Quick, Easy, Doable Activities For Kids Over Winter Break

Winter break is nearing for many families! It is exciting that the holidays are well on their way and we are able to celebrate a great time of the year with family and friends. However… if you’re like me, winter break can also feel very long and sometimes daunting. I’ve found that when my oldest is home from school even just for the weekend, she struggles with not being in the same routine and not having an adult constantly telling her what to do and where to go. Basically, she’s looking for me to entertain her. And with a household to run, food to make for parties, clothes to coordinate for family pictures, presents to wrap, and more, I just cannot add “entertaining my 5-year-old all day every day” to that list. It’s impractical for everyone. So alas, here are a few *mostly independent but can also benefit from some light supervision while you load the dishwasher* activities you can try with your kids, as well as a few family things to do during winter break. (Or is it a few months?? Because it feels that way sometimes.) 

Invite a friend. Now that they’ve been in school for roughly a semester, friendships are more established and planning playdates with peers is easier. People tell me all of the time how nice I am to have so many neighbor kids in and out of my house constantly but to be honest, it really doesn’t make my job as a mom any harder. If anything, it makes it easier! They all play so well together that I can happily supervise their play while I fold laundry and they run from room to room pretending they are being chased by pirates. 

Indoor bowling. Those red solo cups you have stashed away for your next Christmas party? Spare a few for your child to create a tower of cups that they can turn around and knock over with a soft ball. You can also use stuffed animals, nerf guns, or rolled-up socks. Once your kid masters making the tower by themselves, this activity becomes one that can be done by themselves with supervision. 

Paint with water. Always my favorite go-to activity! Construction paper + paintbrushes + cup of water = entertainment. Just remember not to fill the cup of water with too much, in case of a spill. 

Stuffed animal sort. The best part of this activity is that they get to pull ALL of their stuffed animals out into the middle of their bedroom or the family room. And we all know your collection is huge… what kid doesn’t have at least 1000 of them? Once they have all the stuffies out, give them different ways to sort them. Sort by color, sort by size, sort by how many arms and legs they have. There are so many possibilities! 

Winter/ Christmas/ Holiday book-a-thon. Have a basket full of the books you want to read over winter break that stick with a collective theme. Then each night you grab a book and read together before bed. Or first thing in the morning. Or at lunchtime. Either way, it gives everyone something to be excited about each day. You can see our big list of Christmas and other holiday books here! 

Dance parties. We are huge, huge believers in dance parties at our house! They can be used for changing the mood of the day, to kill time, or for those moments when you just need to utilize your gross motor skills. 

Take a field trip. Staying home over winter break can mean a lot of staying indoors and going a little stir-crazy. A field trip for your family can be as simple as a quick run to the grocery store for everyone to pick out a snack, or as extravagant as visiting your town’s aquarium! The goal is to get out and experience something besides the same four walls of your home! 

Get outside. I know, I know. It’s winter. It’s cold. But the benefits are incredible and after some good, quality time outside, you’ll all be refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day. 

Here’s to wishing you good luck in surviving winter break! We can do this together!

Thoughts On Kid’s Extracurriculars

Back in February of 2019, I saw Mary’s post about placing her kids in activities and her formula for whether or not they should be in them. Here’s what she came up with, 

“Stress of making activity happen > benefit of activity = CANCEL regret-free!” 

When I read her post, my oldest was not even two years old yet so we were not even thinking about extracurriculars yet. However, I made a mental note about it to remember for the future. 

So far in the last two years, my kids have participated in swim lessons, soccer, dance, tumbling, and a handful of others. Every single time we’ve gone through an activity I have the same thought process, “what is this activity’s worth? Are the stresses of making this activity happen worth it?” 

Soccer? Nope. It was not worth it. But we learned and moved on. 

Swim lessons? Because of the nature of the private swim lessons we did, it was definitely the most commitment, the longest drive, and the most stressful. But having my kids become water safe and able to self-rescue in the water before they were a year old? Worth it. 

Dance? It didn’t interfere with any meal times, it was an easy time of the day to go, and it was close enough for us to walk. But my daughter protested it each week, and that alone made it not worth it. 

Tumbling? Easy time of the day, the location was close, and my daughter loved it and was learning so much. Yes. Worth it. 

Even at our preschool, I try every year to keep it in close proximity to our house and within decent times that are doable for us. 

And I have to say, I love it! I don’t feel like I’m spending all of my free time in my minivan acting as a chauffeur and my kids are spending more time in my backyard and in our playroom with neighbors and friends instead of buckled into their car seats rushing to the next thing. They are getting a great dose of unstructured play because of this handy formula that Mary created. 

And just because the video that Mary shared in her post was so perfect, I wanted to share it again here.