Winter break is here and some of us might be thrilled, while the rest of us… maybe not so much. The culprit ruining the chances of a fun winter break all lie in boredom. When the kids get bored, they bug mom and dad (and each other), the time starts to drag and we all wonder when school is going to start again. But, if you plan ahead and keep five simple tips in mind- the whole family is sure to have an easy and fun winter break together!
1. Move Around and Have Fun
Just about everyone gets stir crazy if they don’t get their body moving at some point in the day. Think about easy and fun ways to make that happen: build an obstacle course, use the clock and make timed races, encourage some alternative furniture use with a heated game of Lava. Try packing everyone up and head to your local gym with childcare so you can get moving at the same time, too!
2. Get Creative as a Family
The hardest part of arts and crafts is the mental hurdle of commiting to the mess. Once you accept that there will be messes, think about all of the doors that suddenly open! There are endless indoor activities that might even end up with fun mementos or masterpieces. Pull out the Play-Doh, try finger paints, and grab some dollar store coloring books or free printable pages. Now is the perfect time to introduce watercolor techniques. Keep it simple and lay out a pile of supplies and let their little minds find a path of their own.
3. Enjoy the Winter Air
Besides the extreme weather type of days- there’s really no reason to not get outside. Bringing everyone outside has so many benefits, from getting your Vitamin D intake to getting your body moving and breathing in some fresh air. Depending on your location, that can include fun activities like sledding and building snowmen, but it can always include a family hike or time exploring nature. Get the bikes and scooters out if there isn’t ice around and enjoy the extra chill in the air.
4. Take a Water Break
A fun tip that can be an easy way to reset the day is getting into the water. You can draw a bath and put in some bubbles or color drops and turn it into a special mini-swimming-session. If a bath seems too involved, try getting a tub of water out and letting the kids give their toys a bath. Having a “truck wash” or “barbie salon” is a fun way to incorporate different sensory play and really changes the pace of the day. (plus keeps the kids entertained for so long!)
5. Make it Special
My final trick is to make everything special. Special Christmas Movie Night. Special Breakfast for Dinner night. Special, special, special! When you add that magical word in front of the usual mundane activity you have planned, the kids get that little glimmer in their eye and everything suddenly becomes… special. You can always beef up the activity to make it more special, too. Try adding in some special treats to eat while you watch a Christmas movie, letting dinnertime slide a little bit later, or even taking a detour on your way home from running errands to check out the neighborhood’s Christmas lights.
And a bonus tip is to know yourself and your boundaries. If you’re like me and you need some quiet and downtime at any point during the day, let the kids know what to expect. Even just saying “We’re going to have quiet time for an hour at 1 PM,” can do wonders for introverts and help reset a long day. Plus, I know my kids appreciate being told a plan ahead of time. Preparing for a needed break can provide that mental relief that many of us long for when taking care of kids.
Keep these five tools in your back pocket for when thumbs start twiddling and bickering starts rising. Pull one of them out, and everyone will be a little happier to have this special extra time together. It’s time to slow down and remember what we’re really focusing on during the holiday season- Family. Do you have favorite games or tips for keeping winter break fun? Share them in the comments below!