Winter break is fast approaching. Depending on where your kids go to school, winter break could be a few days or up to two weeks! If you or your partner have made arrangements to be at home with them during this time, there’s a lot of pressure to find ways to entertain younger children. Here we have compiled a list of simple activities that will keep them busy and keep you from becoming the household cruise director.
Simple ideas for family fun during winter break.
1. Bake for friends and family. Even if “baking” means decorating easy slice-and-bake cookies from the store, this is a fun seasonal activity that can double as a Christmas gift. Bake and decorate cookies, scones, or quick breads with the kids then wrap them up as gifts for family, friends, or neighbors.
2. Make Christmas ornaments. If you’re the Pinterest type, go ahead and find a fun tutorial. As an alternative, you can also find unfinished white porcelain ornaments at most craft stores. The kids will love painting them and hanging them on the tree!
3. Host a board game tournament. Pick a few of your favorite board games to play and host a “tournament.” Depending on the age and competitive nature of your kiddos, you could even have small prizes.
4. Color — grown ups too! Get out the crayons, pencils, and markers and just spend some time together coloring. Help out younger children with their coloring or pick up a couple adult coloring books (that’s a thing now) so you can enjoy the activity too!
5. Build-your-own pizza bar. Great for lunch or dinner, grab a pack of mini-pizza crusts and a variety of toppings. Choose a variety of sliced meats, vegetables, and different cheeses. Let the kids build their own pizza. This is a great activity for picky toddlers — they’re more likely to eat their meal if they help make it!
6. Classic Christmas movie marathon. They don’t make ‘em like they used to! Give the hi-def CG a break this season and fire up the old holiday classics: Miracle on 34th Street (1947), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966), Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), Frosty the Snowman (1969), A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), and Jack Frost (1979).
7. Take turns hosting a sleepover. If your pre-holiday to-do list is overwhelming, talk to other parents in your kids’ class and take turns hosting sleepovers over winter break. This will give you time to finish shopping, finish wrapping, get the house ready for guests, or just decompress. For winter sleepover ideas, check out our fun post on how to throw a ‘cookie swap’ sleepover!
8. Make post-holiday thank you cards. Have the kids design and create thank you cards to send to thank grandmas, grandpas, aunties, and uncles to thank them for gifts received during the holiday season. Not only is it a simple crafting activity, it’s a great way to teach them gratitude. Make the cards now and fill them out later!
9. Build a gingerbread house together. Not only is this a creative, fun, delicious activity — it kills quite a bit of time! Gingerbread house kits are affordable and bake-free these days. Pick up all the holiday candies and let the kids build an epic edible centerpiece for Christmas dinner that doubles as dessert!
10. Write your own bedtime story. This imaginative activity may require some help with little kids when it comes to writing. After they’ve dreamed up their own bedtime stories, have them illustrate each page and clip or staple it together into a book. After the kids put on their pajamas, they’ll be eager to read their stories before bed!
11. Build a fort in the living room. Living room, their bedrooms — anywhere. It’s surprising, but once the kids have constructed their own space, they’ll want to eat, sleep, and play there. This is a simple way to entertain them and get a moment of peace while they amuse themselves in their new digs!
12. Have a spa day at home. Stock up on foot soaks, nail polish, eye masks, and magazines and host a winter spa day with the kids at home. The best part of this activity is that you don’t need to get out of your bathrobe!
13. Host a family book club. A fun activity for the book-loving family is to read the same book together! Get your own copies or borrow from the library. For younger children, maybe this means that the whole family participates in storytime before bed. The kids will love reading together with their parents and siblings.
14. Make homemade hot cocoa together. We know, we know — you can get the packets at the grocery store. Hot chocolate is actually really easy to make at home with just a handful of ingredients. There are a lot of simple recipes available online that you can follow. If you’re not a baker, this is also a simple holiday kitchen activity you can enjoy with your kids. The best part? Hot chocolate is so much more decadent when it’s homemade!
15. Family “sleepover” with matching family pajamas. If your kids’ friends are out of town for the holidays, have a family sleepover with matching PJs. Do everything you would do for the kids, but for your family. That means chips, pizza, candy, no bedtime, games, movies flashlights, and sleeping bags. Think of it as a mini-staycation before the holiday madness.
We hope you and your kids enjoy some of these ideas during your winter break. Looking for more ideas for family fun during the holidays? Check out The Pajama Company blog at thepajamacompany.com/blog.