercise.
If you will be spending the days working at home with the kids during winter break, take some time to get out and move around. Kids who have spent some energy will settle down to a quiet independent activity
(or maybe even a nap
!). So plan some time every day to walk the dog, play basketball, try skating (roller or ice), go skiing or sledding, take a hike or even just break out the Wii Fit and get some indoor exercise.
5. Work on school projects.
If you’re working, why not get the kids working too. If your child has homework or other school projects to do, let them set up shop in your office and work with you. Have them study those multiplication tables, work on science fair
, get that book report done. Long-term school projects often take some parental oversight, but these are their
projects so they should be able to work on them without constant monitoring.
6. Set up some play dates.School-age children’s play dates shouldn’t need a whole lot of supervision, if you make the right match. Having a friend over will keep your child occupied, so arranging a play date at your house can mean a long period of uninterrupted work for you. And if you can arrange one at someone else’s house, that’s all the better.
But do keep in mind siblings. Will a play date for one cause friction? Can all of your children play well with the visiting kid(s)? If not perhaps arrange two play dates.
7. Make appointments; do errands.If you’re taking off work during winter break at all, make it easy on yourself in the upcoming months by eliminating some tedious jobs like haircuts, dentist and doctor appointment, etc. Also get done the things for which you’ll need to bring along the kids, like clothes and shoe shopping. Remember to make appointments far in advance. If your whole school district takes a winter break, chances are you will not be the only one wanting to schedule at the pediatrician’s office.
8. Work on puzzles, art projects,etc.
Multi-step projects and jigsaw puzzles are good for winter break. Often activities that are time consuming or that need long breaks for drying—like clay, beading
or paper mache
–are not something we feel up to tackling during the school year when homework sports and other activities are all vying for our time. Winter break can be the time to plan and execute these projects. And because they continue from day to day this decreases the number of activities you need to plan.