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!
- Make popcorn and watch a movie.
- Make play dough.
- Sign up for a walk or run for a cause.
- Write letters to soilders.
- Go to the library and take out books, rent books on tape and movies.
- Take a trip to the museum.
- Have coloring contests.
- Plan a picnic indoors.
- Have breakfrast food for dinner.
- Hold cooking classes in your own kitchen, invite friends.
- Go biking or sledding.
- Share favorite birthday and vacation stories.
- Walk the beach or hike in the evening.
- Paint bedrooms.
- Learn magic tricks together and put on a show.
- Rent dance videos and hold a dance contest.
- Have a photo taking contest. Share cameras.
- Create books using pictures from magazines.
- Visit nursing homes, bring musical instruments and put on a show.
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
- Make cupcakes and have a decorating party.
- Make your own bananna splits with all kinds of toppings and sprinkles.
- Make smoothies.
- Create awards at awardwinner.com
- Download free e-books.
- Play online games together.
- Make bubbles.
- Hold a family game night.
- Visit the zoo.
- Design a family website.
- Fill with family pictures and essays.
- Ride bikes in another city.
- Go rollerblading.
- Attend free festivals.
- Attend free concerts.
- Press flowers and make cards.
- Decorate thank-you notes, write messages inside, put stamps on envelopes
they will be ready to go as needed.
- Decorate placemats on construction paper and cover with contact paper.
- Play charades.
- Decorate small notebooks and begin daily journal.
- Organize dresser drawers.
- Clean bedrooms.
- Draw pictures and mail to other family members.
- Finger paint with pudding.
- Collect rocks and paint them.
- Tie dye T-shirts and matching socks
- Share daydreams.
- Rent a yoga video for kids.
- Rent dance videos and have a contest after practicing.
- Make a bird feeder.
- Wash the family cars together.
- Make macaroni jewelry and art.
- Visit playgrounds and local parks.
- Visit a working farm.
- Take nature walks.
- Go fishing.
- Arrange photo albums.
- Play flashlight tag.
- Practice musical instruments.
- Do brain teasers.
- Make gift cards.
- Make birthday cards.
- Trace cookie cutters, decorate and cut out.
- Write stories about past family events you have in photo albums.
- Play card games.
- Decorate clay pots.
- Plant flowers in the decorated pots.
- Do jigsaw puzzles.
- Sleep outside under the stars.
- Research a new hobby at the library.
- Play a family memory game. ie What are the name of your great-grandparents?
- Make a collage of what you are thankful for.
- Make paper bag puppets.
- Write love and appreciation letters to each other.
- Cut out coupons together.
- Read to each other from joke books.
- Make friendship pins.
- Make potatoe stamp art.
- Play scrabble.
- Do science expeirments.
- Create a secret family code.
- Plan next summer’s vacation.
- Go bowling.
- Play indoor golf.
- Play broom ball.
- Practice and become good at hackeysack.
- Each child collects things they don’t use anymore. Play bingo and choose things for prizes.
- Have a fashion show.
- Study a topic and hold a debate.
- Tour a city.
- Visit a beekeeper.
- Visit a farmer’s market.
- Visit a flea market.
- Visit an auction.
- Watch a sporting event you’ve never seen before.
- Learn how to use a compass and practice your skills.
- Try to break a world record.
- Ride horses.
- Go rock climbing.
- Have a Frisbee
- Go on a scavenger hunt.
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