Entertaining Kids on School Break

Oh, the Christmas break from school is half over and I'm already exhausted.  Having a child home for more than a week is hard work when you are an older parent like me.  I love and miss his teachers already.  We've managed to hit the public library, free Christmas displays, holiday lights, snow in the park, a couple of museums, swimming, lunch at his favorite restaurant, and his brother even took him to a movie. We did puzzles, painted Power Ranger symbols for both the blue and red rangers, built Lego castles, and made pancakes together more than once.  Whew.  I don't feel too guilty because he's happily parked in front of the TV this morning with a bag of goldfish crackers and endless Caillou episodes.

So how to manage having the kids around so they don't drive you crazy?  It's all about planning.  Long before the break, I'd started searching the list of holiday activities in the local area through google search, our local paper on-line, and my facebook "liked" pages which are businesses and groups we frequently use or visit.  We have done the same for summer vacations.  Only for that long of a break, I tend to make a list of activities and we call it our "not bummer summer list"- after the movie "Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer".  You can google "free things to do (city)" and usually someone has already made a long list of things to try.  We do this when we travel too.  I usually set a budget of $20 per day.  Sometimes that means we pack a lunch or seek out free days at the museum.  Nearly every city offers its residents a free day at least once a month.

There's a great book I've used for several years called "Unplugged Play" which is just a bunch of great ideas for kids under age 10.  It has stuff to make, games to play, even birthday party ideas.  We have an ipad so I also look for new games about once a month.  When I download something new, it usually gives me a few hours to myself, as long as he can figure out how to play it without me.  There's a new list for Ipad apps that Time Magazine put out that I used this week to add a few new ones.  Anything by Toca Boca is a big hit with Omar too.

After the summer break, I make a photo book of all the stuff Omar has done over the summer.  We now have 2 and they get read over and over again.  I enjoy reliving all the fun we've had.  Here's a Blurb link to our most recent book, which turned out to be bigger than usual because of some unplanned travel opportunities.

Now onward for one more week.  We plan to drive to Minneapolis to visit Abdul's brother and his family who have 4 children, starting tomorrow.  I know we'll all be tired on the long drive home again.


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