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Keeping Kids Active and Engaged During Winter Break

December 22, 2009
by Haley A. Lovett
Students on break during the winter holidays have many opportunities for learning outside the classroom. Find ideas in this article for fun and educational activities for kids, both at home and in your community.

Winter Games and Activities for Indoors

If you live in a cold, snowy or rainy area, your kids may end up spending time indoors to escape the elements. If so, check out our feature on rainy day activities for kids; it’s a good place to discover crafts and games for younger children.

For winter crafts and activities, sites aimed at teachers or homeschooling parents often offer a great deal of useful ideas. offers some easy and fun winter-themed activities aimed at younger kids. Parents can print out coloring worksheets, word games, puzzles, reading activities and some information about winter around the world.

A to Z Teacher Stuff also has lots of winter-themed activities divided by grade. Find worksheets and crafts, as well as science activities and cold-weather safety lessons.

Online Learning Opportunities During Winter Break

If weather keeps you in the house but you’d like to fill your child’s winter break with art, history, culture, science or other museum attractions, many well-known museums offer online exhibits. The online museum series from November featured children’s museums, art and photography museums, and history and science museums.

Help your student get ahead in school during winter break using sites with educational material and exercises for almost any age. FindingDulcinea’s article on the Best Sites for Elementary School Students features sites for mastering math, reading and other subjects.

Our Education Web Guides present quality sites for students divided by age and category, and can be a great place to start looking for supplemental learning material over the break for elementary, middle, and high school students.

Where to Take Kids During Winter Break

If weather permits, winter can be a great time to get the family out of the house, and to show your children what your city has to offer.

Visit your local library to find a good book to read over the break, or to meet up with other families for activities or story time. If your child is new to the library or hasn’t yet discovered all it has to offer, check out the Introducing Kids to the Library feature.

During school breaks city-run or nonprofit organizations often offer camps or activities for kids. Look at public park schedules to see if anything fun (and sometimes free) is going on. Even in colder areas of the country, public parks often have indoor venues to host these camps or activities. Check out your local YMCA or community center for more opportunities. Classes and camps featuring crafts, games, cooking, sports and more can be found through these organizations.
Private winter camps might also be available for your kids, while it may be too late to register for some December camps, in districts that have a mid-winter break you might still find day or overnight camps for your student. The Mommy Poppins blog only features camps available for mid-winter break students in New York, but it can serve as inspiration for parents elsewhere. Also, see our Web Guide to Summer Camps, some of which might also have camps that run during the winter.

If you want to instill a sense of service in your children this break, take a look at what volunteer opportunities for kids are available in your area.

Getting Active During Winter: Winter Sports

Winter also offers the opportunity to play snow and ice sports. With the Winter Olympics approaching, your family may take winter break to go ice-skating, skiing or snowboarding, to stay in shape, and maybe even get excited about watching the games.

And outdoor activities are not limited to sports. Family Education features some outdoor activities that can be done in winter, such as building a backyard weather station, building snow sculptures and making ice candles.

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