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Tips for Keeping Kids Entertained Over Holidays – Without Screens

Blocks are a fun toy that can encourage children's creative-thinking skills. (Design_Miss_C/Pixabay)
Blocks are a fun toy that can encourage children's creative-thinking skills. (Design_Miss_C/Pixabay)
December 18, 2018

BOISE, Idaho — With the winter break from school approaching, parents and kids will have more family time together. But these chilly days also mean families have to find more activities to do if they don't want their kids in front of a screen all break.

Hailey Michalk is program director of READY! for Kindergarten at the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children. Michalk said kids are used to a routine, and so one way to limit their time with a computer or TV is to schedule their days.

"Trying to find set times to maybe put some screen time, and then times to include other things like having your child help you cook dinner or, if it snows, have your child go outside with you and help you shovel snow,” Michalk said, “and just including the child in things you're already doing every day."

When it comes to selecting gifts, Michalk said it's important to pick toys that don't present a choking hazard and that actually align with a child's interest. She said toys such as blocks, Play-Doh or simply crayons, paper and scissors provide a creative outlet for kids and can bring the family together as well.

"Toys that encourage children to use their creative thinking skills and hands-on activities that might incorporate mom and dad or siblings or other family members working together to problem solve,” she suggested. “So, like, a puzzle would be really great."

Options for play can be simpler and don't even have to involve leaving the house. Michalk said parents can create obstacle courses for children out of their furniture.

"They could go under the coffee table and around a chair, and it provides a lot of entertainment for little kids and they can help you rearrange it, make it different over and over,” she said. “Plus it's a great opportunity to clean under the couch, because I know I don't clean under mine very often."

Michalk also suggested families check out their local libraries because most have story times that include movement, music and other fun activities.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID