Best Gift Of All
The long holiday break from school and work is supposed to be a good thing. But when you're staring down the barrel of 12 endless days with no good entertainment ideas, you may be ready to panic. Not to worry: there's plenty you can do with your children. Here are 10 fun activities you and your kids will enjoy.
1. Cookie exchange.
Plan a cookie exchange with a few friends. Bake up your goods in the morning, then meet after lunch to divvy up the treats. Bonus: combine the recipes into a homemade cookbook the kids can decorate and give as gifts along with the cookies they distribute.
2. Holiday videos.
Break out the Web cam and have your kids record a holiday greeting for family and friends. Film younger children doing whatever comes naturally; older kids can write a script and present a family newscast complete with field reports.
3. Messy day.
Choose one day to do all the fun messy activities you usually nix. Fingerpainting, working with clay, decoupaging -- make a list of all the arts and crafts your kids are hoping to do. Spread out an old shower curtain on the floor, and get to it. And the end of the day, toss the curtain -- and the mess -- to the trash.
4. Box it up.
Those giant boxes that held the new bicycle and other toys? Turn them into a train, a rocket ship, a fort, or whatever else your imagination dreams up. You and the kids can have a great time decorating with markers and engaging in pretend play.
5. Make a time capsule.
Read a book about time capsules together, then make one of your own. Gather up the items you want to include, and write a note about what you chose and why. You can bury it outside, weather permitting, or "bury" it in a closet or other safe place in the house. Set a reminder to dig it up in one year.
6. Learn towel folding.
Get a book on origami towel folding, and help your kids turn your household towels into fun animals. Towel folding is a fun activity, and your kids will love the results. It's also easy enough that even 7 and 8 year olds can quickly master it.
7. Build a terrarium.
Teach your kids what a terrarium is, then build one together. You can find instructions online. Spend a little time planning what you want the finished product to include, make a list of anything you need, and get to it. You can also plant some separate seeds to get a headstart on spring gardening.
8. Interior redecoration.
Rearrange the furniture in one or more rooms of the house. Start by using paper cutouts to talk about ideas. When everyone agrees on a design, you can get moving.
9. Catch your kids on film.
Pick up a few disposable cameras and let your kids take pictures of their day. Have the film developed or digitized, and turn it into a book they can fill with commentary to explain the pictures.
10. Put on a play.
Help your kids to write, rehearse, and stage a short play. Put together costumes using supplies you have on hand, and invite some family or friends over to see the finished product.
FOR MORE IDEAS ON ACTIVITIES WITH YOUR KIDS: