[This piece was written by Mark Osborn, M.D., Chief of Pediatrics for St. Peter’s Hospital, and a provider with St. Peter’s Children’s Health Center.]
School’s out for the holidays and most kids are overjoyed for the change in routine. But, as any parent will tell you, we’re still in the honeymoon phase of this holiday break. Give it a couple more days and soon the forlorn cry of “I’m BORED!” will fill the air.
Yes, bored kids are a given during the school break. But, don’t let their curmudgeonly grumbles deplete your joy – here are a few tips to help keep the kids occupied and happy.
Close to Home
Check community calendars for concerts and other special events at local libraries, colleges, museums, aquariums and planetariums. Be sure to check the hours of the location before you go and consider inviting a friend to come along for extra fun.
Take a day trip to explore a nearby town, park or nature preserve you’ve never visited before. Winter is the perfect time to look for animal tracks in the snow. Take pictures and then search for a match on the internet when you get home, all curled up with some hot cocoa.
Check Out the Library
Your local library is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Add to the fun and create a list of questions that require your child to use different reference books. Make them fun – the batting average of her favorite baseball player, or what’s the world’s largest roller coaster.
Lights, Camera, Action
Get creative and decorate old socks or paper lunch bags for a puppet show. Break out the smart phone or tablet and have the kids record their home theater production.
Here’s Your Host…
Pull out board games you haven’t played in a while. Designate a host and have them do their best Alex Trebek impression to describe the proceedings.
The Cook’s In the Kitchen
Cook something together! Even small kids can help add ingredients to recipes, whether you are baking up a treat or planning out dinner.
Get Those Couch Potatoes Moving
Most important of all, make sure the kids spend some time being active. If there’s snow on the ground, declare a snow-shoveling contest and then make a snowman. Or combine activities like skating on the Empire State Plaza’s outdoor rink, followed by a trip to the NYS Museum.
Whatever you do, make sure you get them outside for some sunlight and fresh air – they’ll be back indoors at school before you know it!
St. Peter’s Children’s Health Center, 1092 Madison Avenue in Albany, offers a complete range of services for children from newborns to age 18. Services include well-child routine care, sick child exams, school and camp physicals, sports physicals, immunizations, health maintenance and education, and access to other hospital services and referrals to specialists. Call 518-525-2445 for more information or an appointment.