Winter Break is coming up, which means the kids are going to be saying that common phrase: "I'm bored! There's nothing to do!" Here is a list of possible ideas to help keep your kids happily occupied.
Family Game Night. Stock up on some new board games, turn off the TV and play some family games.
Create a Winter Mural. Take a walk outside (weather permitting) and collect items from nature – pine cones, pods, berries, twigs, etc. Using a piece of paper, have the child arrange the items into a winter picture. Use glue to affix the items, and the child can decorate the rest of the picture with crayons or markers.
Family Movie Night. Rent some family friendly movies, pop some popcorn and have a family movie night. Fun twist: Have a "picnic" on the floor in your living room. Lay a blanket out, fix picnic types of foods or finger foods and get comfortable on the floor.
Scavenger Hunt. Hide "treasures" (small toys, figures, trucks, etc.) all around the house. Make a map for children who can't read yet, or written clues for those who can read.
Clean Your Room. This one may not be on the top of your childrens' list! But if your child receives a lot of presents for Christmas, this is a great opportunity to donate/throw out old toys to make way for new ones. If you have more than one child, you can make it into a contest – who comes up with the most toys to donate!
Host a Play Date. If you will be home with your child over the winter break, talk to their friends' parents and arrange for a play date. This is especially helpful to those parents who work full-time and might not have vacation time to take off over the holidays. Make arrangements prior to winter break, so you have a plan in place.
Busy Boxes. Get a few plastic shoe boxes. Fill the boxes with fun items – new coloring books or activity pads; markers, crayons and colored pencils; small "fidget" toys; stickers. Many of these items can be purchased at your local dollar store.
Canvas Art. Buy some canvas frames at the local craft supply store. Decide what medium you'll use – pastel crayons, acrylic paints, or even watercolors. Have the kids create their "ultimate masterpiece" and then hang it somewhere at home.
Printable puzzles and coloring sheets. Google the words "free printables" and you will find all sorts of websites with free coloring sheets, puzzles, matching games, and more.
Writing Box. This activity is fun for the budding writer. Write key words on slips of paper – dog, vacation, school, park, Halloween, etc. Place them in a container. Gather items such as pens, pencils, and paper to write on. Give your child a "project' and have them write a story using the key word, giving them a time frame of 15 minutes (or however long you wish to allot).
Paper Bag Puppets. Gather items from around the house – glitter, buttons, small pieces of fabric, yarn or embroidery thread, scissors for cutting, glue, and of course, brown paper bags. Use your imagination and create faces, outfits and personalities for your paper bag people.
OUT and ABOUT ideas:
Library. Go to your public library and rent movies or check out some books.
Ice Skating. The Nelson Center in Springfield has open times for public ice skating. Be sure to check their schedule first!
Catch a Movie. Many popular movies will come out around the holidays, especially ones that are good for families. Check AMC's website for movie times and ticket prices. Tips: 1) It's cheaper to go during the daytime hours, 2) Sign up to receive email updates from AMC – you'll receive special coupons, 3) Check out www.dove.org to find out if a movie is "family friendly."
Go to a Museum. Here in Springfield, there is the Illinois State Museum, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library, and others. Check out the SpringfieldMoms Museums page for more museums in the area.
Painting Pottery. China Towne in Springfield has a studio where children/families can paint their own masterpieces.
The Springfield YMCA has Winter Day Camps. Learn more at www.springfieldymca.org or call 217-544-9846.
Take a day trip. Just because it's winter doesn't mean you can't take a day trip! Check out our Day Trip Ideas for inspiration.
Go bowling. There are three bowling alleys in Springfield – AMF Laketown Lanes, King Pin Lanes, and Strike n' Spare West. Tip: Sign up on AMF's website for coupons (free or discounted rates).
Catch a hockey game. Springfield has a hockey team, the Springfield Jr. Blues. A handful of games will take place during the winter break. Click HERE for a schedule.
Roller Skating. Get the skates on and let the kids get some exercise! Click HERE for information regarding Skateland South, which is Springfield's local roller skating rink.
Explore our Website Watch list of recommended sites for you and your kids!