Three Things to Do to Get Ready for a Holiday Break

Art/activity books are a great choice for school holidays and vacations.

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We had our first snow this weekend, and though it didn’t cause a snow day, I’m suddenly thinking about the very real possibility that snow days are coming soon and the reality that the girl is home from school all next week and two weeks for winter break.
Three things to do to get ready for a break from school

With all that in mind I’ve been thinking about ways to prepare for extra time with the kids at home, especially when you don’t want to be spending a lot of time playing outside. This is what I’ll be doing this week to get ready for the holiday/snow day/sick day season.

1. Stockpile/Rotate Toys and Suppliesart supplies for a school holiday

I’m a sucker for clearance arts and craft supplies at Target, and I usually keep some things hidden away in my office for the “I’m bored” or stuck in the house too long times. So I made up a box that includes things like a Sophia the First activity box (and a set of crayons she got for her birthday that we haven’t opened yet), some dollar spot coloring books, stickers, a paperboard cat from the Halloween section, some neon paints I bought on clearance an age ago, and a Lego Friends box set I probably bought on sale.

If you don’t have a lot of this sort of stuff, maybe there are some toys that haven’t been played with for a while or some different art supplies you could put where your kids might notice them. Gather up some recycling and make a found objects box for art constructions, or raid the office supplies for some fun colored pens and sticky notes and let them go wild.

2. Get Some Printables

printables for school vacation
A polar bear and husky from the Mr. Printables set.

The girl loves activity sheets for some reason, so one thing I always do before a holiday is to print out some fun coloring pages and other activities for her to have on hand. So far I have printed:

I need to make the sewing cards (which I may do out of foam) and then the printouts will go into folders and into the box as well.

3. Bring Out the Art/Activity Books

Art/activity books are a great choice for school holidays and vacations.We have a great collection of art and craft books for kids, and I like to have them at the ready when the girl is home so that she can flip through them and pick something she’d like to do.

Some day I’m actually going to review all of them, but our favorite is Art Lab for Little Kids by Susan Schwake, which has 52 projects and lots of big pictures, so it’s easy for the girl to flip through and find something that catches her eye.

Other great options include:

And good ones for parents to read to inspire creativity in everyone in the household (these also have projects but include a lot of text, too):

  • The Creative Family and The Rhythm of Family by Amanda Blake Soule (the second is also with her husband, Stephen), both of which are about encouraging creativity and family connections
  • Mariah Bruehl’s Playful Learning, which has great ideas for activities to set up, books to read when you do those things and questions to ask your kids to held develop their own interests in reading, writing, math, science and being global citizens (this on says its for ages 4 to 8 in particular)
  • The Artful Parent by Jean Van’t Hul, which has 60 projects for kids ages 1 to 8 and includes lots of tips for materials, setting up spaces and approaches to art that are great for parents who might be a little timid about giving their kids access to a lot of art supplies

I had a couple more tips but I’m pretty sure this post has gone on long enough. Do you have a favorite art/activity book or something you always do to prep for holidays and vacations? (Another one of mine: make playdough. And have lots of baking supplies in the house. And chocolate. OK, that’s three.) I’d love to hear your tips, too! And it looks like I have a lot of reading to do! (This is not even all the books I own in this genre. I’m a bit of an addict.)

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