Action Alliance for Children is no longer creating new content for Children's Advocate and Defensor de los Niños.
We encourage the continued use and distribution of the magazine and online articles archive.
Permissions guidelines: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Public License.

Ways to entertain your kids over winter break

December 11, 2013
Original Author: Lisa Pilnik

Image Credit:

Kids going stir crazy during winter break? Lisa Hanson and Heather Kempskie, authors of The Playdate Busy Book, shared some great activity ideas with Children’s Advocate, based on their book and their own families’ cold weather adventures:

Make an ice sculpture: Find different shaped containers in your house, fill them with water and food coloring, and freeze.  The next day, stack the different colored shapes to make towers, or combine them in different shapes on a tray. Hanson and Kempskie suggest sprinkling salt on the ice shapes to help them stick together.

Photo by Shezamm / CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo by Shezamm / CC BY-SA 2.0

Re-use the recyclables: Let your kids raid the recycling bin to make art or inventions, like the “dog food dispenser” Kempskie’s son and daughter once created out of plastic bottles, cardboard boxes and other materials.

Play spin the storybox: Paste family photos or pictures from magazines on each side of an empty tissue container (or other small box).  Take turns spinning the box and telling a story about the image it lands on. For younger children you can just ask questions about the picture (e.g., what kind of animal is this?  Does it live on land or in water?), Hanson said. As they get older, children can start using more complex pictures to inspire detailed stories, including characters, settings, and problems to be solved.

Plan a parade: Let your kids create their own instruments and lead a marching band throughout the house (or around the block, weather permitting).  One easy instrument can be made by putting dry beans or pasta inside a paper towel roll and securing the ends with wax paper and elastic bands, then decorating the outside with stickers, paint or ribbons.

Get a job: Let your kids play librarian by sorting their books into categories, then stamping index cards to “check out” titles. Or make mailboxes and letters, then let them be mail carriers making deliveries.