Togetherness Overload: Ideas for Keeping Your Family from Going Stir-Crazy During Holiday Breaks

Try new recipes to keep your kids busy.
I'll admit it - I was petrified of my oldest son being home from school for a solid week during Thanksgiving break. I adore spending time with him, but he and his little brother usually play well together for about 30 minutes before they resort to various forms of physical and psychological torture. To my surprise, a few faithful stand-by activities have kept them both relatively uninjured, entertained and (gasp!) enjoying each other's company (I do recognize that most older kids and teens would probably scoff at some of these, but pre-school and early elementary-aged kids will be thrilled).

1. Cooking: Shockingly, it turns out that Thanksgiving prep work (no chopping or dicing, naturally) is actually enjoyable to young children. They especially love dumping ingredients in the bowl and seeing how they mix together, plus I've managed to incorporate a few handy lessons on measurement in the process.

Read More: Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes Your 3-Year-Old Can Make

2. Movie time: As standard as it seems to adults, movie mornings are a huge deal to kids, particularly when coupled with a giant bowl of popcorn and jammies. Plus, the widespread availability of Redbox stations makes it cheap, cheap, cheap.

Read More: 10 Kids' Movies That Still Give Us Nightmares

3. Cleaning (seriously): In a rare episode of productivity, I decided to clean out my son's closet. The boys acted like the random crap I pulled from the depths of the storage space was a hidden treasure trove comparable to the Toys 'R Us catalog. I'm currently debating whether I can pull of wrapping some of my old junk up and passing it off as Christmas presents.

Read More: 19 Ways to Beat Clutter Forever

4. Arts and crafts: I'm about as crafty/creative as your average anteater. Nevertheless, I found that roughly million easy craft ideas exist that even I can pull off. I've yet to check out Pinterest, but I might just be persuaded to following the rousing success of our pine cone turkeys.

Read More: 20 Last-Minute Crafts for Kids for Rainy Days

5. Forts. Is there anything better than an old sheet draped over some chairs? There's something about a homemade fort that helps children coexist more peacefully and actually share their toys within its domain.

Read More: 5 Ways to Encourage Imaginative Play (And Get More Time For Yourself!)

Naturally, I'm open for suggestions with the significantly longer winter holidays looming in the not-too-distant future. How do you keep your children occupied during drab weather?

This post was written by Alia Hoyt.

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