We are approaching winter break which is an amazing opportunity to slow down and spend time with family. 

However, after the excitement of new toys and special activities has died down, some kids may start to get restless.  Two weeks can be a long time without the structure and routine of the typical school week. The days can be really long as a parent, wake up at the crack of dawn.

I found some really fun ideas that you can use when it’s too cold to go outside or you just can’t watch Moana for the 100th time. Most of them are either free using materials you already have around your house or are super cheap to prepare.

 

Play with shaving cream

This is the messiest of the activities listed, but the good thing is it will make your table clean and your house smell great! You can try to have your child write his name, letters, draw pictures, or imitate lines and shapes.  Does your child avoid tactile input? Try having him using a spoon or paintbrush. You could even do this in the bathtub on the shower wall for super easy cleanup!

 

Be creative with package materials

Between the daily Amazon deliveries and gifts kids will be given,  the house is full of cardboard boxes, tissue paper, and bubble wrap by the end of December! Try using some of these materials to engage in some creative play.  Let them rip the tissue paper into small pieces or pop the bubble wrap, these activities are great for hand strength. Put bubble wrap on the floor and have them stomp on it to pop the bubbles, this really great for sensory seekers who need that little extra input. Use the boxes to create.  Draw on them, color or pretend they are houses for your child’s favorite toys or stuffed animals. 

 

Make toothpick and marshmallow creations

This is one of the simplest fine motor tasks and kids love it.  All you need are toothpicks and mini marshmallows. The children connect the toothpicks and mini marshmallows together to make different creations. This is an awesome fine motor and coordination task and it challenges them to be creative.   To be ‘winter themed’ you could call these creations ‘igloos!’

 

Have an indoor snowball fight

Take a bunch of paper or newspaper and have your child crunch it up into little ‘snowballs’.  This is an awesome activity for fine motor strength. Have your child fill up a bucket with ‘snowballs’ and then they can have a snowball fight!  If you’d like to discourage your kids from throwing the ‘snowballs’ at each other, you could call it to snowball catch. You could also put up a little target on the wall (could just be a piece of paper that you find in the office) to give them something to aim for or have them shoot into a basketball hoop. 

 

Throw an “UnHoliday” Gathering

One of our mom’s shared that to pass the Winter Break time, they have also done a simpler version of their favorite holiday of the season and called it Express Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanza/Winter Solstice. They get together and order pizza or Chinese food and play some goofy game like Holiday Bunco (adapted for kids and give away goofy silly prizes) to make it kid fun. We keep it short and sweet to avoid meltdown and kid fights. This is always a hit.