Good golly, they’re jolly: 5 winter break activities for kids

CHild Looking Out Over Frozen Lake

By Heather Camlot

Oh the weather outside is frightful, spending time with the kids…wait, how long is school closed?

If the two weeks is seeming a tad long, try these fun activities to turn the time off into a delightful holiday for one and all.

Throw an impromptu dance party

If you subscribe to a streaming music service such as Rhapsody or Rdio, scan through the genres for the children’s mix (or Top 40 depending on your kids’ ages), push the furniture to the side and get the party started. Alternatively, build your own playlist of favourite get-grooving songs on iTunes. In my house, the songs that make my young ones bust a move – or maybe it’s called interpretive dance – are Dynamite by Taio Cruz, I Like to Move It by Will.I.Am and ABCs by K’Naan.

Go on an expedition

While an expedition to the North Pole à la Winnie the Pooh may be a bit too ambitious – it is winter after all – a bingo-like game of finding certain things on a list may be just the right challenge. If you’re in colder climes, write down sights like Skating Rink, Red Sled and Striped Hat. If you’re further south, try polka-dot bathing suit, dog wearing a sweater and birds on a wire. Be sure to have a camera handy; we like the indestructible Lego camera for little ones or a freezeproof/shockproof/waterproof version like the Canon D10 if falling into the snow could be an issue. When you’re back indoors, upload your pictures and turn them into a game, such as Memory or Bingo (open a Word document, insert a 5×5-table and fill it with images that have been reduced to a few kbs in size).

Beat them at their own game (or try to)

When the weather is just too nasty to go outside, hook up the Kinect, Wii or Playstation and enjoy the great outdoors inside. Games like We SkiMario & Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games, Winter Stars and Family Party 30 Great Games Winter Fun should get the heart rate up without trudging into 0-below temperature.

Craft a family tree

‘Tis the season to reconnect with family – and what a wonderful way to go back a few generations than by charting a family tree together. Scan old photos, clean them up in your photo-editing program and then print them, along with newer pictures, for your tree. Let kids paint a tree or other design on bristle board or kraft paper first (you can help by sketching it out so they know how many branches they need) and then glue pictures, write names and dates, and add connection lines.

Watch a movie – anywhere

As evening rolls in, it’s time to snuggle up and watch a movie (past the kids’ bedtime of course). Turn any room in your home into a movie theatre with Epson’s MegaPlex projector. Drop your iPad, iPod or iPhone into the docking station or plug in your USB memory device, including computer, into the back and watch your favourite holiday flick in super-size format. Not at home? No worries. The portable projector has a handle so you can take it along to a hotel, chalet or friend’s place. Or set it up in a room for the kids – so you don’t have to watch Harry Potter for the 10th time.

Happy winter break!

First published December 29, 2011, on

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