Five Ways to Keep Your Kids Busy During Winter Break

by Melissa on December 20, 2010

Three weeks off for winter break. Six words. If you ran into a teacher who  said the phrase, I’m sure there was a dreamy look in their eyes and a smile on their face. I’m sure your smiling kids bounded through the door on Friday, shouted these words at the top of their lungs, and raced for the TV, video games, or their toy box.  The client I met with today said those six words and a look of terror covered her face. Especially because it’s been raining in Los Angeles since Friday, and there’s no signs of it letting up. “What am I going to dooo with them?” she wailed.

Encourage them to use Inventive Play.

“What’s Inventive Play?” she asked me.

Oh, its when kids create something extraordinary, using only their imagination and the tools surrounding them.

In our book, we give you the background and lay out the theories and the scientific evidence that proves this kind of play is a pivotal practice to ensure your child’s happy and curious. But, it’s the holidays. You’re being pulled in a thousand different directions. You don’t have time to read a book. Today, I’ll be sharing some sites that will give you ideas on how to seamlessly blend the two together. You’ll be crossing things off your to-do list in a fun way that will strengthen the relationship you have with your child.

  1. Holiday Cards– Amber gives great ideas and examples that show kids how to think “outside the box” while creating.
  2. You can help your kids make holiday gifts by starting off with these other great ideas from Amber.
  3. Amanda Formero gives instructions on how to make a wreath by using old puzzle pieces. Check out her ideas, and show them to your kids.
  4. Jackie Boucher is a genius. Let your kid take  a look at her article on how to transform grocery bags into holiday gift bags. Your kids will read it and then put their own little spin on things. You’ll be amazed by what they come up with. It will save you some serious cash, and will add the sweetest touch to the gifts you give this year.
  5. Gratitude Garland – Amanda Blake started this ritual with her kids before break, but it’s not too late to start. Blake shares her experience:

“For this season, like every other season, there is so very much for us to be grateful for, and joys and special people to remind ourselves every day. The idea was to hang one newly family-chosen ‘gratitude’ on the garland each day. I was so pleased when the kids instantly loved this idea. Quickly on the first evening our ‘one’ family Gratitude turned into six individual gratitudes. While my original idea was lovely and all, I dare say, who would say ‘no’ to MORE gratitude? Exactly. I anticipate this garland will be mighty heavy by the end of this month.. Or maybe another will be made.”

The pictures on her site are so beautiful. It’s such a wonderful ritual to create.

With all of these activities, I want you to remember one thing.

The photos are just a spring board!


Have some creative brainstorming time with your kiddos after looking through the pictures, and guide them to use things laying around the house to make their own creations. If you need to. Most kids will be off and running.

This will hopefully give you some much needed time to relax, or to get to the million other things on your list now that you can scratch off wrapping paper and cards!

Melissa Spiegelman  is the founder of Tandem Teaching, where she provides strategies and solutions for parents whose children  are experiencing classroom struggles, and an expert consultant to the  USC/LAUSD/RAND/UCLA Trauma Services Adaptation Center for Resilience, Hope and Wellness in Schools. Melissa also teaches art playgroups for toddlers.  Contact her for a private coaching session.