In some parts of the country, kids have an end-of-winter break in February. You might still have snow on the ground, or it might be starting to warm up where you are. Have you thought about planning fun activities for your kids’ week at home? Without the excitement of the winter holidays or the warm weather of spring and summer, February vacation can leave you with cabin fever if you don’t think ahead. Here are a few ideas for keeping everyone entertained, and in enjoying the last winter hurrah before spring:
*Feed and count birds. This year, the Great Backyard Bird Count falls on the weekend of February 17 to 20, 2012, but even if you’re not participating in the official count, you can pick out a day or so to keep track of the birds in your backyard. If you don’t have a bird identification guide, pick one up at your local library. Roll pine cones in peanut butter, then in birdseed, and hang them from a tree, and watch your winged friends flock to the food. If you don’t have a yard or a tree, consider packing up some bread crusts and driving to a local pond or lake to feed the ducks. Many people do this in the summer, but by the end of the winter, the ducks might be feeling pretty lonely!
*Keep your eyes open for Presidents’ Week activities. Some historical societies and museums may offer special discounts or attractions during this time. Also, your local library may have special children’s programming centering around the Presidents.
*Enjoy winter-only family activities for what may be the last time. If you still have snow on the ground where you live, take the kids sledding. By February, chances are that the local pond won’t have ice thick enough to skate on safely, but if you have an outdoor skating rink nearby, go now before it get too warm. Scrape up whatever snow you can and make a snowman. Hurry, before it all melts away!
*Observe Mexican Flag Day, which takes place on February 24. Make Mexican flags, have a dance party complete with maracas, serve up some Mexican food for lunch or dinner, and teach your kids a few Spanish words.
*Keep love in the air. Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stop decorating with hearts and sharing love wherever you go. Show them how to make friendship bracelets, make heart-shaped cookies, and deliver to your friends in the neighborhood. Inspire them to each commit a daily “random act of kindness,” either to someone else in the family, to a friend or to a stranger.
*Start preparations now for the spring holidays. Celebrate Mardi Gras in anticipation of Lent and Easter. If you have St. Patrick’s Day decorations, start bringing them out; otherwise, make some shamrocks to display during the month of March.
*Start your spring cleaning early. While your kids won’t want to spend their entire break working around the house, accomplishing a few projects this week will make your job all the more easier once it’s warm enough to open the windows and get some deep cleaning done. Go through their toys with them, weeding out as necessary. They might enjoy spraying and squeegeeing the windows, and if you have a duster with a long handle, dusting off the ceiling fan blades or the up-high molding in your home is an out-of-the-ordinary chore for a school-aged child.
Do you have any plans for your kids’ winter break?