November 26, 2019
It never fails. Two days into holiday break and suddenly everyone is bored. Quick! Before the kids turn into couch potatoes glued to their video games, it’s time to come up with a game plan of your own. Here are our top 8 tips for keeping the kids active during holiday break:
Sit down with the kids now and ask them what they’d like to do. Create a list of items that can be checked off. This can even be part of the fun – finding out how many things you can accomplish during your time off.
With weekends always jammed full, this break from school gives all of you time together that may not be possible otherwise. Consider taking a day trip to the mountains, the beach, or your favorite nature destination. Pack a healthy picnic lunch, your walking shoes and just explore.
This year marks the 27th annual Mission Inn Festival of Lights in Riverside. Did you know that USA Today called this the “Best Public Holiday Lights Display in the Nation”? There are five million holiday lights to see and it’s right here for all to enjoy! 200 animated figures are part of the display – from elves to angels and Dickens carolers. Why not turn your visit into a scavenger hunt with your kids? See who can spot the most animated figures.
In addition to the lights, there are lots of fun things to do at the festival all month long! Live entertainment is performed nightly on the Main Street stage between City Hall and 10th Street. There’s an Artisans Collective/arts market where you can participate in free art workshops from Thursdays to Sundays starting at 5 p.m. on Main Street between University Avenue and 9th Street. And don’t miss the free UC Riverside Snow Globe for fun selfies on Main Street between Mission Inn Avenue and University Avenue.
You could also create a scavenger hunt just with items you might see around the neighborhood. Some things might include blue lights, moving lights, inflatables and so on. Take a walk together and cross items off your list or do an after-dark drive around the neighborhood in your pajamas just for fun!
If you want a little ice to go with your holiday celebration, why not try ice skating? It’s a great way to burn off some cookie calories and have fun. Ice Town in Riverside has public sessions almost daily. They also offer free lessons – find out more here.
Make room for new Christmas gifts by clearing out toys that your kids have outgrown. Have the kids gather items in good condition and research prices online. Tell them they can split the proceeds with you if they man the sale table. At the end of the day, donate any items that didn’t sell. This could be a good teachable moment for kids about the value of their belongings and helping others in need.
Chances are, you’re not the only ones experiencing the holiday break boredom. So why not invite some other kids over for a supervised play date? Create an obstacle course in the yard for kids to expend some energy. Or, break out the board games (like Scrabble and Monopoly), pop some popcorn and let the fun begin! Board games are a good way for kids to learn about fair play and rules. Maybe the parents want to start their own friendly competition by playing cards or another board game in the next room? Or you could rotate chaperone duties and allow some lucky parent to have a date night!
Giving thanks and showing respect are important lesson for kids that builds character. They won’t understand gratitude right away. For it to sink in, adults may need to have some patience and show them. Discuss with your kids that a loved one spent time selecting their present, purchased it with their money and made sure it was delivered on time. Educate them as to why a note is important and how it lets the gift-giver know their present was received and appreciated. A young child who can’t write yet may want to draw a picture that you can include with a quick note that says, “So-and-so created this for you in appreciation of his gift.” Slightly older children may need you to create a fill-in-the-blank format to help get them started but older kids should be able to write on their own.
Another way to teach gratitude is to volunteer on holiday break. Serving those in need can be an amazing experience for kids. It puts everything in perspective during a season when materialism can get out of control. It also may allow you to have some meaningful conversations about life before and after your experience together. There are so many ways to help the community, too, from feeding families, reading to seniors, helping at Big Bear Alpine Zoo or even counting bald eagles. If you’re looking for ideas, you can try IEShineOn.com, Feeding America or the County website which has links to the animal shelter and retired/senior programs.
On behalf of our entire staff at Riverside Medical Clinic, we wish you and your family a safe, healthy and happy holidays! We can’t wait to serve you in 2020. Call 951-683-6370 to make an appointment.