How To Keep Your Kids Entertained During Winter Break

Winter break is an exciting time for kids­—days off from school, giving presents and receiving them, and more time to have play dates with classmates. But that time off can quickly turn from exciting to boring for your young ones. Take inspiration from these ideas that will keep your kids entertained all break long!

Take them ice skating
This classic winter break activity is so popular for a reason—it’s guaranteed to make your kids feel like the star of the show, while also getting some physical exercise. You can snap pictures that will last a lifetime, and maybe they’ll leave the rink with a new favorite hobby.

Have a movie-filled day    
Spend the morning at the movies for a leisurely day relaxing with the kids. The best thing about matinees is that they are usually cheaper, and many movie theaters play old favorites during the winter months as well. Another way to keep kids occupied is having a movie marathon. Pop in their choice Disney film or feel-good flick and get the popcorn ready for a cozy day on the couch.

Get crafty indoors
With the weather turning colder by the minute, most kids probably won’t want to be outside for long periods of time. Make those hours spent indoors count and lay out several crafts to complete. Having options will beat boredom and make your kids more likely to enjoy their time inside. Try out this upcycled jet packbookmarks inspired by their favorite book character,  or this sock snow pal.

Suggest that they cook dinner
This doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds. Kids will rejoice at the chance to pick out their favorite meals—chicken nuggetsmac n’ cheesepizza, and ice cream. Look up healthy or unique spins on these kid meal staples to guide them in the right direction, and then let them be a part of buying ingredients and cooking the dinner!

Museum hop for a day
Take your kids downtown for an afternoon and check out some museum exhibits. Look up beforehand what museums offer free or discounted admission for kids, and have a route planned out before you leave. This is a great way to integrate learning into their winter break, and you can learn something new, too!

Play board games
Dust off the board games from the basement and have a day filled with friendly competition. This gets kids away from the temptation of technology, as well as providing some fun and laughs.

DIY Summer Time Capsule

Time capsules are used to store favorite memories, and freeze certain moments in time. With the summer rapidly coming to an end, this time capsule lets your kids pick their favorite moment, and capture it for the rest of their lifetime.

Materials

  • Scrapbook paper
  • Large plastic container of hand wipes, emptied out and washed
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Directions:

  1. Cut the scrapbook paper to wrap around the body of the hand wipe container. Decorate and label the paper accordingly, and glue the paper around the container. Make sure to leave the lid uncovered.
  2. Have your kids fill it with their favorite memories.
  3. Store the time capsule in either a closet or drawer, and open in the beginning of next summer.

What to store inside:

  • Ticket stubs
  • Seashells
  • Pictures from places you visited
  • Souvenirs
  • Hand drawn artwork
  • Goals for upcoming school year

Giant Yahtzee®

Everyone’s favorite game of chance gets supersized in this exciting backyard version! All you need are a few simple materials and you’ll be having fun in no time!

Materials

  • Five 3½ inch x 3½ inch wooden cubes
  • Black and white indoor/outdoor paint
  • ¾ inch Spouncers™ (circle foam brushes or dabbers)
  • Clear spray sealer
  • Aluminum bucket

Directions:

  1. Start by gathering all of your supplies. Check a hobby or art supplies store for wooden cubes that can serve as dice.
  2. Paint your cubes with the white paint. Allow to dry.
  3. Using the Spouncers, paint black dots on each side of the cube to make the pips. Make sure your sides are numbered from one through six.
  4. Once the paint dries, spray your cubes with the clear spray sealer.
  5. Place your cubes in the bucket until you are ready to play, following the standard rules of Yahtzee®.
  6. Use our free printable scorecard to keep score throughout the game.

Should You Live in a Multigenerational Home?

At one time, it was a common goal for the American college student to graduate, move out of the family home, and find a home of their own. However, with the rising cost of living and debt, people have started opting to live with family members. College graduates are moving back in with their parents to save money, and older adults are moving in with their children and grandchildren rather than into retirement homes. Should you consider a multi-generational home for yourself?

What exactly is a multigenerational home?

Although children and their parents are members of two different generations, this combination does not qualify as a multigenerational home. These homes consist of more than two adult generations living together or grandparents who live with grandchildren who are younger than 25.

Why do people choose to live in multi-generational homes?

Many Americans used to consider moving out of their parents’ homes as a sign of independence and adulthood. However, sharing a home is now becoming a mark of intelligence and sensibility. As the cost of living has risen dramatically, it helps to live in a group of multiple employed adults who can share the home’s expenses.

It’s also helpful for members of older generations to have young people around. As you age, it becomes more and more difficult to do physically-demanding chores and attempting to do so could cause injury. If the younger people in the home handle the more challenging chores, the older family members can take on less taxing jobs, like packing school lunches or setting the table.

Some of the greatest parts of living in a multi-generational home are the social benefits that everyone experiences. Elderly people can become lonely once they’re retired, potentially living at home alone or with a partner. A sense of purpose is crucial during all stages of life, and grandparents feel responsible for helping take care of their grandchildren if they’re living together. Children also benefit from bonding with their grandparents and learning to connect with older generations.

Of course, living in a home with a bigger group of people than a single-family home enhances the safety of everyone involved. If one family member has an emergency or accident, chances are someone else will be home to help take care of the problem. This is especially helpful for the elderly, who can experience complications if they fall.

What about privacy?

Privacy is one of the biggest concerns people have about switching to a multi-generational home. If you’re used to living on your own or with a more immediate family unit, this is a valid worry. However, families are devising new and inventive ways to make their homes both shared and private spaces. Some work with architects who can design a family home containing both shared living space and private sections. For example, your bedroom might be on one end of the house and your parents could be on the other. Other homes even have different entryways for the private sections. If you’re not looking to build an entirely new home, you can consider putting an addition on your home, transforming your garage into a suite, or designating certain floors of your home, like a basement or top floor, as designated private living space for one person or group of people.

How can we make it work?

If you’re considering living in a multi-generational home, it’s important to set ground rules for yourself and others. First, everyone should commit to taking personal time for themselves. Just because you live in a home with multiple family members doesn’t mean your life has to become a never-ending visit. Everyone should continue going to school or work, spending time with friends, and engaging in hobbies. Also, although grandparents can help with the children, parents shouldn’t expect the grandparents to act as a constant childcare service. Members of the household have to agree to respect one another and not just assume people will pick up responsibilities without being asked. Most of all, it’s important to communicate openly so that issues don’t build up over time without resolution.

Whether you’re trying to save money, care for a parent, or establish a close family unit, a multigenerational home could be the right decision for you and your extended family.

How to Display Your Child’s Art in Your Home

When your child marches through the door from school proudly holding up a painting they’ve made in art class, it’s completely adorable, but you might not know what to do with the art. Of course, you can keep some of it in storage bins so that you can reminisce later in life, but you might feel like you need to display at least some of your child’s artwork in your home so that they can see you’re proud of them. How can you do this without completely throwing off your home’s aesthetic?

Framing is everything.

Maybe your child isn’t a professional artist, but the right frame can make a haphazard finger-painting look like modern art. Shop around for frames that match the style of the room in which you’re trying to incorporate your child’s art. Even if the piece doesn’t exactly match the color scheme or atmosphere of the room, the frame can help it blend in just enough so that it doesn’t take away from the room’s design.

Location, location, location.

Maybe your child’s painting of a dog that looks more like a horse wouldn’t work so well in a classy living room or formal dining room, but what’s the harm in displaying the artwork in a more personal, private area of the home? You can hang your child’s art in your bedroom, your child’s bedroom, a playroom, or even your home office. It will make you smile without clashing with décor in any of the areas of the home where you might entertain guests.

A twist on scrapbooking

If your child’s art is small enough, you can make a scrapbook out of their work that you keep in a communal area like a living room. You can find a scrapbook with a sleek cover that complements the rest of the room, but keep all of your child’s work inside. This gives them the opportunity to show family members or friends multiple pieces of work. Choosing to put all of their art together also shows your child that you’re proud of them and value the art pieces they’ve chosen to bring home.

Take advantage of our digital world.

If your child brings home a ton of artwork, you aren’t heartless if you realize you can’t keep it all without it taking over your entire home. If your child seems to crank out artwork by the dozens, we suggest saving the pieces they seem to value most or the ones with the most sentimental value (Read: Those Mother’s or Father’s Day cards with their tiny handprints on them that actually make you tear up a little). Take pictures of the rest of the art, and keep it in one folder on your home computer. You can even set a favorite as the background or screensaver. This is the perfect way for your child to show off their work without it becoming overwhelming for your home’s capacity.

Kids bring home artwork from school or camp all the time, so follow the tips above to make sure your child knows you value their art pieces without accidentally letting their work overtake your home.