Winter break family fun ideas

by DaniGirl on January 4, 2012 · 2 comments

in 5 things, Fun for kiddies

With back to school starting so late this year, it seems like Christmas was ages ago. I don’t know about your kids, but at our house the kids are twitchy. Most of the gifts have been examined and played with, the family visits are past and the Christmas decorations stashed away for another year — and we still have a couple of days to kill savour together before the kids go back to school.

Are your kids getting squirrelly too? I thought I’d pull a few ideas from my archives to share, in case you missed them the first time around.

1. Digital camera scavenger hunt

You don’t need to use a camera for this – the low-tech version is just as fun – but the kids love the added element of the camera. Maybe they got one of these for Christmas? Make up a list of things outside like “blue car” or “tall tree” or “mail box” or whatever is in your neighbourhood, and then set the kids free to find the things as a team. It can be as short or long a list as you think they have the attention-span to complete, and by using the camera you don’t have the problem of what to do with the stuff they collect (a problem we’ve had with other scavenger hunts, and on a daily basis simply because my kids are natural scavengers!) Rainy day or freezing cold outside? Make it an indoor scavenger hunt with things like, “Daddy’s socks” and “blue shampoo bottle.”

257:365 Photographer-in-training

2. What’s in the bag?

You need a bag about the size of a shoe box for this. A fabric bag is best, like a shoe bag, and a recyclable shopping bag works well, too. You have to do a bit of advanced legwork for this one. Collect a bunch of stuff that has interesting shapes, sizes and textures. Dinky cars, a carrot, a bar of soap, a sock — whatever! One at a time, put an item in the bag and see if your child can guess what it is by feel alone. So simple, and surprisingly entertaining. We always end up laughing.

3. Beads

Don’t just buy bulk beads from the craft store, though; bring them to an actual bead store and let them pick four or five “special” beads from the bins, and then make up the difference with pony beads or other plain beads. You can also get a mixed bag of discards… my boys loved the ones that looked like crystals in a bag I thought was rather uninspiring. Letter beads are also a hit if you don’t mind forking over a bit more cash. And make sure you don’t choose the cord that is plastic and stretchy – it’s impossible to knot. Get nice thready cord.

When they finished making necklaces for everyone in the house and bracelets for Granny and Papa Lou and the rest of the extended family, all the Webkinz got new collars and we made enough bookmarks to last a year. You can also get little key rings to make backpack decorations. My kids LOVED the bead craft!

Beads


4. Treasure maps

This is similar to the scavenger hunt. One year our nanny made up a treasure hunt for each of the boys for their birthday gift, with ten rhyming clues leading them throughout the house. If I didn’t love her before this, when I read the work that had gone into her clues I knew she was terrific. Sample: “Under the place you sit to dine, you will find clue number 9!” The treasure at the end can be something small, because it’s the hunt that makes up the fun. If you’re feeling less wordy, you can just draw a treasure map with a nice big X that marks the spot.


5. Magazine cut-out books

I could spend hours doing this when I was a kid. Find some old magazines and catalogues destined for the blue box, and some construction paper. Cut pictures, words and letters out of the magazines to create a little story book. So simple, but creative and entertaining.

How are you planning to spend the last few days before the kids go back to school?


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Lee-Ann Sleegers January 4, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Love these ideas Dani! I’m having fun keeping Rachel entertained and Rich was home last week.

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