Christmas break is something counted down to by both students and teachers. However, sometimes families aren’t ready for that change in routine! Get out your planner, read this list of things to do with kids during Christmas break, and go ahead and jot down some of these activities.
Then you will be ahead of the game when your kiddos start saying they’re bored or you want something exciting to fill the day, even long after Santa Claus has made his way back to the North Pole!
How do I keep my kids busy on Christmas Break?
I tend to be the kind of parent who struggles with wanting everything to be FUN all of the time.
I want to fill our days with fun things. I feel “mom guilt” when my kids are bored. I often feel the urge to fill our calendar full of plans and Christmas time is no different.
There are so many fun things to do this time of year. Ways to get in the holiday spirit leading up to the big day!
However, after the holiday decorations lose their glow and the holiday cheer disappears, I then join the team “It’s good for kids to learn to be bored.”
Boredom helps them be creative, use their imagination, and learn that everything in life isn’t always action-packed and entertaining. Chill time and time to relax is important!
My goal in planning things to do with kids during Christmas break is to find a balance of fun-filled activities as well as relaxing time as a family to enjoy the gifts we’ve received and the lazy days together.
Indoor Activities for Kids Over Christmas Break
Read Holiday Stories
There’s nothing better to me than cozying up with a good book, but family reading time is even more special!
Gather all of your favorite holiday books or visit the local library and check out a bunch of winter and holiday tales.
I personally like to pack up our Christmas books with the Christmas decorations each year that way when we pull them back out in November they are all exciting again!
Holiday Movie Marathon
On particularly gross weather days it can be a relief to just stay inside and settle in for a family holiday movie marathon. Let each of your kids pick a favorite or set up a surprise lineup that the whole family can enjoy.
Grab the popcorn, candy, or holiday treats, your favorite cozy blanket, and enjoy some movie memories.
We have an annual family tradition of drinking hot chocolate (add in candy canes for a festive twist!) while watching a family Christmas movie together after we finish decorating our Christmas tree – it’s the perfect kick-off to the Holiday Season!
These Santa mugs are my favvvvvorite holiday item! They bring me such joy everytime we use them 🙂
Make Scented Slime or PlayDough
If you’re feeling crafty you can easily make your scented slime or play dough using ingredients from around the house.
Add food colors or scents to match the winter season and your kids will love experimenting and building. Here’s an easy recipe from Midget Momma
Or, you can go my route, and just keep a pack of Play-Doh up in a cabinet to pull down from time to time to keep it fun and engaging!
There’s something special about just staying in pajamas all day. Pick a day where everyone is going to just relax and do whatever they want inside, even you, Mama! No chores allowed!
Just play and rest and recharge. Winter break can get so busy that you will love taking this day.
And it’s the perfect excuse to get another wear out of those adorable matching pjs you bought for Christmas morning 😉
Indoor Obstacle Course
Build an indoor obstacle course and watch your kiddos burn off some of that neverending energy.
Use couch cushions, pillows, plastic cups, exercise equipment, hula hoops, or whatever is in your house or garage. Kids can climb over, go under, zig-zag around, and more depending on your design.
Tip: those pool noodles left over from summertime make a fantastic addition!
Sort Toys to Donate
It’s always a good idea to focus on others so sorting toys to donate is one of my favorite things to do with kids during Christmas break.
Taking the time to go through toys that they never play with and deciding to give them to others who have less is a way kids can learn to focus on giving and not just getting during this season.
It’s also a great way to purge so the house won’t feel overfilled when the new toys and items get added in! Read more about getting kids to help declutter here.
Family Game Night
Your kids may even ask to start this as a weekly tradition. We love family game time so much that we have it as part of our bedtime routine. You can see all of our favorite family board games here!
Home Scavenger Hunt
Create a home scavenger hunt! If your kids are early elementary you easily make this focus on literacy by asking them to find something that starts with a certain letter sound.
Younger kids will enjoy finding certain objects if they are working on labeling. You can even make this exciting for your older kids by hiding everyday objects and giving them hints.
Make it a race to see who can bring back the item(s) first! An even better way to execute this? Have the older kids create the scavenger hunt FOR the younger ones…then you get a nice break 😉
Screen Free Day
Focus on your family with a screen-free day. Have everyone turn in devices and put up the remotes. See what kind of indoor activities your kids come up with when they don’t have access to electronics.
You may decide to keep them away for more than one day. This may feel like a punishment but it can quickly become the best time together!
Try taking a short walk as a family or listen to live music together and have a dance party. No screens can allow for creativity!
Gingerbread House Decorating
This is a great quality time activity for children of all ages – even adults love a little friendly competition.
You can usually find gingerbread house kits on discount after the Christmas season so this is an activity I enjoy saving for early January when the newness of gifts has died down but holiday break still has a while to go!
Write a Family Story
Take the time to write down your family traditions in a journal that will be treasured for years to come. Journal your activities during winter break or funny things your kids say.
Or even come up with an actual story where each member of the family says a sentence until the story is complete. This idea can take many different turns and can become a beloved holiday tradition.
We enjoy a large dinner on New Year’s Eve each year where we each share our favorite memories and moments from the year as well as our hopes and goals for the upcoming one. Why not write them down?
It’d be a great way to gather all the family memories in one place and bring joy in looking through them each year!
Host a Party!
The holiday season is the perfect excuse to gather friends and family together. Kids can get in on the fun by hosting a holiday-themed get-together.
Maybe you play holiday games, make holiday crafts or treats, or even host a Favorite Things gift exchange!
Teach Life Skills
With the slower pace over the holiday break why not use the time to teach life skills to your children? Get them included in the Christmas baking! Let them watch as you go over the family budget.
Items You May Enjoy
- Playdoh Set /// 2. Santa Mugs /// 3. Matching Family Pjs /// 4. Sorry Board Game /// 5. Gingerbread House Kit /// 6. Family Legacy Journal
Outdoor Activities for Kids During Christmas Break
Have a Snowball Fight
Go outside for a family snowball fight! Pick teams, make your snowballs, and man your battle stations.
We aren’t lucky enough to have snow where we live so we have to create our own little winter village using fake snowballs instead 😉
Want to turn it into a STEM activity? Why not make your own snow like Elsa!
Build a Snowman
After your epic snowball fight, create a snowman to guard your home this winter. Whether you are making Frosty the Snowman or your family’s creation, your kids will enjoy crafting this wintery character together.
I have this velcro snowman for my kids to build inside since we don’t live in a snow-filled environment.
Take Fun (or Tacky) Christmas photos
Most people take classic Christmas photos at some point to send out as or with Christmas cards. Make it fun and wear ridiculous clothes, a tacky sweater, or even costumes and take some family photos.
These will probably be more loved by your own family than the normal posed ones.
An even more fun twist is to let your kids choose the outfits! Make it a tacky Christmas fashion show showing off your looks with lots of laughter and photos to remember it by!
Shovel a neighbor’s walk if they have snow, bring an elderly neighbor some fresh bread or groceries, or even just go spend time with someone who doesn’t get a lot of visitors.
Show your children that you can help your community during this winter season. A lot of people struggle during the holidays and letting someone know you care can make all the difference!
Check-in with your church family or other friends who may need extra support. Evening something as simple as sharing a cup of hot cocoa can make a huge impact.
Go on a Nature Walk
Bundle up and go out in your backyard or to a local park. Talk about how the trees and vegetation are different this season.
Discuss what kinds of animals are still here and what happened to others. Did they migrate or start to hibernate? There are so many things to learn about winter.
Even a simple walk around your neighborhood can be a fun way to explore!
Spread out a blanket and check out the stars together. You can look up different constellations and try to find them or just enjoy spending time outdoors at night.
Some local museums even have telescopes that you can check out!
With it getting dark earlier in the evenings this is an activity that can even be enjoyed by little ones before bedtime. Take a bedtime story outside and read together under the stars!
Set out Winter Bird Feeders
Build bird feeders for your local birds that are hanging around this winter. Using household supplies and items from your pantry, you can quickly create a simple bird feeder to hang outside your window or in your garden. Your kids can then observe the birds when they come to eat!
If you’re like us and have more squirrels than birds, why not create a fun feeder for them too?
If you need inspiration or ideas be sure to check out this post from Fireflies & Mud Pies
Build a Fire
Gather wood and even smores supplies and make a small fire. You can sit around it and tell stories, roast marshmallows, make s’mores, and enjoy some outdoor memories.
One of our best places for family talks is around our backyard firepit! It’s a great spot for each family member to open up and share more of their hearts.
Have a Picnic
Eating meals outside is always more fun! Pack a picnic basket and a blanket and eat in your backyard or at a local park. You can pack simple lunch favorites or even make a fun charcuterie board.
Build a Fort
Help your kids build a fort outside! Whether you simply set up a tent or gather sticks and make a natural version, your kids will love camping outside (with easy access to a real bathroom!) We started backyard camping with our kids and they LOVE it.
We set up the tent early in the day and they play outside ALL DAY LONG and then love getting to sleep in their tent too! It might even be more fun than Christmas day 😉
Create a Chalk City
Use your driveway to create a city for your kids! You can draw roads, buildings and more and then let ’em go wild. It’s the perfect opportunity to use that new bike or test out that scooter or even just create a red-light-green-light style game as they walk the “city.”
Items You May Enjoy
- Tacky Christmas Sweater /// 2. Pretend Snowballs /// 3. Felt Snowman /// 4. Fire Pit /// 5. Scooter /// 6. Backyard Tent
Staying Busy with Kids During Christmas Break: Places to Go
Look at Christmas Lights
One of the easiest things to do with kids during Christmas break is to go look at Christmas lights! Pack up the kids in the car and drive around looking at everyone’s houses. What kinds of decorations do they have in their yards and around their homes?
You can even check out local establishments that may have elaborate setups. In our local community there are several neighborhoods with theme decorations and some even have Christmas carols playing over the radio.
One of our favorite holiday activities is to wear our pjs, bring blankets and hot cocoa and drive around looking at lights.
Volunteer at a Toy Drive
Pick a day and have your kids go with you to volunteer at a toy drive, food pantry, or even an animal shelter. Give back to your community and focus on service during the winter break.
We like to get involved with our local foster care program to help provide gifts. Nothing brings the Christmas spirit like giving and knowing you’re helping others have magical Christmas holidays.
Visit a Local Retirement Center
Nursing homes and retirement centers don’t receive as many visitors as they should! My kids love taking a visit to read to the citizens as part of their winter break activities.
It’s a great way to keep those reading skills up over the school break while also spreading joy to others!
Ice Skating Rink
Have you ever been ice skating before? Even if you don’t live in a climate where this can happen naturally, there are usually ice skating rinks somewhere nearby.
Try this out for the first time and be prepared to laugh at the challenge.
If, like us, you don’t have a local ice rink option – why not go roller skating as a family?
Local Holiday Markets
Many communities have holiday markets with craft vendors and food trucks. This can be a great place to buy Christmas presents while supporting small shops and your neighborhood.
See what you can find near you!
Local Festivals and Events
Many festivals often happen in December. Festivals of lights are popular and you may even be lucky enough to see a big Christmas tree lighting.
Definitely plan ahead of time so you can get these on your calendar.
Our town hosts several community events that are always free to the public including Christmas tree lighting, a telling of the Christmas story, a Christmas market, and an outdoor winter wonderland event.
I’ve found the best way to discover local activities is via Facebook! Search for your county or town and usually community events will be posted there.
Christmas Tree Farm
Visit a Christmas tree farm even if you are buying an artificial tree! Your kids will enjoy walking around the massive trees and smelling them, and you may even get to purchase one.
For several years we had a local Christmas tree farm and it was one of the best things we did as a family each year – we were sad when it closed down but the memories still remain.
There is just something special about cutting down your own tree!
See a Parade
Christmas parades are the best parades. Everyone is so energized and ready for the holiday season! See if you can find a parade that is held after dark where they light up all of the floats for even more fun.
Again, check out local events – our town has a Christmas parade each year. Another town over from us even hosts a holiday train show where you can ride on a Christmas-themed train!
Another town near us has a drive-through light show spectacular as well – so many fun ideas and we don’t even live in a major city!
Shop for Christmas Presents
Take your kids shopping to buy presents for others or buy supplies so they can make their own!
Help them make their lists so they know who they want to buy for and what they are thinking of getting everyone.
This can be a great opportunity to focus on planning and budgeting.
Coffee Shop Date
Grab your kids and go enjoy a coffee shop date together. They can sample different hot chocolates and bakery treats while you get to sit down and sip a hot coffee.
This simple activity is always more fun when it’s cold outside.
Kids (and yes, even teens!) enjoy ANY outing and even a quick coffee run becomes a cherished memory when it’s spending quality time together!
Visit a local children’s museum and watch your kids explore different toys, exhibits, and themed activities.
Some even have craft and story times specific to the holiday season.
We live near a theme park and it’s always a fun place to visit during the holidays for all the themed events and activities! Even our local cupcake shop does character dress-ups with themed goodies.
Shop local and support your local businesses by stopping in during the festive fun!
Things to Make with Kids Over Christmas Break
Bake Christmas Cookies
Get out your favorite holiday recipes and make Christmas cookies. This is one of those traditional things to do with kids during Christmas break that you will look fondly back on. You can find over 75 recipes at Sally’s Baking Addiction!
The first thing we do when Christmas break starts is baking! We bake and decorate Christmas cookies and the kids also help in baking Hershey Kiss cookies too!
Design Christmas Cards
They can either mail them or hand them out in the neighborhood, church, or wherever your family visits.
Card-making is something my kids all enjoy and it’s an excellent way to help teach kids how to express their emotions and feelings towards those they love. We never regret telling people we care!
Create Christmas Ornaments
You can even get kits like these to easily make lots of ornaments yourself.
Make Wreaths and Garland
I’ve seen some places host nights where you go and they have all the supplies to make your holiday wreath or garland.
If you don’t have one of those, you can go to your local craft store and pick out what you want included.
Creating a wreath for your front door as a family can be a fun activity where you will see and enjoy the end result daily. Don’t worry you can buy diy wreath kits online too!
Make Candies and Sweets
With just a few simple ingredients you can make so many different candies and sweets. This can be fun to make big batches, bag them up, and gift them to neighbors or friends.
Need ideas and recipes? Here’s several from Back to My Southern Roots
Build a Christmas Eve Box
Make a Christmas Eve box with everything your family will enjoy on Christmas Eve. This can be new sets of pajamas, a new holiday movie or book, mugs and hot chocolate, and whatever traditions you want to start.
Make Donation Kits
Focus on others during winter break by making little kits to give to homeless or women’s shelters. You can gather warm items such as gloves, scarves, and blankets or focus on hygiene items instead.
This is a great opportunity to talk to your kids about their many blessings during all the Christmas activities.
Design Family Vision Boards
Take the time to explain to your kids what a vision board is. Then everyone can draw or write their dreams on individual pages or create a big family one together.
It is interesting to see what dreams your kids have and what goals they can accomplish the next year.
My kids have enjoyed making vision boards about future family trips they hope to go on!
Plan a Themed Movie Day
A tradition we love over Christmas break is to have a themed movie day. We pick a movie (usually a Disney one, like Aladdin or Onward!) and create food items, crafts, activities, and even outfits around that theme.
Of course we also watch the movie! It’s something all of my kids have all enjoyed from a very young age and my teen even still enjoys it!
Create an Advent Calendar
Making a Christmas countdown or advent calendar with activities to do until Christmas is an engaging family activity.
Write down different things to do on little paper slips and your kids can take turns drawing them every day until Christmas.
A fun twist is to include coupons for fun outings and family activities throughout the Christmas season.
Make Snow Cream
If you’re lucky enough to have snow, you simply have to make snow cream! Create your own and enjoy eating it together before diving into your next fun family activity. Need a recipe? Gimmie Some Oven has you covered!
Have a “Yes Day”
Yes, a YES DAY! Where Mom and Dad say YES to all the fun kid requests! We do a Yes Day every year and it’s one of my kids’ favorite days of the entire year 🙂
Even though it’s a “Yes Day” it’s not without limits – here’s our ground rules for a successful Yes Day!
How do I Entertain my Kids During Winter Break?
There are so many different things to do with kids during Christmas break. Whether you want to stay inside and avoid the cold weather, or embrace the wintery snow where you live, you can entertain your kids! Christmas break activities don’t have to be stressful or cost a fortune. Keep it simple!
Use this list as a starting point, or have your kids create their own list of activities to do over Christmas break. With a little effort, some slight planning, and some happiness mixed in this can be the best winter break yet!