Happy holidays to all of Boston Babies’ Moms, Dads, Nanis, Papis, bouncing babies, tenacious toddlers and creative kids! While the holidays are a time for rest, relaxation and celebration, they can also be stressful and exhausting for many families.
Take a break, catch your breath and regroup, because Boston Babies has many ways for you to unwind with your family this season. Boston Babies is honored to have a festive feature from Developmental Specialist, Shari Kurtzman. Head in to your long weekend and start your New Year with some suggestions below from Shari on how to handle winter vacation in a way that allows for easy and enjoyable family fun.
Say bye-bye to boredom and winter blues by making any vacation a PLAY-cation! Play based activities for all ages can promote abstract thinking, socialization, language acquisition and so much more. These activities don’t have to be messy or expensive – save money and sanity this winter play-cation and start playing with some of these ideas today!
1) Recycled Material Forts/Gingerbread Houses
Whether you cook to create your own gingerbread house, or get construction paper and/or recycled materials–imagination runs wild with this classic holiday tradition.
Use those old shipping boxes and raid the recycle bin – it’s time to put on our engineering hats! With a little bit of duct tape and imagination, kids of all ages can find a new use for that empty milk carton or the leftover newspaper.
Let kids crawl inside with some pillows and a flashlight and create their own cave of wonder. Don’t forget to leave out the crayons/markers/paint to decorate the inside and outside of their newest creation.
2) Snow/Ice Painting
We all know the antsy feeling that comes from being cooped up inside for too long. Embrace the New England weather and paint the town – literally! Fill squirt or squeeze bottles with water and a bit of food coloring (let the kids help, this is a great way to talk about science and colors mixing!) bundle up the troops and head out to the porch/yard to create your masterpiece. Squirt bottles are great for working on fine motor skills for those little fingers and there’s no mess to clean up!
Not loving the cold? No problem! Bring the winter inside with ice painting. Simply add juice or food coloring or tempera paint to a little bit of water in an ice cube tray, freeze and voila – instant melt-able paint. This is another great way to put on your lab coats and talk about what happens when blue and red paint melt next to each other – did you have purple paint to start out with? How did that happen!?
3) Sticky Paper Collages
No mess activity and great for little hands and creative minds. Roll out a piece of contact paper sticky side up and let the little ones stick everything and anything. Scraps of wrapping paper, tissues, stickers – it all sticks! Once they are finished, cover with another piece of contact paper and frame the newest work of art. Or you can cut into shapes and send as a belated holiday present to family and friends.
4) Shaving Cream Paint Bath Time!
A huge challenge for families during vacations are sticking to routines. When kids don’t want to get in the bath, make it an art project instead! Mix a little bit of food coloring and shaving cream (not too much or it could dye their hands!) in bowls and let kids paint the sides of the tub and walls. They’ll be clean before they’ve finished their first creation.
5) Keep Moving!
Have a dance party or do some yoga together. Movement, coordination and flexibility are important in little bodies (and our big bodies, too!) Keep moving everyday to fight the laziness and boredom that is right around the corner – grab that holiday music or practice some quiet meditation with your family.
The best part of play-cations are the memories, so make sure to keep the camera close by! You can also share your ideas or your family’s play-cation with Boston Babies via Boston Babies’ Facebook page. Enjoy playing!
Bio: Shari Kurtzman
Shari earned her Masters in Child Development from Tufts University and currently coordinates the curriculum and supervises a phenomenal staff as the Assistant For Kids Only Manager at the Sports Club/LA in Boston. Her passion for creative, hands-on learning through informal education drives her to be overly involved in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors.
Follow her on Pinterest and Twitter for more creative and hands-on fun! @ShariKurtzman