Winter Break During COVID-19: How to Keep Kids Entertained on Holiday Staycation

With distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, your kids have already been spending a lot of time at home – which means the week between Christmas and New Year’s, when they’re off from school altogether, could start to feel very long. Unless, of course, you have a plan.

Here are tips to get through your child’s winter break this year.


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Make a list (and check it twice) of your child’s favorite activities.

  • Challenge your child to write down every activity they can think of. Bonus: This, in itself, is a great way to pas some time!
  • Actually put these ideas in writing. It can help with the brainstorming process, and your child will wind up with a list they can refer back to next time they’re bored.
  • Having trouble getting started? Try brainstorming activities by categories. For example: location (outdoors versus indoors; each room of the house), people (solo or with others), frequency (everyday fun versus special occasions), seasons (can they repurpose a spring or summer activity for winter?), and lots more.
  • Adapt ideas for COVID-19. Your child will probably come up with a lot of ideas that you can’t pull off at home, or aren’t safe due to social distancing. Help your child adjust those ideas to be practical during quarantine. For example, instead of getting together with friends in person, how about getting together over video chat for a game or Lego challenge?

> Related: How to Help Kids Handle Holiday Disappointment During COVID-19

For lots more ideas you can use for a COVID-19 winter staycation, check out these resources.

Give each day of your child’s COVID-19 winter break a theme.

Want to make the winter vacation feel different than just another week at home? Give each day a theme!

Have your child go back through their list and circle the activities they’re most excited about, and see if any of them go together or could fill an entire afternoon.

Then use their chosen activities to plan a staycation week they won’t forget.

For example:

  • Monday = Winter fun: Bundle up and go for a hike, build a snowman, collect treasures, and come home to a book or show focused on discovering the natural world.
  • Tuesday = Get cozy! Stay in pajamas all day for a reading or movie marathon. (Even planning the order of each title is a fun activity!) Afternoon naps encouraged.
  • Wednesday = Living room Olympics: Spend all day coming up with different challenges and obstacle courses to perform indoors – plus opening and closing ceremonies. Bonus: Use old pillows to play the homemade version of the floor is lava!
  • Thursday = Ready for your close-up? Have your child write, direct and star in a home movie. Don’t forget to have them think about costumes, background music and guest appearances.
  • Friday = Game day: Break out all your child’s favorite games, from classic board games to their favorite video game, and have a marathon.

> Related: 14 Ways to Celebrate a Virtual New Year’s Eve During COVID-19

Hype up your pandemic winter break plans.

Put the week’s schedule on the calendar. Have your child draw a picture for each day and post them all on the fridge. Talk about your plans at dinner. In general, use every chance you can to build anticipation. It’ll help your child feel included and excited about the staycation ahead.

From our Connecticut Children’s family to yours, happy holidays – and happy winter break!

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