Healthy Kids YMCA Child Care

5 Ideas for a Relaxing Winter Break

3 children laughing and playing in the snow

The winter break is meant to be a time to relax, recharge and spend quality time with the family, but does it ever go according to plan? Not often; younger kids become bored and get into things they shouldn’t, while the older ones are never home because they’ve allocated all of their free time to friends. You, on the other hand, are stuck doing extra housework, listening to bickering children, and trying to figure out how to bring the family together before everyone returns to their normal routine. To say that winter vacation can be a stressful two weeks is an understatement.

Looking for a way to make this year’s winter break as stress-free as possible? Here are 5 inexpensive, yet fulfilling, ways to keep the family feeling relaxed:

1. Read together

Get everyone to turn off the devices and sit down for storytime. Choose a good kids’ book and have the whole family get involved by taking turns reading the pages out loud and doing the voices for all of the characters.

2. Find moments to bond as a family

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can take its toll on everyone, which is why it’s important for families to find time to relax and create lasting memories over the winter break. Visiting a YMCA Ontario Early Years Centre (OEYC) is the perfect way to do just that.

Year round, these centres provide fun and education programs for families with children under the age 6 to enjoy. The best part about the OEYC, is that it’s free! Check out your nearest centre’s event calendar to learn what programs are being offered during the winter break.

3. Get creative

Want an easy stress-buster activity that can be done at home? Try getting the entire family to unleash their inner artist. Activities like painting, drawing, and crafting are therapeutic —they yield similar benefits to meditation and can significantly minimize negative mood. So, break out the paint, crayons, and coloured paper and get creating!

4. Enjoy the outdoors

Being cooped-up inside all day can leave kids feeling bored and restless. Help your child release all of that extra energy with an outdoor activity. Taking a walk as a family, for example, is a great way for children and adults to stay active during the colder months, learn about nature and, most importantly, unwind.

5. Break a sweat together

If it’s too cold to venture outside for some fresh air, head to your local Y for a couple hours of indoor fun. The YMCA Family Gym and Family Swim programs provide opportunities for children and parents to get involved in physical activity together and relieve any tension that have built-up over the winter break. Not a member of the Y? Sign up today for a free two-week trial.

Kids Recipe Challenge

Looking for an extra dose of winter break fun? Get your pint-sized Master Chef to whip-up their most delectable dish and enter the Kids Recipe Challenge!

EatRight Ontario, an organization working toward making a healthier Ontario, is looking for original, kid-friendly recipes from local students in grades 1 to 8. Students who submit their best breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner recipe are eligible to win cool prizes like gift cards, cookbooks, and iPods. The deadline for contest entries is January 6, 2017, so get cooking! For a full list of contest details, head to the Kids Recipe Challenge page.

What tips do you have for planning a restful and stress-free winter break? Let us know by joining the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.