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Help! Five ideas to keep you and the kids entertained over winter break

Winter break can be a stressful time for many parents. When it’s freezing cold outside and the kids are off school, what’s a parent to do?  Being stuck at home doesn’t have to mean endless hours of electronic games and TV. Here are some stress-free ideas to keep you and the kids entertained on those freezing winter days. As expected, I’ve  included an educational element to each activity.

1.) BREAK OUT THE BOARD GAMES! There are so many wonderful educational and entertaining games for kids and adults to enjoy together.  My top picks:  DIXIT, WISE ALEC, SET, WORD ON THE STREET. The Oldies but Goodies:  CONNECT FOUR, GUESS WHO, MEMORY, CHESS, CHECKERS. (Click here to read my post with more information on these games.)

2.) WATCH A  QUALITY FAMILY MOVIE. It has to be bearable to adults, and it has to be family appropriate.  My top picks: The Disney Classics: Pinocchio, Dumbo, Snow White. Musicals:  Westside Story, The Sound of Music, Gigi Based on books: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Help (PG-13), The Wizard of Oz. Great animation:  Toy Story, The Iron Giant.  (You will cry, but it’s worth it.)

3.) BAKE AND COOK TOGETHER. The cold weather lends itself to baking and cooking a warm meal, so why not do it together?  It’s also a great opportunity to teach kids about measurements. Let kids measure out the Tbsp., cups, pour,  and then why not have them  participate in the clean up?  Health and nutrition might come up in conversation too. Many  kid-friendly cookbooks are available if you need some inspiration.  I’ve had luck at the local library.  A few recommendations:  The Sesame Street series, You Can Cook by Annabel Karmel. Visit  your local farmer’s markets for inspiration, people-watching, and to try some  new foods.

4.) COZY UP BY THE FIREPLACE WITH POPCORN, HOT CHOCOLATE, AND SOME BOOKS. I call this the “Reading Party.”  We all pick a pile of books, cuddle up and read.  In the time it takes the kids to finish their hot chocolates and popcorn, we’ve usually gone through about 6-7 books. Sometimes I also read a bunch of short poems. Right now we’re reading The Inventions of Hugo Cabret by Bryan Selznick, and You’re a Bad Man, Mr. Gum! by Andy Stanton.

5.) VENTURE OUT, AND GO CULTURAL. Catch a matinee theatre production, or visit a museum.  If you couldn’t  get away to warmer places, why not be a tourist in your own city and explore with your kids?   Top picks for Calgary: Glenbow Museum, Alberta Theatre Productions “The Wizard of Oz,” Heritage Park, (Lots going on there.  Click on the link to read a post about its hidden gems.Theatre Calgary’s “A Christmas Carol,” Alberta Ballet’s “Nutcracker,”

Hopefully, I have given you some ideas to stay warm and sane with the kids this winter.



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