15 Cheap Activities to Keep Your Kids Busy During Winter Break

15 Cheap Activities to Keep Your Kids Busy During Winter Break

“…And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again…”

They are home, and funny enough- they are up earlier than usual. Today you didn’t have to coax them out of bed. No. Today they were up at the crack of dawn, ready to seize the day because they don’t have school. They’re all ready to watch too much tv, make a bigger mess around the house than usual and they’ll definitely be expecting you to entertain them… ALL DAY.

We all struggle with ways to keep the kids busy that don’t involve having them sit in front of a screen all day. It becomes even more difficult during the winter break and although we all love spending time with our children, we need some quiet time, too!

Constantly entertaining the children is enough to drive even the most patient of Moms crazy. So let’s keep our sanity by keeping these kids busy, Moms! Here are some cheap activities to keep the kids busy during winter break without breaking the budget that I hope will help to make YOUR winter break enjoyable, too!

15 Cheap Activities to Keep Your Kids Busy During Winter Break

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15 cheap activities to keep your kids busy during winter break

1. Pokeball Hunting: Found these Pokeballs online for relatively cheap and it went over really well with the kids. Much like an easter egg hunt, I kept the kids busy for a while with a Pokeball hunt. You can hide them indoors, outside or at a park. The kids love finding them and the more kids you have, the better because they can all take turns hiding and finding them.

2. Cookie Baking: Turn up some Christmas music and get the cookies baking!! Not only does this give the kids a chance to bake, (which always seems to be a big hit), it keeps them busy and everyone wins when the cookies are done at the end. Sugar cookies always work best because you can make the dough, use fun cookie cutters and then decorate them. The kids love the whole process, and they reap the reward of eating their creations at the end. This also works well with Gingerbread kits– people, houses, trains, or different themes like this Trolls Movie one!

15 Cheap Activities to Keep Your Kids Busy During Winter Break 3. Pokemon Go: Take them to the park and/or catching them all with Pokemon Go. Now it might be too cold to do this, depending on your tolerance for cold and where you live, but you can get creative and find different indoor places to hunt Pokemon, like the mall and/or museum. This can keep them busy for hours!

4. Groupon: Don’t want to spend too much this winter break? Here’s your chance to use Groupon to your advantage. Find an indoor jump park or similar activity that wears your kids out while you sit and watch (or join in the fun and burn off some of those cookie calories!!). New to Groupon? For a limited time, if you enter Hello25, you can get 25% off your first Groupon! Here’s how you can save even more with Groupon Coupons, too.

5. Catch a movie: Take the kids to a cheap matinee- even if you’ve seen the movie before, the kids still love getting out of the house and they will love you for it. Some local movie theaters offer free morning movies for kids on break, also- so you may be able to score on that!!

6. Playdate it up!! Now’s your chance to get the playdates in. This will get your kids playing and keep them out of your hair while they’re playing with their friends. Invite a few friends over and relax while they play.

7. Kid swap: Plan it out with a mom or two to take their kids one day while you take theirs the next. This keeps the kids busy and scores you some much needed alone time so you don’t crack!! The other Moms will appreciate it just as much as you do.

8. Pinterest it up: Pinterest is your friend. It’s filled with a million and one crafting activities that the kids will love and keep busy with during the winter break. Let the kids search Pinterest and pick their own crafts. Use what you have around the house, pick stuff up at the dollar store, or make a quick trip to Michael’s, Joann’s or Hobby Lobby to pick up the supplies. Half a day done!

9. Have the kids volunteer: Check your local food bank, animal shelter, and other outlets for volunteer opportunities. you can also start a roundup in your neighborhood to collect the food or toys for donation and pick them up with the kids and drop off. Another great idea is to have a play date party that requires each kid to bring a toy to donate and then at the end of the playdate, you can all drop off the donations.

15 Cheap Activities to Keep Your Kids Busy During Winter Break 10. Send some mail: Have the kids write letters to family and friends. This keeps the kids thinking about family members that might not live near and are sure to be a treat for family members to receive! The added bonus is that they may get some mail back. While you’re writing letters, don’t forget to send one to Santa!

11. New Years Goals: Have the kids write up their New Year’s Resolutions or work with them on goal setting for the New Year. Take it one step further and have them create a board full of pictures of what they’d like to accomplish in next year. This also makes a great keepsake!

12. Go out for a treat: Take them out to lunch at a place with an indoor play area like the mall or Chick-Fil-A. You don’t have to buy lunch for the whole family, just pick up a $1 cone per kid and let them play.

13. Head to the Library: There are always activities going on at the library and the best part is that they are FREE. Take the kids there and have them participate in some of the activities and pickup some books. Then they’ll have something to do the next day to keep them busy.

14. Take them Christmas Shopping: Allowing them to choose their own gifts to family members is always a treat. Touch on math skills by setting a budget for each child and helping them to determine if they have enough. The Dollar store is a great place to pickup some gifts if you’re on a budget.

15. Go Christmas Light Driving: Here’s a night activity that is always fun for all ages! Drive around searching for the best Christmas light decorated home in the neighborhood! Make it more fun by having each child rate each house on a number or star scale- everyone gets an opinion!

Let’s be honest. There will be a day or two in there when you can’t leave the house or supervise cooking and crafts because you have your own things to do. Just set an electronics rule. Allow them up to a certain amount of tv, tablet, and game play per day. Setting an expectation will help to keep them excited about it and accepting when you tell them their time is up. You might also want to research some educational apps or shows so that their electronics time keeps them learning while they’re not in school.

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At the end of your crazy winter break days, it might also be nice to set up a daily family Christmas movie or show time.  It keeps the family enjoying the season together. 🙂

I constantly struggle with trying to find the time to do things for myself (ahem…writing) while trying to keep the kids busy when they are on break. I know all too well how difficult it can be. I hope this list helps you over winter break and I’d love to hear some of your ideas!

If you liked these ideas, you can find more in my posts on 20 Ways to Keep Kids Busy During Spring Break and Keeping Kids Busy Without Using the TV.

What do you do to keep the kids busy during winter break? Let’s hear your ideas in the comments below!

Pamela is a Freelance Writer, Blogger, WAHM of 3, and Veteran Military Wife living in Southwest Texas. Raised in the Northeast and having lived a few years in the Pacific Northwest, she likes to write about mom life, parenting, frugal living, experiences, and WINE. (Lots of wine!) When she’s not busy chasing toddlers around, you can find her on the blog or on social media. Check her out on Instagram: instagram.com/wineandlavender

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