As kids get out of school for holiday vacation, they’ll be excited and looking forward to having fun with family and friends. Here are some great ways to enjoy some quality time together, and give your kids educational and interesting projects to do during their break.
Build a model car, truck or plane
At the toy store, there are all kinds of kits, paints and other accessories for making models, from ships to boats, cars, trucks, planes and much more. Choose one that looks interesting to your child. It comes with a list of supplies you’ll need to do the project, so make sure to buy whatever isn’t already included in the kit, such as glue, paints, or masking tape (for covering areas you don’t want to paint). Building models takes time and patience. It’s fun to watch the project go from a bunch of plastic, extruded parts in a box, to a shiny little car or plane. Working on the kit takes patience, and kids love to help as you figure out together how to assemble it. My father and I made Corvette and Piper Cub kits together when I was a kid, and even as a really "girly girl," I enjoyed the projects from start to finish. My dad still has some of the models we assembled, on display in his office, thirty years later. Doing projects like this are fun, but might not be for very young children, check the box of the kit to see what age range it’s appropriate for if you want to make something for the younger set.
Assemble care packages for the poor and donate them
Being poor is rough enough, but stir in the holiday season and it can be devastating for those who are suffering from lack of food or basic living needs. Go to a deep discount store or warehouse retailer like Costco, and find useful items such as toiletries, toys, gift cards, blankets, packaged or canned foods, and other things that you think would be useful for someone who is down on his her luck. Divide what you’ve found into separate care packages and put them each in boxes or baskets. Seal with cellophane, tape or bows, then deliver them to places who can find good homes for each of them, like battered women’s’ or homeless shelters and other facilities. The Salvation Army, Goodwill and other reliable agencies are also good places to deliver gifts to.
Make toys for cats
If you have cats, buy a big bag of catnip, a yard or two of cotton material, and make catnip pillows. All you need to do is cut a long rectangle, fold it over and stitch three of the four sides, turn it with the pretty side of fabric showing then fill it with catnip. Sew the last side up, and then go over tall he sides again, one more time, to make sure catnip can’t escape out of any of the holes. Leave using needles to the adults or older kids with adult supervision, but let the younger ones fill each pillow with the catnip, and present kitty with his new toy when done. You can even make a bunch of them then take them to your local animal shelter or ASPCA to give to the homeless cats and kittens there.
Have a video game or computer game tournament
When you have a houseful of gamers, then pick a game and let everyone try to beat one another at it, in rounds. Between rounds, bring out snacks and put on holiday music, to weave a little non-gaming entertainment into them in a painless way. Then, it’s back to the games. At the end, make sure that when there’s a winner, that there are "consolation" prizes for the others, too. That way, nobody feels left out.
By engaging the family in a little together time, the holidays will fly by as everyone enjoys themselves. These are memories that last forever, so make them last with a little creativity and caring. Those young years don’t last forever, so put them to good use, letting kids be kids, and letting yourself be one as well. Go for it, and banish holiday boredom with good, family fun. It’s a good thing.