The Guide to the Holiday Staycation
It’s winter break, but instead of heading to the beach or the slopes, your family is on a staycation this year. Just because you’re home doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. To stave off winter sluggishness and even depression, add a few traditions that involve less TV, more movement and fresh air.
Many people shun the outdoors as the weather gets colder, which can lead to weight gain and seasonal depression. But you don’t have to be a winter shut-in. Pull out the parkas and the mittens, and try one of these fun outdoor activities:
- Skate away. There are many local community rinks, and most of them offer classes for children and adults alike. Once you and the kids get past the learning barrier, skating is great exercise and relaxing at the same time. You don’t have to do triple toe loops to have a good time. Hold hands and do a few laps. Your kids will get a big kick out of seeing you land on your bum.
- Park it. Go to your favorite park, even in the winter! Take a Frisbee or soccer ball and get moving. If it snows, don the cold weather gear and get the kids out to appreciate the winter wonderland. If you can’t fit in longer outings, try a short walk after dinner each night and enjoy the holiday lights and decorations.
- Get to the mountains. Thanks to the abundance of nearby ski resorts, it’s easy to pack up the family and try skiing for the day. If your family doesn’t know how to ski, many places offer tubing and sledding. Most places offer structured learn-to-ski programs for kids and adults. If children learn when they are little, they can enjoy a lifetime of winter activity. Cross-country skiing also has tremendous health benefits.
- Bowl-o-rama. Take the family to the local bowling alley and face off: kids vs. grownups. It’s great exercise and tons of fun.
If you can’t get outside, there are still creative and fun things you can do with your kids indoors:
- Schedule game nights. Chess, Monopoly, Yahtzee, Bingo – whatever kind of game your family likes, get everyone together and play for as long as they are enjoying it.
- Make an indoor obstacle course. Pull the cushions off the sofa, turn your dining chairs into a tunnel, scatter hula-hoops around the living room. Create your own fun obstacles for kids to get through.
- Read a favorite story or share a new one. Kids love to be read to, and it improves their own language skills. Don’t be surprised if they want you to read the same story over and over again.
- Write your own story. Try writing a story as a family, one sentence at a time. Get silly and see where the mood takes you and your new characters.
- Make a gift together. Kids need to be taught that the holidays are as much about giving as they are about receiving. Help them to pick out something to make for a loved one and give them the support they need to get it done.
- Get creative with clay. Let those little hands sculpt away. Here’s a recipe for homemade clay that’s to play with, rather than to eat – and it’s a good gift idea for an older child to make to give to a younger sibling:
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt (yes, cup)
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Mix all ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture pulls away from side of pan and takes on a dough-like consistency. Remove from pan and knead until cool. Store in airtight container.
Reviewed by: Patrick S. Pasquariello Jr., MD
Date: November 2012