Christmas break is taking place all over. Like most parents I am not given the luxury of taking the next two weeks off with the kids.
Actually after finishing up with work, school programs, shopping, gift wrapping and sending out all your cards the fact is most parents are tapped out by the time the holiday comes around. So we decided to come up with a cool list of things to do with the family over the holidays.
Declutter for the New Year:
Try putting away your new items and clearing out a few of the old ones. Storing Christmas decorations and finding homes for new gifts can be a great time as a family to empty closets and simplify your life just a little, especially when Santa has brought a whole new pile of toys to enjoy.
Pay it forward:
Now that you’ve received, consider something nice you can do for someone in need. It might be donating those items to charity or maybe making something for your neighbors. You could also volunteer together at a local shelter or soup kitchen, or hand out sandwiches to the homeless. Giving your kids the opportunity to serve others is one of the best gifts you could ever give!
Host a game night:
It might not be the most original idea, but Christmas break is a great time to break out your favorite board games that you never seem to have time to play and let each family member choose their favorite. Try all-ages games or team up if you need to cover many different ranges and abilities.
Make a terrarium:
Even if you don’t have snow, January weather is typically not the time for lush greenery. Making a mini-terrarium can give kids an opportunity to learn a little horticulture and play in the dirt, even if they’re inside. Depending on how green your thumb is, you can go traditional or try moss and lichens.
Make a village:
Now that you have a terrarium, think of new ways to decorate it. Make mini-fairies or dinosaurs. Try Fimo or Sculpey clay and build little creatures to go adventuring in your bottle-world. Kids can use sticks, rocks and other small items to make homes for their miniature friends. Alternatively, you could create a city out of blocks, legos, or even cardboard boxes. Whichever medium you choose, it is a great opportunity for kids to use their imaginations, and the possibilities are endless! Make the time even more special by getting on the floor and playing alongside them.
You’ll have to eat at some point, so why not let this time be an opportunity to teach your kids some culinary skills? Try something zany, like letting every family member choose one favorite food, or try a new ethic food. My kids loved making these Pizza Muffins. Or read D.W. the Picky Eater it is a great story to encourage your children to try new foods. Even the healthiest moms and the pickiest eaters can find middle ground.
If your family is the dramatic type, try hosting a theater night. Depending on how much time and involvement you would like, children can invite guests or friends, write a script, practice parts, make costumes and enact a Broadway worthy-performance. Even if it’s simply for your spouse or their siblings, you’re guaranteed laughter. If your children get writer’s block, try forming a “screenplay” off a favorite book or story.
Draw on the walls:
Get a large piece of butcher paper or use up the back of leftover wrapping paper. Using painter’s tape, stick the paper onto your largest empty wall, the kitchen floor or any other surface. Start on a corner and work with your kids to create a one-of-a-kind mural. Draw a town, outer space, or whatever your children can come up with in their imaginations. See if you can draw the world!
This one takes a little additional work and planning from mom or dad, but can be really fun and involved. Set up clues around the house and, depending on skill level, have one lead to another or go all-out and have an off-season “Easter egg” hunt. Be sure to have a few special items, gold stars or a prize for the “winner.”
New Years Bucket List:
With the New Year approaching, gather the family around and create a New Year bucket list. Fill the list with activities, family outings, events, vacations, and more to do in the New Year. This gives you a head start on trying to achieve some of these goals and a great look at the type of events the members in your family are interested in doing.
Whatever you decide to do, remember that the object is to enjoy time as a family and to take some moments to truly appreciate this break from the norm. Get to know each other a little better and make some holiday memories that will last forever!