Here are 10 fun ways to keep kids from toddlers to teens entertained and off screens during the upcoming holiday break.
- Day trip adventure: Your adventures can take you outdoors to local parks or indoors to a museum or other kid-friendly attractions. Either way, you should pack your car with the essentials for the day. This includes food and beverages, mittens and hats, and extra tops and pants in case kids get muddy or wet. She also carries clipboards, paper, markers, color pencils, crayons and an assortment of fruit suckers to pass out occasionally as treats. If there's Christmas snow, East Village Park is a great place to go sledding! Or, you can head to the always lovely Ansonia Nature Center.
- Art: You can create an art kit for your kids with just a shoebox filled with colored pencils, crayons, pens, scissors, tape, a glue stick and a small sketchpad available at WalMart or Walgreens. Or, head to The Giggling Pig Art Studio on River Road. Walk-in sessions typically cost between $12 - $15, or you can sign up for classes and events.
- Indoor fort-building with paper snowball fights: Natalie Kryger, a Snoqualmie, WA mom of four boys under age 15, encourages parents to not overbook kids with activities over the break. “Boredom is often the mother of invention. Make a fort in the living room with blankets and have an indoor snowball fight with wadded up wrapping paper from Christmas.”
- Pizza and movie party: Kryger says “have your own pizza party with a personal size pizza dough ball" (available at any of the grocery stores listed in the Directory). "Have them choose toppings from a selection on the table, bake and let them settle in with a favorite movie."
- Go outside and play: Winter is a great time to get outside and play, especially if you have snow. Try a new activity such as ice skating, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing together as a family. You can rent equipment and find fun winter activities at The Rinks & SportsCenter of Connecticut.
- Play with paper: The traditional Japanese art of origami offers hours of fun and enhances your child’s spatial skills. Tom Angleberger’s Star Wars-themed origami books including The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda and Darth Paper Strikes Back offer both reading and origami fun. All available on Amazon.com or Written Words Bookstore.
- Pool party: Going swimming is a special treat in the cold months of winter. Head to your local indoor pool at the Community Center or stay overnight at Hyatt Hotel, which has an indoor pool and is located next to a bunch of kid-friendly restaurants.
- Puppet show: Attach a clothesline or rope across a doorway. Throw a sheet over it for a curtain and use a box below on the floor for the stage. Give kids paper bags and crayons for easy DIY puppets. Break out the socks and gloves, yarn, foam, puff balls, glue gun and googly eyes from Michael's in Milford or Shelton WalMart for fancier versions.
- Break out the board games: Younger kids will love playing games such as Apples to Apples with you, and older kids will enjoy classic board games like Scrabble and Monopoly. If you don't have any board games, you’ll find them on sale—and often in great condition—after the holidays at Yesterday's Consignment Shop on Howe Avenue (easy parking!)
- Bake: My mother bakes cookies with my son and daughter every year during the holiday break, teaching them how to make the cookies her Lithuanian mother made for her as a child. You can bake at home with your kids, have grandparents deal with the mess at their house, or bring your kids to a cooking class for children at Kim's Light Cafe.
TELL US: What do you plan on doing with your kids during winter break? Share in the comments below.