The holiday break sounds like a magical time with fewer commitments, lazy days cozying up with hot cocoa, and quality, quiet time with family — and it is… for about 36 hours. Inevitably, cabin fever sets in and kids complain there’s nothing to do (never mind the pile of new toys post-Christmas). These 15 activities will help ward off boredom and keep the kids active and happy during the holiday break.

1.  Make a holiday break bucket list.
Not sure what the kids want to do over the break? Ask them. Sit down together and make a holiday break bucket list with items that can be checked off as they are completed

2. Plan a day trip.
A break from school can give your family time to plan a day-long trip that may not otherwise be possible. Look for adventures about 45-60 miles from home. Great choices include indoor waterparks, ski resorts, nearby cities and nature destinations.

3.Have a movie marathon.
Pass the popcorn and cozy up with the kids for a movie marathon. It’s the perfect activity for a cold and dreary afternoon.

4.Get (winter) sporty.
Don’t let colder weather stop the family from being active during the break. Winter is a great time to try something new, like snowshoeing, ice skating, hockey or cross-country skiing.

5. Volunteer.
‘Tis the season to be thankful, and volunteering is a great way to help kids give back to the community and feel grateful for all that they have. Spend a morning at a soup kitchen or bring some cheer to an assisted living facility by visiting with homemade cards.

6.Get cultured. 
The holiday break is an opportunity to take advantage of your community’s cultural offerings. Visit a local art, science, or children’s museum; explore noteworthy buildings; or take in a show.

7.  Read a chapter book. 
Kick your nightly story time routine up a notch by choosing a chapter book that you and the kids can read together. Some books to consider are the Amelia Bedelia series, Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books or Harry Potter.

8.Tour area libraries.
Most public libraries have moved beyond shushing and now offer dynamic children’s sections featuring toys, games, interactive displays, fun programming and (of course) books. See how many libraries you and your bookworms can visit before school starts again.

9.Put on a talent show.
Set the stage for a family talent show where kids can show off their skills in dance, music, comedy, magic, tumbling and more. Practice routines, set up a performance space and print a program to make it an extra special event.

10.Hold a board game night.  
Feeling competitive? A board game night is fun, cheap and often a crowd-pleaser, particularly if you have kids in different stages. Classic games are always a hit — pick something age appropriate for the youngest of your brood — like Candy Land, Monopoly, Sorry, or Chutes and Ladders.

11.Make holiday cards.
Get crafty with your kids and make special homemade cards for grandparents, aunts, uncles and other loved ones. Kids can write their own messages, draw pictures and create collages.

12.Collect toys to donate.
Convincing the kids to help clean might be a tough sell, but they’ll feel more compelled to pitch in if they know that the fate of their toys is on the line. Clear the clutter and have them help decide what to keep and what to give away.

13.Create a scrapbook.
The holidays are the perfect time to reflect on the year gone by. Plan a family scrapbooking project and let the kids choose photos, write captions and decorate pages. This activity is bound to lead to great conversation — share memories and discuss goals for the coming year.

14.Decorate cookies.
Baking is a quintessential cold-weather activity, so get the kids in the kitchen to whip up a batch of cookies. Set up a decorating station and let them create tasty masterpieces.

15.Bring the outdoors in.   
Missing summer days and outdoor fun? There’s no reason why you can’t bring your favorite warm-weather activities inside. Host a picnic on the living room floor, go camping in the den or set up a sandbox in the basement.

Before you know it, the holiday break will be over and your family will be back to the daily grind of work and school. Take advantage of this time together and banish boredom with a little planning and a lot of creativity.

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