The holiday season is here and we have a special gift for you. Here’s list of 25 ideas for things kid can do on their own, or with a parent or caregiver, that should help you survive -- and even have some fun -- until the holiday break is over.
1. Bake some cookies together. Keep a few batches for yourself, deliver the rest as gifts.
2. Host a holiday-themed movie party/sleepover. Have a few of your kids’ friends over for a fun afternoon (or night if you want to make it a sleepover) of watching holiday movies. Provide a few snacks or have them help you make a homemade pizza.
3. Volunteer together. This is something you can do year-round, but the holidays are usually a time when more help is needed. Soup kitchens and food banks in particular are often looking for extra help during the season. If your child is under the age of 16, you may either need to grant permission or be present. Check to see if your local mall needs gift wrappers. Many malls offer gift wrapping services, often provided by volunteers, with funds raised going to local charities.
4. Create a treasure hunt. Amazing fun that will keep kids busy for hours.
5. Go outside and play. Especially in today’s technology driven world, we forget about the simplicity of encouraging outdoor play. Make sure they’re well bundled if you’re fortunate enough to live in a cold winter environment and let them enjoy the fresh air.
6. Have kids help prepare holiday meals. Most kids like to explore in the kitchen. Yes, it will take longer than if you did it yourself and yes, your kitchen will likely be much messier but the skills that you’ll be able to teach are much more important than some spilled flour.
7. Check to see if your local movie theater offers special holiday prices. Most movie theater chains will offer discounted tickets during the local school break as a way of encouraging the movie-going experience so check it out!
8. Read a chapter book out loud. Or even go on and read a whole series together.
9. Do something nice for someone. Shovel a neighbor’s walk, walk their dog, make dinner for a friend, offer to wrap gifts for someone.
10. Have your kids make everything from holiday cards or gift tags to tree ornaments. The possibilities are endless and most require very few supplies.
11. Learn something new together. Learn to juggle, play the harmonica, knit, etc., or take a class in Cooking, yoga, ice skating, music, etc.
12. Learn to use Skype. And then teach the grandparents so you can keep in touch even after the holiday’s over.
13. Build a fort. Let the kids loose in the living room with pillow and blankets. Turn the fort into an overnight sleepout spot.
14. See a live performance together. Live entertainment abounds this time of year and many venues offer special family or matinee pricing.
15. Put on your own dramatic performance. Write a script, sew costumes or just do a little improv. The rules are simple, one child is in charge and gets to direct. The others must go along with it. You will need to have a day like this for each child. The one in charge gets to direct, assign roles and costumes. You get to watch the finished project!
16. Play (or learn) card games. Amazing how much fun you can have with a single pack of playing cards. Little ones can learn crazy eights or Old Maid. Teach the older kids rummy or poker, or discover new games to master.
17. Make a time capsule. Time capsules are a fun way to record the present and remember the past. They are easy to make, and your kids will love making predictions about their lives!
18. Flashlight tag. Give everyone a flashlight and turn out the lights! If you get ‘tagged’ you’re out or you’re frozen.
19. Make Cootie Catchers. If you don't remember how to make one, go online.
20. Plan for daily quiet time. At the library check out several story books or a novel to read together over the holiday. Try audio books too! REMEMBER: talking about books is almost as important as reading them.
21. Have everyone in the family (parents too!) write down 2 or 3 favorite activities on a small piece of paper. Put them all in a jar and pull one out when the kids get bored.
22. Make Silly Putty. This childhood favorite is a cinch to make, and it will provide hours of entertainment.
23. Go sledding. If you’re lucky enough to have snow, then look for a nearby hill for hours of entertainment. Grab your tube, toboggan, or saucer for hours of entertainment. Sledding is fun for all ages, but toddlers should ride with a parent, and should be well-bundled in layers to stay warm and cushion their tumbles.
24. Play board games. Put your family to the test with the ultimate board-game challenge. Set up a championship and spend the day competing for prizes.
25. Make ice candles. Help kids transform your backyard into a winter wonderland with this enchanting and easy outdoor activity.