Christmas Break is fun but it can be a long stretch of time to be out of a schedule and things to do. We have lots of good ideas though on how to have fun as a family during this time and hopefully not drive each other crazy.
1. At-Home Reading Challenge
Provide books, if needed, or let kids pick out from bookshelves or the library. Older kids can read to the younger ones. Come up with a list of prizes for kids who meet their goals.
2. Christmas Light Driving Tour
Bring some snacks and hot chocolate (and pull-ups or a travel potty if needed)
3. Dance Breaks
Go Noodle is a favorite of ours and this is a great activity to get moving when the weather outside doesn’t cooperate. Challenge kids to make it through the entire song without stopping…hot chocolate or treat for those who do!
4. Handmade Crafts for Grandparents and Family Members
Easy ones are salt dough ornaments, photo frames, sun catchers, Snowy/Rainy-Day Picture Books.
5. Chopped: Christmas Version
If you’ve ever watched Chopped on the Food Network, this is a play on that fun show. Chefs on the show get a box of ingredients for each round and are challenged to make a dish using all of them. For the kid at-home version, provide an array of items for children to pretend to make the same delicious treats they see on the Food Network (be prepared for a mess, but the memories will be amazing!). For older children, provide them with actual baking mixes and see what they bake! Blindfold parents for a fair taste-test.
6. Winter Clean Out
Children always love prizes but hate cleaning so here’s how to make this one fun. Challenge each child to donate x amount of toys; x amount of books; x amount of clothing articles. Assign children a variety of deep-cleaning chores around the home. Come up with a big/fun evening for when the big clean-up is over! Or, break it down into points/stickers/tally marks, and allow kiddos to earn prizes. For younger kids, this could be a sticker, little toy, or book. For older kids, small gift cards, tech time, visit with friends, or a movie night with parents/person of choice are good options.
7. School Challenge
Most kids will go into break wanting an actual break from school, but believe it or not, there are a lot more school-loving children than you might think. Print off a winter challenge packet (Teachers Pay Teachers has amazing resources for anywhere from $5-$20 for holiday break review packets). If children finish, come up with a fun prize for them. Prizes are a common theme here.
8. Go Elfing
Pick 5-10 homes/friends/family members, sanitize your hands and pack little treats in a bag like: hand sanitizer, box of hot chocolate, marshmallows, small treat, personalized note (“You’ve been ELFED!”), or nail polish/beef jerky/cookies/etc. Drop it all off to special friends’/neighbors’/family members’ front porches, ring doorbells and run back to the car, and watch their reaction, or just leave and text to let them know that they have a special prize waiting.
9. Plan a movie/game/cards/tech-free night
Family game nights are fun things to do, especially when it gets dark so early in the evening. These are things to look forward to together.
10. Santa Helper/Good Deed Charts
You might think older kids are too “cool” or big for good-deed charts, but if you adapt the charts to their ages, they will secretly get excited. Prizes for older children can include a trip to Starbucks; a new app; alone time with parents; staying up late; etc. Come up with prize levels for the amount of stickers/tallies, etc., they earn over break.
11. Create Christmas videos to send to family
Have the kids say hi on camera and maybe what they love about each family member and then send the videos out to family on Christmas morning.
12. Create a Family Time Capsule
It’s been a crazy year. Create a family time capsule and bury/store it away somewhere to look back at five, ten or twenty years from now.
13. Arts and Crafts Tub
Kids LOVE to get messy! Let their creative sides shine with this idea. Fill a Sterilite container with all kinds of craft materials. Designate a certain area/table, and allow that to be the “Messy Zone” for Christmas Break. Create a set of clean-up rules and rules for letting crafts dry. For younger kids, designate a time you can sit with them each day to let them have fun. Bonus: Christmas-Card-Making Station for family members/friends.
14. Make an “I’m Bored” Jar
Create an “I’m bored” jar and tally sheet. Any time a family member complains of being bored, add a fuzzy pom-pom to the jar and a tally next to their name. The family member with the FEWEST tallies at the end of break earns a treat in the same amount of fuzzy pom-poms (i.e., $22, 22 pieces of candy; 22 minutes alone, etc.).
15. Create a 2021 “Gratitude Jar”
Each day, every family member writes down one thing for which they are thankful on a slip of paper, and we put it in a jar. On New Year’s Day 2022, read each of the papers together.
How do you keep your kids entertained over Christmas Break?