One of the best parts of the holiday season is relaxing with family. Winter break means slower mornings, leisurely afternoons, and quiet evenings…unless you have preschoolers! Keeping kids busy while school is out can be challenging. We’ve got you covered.
These winter themed activities will not only keep your kiddos entertained but they’ll also help reinforce important skills. Most of these activities do require some adult supervision though a few can be modified so your kids can work more independently.
Let It Snow
This activity is especially fun for those of us that live in climates where the palm trees sway and the holidays will be green and bright. When there is no chance of snow, let the kids make some with hand crafted snowflakes!
There are several different ways to make paper snowflakes but the easiest for little kids is to take a square piece of paper and fold it into triangles. You can play with the number of folds but as the paper grows thicker, so will the difficulty in cutting it.
Once they have folded the paper into triangles, they can begin cutting shapes into all three edges. There is no wrong way to cut a snowflake! The only mistake they can make is if they cut straight through from one side to another.
Cutting shapes is an excellent way to practice fine motor skills. However, if the cutting proves frustrating, have your little on draw lines on the triangle for you to cut. You can also encourage kids to try different kinds of folds and see what happens. Even if you don’t end up with a perfect snowflake, experimenting and making mistakes is a wonderful way to learn!
When you’re done, unfold the paper carefully and marvel at your creations.
Stained Glass Fun
Another fun craft you can try with your kids requires construction paper and tissue paper. Have an adult cut the construction paper into the shape of a tree, star, or maybe into the shape of large Christmas lights or an ornament. Cut out the center of the shape to leave about a one-to-two-inch border.
Then have your preschooler cut or rip different colored tissue paper into small squares. The size will depend on how big the hole is in the center of the construction paper shape. Larger holes will need larger pieces of tissue paper. Smaller holes will need smaller paper. Glue the tissue paper to the border of the shape. Trim any edges as necessary. Hang from a window!
If you’ve got kids who love to cook, this simple peppermint bark recipe is perfect for little hands. Put a few candy canes into a sturdy plastic bag. The small candy canes work great! Have your child use the back of a spoon or other utensil to break the candy canes into small bits.
Then, pour chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and set aside. (You can use any kind of chocolate and any amount of chips.) Microwave for 30-45 seconds, then stir. Continue to microwave at small time intervals until all the chocolate is melted. Do not overcook the chocolate.
Spread the melted chocolate onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. A thicker spread will yield thicker chocolate. Once you have the chocolate spread to your desired thickness, sprinkle the candy pieces on top. Chill for a couple of hours or until chocolate has hardened. Break into pieces.
Put them in a decorative bag, tie with a bow give them to friends, family, or neighbors.
If you want to add a bit more academic skills into your winter break activities, try this alphabet ornament activity. Cut out 26 circles of paper in the shape of Christmas ornaments. On one side of the paper, have your kids write each letter of the alphabet practicing their best penmanship.
On the other side they can draw a picture of a word that starts with that letter. If they are able, they can try writing the word. They can color in their ornaments if they like. When they are done, punch a hole in the top and hang from your tree. Alternatively, they can draw a large tree and glue the ornaments on it to decorate it.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
During this season of gift giving, it’s easy to get caught up in the materialism of the holidays. This activity will help kids stay focused on what they already have. Challenge them to make something new from materials and old toys they no longer use.
With the growing popularity of online shopping, you likely have more than a few cardboard boxes lying around. Gather them, plastic packaging, some old toys, socks that no longer have a match, or anything else that is past its shelf life. Hand over basic supplies like scissors, tape, and glue, and let them create!
Robots, cars, spaceships – virtually anything is fair game. You might be surprised by what they come up with!
Back to Basics
You don’t have to work too hard to create engaging activities for your little ones. They are naturally curious and have active imaginations. Put out a few coloring and activity books, plain drawing or tracing paper and some markers and crayons and let them go. If you have a few extra supplies like pipe cleaners, tissue paper, and (if you dare) glitter glue. They don’t need templates or direction – just the freedom to be creative!
The most important thing to remember, is that your kids really just want to spend time with you. The activity doesn’t matter as much as the memories you create just by being together.