101 Things To Do With Children On Holiday Break

by Tess

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When I was a kid!
Children often get restless while on winter break. Parents often find themselves at wits end trying to keep them entertained. Being one out of 10 children my mom always put us to work.

We lived in an old farmhouse and every winter break she had us paint the inside of the home including all of the woodwork. I remember listening to Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash as we slapped our paint on the walls. Looking back she didn’t really care how good our job was done, just that we finished it.

When we were finished we were then sent to the city to help my Aunt Helen clean and paint her large apartment complex. At the end of vacation we had the feeling of accomplishment and my mom and Aunt Helen were thrilled!

My payoff: My husband and I continue to do all of our own painting. Two summers ago we painted my granddaughter Mackenzie’s bedroom orange and grandson AJ’s room gray with a dark blue ”English D” on the wall for the Detroit Tigers. We allowed them to “slap” on paint with us just as my mom did many years ago. For them the moments were magical, the finished project delightful.

I do encourage all parents to give their children chores and special projects to do during their vacation time. Not only will it save you time, it will give them an opportunity to do good and honorable work.

Spend time helping if you can and praise, praise, praise. You need 5 compliments for each criticism!

However the following tips are mostly fun. It is called a “break” after all. Inviting friends and neighbors to join you will double the fun! 

  1. Make popcorn and watch a movie.
  2. Make play dough.
  3. Sign up for a walk or run for a cause.
  4. Write letters to soilders.
  5. Go to the library and take out books, rent books on tape and movies.
  6. Take a trip to the museum.
  7. Have coloring contests.
  8. Plan a picnic indoors.
  9. Have breakfrast food for dinner.
  10. Hold cooking classes in your own kitchen, invite friends.
  11. Go biking or sledding.
  12. Share favorite birthday and vacation stories.
  13. Walk the beach or hike in the evening.
  14. Paint bedrooms.
  15. Learn magic tricks together and put on a show.
  16. Rent dance videos and hold a dance contest.
  17. Have a photo taking contest. Share cameras.
  18. Create books using pictures from magazines.
  19. Visit nursing homes, bring musical instruments and put on a show.
  20. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
  21. Make cupcakes and have a decorating party.
  22. Make your own bananna splits with all kinds of toppings and sprinkles.
  23. Make smoothies.
  24. Create awards at awardwinner.com
  25. Download free e-books.
  26. Play online games together.
  27. Make bubbles.
  28. Hold a family game night.
  29. Visit the zoo.
  30. Design a family website.
  31. Fill with family pictures and essays.
  32. Ride bikes in another city.
  33. Go rollerblading.
  34. Attend free festivals.
  35. Attend free concerts.
  36. Press flowers and make cards.
  37. Decorate thank-you notes, write messages inside, put stamps on envelopes
    they will be ready to go as needed.
  38. Decorate placemats on construction paper and cover with contact paper.
  39. Play charades.
  40. Decorate small notebooks and begin daily journal.
  41. Organize dresser drawers.
  42. Clean bedrooms.
  43. Draw pictures and mail to other family members.
  44. Finger paint with pudding.
  45. Collect rocks and paint them.
  46. Tie dye T-shirts and matching socks
  47. Share daydreams.
  48. Rent a yoga video for kids.
  49. Rent dance videos and have a contest after practicing.
  50. Make a bird feeder.
  51. Wash the family cars together.
  52. Make macaroni jewelry and art.
  53. Visit playgrounds and local parks.
  54. Visit a working farm.
  55. Take nature walks.
  56. Go fishing.
  57. Arrange photo albums.
  58. Play flashlight tag.
  59. Practice musical instruments.
  60. Do brain teasers.
  61. Make gift cards.
  62. Make birthday cards.
  63. Trace cookie cutters, decorate and cut out.
  64. Write stories about past family events you have in photo albums.
  65. Play card games.
  66. Decorate clay pots.
  67. Plant flowers in the decorated pots.
  68. Do jigsaw puzzles.
  69. Sleep outside under the stars.
  70. Research a new hobby at the library.
  71. Play a family memory game. ie What are the name of your great-grandparents?
  72. Make a collage of what you are thankful for.
  73. Make paper bag puppets.
  74. Write love and appreciation letters to each other.
  75. Cut out coupons together.
  76. Read to each other from joke books.
  77. Make friendship pins.
  78. Make potatoe stamp art.
  79. Play scrabble.
  80. Do science expeirments.
  81. Create a secret family code.
  82. Plan next summer’s vacation.
  83. Go bowling.
  84. Play indoor golf.
  85. Play broom ball.
  86. Practice and become good at hackeysack.
  87. Each child collects things they don’t use anymore. Play bingo and choose things for prizes.
  88. Have a fashion show.
  89. Study a topic and hold a debate.
  90. Tour a city.
  91. Visit a beekeeper.
  92. Visit a farmer’s market.
  93. Visit a flea market.
  94. Visit an auction.
  95. Watch a sporting event you’ve never seen before.
  96. Learn how to use a compass and practice your skills.
  97. Try to break a world record.
  98. Ride horses.
  99. Go rock climbing.
  100. Have a Frisbee
  101. Go on a scavenger hunt.
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    { 18 comments… read them below or add one }

    Neil December 5, 2008 at 9:25 am

    That’s an exhausting list! Fortunately my little guy isn’t even crawling yet, so entertaining him is rather easy. A great resource for parents though!

    Neil’s last blog post..Surviving Black Friday With Your Wallet Intact

    Reply

    MizFit December 6, 2008 at 4:53 am

    I laugh as Im off to do number two right now…and then number 8 :)

    have a great day.

    MizFit’s last blog post..Who’s the new MotorolaMizFit?! (& other random Friday chickenbus)

    Reply

    Tess December 7, 2008 at 7:31 am

    Neil, baby’s are fun and life is simple! Enjoy.

    MizFit, It sounds like you’re busy! The best advice I received when my twins were small was to keep your camera on the kitchen counter so I didn’t miss the best moments!

    Tess’s last blog post..101 Things To Do With Children On Holiday Break

    Reply

    Ellen September 30, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Hey who eva u r,

    what would u do with a 11 year old girl cause i have one and she is always bored and all the things u have r BORING. soz 2 say but it is true.

    Ellen the one u will never meet!!! lol

    Reply

    Ellen September 30, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    hey plz answer me i need help and i ned it now and u better answer me by tomorrow or else i will be killin myself cause i have no idea what 2 do with me kid ok ok ok ok i need to get this sooooooooooon!!!! ASAP!!!!!!
    okokokokokok
    Ellen the one u will never meet!!!!

    Reply

    Ellen September 30, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    btw lollollollollollollolol and yes that is a skilll!!!!!! lol ty
    Ellen the one u will never meet!!! lol

    Reply

    Holiday Rentals March 1, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Wow those are good ideas. But I’m afraid to show it to my kids coz they might wana do all of them…at the same time!!! :(

    Reply

    arumib June 15, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Some people may find the holidays stressful because they may have family problems, but I love them. I always get along with both sides.

    Reply

    Sabrina July 7, 2010 at 1:51 am

    I’ll keep this list handy :) I would have never thought of more than half of the activities listed here.

    I’d like to add these to my list too:
    > Learn to play a sport as a family (For us, it will be tennis this year!)
    > Go swimming
    > Make t-shirts for each other with funny quotes written on them (It would be fun if these matched the person’s character!)
    > Go on a road trip (For us, every year, it’s destination nowhere! It’s a lot of fun! We just pack our bags, bring along our tents and sleeping bags just in case hotels/inns won’t be available wherever we’re going and head off to … wherever!)

    Reply

    Christie February 22, 2011 at 3:34 am

    You make me want to print out this whole list and stick it onto our cork board at home! Thank you so much for the suggestions, Tess! Ia have a 6-year-old boy and a 2-year-old little girl, plus two rowdy little nephews aged 6 and 8 staying over at our house.Whew! Now you get why I am in desperate need of activity suggestions. ;)

    Reply

    Jt Clough | Big Island Dog December 4, 2011 at 9:49 am

    So here’s my take on this list. I think it’s also an absolutely fabulous list to do as adults too!
    I’ve found since the tv is no longer the focus our evenings or weekends we DO more things. And I’ve found myself saying things before like, “Why is it that people look at adults oddly when they play as though they are children?” Answer: Because adults don’t do it often enough, it appears odd.
    My mission: Make it not so odd. I’m adding these to our adult list of things to do.
    Mahalo Tess :)
    Jt Clough | Big Island Dog´s last post…Holiday Pumpkin Dog Recipe

    Reply

    Glen @ ICe Castle December 7, 2011 at 1:15 am

    WOW! Such a huge list you have in here for this fun break. I sure think that no parents will ever think of something from the long list you have shown.

    Reply

    Glen @ ICe Castle December 31, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Have a Happy New Year and a Prosperous 2012 ahead.

    Reply

    Abigail January 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Thanks, im on 17

    Reply

    bored April 3, 2012 at 3:33 am

    its not very good i showed it to a 12year old and she sais that it was all boring

    Reply

    Geoff Page April 9, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Thank you. You saved my Spring break with my 7 year old and 12 year old. When we went to get the contact paper, the local craft store (all of ‘em) were out. But one was getting rid of their bird feeders which were shapes of eggs, rocket ships and little castles. So we painted those.

    Reply

    Sareeta August 14, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Wow what a incredible list I’ll keep this for rainy days during my summer holidays.

    Reply

    Johan Horak @capeholidays August 30, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Interesting list Tess. I remember growing up on a farm. We had lots to do but we got bored as well. My grandfather made me a boxcar. Then my friend wanted one as well. Grandfather obliged but his parts were limited. Going down hill fast my mate would come short many times. Ha ha.

    Grandfather. You did a great job of making me a winner.

    Have fun
    Johan Horak @capeholidays´s last post…14 Holiday Things To Do With Kids In Cape Town

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