Winter vacation boredom busters for kids

by Julie Snyder

Winter Vacation Boredom BustersAs the holiday rush swirls around, along with all your seemingly endless activities, you might be wanting to have a much needed break, putting your feet up and r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g!

Unfortunately, that same quiet to your kids may come across as the four walls closing in, ready to swallow them whole with boredom and doldrums! They could proclaim they'll simply die if they don't get to do something right that second.

It goes without saying that you'll want to avoid sibling wars or major meltdowns underfoot. The trick is to be forewarned and prepared!

These sanity saving suggestions are based on how much time and energy you have available at that moment. Ready? Go!

Winter boredom busters for kids

Begin with the basics

Within this group are your "go-to" activities -- those readily available without too much planning or effort on your part. Ideas in this category can include:

Reading: Create a special kids' cozy corner. This can be in their bedroom, the living room or wherever they're comfortable. Making it a special retreat will inspire it to be used more frequently.

Coloring/drawing: Keep a storage tub full of colorful paper and lots of crayons, colored pencils and markers. When their masterpieces are done, have an art show!

Puzzles: Your children can work alone or with you. Benefits include improved cognitive skills, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and that feeling of accomplishment when the last piece falls into place.

Playing cards: A deck of cards can open up many possibilities. Little ones can work on matching, learning number recognition. Older ones can learn skill games such as solitaire or blackjack. Build a house of cards.

Pick from the Boredom Busters Box

Pick several favorites and create a "Boredom Busters Box" that you can fill with supplies needed. Here are a few ideas for inspiration:

Let kids explore those old pictures you have stuffed everywhere and organize them into a photo album or scrapbook.

Let them eat cake...or cookies or whatever treats they can concoct in the kitchen. Allowing them to learn how to measure, help mix, and prepare is worth it. Plus there's an added bonus lesson about "cleaning up" that keeps boredom away.

Host your own version of Karaoke or let them lead the band! Kids love music -- making music is even better! Turn on their favorite tunes and join in!

Get motivated and get movin'!

We all enjoy curling up on the couch, perhaps by a warm fire and a hot cup of coffee or cocoa. There are those days when you just know that if you don't get the kids out of the house, you'll go stir crazy! Before that happens, have some ideas of what to do when all else fails on hand.

Go to a museum -- history, fine arts, science. Each may even be offering special kids' activities during this time.

Think outside the norm. While it's winter, what about visiting the zoo? Call ahead and ask about 'behind the scenes' activities.

Go for a winter 'treasure hunt'! Create a list of things you need to find and then challenge your kids to go out on a quest.

Are you still searching for something more? Visit our Fight cabin fever -- fun kid-friendly winter activities for more ideas.

Do you have activities that you call on to keep boredom at bay?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.