What to do When the Kids are off School

With the holiday’s lurking around the corner kids will be getting various holiday breaks for the regularly scheduled school programs. Some parents think this is a blessing, getting to spend extra time with their kids while others, by the end of the break are ready to pull their hair out..and a kid or two’s. In all seriousness breaks from school can have pros and cons and it can greatly depend on how many children you have. I remember when we would get breaks from school by the end of it my brothers and I were killing each other and we were lucky to go back to school without broken bones.

Let’s assume we’re talking about winter type breaks (even in you warmer states, it’s still a ‘winter’ break!).  Chances are the weather isn’t exactly favorable to go to the beach or out and about doing outdoor actives so what can you do inside?

Start by checking with your local public library. Chances are they will be doing free or small fee activities for all range of kids. Most public libraries will have their calendars out for a month or so in advanced and will likely increase the amount of activities during school scheduled breaks. If you are interested in an activity make sure you check if you need to register ahead of time (most require it!). Don’t stop there with your library though, often times they will have ideas or calendars of what is going on locally in the town! Again always double check if there is a fee associated or registration required. You can also check with your library to see if they have a local play group or meet up type group that is looking for something fun to do during the break.

Local museums are a good place to look into also. There is often times free days or discounted tickets available during school breaks due to their admissions going up. Sometimes however, there isn’t! Often grocery stores will sell discounted tickets to big name places that would make taking a large group of kids more affordable.

Consider taking your kids to see a movie during the afternoon; matinee shows are always cheaper than night time shows. Dollar theaters can be a popular choice if they’re in your area. Typically the moves are a bit outdated but much more affordable than their expensive cousins. Don’t forget to bring your oversize purse that day and sneak in your own candy and popcorn.. but you didn’t hear that from me!

Roller rinks although a dying breed, can still be found and fun for kids of all ages. Ice rinks are a good substitute. Bowling is also a family activity that everyone can enjoy (even the little ones, my three year old LOVES bowling!). Arcades are fun but can get a bit pricey. Sometimes a trip to the McDonald’s play place is just enough to satisfy your kids itch to play on the playground in the winter. Bounce gyms are an up and coming popular activity. They can range from inflatable bounce houses in an indoor place to large trampolines tucked neatly in large buildings. Ask around, moms always know of hidden gems in the area! Mini golfing can also be found inside (or if you live in a nice warm place, it’s likely available year round outside).

If you don’t feel like going anywhere or simply don’t have enough time, try doing fun things at home. If you have younger kids, make a treasure hunt. Simply draw different items in your home on a piece of paper and then hide accordingly. At the end have hot chocolate and popcorn for a fun snack! If the weather is nice enough outside set up a mini golf course in your backyard. Use plastic cups for the ‘holes’ and set out different sort of obstacles your kids have to avoid. Have an all day pajama day and let your kiddos watch movies and eat popcorn. I promise you one day won’t hurt! Pinewood car races are fun and easy! You can pick up pinewood cars at most craft stores, let your kids decorate them and set up a ramp down the stairs using left over wood from the garage. I bet you’ll be surprised how much fun they will have! If all else fails, go old school and break out the board games.

And for those of you who don’t stand a chance of peace and quiet I suggest a great bottle of wine and some ear plugs!