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5 Ways to Keep Busy with Kids During School Vacation, or Anytime Really

My oldest started preschool at our local Montessori school this past September. It’s been a game changer. For both of us. Prior to preschool, he was at home with me all day long. Don’t get me wrong. I am so grateful to be able to stay at home with my children. But the days can be very long, especially if I haven’t planned anything for the kids. Let’s be honest, even with planning, the days can be long as you guiltily look at the clock quietly murmuring to yourself, “is it bedtime yet?” But with my oldest starting preschool, it’s been a welcome few hours of variation during the day where he gets to socialize/play/learn with other kids and adults. Those precious few hours also allow me to bond one on one with my youngest. Sometimes, I even clean the house. (That’s a big SOMETIMES.)

When winter break hit us, I realized quite quickly that I had to plan some activities to fill our days before I lost my cool. The status quo of coloring and play-doh just wasn’t going to cut it. But I didn’t want to do anything that required us to drive anywhere (thanks gross winter weather) or spend too much money. So I looked around my home for some inspiration. The first thing I saw: the piles of art work my son brought home from preschool.

  1. Find a place for your kids artwork (finally). I was up in our loft, which also happens to be the play room. We moved into this house about 6 months ago, but I’ve been slow with decorating. I was staring at the blank walls when inspiration hit. I have been trying to find a way to salvage Vincent’s MANY pieces of artwork. I felt bad recycling most of it, but I can’t justify keeping it all either. So I decided to take some of my personal faves, and post them on the bare walls. If you have walls and endless amounts of kid art, then you can do this! Also, let your child help. See next point.

    The “Vincent” Installation

  2. Teach them something. It could be argued that you’re constantly teaching your children whether you know it or not. But in this example, I am referring to something small that can be taught in a day (ideally) and as a result will boost their confidence. Related to my first point, as I was getting ready to tape up my child’s artwork, he very eagerly asked if he could help. At first, I sighed and thought about how much more quickly I could do this without his “help” when I realized, I have nowhere to be, so what’s the rush? I gave him the scotch tape, and showed him how to cut off small pieces. At first, the pieces were HUGE (1-2 feet long). But after guiding his little hands and teaching him how to safely cut the tape, he got the hang of it. He was so proud of his participation in the “art installation”. For the remainder of the school break, anytime I needed to use tape, I asked him. He actually helped me wrap most of the presents!
  3. Get out the board games. I LOVE board games, much to my husband’s chagrin. So I was so excited to introduce my oldest to board games when the time was right. For his third birthday, we got him Candyland, as per the advice of fellow blogger and mother of three Apartment Mama. We literally played Candyland every single day of his winter vacation. Anytime we had guests, the first thing he would do is break out Candyland to play with them, whether they wanted to or not. Thankfully, most did. For Christmas, he also received Pie Face. Because of how messy one can get when playing with whipped cream, we have limited this game to special occasions (any day starting with “S”).

    My nervous face.

    The things I do for my child.

  4. Let them do chores. As mentioned above, my child LOVES to help. Give that kid a broomstick or feather duster, and he is smitten! I found a handy list of age appropriate chores for kids. If you periodically ask your child to do chores throughout the day, this will give you a few minutes to put your feet up, or more importantly use the washroom sans children.

  5. Play with them! Last but not least, this will be your child’s favourite activity. There’s nothing quite like QT with mom (and dad). With very active boys, this means getting down on the ground, throwing off our socks, and just rolling around/jumping on each other. Inevitably, there will be tears because of a bit too much horseplay, but within minutes, there will be smiles all around and little screams of “again, again!”

    My signature move.

    All fun and games…

    ….until it’s not.

    What did you guys do over the school break? How do you keep your kids busy? I’d love to know!

4 Discussions on
“5 Ways to Keep Busy with Kids During School Vacation, or Anytime Really”
  • Yes to Candy Land! Chutes and Ladders is also great. Connect 4 too! My oldest loves playing board games and at 8 years old he just got Clue for Christmas. Remember that game?

  • Love your ideas! I made a post a little while back on something similar to this and I had chores on mine too! Isn’t it amazing how the little ones love to get involved with the housework/cooking.
    BTW I love the Pie face picture!

    I was also wondering, how did you secure the artwork to the wall? I hate that I have all his artwork in a box.

    xoxo Jackie

    • Thanks Jackie! Yes my oldest LOVES to help. I’m constantly having to create new jobs for him to do! And I just used scotch tape to secure the art. It isn’t very heavy, so tape does the trick well. Once he brings home canvases or fabric art, I’ll have to get the big guns out: nails and string. Hope that helps!

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