School is about to break for the holidays and you don't have a plan!
No holiday trip, no classes, and it seems like everybody else is out of town, so no, you can't send the kids and their friends down to play table football in the basement for hours. And letting them play on the iPad for two weeks doesn't seem like that great of an idea.
Sure, depending on their ages, you can mostly leave the kids to entertain themselves when they get bored, but that doesn't work for all kids at all times. For sure, your fourteen year old might be happy shut up in his room during the entire winter break, but your 7 year old is going to be wandering in and out of the room while you are trying to get a bit of work done.
So, yes, despite your hands-off, free-range parenting style, having a plan for some good brain-boosting, screen-free things to do, whether it's Christmas break ideas you need, or any old school holiday break, use this list of (mostly) indoor ideas to save your sanity.
To make things even simpler, I've made a printable holiday break planner. Whoo! Kids like to see their progress and this planner will give them a hands-on way to keep track of how much fun they are having. At the end of the school break they can look back and say,
Look how much we accomplished!
Maybe when they write their "what I did over school vacation" essay all about the games and brain teasers they did!
How To Use the Holiday Break Planner
UPDATE! I've added 7 more days of ideas, for a total of 21.
Print out the pdf of the winter break activities ideas. Enter your email below and I'll send it right to you.
Next, cut out all the individual ideas from the filled-in tables. Place them in three bowls sorted by games, brain teasers and family connection ideas.
Post the sheets with the empty tables on the fridge or your bulletin board.
Each day choose one activity from each category. When you (and/or your kids) have completed that activity, paste (with tape or glue) the activity into the corresponding blank spot on the chart.
Alternatively, you can play school holiday activity bingo. Instead of cutting out all the activities, cross them off as you do them. Use a different color each day and aim for one activity from each category.
TIPS FOR USING THE PLANNER:
Go ahead and mix and match the activities! You don't need to do them in the exact order as in the original planning table.
Feel free to skip days if you already have a family activity planned, or if it is a major holiday. Like, say, Christmas. To be sure, these are be fun Christmas break ideas, but you don't have to do them on the actual day!
Some of the games have optional printable game boards, and a few of the brain teasers have printables. If you are organized, you can print those out ahead of when your holiday begins. If you are not uber-organized, simply bookmark this page; below you will find a list of links to the activities which require instructions.
Here are the links to the school holiday activities:
(Note: This is not the exhaustive list of all the activities included, only to ones for which you may need instructions. Not every activity in the planner needs instructions.)
- Nine holes
- Pig dice game
- Drop dead dice game
- Fox and geese
- Watermelon chess
- Len choa
- Dots and boxes
- Subtraction counting game
- Sequences dice game
- Chicago dice game
- Going to Boston game
- Golf card game
- Games with 5 dice
- Impossible paper trick
- Peg solitaire
- Tchuka ruma
- Turn 2 circles into a square
- String and bead puzzle
- Magic triangles
- Magic squares
- Beginning brain teaser
- Tower of Hanoi
- T puzzle
- Symmetry paper trick
- Möbius strip
- Triangle to square puzzle
- Origami finger puppets
- Solitaire puzzles
Family connection ideas:
Holiday breaks don't have to be all about hearing your kids say, "I'm bored!" or asking for another 30 minutes of video games! I hope you and your kids enjoy spending time together (and separately!) with these fun screen-free ideas!