Christmas break will soon be here. With time off from school and more time spent indoors, cries of “I’m bored!” will soon fill the air. This added time together can make for a terrific opportunity to plan activities that nurture your bond with your child and create valuable memories. If you involve your child in the planning and preparation for these activities, it will only add to the experiences you share.

Preschool to early elementary kids

Library Scavenger Hunt

Have your child make a list of topics that interest him. Use the computer catalog to locate the books. Then the hunt is on! Topics like dinosaurs, transportation, hobbies, fun facts, world records, pet care, and joke and poetry books may spark a new interest or revive an old one. Be sure to bring a book bag to take your fun finds home.

Turn up the music

Sometimes it’s fun to just turn the music up loud and dance around the house together. Create a crazy line dance or lyrics of your own. Dust off the piano or guitar, and work together to create a new musical composition.

Organize those art projects and crayon drawings

Create a scrapbook out of a three-ring binder and plastic page protector sheets. Work together to organize artwork by ages or stages to create a lasting (and organized) memory book.

Visit the local scrap store

In Michigan, we have the Scrap Station, where industries donate their scraps. Teachers love these stores as they often charge by the bag and include things such as adhesive stickers, cardboard tubes, vinyl sheets, and other materials that can be combined to create a variety of unique art projects.

Try a science project

Make rock candy, clean coins using vinegar and baking soda, make salt dough clay, or create a crystal rock garden. My favorite ideas for projects came from The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions, which includes fun recipes using household ingredients. Take pictures of the different steps involved in the experiment, help your child put the photos in order, and write captions for each step of the process.

Upper elementary to middle school kids

Cook together

Don’t just order pizza. Help your child make it herself. Other child friendly recipes include soups or stews, fruit kabobs with dip, guacamole or hummus with homemade tortilla chips, or main dishes such as chili, chicken fingers, or rolled sandwiches.

Exercise together

Take a yoga class, visit a climbing wall, hike a nature trail, go geocaching, or try an exercise video. Keep kids moving with outings to a skating arena, laser tag, bowling alley, or disc golf course.

Go stargazing

Bundle up and head outside to find constellations to enjoy the clear winter sky coupled with evenings free from homework demands. A rare treat.

Make a video

Kids can work with their friends to write a script, make costumes or masks, and film their video creations. If no other kids are around, action figures or stuffed animals can play a part in the movie. 

Visit an art studio

Many museums offer art workshops with classes geared to specific age groups, ranging from pottery and painting to weaving and mask-making. 

Be sure to have a camera to record the fun times that you share with your child this holiday season. Enjoying the time you have together will create memories that last far beyond the holidays.