With kids being out of school for a few weeks during the Christmas break, it’s easy to run out of ideas on how to entertain them. Growing up, my mom would send me to the mall with friends, handing me $40.00 to basically entertain myself for the day. While a nice treat once in a while, for most families, especially during the holiday season, this would quickly add up to be a big budget buster. Here are a few ideas to entertain the kids (young and old) while on their Christmas break:
Host a Gingerbread House Building Party
This is loads of fun for kids of all ages. Have your child invite their friends over, either with a gingerbread house kit in hand, or you can provide the house for them (using an easy recipe and template). Have candy provided in dishes (on your well wrapped table, it will be messy!) and let them have fun creating. Don’t want to do a whole house? Try decorating gingerbread or sugar cookies instead.
Have them Volunteer
While volunteering with your children year round is encouraged, Christmas is usually a time when extra help is needed. Soup kitchens and food banks in particular are often looking for extra help during the season. If your child is under the age of 16, you may either need to grant permission or be present. Check to see if your local mall needs gift wrappers. Many malls offer gift wrapping services, often provided by volunteers, with funds raised going to local charities. Although this should never be the only reason why one does it, volunteer work looks great on university and college applications too.
Host a Christmas Themed Pajama Movie Party/Sleepover
Have a few of your kids friends over for a fun night of watching Christmas movies in their PJ’s (sleepover or not, you have to be comfy!). Provide a few snacks or have them help you make a homemade pizza and you’ve got yourself a budget-friendly party.
Go Outside and Play
Especially in today’s technology driven world, we forget about the simplicity of encouraging outdoor play without an abundance of toys. Encourage them to explore; pick up a stick and use their imagination! Make sure they’re well bundled if you’re fortunate enough to live in a cold winter environment and let them enjoy the fresh air.
Have them Help You Prep Meals for the Holidays. Most kids like to explore in the kitchen. It’s a great opportunity to have the learn some kitchen skills from you and your family.Yes, it will take longer than if you did it yourself and yes, your kitchen will likely be much messier but the skills that you’ll be able to teach are much more important than some spilled flour.
Check to See if Your Local Theater Offers Christmas Break Discounts
Most movie theater chains will offer discounted tickets during the local school break as a way of encouraging the movie-going experience so check it out!
Have your kids make everything from Christmas cards or gift tags to tree ornaments. The possibilities are endless and most require very few supplies. Who wouldn’t love a homemade card from your young one?
Encourage the Inner Entrepreneur
If you have older kids, encourage them to use their time off to make some money during their break. Ideas include: shoveling driveways, offering to get groceries (or run errands) for people who need extra help, or dog walking for people who may be away or just too busy to do it themselves.
Christmas can be stressful enough, you shouldn’t have to worry about what your kids are going to be doing while off from school. With a little creative planning, you can quickly fill their time without breaking the bank!
What holiday activities have you done with your kids?