Winter is coming, and so is winter break.
How will you spend it?
If you’ve got kids, it’s the perfect time to reconnect, do some new winter break activities together, and make great memories.
If you’re not exactly sure how to use the time, here are some simple yet rewarding ways to make the most of downtime over the holidays.
There’s just one rule: Have fun!
1. Put down the screens and chill together
All too often nowadays, we’re running at full tilt from dawn to dusk and that includes our children, too. It’s no wonder we feel frazzled and burned out. Take advantage of the lull in homework, and after-school sports, and piano lessons, to do… not much.
Do it together, though, and nix electronic devices and TV.
Spend a leisurely afternoon where everyone’s in their PJs. Light some candles or a fire and tackle a puzzle. Read books and magazines, play a board game, try a silly game of Twister or pick up sticks. Put on some music and dance. Make some hot apple cider and snacks, like Little Potato Pizza Packs, and savor the laidback pace.
2. Cook a recipe or 3
Get in the kitchen with the kids and prepare something yummy.
Choose a recipe and shop for the ingredients together, too. You can work in teams or divide up the tasks. Bake some cookies (the aroma alone of baking oatmeal raisins is cozy) or choose a multi-step dish like lasagna and make a double batch.
It’s also gratifying to prepare a whole meal together, and then sit down and enjoy it.
Set a festive table with flowers or holly, linen napkins, and a colorful tablecloth and make a lavish brunch—an easy All-in-One Pan Breakfast with fruit salad and fresh-squeezed orange juice—or hearty dinner—Italian Meatloaf with Scalloped Potatoes and Roasted Carrots.
3. Get outside
There’s nothing better to lift your mood in the cold, dark months than a romp outside in the exhilarating fresh air. Also, too much time cooped up indoors can make children unruly.
Bundle up and enjoy the outdoors, and get that energy out in a positive way.
Try one of these activities:
- Snowshoeing and downhill or cross-country skiing
- Hiking through the woods
- Ice skating on a frozen pond or in a community rink
- Playing tag at the neighborhood park or kicking around the soccer ball.
Adjust the activity to your kids’ age and ability. If you have little ones, carry them in a pack or pull them in a chariot while you’re on the trail, then let them out to run and play.
Remember to fuel up first on a hearty, nutritious breakfast filled with good carbs (did you know Creamer potatoes are good carbs?).
4. Host a movie night
Pick a kid-friendly flick and put on a family movie night with home-popped popcorn and healthy snacks (like Potato Pizza Skewers).
Or eat dinner on TV trays on the couch (try this easy Herbed Chicken & Potato Stew).
For dessert, take an intermission and assemble ice cream sundaes or banana splits with all the fixings.
Everyone can come in their pyjamas and slippers.
Put out fuzzy blankets and dim the lights. It’ll be more fun than the movie theater and a fraction of the price. Plus, you won’t have to battle holiday parking and if anyone falls asleep during the show, you can just carry them up and tuck them into bed.
5. Try something new
Expand your horizons and do something you’ve never done before as a family.
A day at the art gallery or a painting class?
Ziplining over a frozen canyon with teens, sledding on the bunny hill with little ones or snow tubing with elementary schoolers?
Or what about seeing a musical, ice dancing show or family-friendly play at the theater?
Activities for different ages can vary, of course.
Older kids welcome the challenge of an Escape Room and the younger set love a geocaching adventure in search of hidden treasures.
Take little ones to a kids’ concert or older kids to a live sporting event like ice hockey or a football game.
Ever tried skiing? Plan a mini getaway and sign up for family lessons.
Or try a horse-drawn sleigh ride or lantern-lit snowshoe adventure to a warming hut with chocolate fondue waiting.
See what’s on offer in your town and make plans for something novel and exciting.
Whatever you do, relax and enjoy the moment—really savor it.
They do grow up quickly, as the saying goes, and precious time together is the biggest gift of all.