Keeping Kids Entertained Over the Winter Break

| December 26, 2019 | 67 Comments

Kids on a cabin patioBecause of where Christmas and New Years Day fall during the week, many kids have over two weeks off from school this year. While summer vacation is a great time to throw open the back door and let the kids play outside all day, winter’s cold temperatures tend to keep kids cooped up inside. Children overexcited from the holidays and extra sugar forced to stay indoors creates a chaos level that can drive any mom nuts! You’re going to need to think through how you plan to spend the next couple of weeks to save everyone’s sanity. Here are some ideas:

  • Don’t plan anything for a day or two after Christmas, if possible. The kids will be eager to play with their toys. My family doesn’t place any time limits on electronics for the first few days after the holidays; we let the kids play new video games to their hearts’ content… usually after a day or two, their excitement has waned a bit, and in the meantime, it keeps them occupied and entertained. Aside from video games, get on the floor to play new board games with them and help them put together new puzzles or organize their new craft materials.
  • By Thursday or Friday, they’ll start to get antsy and bored, most likely. Choose one of these days for a daytrip! While the museums will likely be packed to the gills with kids, your zoos might not be, particularly if it’s cold in your area. Bundle up and go visit the lions, tigers and bears while the crowds are relatively low. This is a great way for kids to expend some energy, too, so they’re likely to return home ready to sleep well.
  • Let them get a little bit messy. Think of some type of art or craft project that you wouldn’t normally allow, put down some dropcloths, and plan on being involved. My kids used to love painting the sliding glass doors. Let them use tempera paints to make a beautiful masterpiece; just be sure to watch carefully that they don’t step in any paint and track it across the carpet. (I know that from experience!) When the time comes to wash it off, a sponge with soapy water will get the bulk of the paint off, then you can use glass cleaner to take the rest off.
  • Go sledding. Or ice skating or skiing or snowman-building. If there’s snow on the ground, take full advantage! If you live in a warmer climate, like I do, hit the beach or playground for some running-around fun!
  • Catch a game. College sports teams will still be playing, and they’re usually inexpensive. If you have a college in the vicinity, make a day out of visiting the campus for a swim meet, hockey game or basketball match!

Think of things to do over winter break now, before boredom sets in. It might be a good idea to write down your ideas on the calendar so the kids know what to expect and won’t be asking for the week’s plans every day.

What fun things do you have planned for the next couple of weeks?

Comments (67)

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  1. Tammi Bivans says:

    Thank you for these great tips!

  2. Renski says:

    All are great ideas. i sure hope we get enough snow to get to go sledding over the holiday break.

  3. Kathy Idol says:

    My kids are all grown now but these are some get tips.

  4. Jane Ritz says:

    You have some wonderful ides. I think it’s great that this year our children are out of school starting Christmas Eve.Thanks helps alot. I’m the Mimi si I’ll be keeping anyehere from 1 – 6 during this holiday.

  5. Mary Mirvis says:

    I don’t have kids… I would use these ideas myself!! Thanks!

  6. denise smith says:


  7. Julie Wood says:

    Yes, let the kids relax after Christmas because of all the excitement of opening their gifts, and playing with them is all the activity that they need. Then take them out at the end of the week to see a movie and sight see! That is what I do!

  8. Tara says:

    Even though I have 1 child you have to keep busy during the holidays take them places so they feel engaged in other things besides sitting at home for the holiday break

  9. Jo-Ann Brightman says:

    Thanks for the ideas. My kids are adults now , but I’m hop[ing for grandkids and then we can go on excursions.

  10. vickie allbright says:

    thank you for the great tips

  11. Minta says:

    Thanks so much for the great ideas.

  12. Bidisha Banerjee says:

    Thanks for such great ideas. Keeping kids entertained during these winter holidays is really a great task.

  13. JJ Caraway says:

    I get the three grandchildren evry weekend which I am so Blessed to have. Their mom bought craft kits, paint and art & craft accessories for us to entertain the children inside. We also do DIY projects which they just are amazed at some of them. I have pictures they paint hanging on the icebox and on the wall which just light up their little faces.

  14. Lydia says:

    Mine’s not in school yet, but I’ll share these tips with my friends!

  15. Linda Thurber says:

    Very hard to keep them entertained but great ideas!

  16. Bobbie Gilliam says:

    I get them involved with different projects and we go bowling with the kids also they love it

  17. Gina Demaree says:

    These sound like good ideas. I may have to try hooking a sled to my dog and letting her tote the kids around, since we don’t have any hills close. 🙂

  18. Nicole Stewart says:

    Great ideas! Also another thing I do to keep busy when im bored is print out some coloring pages (from online, they are free) and color them in!

  19. Amber Kesatie says:

    Thanks for the tips!

  20. helen says:

    great ideas I hope some of this will work 🙂

  21. Amanda Lawson says:

    Amazing ideas. So gotta keep in mind for when my daughter is older. C:

  22. dvine l says:

    good tips.. we have so many different board games and uno is our favorite card game.. they prefer to be indoors than out unless there’s snow on the ground

  23. Sacha Schroeder says:

    Great ideas. Thank you! I will need them. 🙂

  24. Margie Young says:

    So many wonderful tips ! Thank you !!

  25. sue killgore says:

    wish these had been around when i had young children.

  26. Becky Kuntz says:

    I live where it rains a lot this time of year ! The kids get stuck inside and are super antsy! We get cooped up indoors but we build a fort under our table. We go for walks with our umbrellas, come home and drink hot cocoa. We take the public transit to the movies and see a new kids movie that just came out! We have lots of things planned , but lets hope it does not rain the entire winter break!!!

  27. Mary Blanton says:

    Thank you for all of the wonderful ideas!

  28. ANN*H says:

    Some great ideals here for winter break. This is kind of funny because summer break and winter break as much as kids say I dont like school they get bored and ” I dont got nothing to do” frame of mind. We usually play and build stuff in the snow.

  29. TODD RUMSEY says:

    sounds like a great idea to me

  30. Pam says:

    Great ideas! Mine are all grown-up but these tips would certainly have applied when they were younger.

  31. Holly Trudeau says:

    Thanks for the ideas! I’m always looking for new ways to keep my kiddo entertained so we don’t go stir crazy!

  32. for older kids and teens, we go to see a movie at the dollar theatre….we play board games and card games together….work puzzles, build with blocks, and read, read, read! cooking some fun snacks together…like individual pizzas is always fun too…..Merry Christmas!

  33. librarypat says:

    Good suggestions all. When mine were little, I enjoyed having them home. We played outside, cooked, did crafts, and enjoyed each other’s company. I do miss those days.

  34. Angela Killingsworth says:

    I love these ideas! Thank you! I have two antsy boys 🙂

  35. Kay Culver says:

    I really appreciate the post. Not only is she home two extra days because of snow days, but they don’t go back until the 3rd instead of the 2nd this year for some reason. Not only that I have reduced work schedule so I’m home with her the entire time. My mom has agreed to take her one day…but the other 14 days? It will be some creative cheap ways to exert energy for 2 weeks!

  36. Jennifer Holovack says:

    Would love to take the kids out in the snow but sadly we have no snow in Florida this year 🙁 Perhaps a day trip for a walk on the beach would be nice though.

  37. Jennifer Johansen says:

    We’re lucky in that we have three children’s museums within a reasonable driving distance from our house!

  38. Heather Turner says:

    We google new dance moves. So far I’ve learned how to Cat Daddy, to Stanky Legs, Gungum Style?, Douggie, etc. It’s great exercise and makes for very fun times.

  39. Stephanie Thompson says:

    Great advise, I have my Grandsons over Christmas break and all the ideas above are covered. It gave me the great idea of keeping some of their presents here so they will have them here to play with while here. 🙂

  40. Stephanie Larison says:

    Great ideas! My daughter has been wanting to go sledding so bad, but the little snow we got is already melting.

  41. steve mccuan says:

    i just love all this great stuff for kids , thank you

  42. jules p says:

    these are some great tips. I like the idea of a day trip. I think my kiddos will love that.

  43. rochelle haynes says:

    Thanks for the tips!

  44. amy v says:

    great tips!! i agree that it’s good not to plan anything for a couple days after Christmas because my kids are always eager to play! the zoo is a good idea-hadn’t thought of that!

  45. Shayne says:

    Def good ideas, my kids get so stir crazy from being inside too much when its cold.

  46. Linda Walters says:

    I think you have some great ideas, but my son is old enough now that all he wants is the car to go to friends houses and play computer games

  47. Great ideas! Mine are teens now, so we may check out what is playing at the cheap theater. My son gets especially bored during the breaks, but my daughter usually reads and entertains herself.

  48. Pamela Halligan says:

    I’ve been looking for fun ideas. I know the new toys will only be entertaining for so long. Thanks for the advice. I’m praying for some snow, but it looks like it’ll be rain here in Maryland.

  49. Vanessa D. says:

    Wonderful ideas, Thank you for the information!!

  50. Alicia K says:

    sledding is always cheap entertainment

  51. Joy says:

    Good tips, we used to love to go ice skating at our rec plex.

  52. Denise M says:

    I could use some ideas because they usually go to their grandparents, but don’t think they will this time.

  53. sara m ford says:

    This is a big problem with so many kids they dont know what to do most of there friends are away and they get board. thank you for this

  54. jade tallen says:

    Those are some really good ideas. all my kids do all day is whine about being bored.

  55. Liz says:

    Sounds like some good ideas.

  56. Lauryn Heintzelman says:

    We have done alot of painting, baking, and coloring! lol He is two so its a little hard to find something fun to do. We also go outside when it’s not frezzing.

  57. Allyson Tice says:

    Great tips. We are goign to go to the museum on Saturday and the movies Sunday! The kids will get antsy by Friday so the weekend is covered!

  58. Gianna R says:

    We definitely want to go to the zoo for the Zoo Lights event!

  59. Chrystal D says:

    Great ideas for funt hings to do! Thanks

  60. Meghan says:

    Good idea I forget every year to do something field trip like after being stuck in the house after the holidays! I get so used to being stuck inside when its snowy and yucky outside!

  61. Gricelda castro says:

    Wonderful ideas, Thank you

  62. Kimberly Davis says:

    Very good tips. Thank you very much!

  63. Donna George says:

    I’ve been playing board games and cards with my 14 year old. I am beyond excited at him wanting to spend time with me.

  64. juli guthrie says:

    Great ideas! We love the zoo! the last 2 times we went it ended up raining a bit on us, which was okay since it was warm and the crowds were less than normal.

  65. Rosie says:

    great ideas! I know having my niece or nieces I try to have a little bit of structured planning not just play it by ear! Crafts & daytrips are always great! Growing up there was only one car, so we amused ourselves at play, etc. One good thing I taught myself how to sew, how to paint and how to play piano.

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