Winter break is here, and with it is two weeks of children being at home. This is a mixed blessing for parents. On one hand, there is more family time together and your children get a much-needed break. On the other hand, we need to find things for them to do. For some parents, it means taking time off from work or sending them to visit family or even a daycare. If they are old enough, they can stay at home alone. Regardless of the situation, idleness can happen without school to keep children busy. Sitting around on the cell phone or playing video games is not a healthy option. Here are some ideas to keep them occupied during the break.
There are few better things one can do to celebrate what the holiday spirit exists for other than volunteering for those less fortunate. Of course, there are several homeless shelters who provide meals on this day, but that is something that often has a surplus of volunteers for. This does not mean there is nothing else. There are plenty of other areas that can use help. Are your children teens? They can volunteer to babysit for struggling parents who can’t afford other arrangements free of charge. Pet shelters can always use a hand walking the dogs.
Our recommendation? Call Dell Childrens Center where you can go as a family and visit sick children during Christmas day. Bring some small gifts and visit lonely children. Or alternatively, a retirement home to bring some youthful joy to seniors lives.
READ A BOOK
Here are some great suggestions to get you through break!
Bridge of Clay
by Markus Zusak
In his first novel since The Book Thief, Markus Zusak tells the story of five Dunbar brothers, living on their own without adult supervision, outside of Sydney. The narrative moves back and forth through time and space, painting a full portrait of a family and its ups and downs. You’ll find yourself really getting to know the boys, their distinct personalities, and their history in this beautiful meditation on love and laughter, and loss and death.
by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Loren Long
In his new picture book, Newbery Medal-winner Matt de la Peña explores all the ways that we see, feel, and experience love from the first days of life through childhood and beyond.
GO ON A HIKE
I know it is winter and it is a bit cold, but this is the perfect time and weather for a nice family hike! Not enough exercise is a problem many people have, and a good hike in cooler weather is easier to do, a great budget family activity and leaves you feeling better! Earn bonus points of you turn off your cell phones and have a conversation. Not sure where to go? There are plenty of hiking spots in Austin!
PLANT A GARDEN
People do not usually think to do this until Spring. But winter and especially early January is the height of dormancy for many plants. This is the best time for transplanting and also the time of minimum problems removing the old weeds! Head out for a weekend, and get to planting some of your favorite foods!
GO OUT AND PLAY
There was a time when our ancestors had these objects called toys. They came in all shapes and sizes, and they were given to children to go out and play. Children would then journey outside and move around with these objects. Our forefathers called this ‘playing’ as an ode to our ancestors, some parents still turn off the television and cell phone and have their children go out and play.