During a typical year, children get two weeks off school during Christmas break, often a week or so before Christmas and a week after. However, if Christmas falls on a weekend, and if your school scheduled vacation as my son’s did, you will see kids who don’t get out of school for Christmas vacation until December 23rd. That leaves them with almost two weeks of vacation AFTER Christmas itself, a time that is pretty low on excitement. (It is so much easier to have a week off before the holiday because there are so many activities for the kids to enjoy.) You could very likely end up with bored children, especially because all of the activities of Christmas are over just a few days into vacation.
However, there are plenty of frugal ways to keep the kids, especially your preschool and elementary school kids, entertained during the Christmas vacation. Consider the following activities:
- Have a family play. Take out the dress up box and let the kids come up with a play to perform for the family. If your children are old enough, you can largely stay out of the picture and let them decide on a story, props, stage directions (even if the stage is just your living room). Smaller children may need a bit more direction and assistance from parents. If the kids are stuck for story ideas, they may want to act out what happens in one of their favorite stories.
- Check out your local library. Our local library has plenty of activities for kids during the holiday including a movie viewing night, family story hour, and a Lego building activity. In addition to activities, most kids will enjoy spending an hour or two at the library reading books and choosing books to check out to read at home.
- Visit a public museum. Many museums put up special holiday displays such as holidays around the world and Christmas decorations throughout the years. Most kids love all of the lights and decorations that go with the holiday, so take the time to visit your local museum and enjoy the display. Afterwards, at night, take the time to drive around and view all of the colorful holiday lights and decorations on neighborhood houses. If you have a house in your area that goes all out with the decorations, make sure to visit that one.
- Let kids stay up late. My kids need their sleep and have an early bed time. However, during the holidays, we relax the rules a bit and let them stay up later one or two nights a week. Perhaps they can stay up to watch a favorite show that they normally can’t view because it is past their bedtime or you could play games with them. Either way, they will be delighted to stay up later than they are usually allowed to.
There are simple things you can do to entertain your young children without spending a lot of money. Employ some of these tactics, and you will hopefully avoid the common vacation chant, “Mom, I am bored!”
Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in New York, where she loves the natural beauty of the area.