8 Ideas for Planning a Fun-Filled Holiday Break

For the stay-at-home parent, school break can be a hair-pulling time, trying to figure out what the little ones can do to keep them busy. Yet there are smart ways to plan their days and turn ho-hum activities into a home run.

Here are eight winter break ideas to help your children get the most fun out of the school holidays:

  1. Cook-a-thons: Make cupcakes (with fun frosting!), homemade pizza or cookies with wacky cookie-cutter designs.
  1. Playdates: Invite friends, neighbours and/or schoolmates over to play. From dollhouses and dolls, to toy cars and trucks, to board games and card games, plan activities limited only by their imaginations.
  1. DIY construction set: Build a fort using couches, sheets, tables and chairs. Or make an inside obstacle course with cushions, pillows, boxes, chairs and blankets.
  1. Dance party: Crank up the tunes and let your young ones boogie until they drop. Bonus for creativity: Dim the lights and give them flashlights to flicker around to make it even more fun.
  1. It's living room Broadway! Dress up in costumes, put on a play or make a puppet show—a great use for grown-up hats or adult-sized shirts that can double as dresses. Small blankets make fantastic superhero capes. Act out their favourite characters or books. Use cardboard, fabric and crayons to craft hand puppets.
  1. Check out the local library: Find out if your library hosts readings or classes designed for local children on school break. Or if you're ambitious, indulge in an impromptu out loud reading of your own. Bonus for creativity: Change up your voice for each character that speaks in the story.
  1. Surf for savings: Go online and scour the more popular discount sites that offer reduced rates for outings and experiences. Look for bundled packages for local museums, exhibitions, craft classes and indoor playgrounds.
  1. Outdoor adventures: Weather depending, find a nearby snow-packed hill to take your children sledding. Or help them build awesome snowmen. Bonus for creativity: Give each child their own baggie with the obligatory carrot for a nose, two jellybeans for eyes, and two potato wedges for ears. They can fetch little stones for the mouth on their own, which takes up some time, too.

Of prime importance, never forget snacks. Have an impressive selection of munchies at the ready to avoid anyone getting “hangry,” or worse, having a meltdown. Adult bonus for creativity: Save time by ordering groceries online at Loblaw banner stores through PC Express that you can pick up in an instant, and with no pickup fee for PC Insiders members.

The bottom line? Children's activities do not need to be a chore, or pricey. Keeping them occupied with multiple options just takes a little pre-planning.

Of course, give yourself permission to take a well-deserved breather during the holiday break and plop the offspring in front of a screen for a brief reprieve while you kick back and congratulate yourself with a fresh latté (or other beverage of choice).