No School – Winter Break Fun

Can you believe that the holiday break is right around the corner?  Whether you are a parent or a child care provider, you are about to get inundated with school-age children.    To help you prepare, I have invited a guest blogger to share some holiday fun ideas.

Child Care Providers, are you prepared for the upcoming days out-of-school? If your school-agers get bored easily during a full day in your care, schedule an onsite technical assistance visit with Karin Gilbert, our School-Age Specialist. Together you’ll customize a diverse and dynamic full day schedule that’ll keep your SA’gers engaged and wanting more.  Contact Karin at 574-360-3070 or

Have a Great Week!




From Karin Gilbert

Like it or not, winter is now upon us! There’s no need to get the winter blues when there are so many wonderful outdoor activities to enjoy with your school-agers during the wintertime. Remember to think safety, first. Kids and adults alike should dress in warm layers. Don’t forget your hat, gloves, scarf, boots, snow pants and winter coat. Here is a winter wonderland of cures for cabin fever:

  • Sledding-There’s nothing better than gliding through the cool air on a sled. Find a good hill and grab your tube, toboggan, saucer, or even a piece of cardboard for hours of entertainment. For a more challenging adventure, build hills and ramps.  Bundle in layers to stay warm and to cushion tumbles.
  • Make Snow Angels-Fluffy snow? Check. Snow suit? Check. That’s all the gear you need to lie down and create a snow angel.  (Lie in the snow and make a jumping jack motion.) Make this simple activity extra fun by using materials to decorate your angel, such as food coloring to draw on a face, and old clothes and accessories to dress it up. Why should snowmen have all the fun?
  • Build a Snowman-After stacking a few big snowballs to make the body, kids can use their imagination to find fruits, vegetables, sticks, berries, clothes, and other materials to bring their snowman to life. For a bigger adventure, encourage school-agers to use their imagination and build other snow figures, characters, or animals.
  • Build an Igloo or Snow Fort-School-agers who have graduated from building snowmen can spend hours constructing an igloo or snow fort. Use a shovel, bucket, or tote to help build and construct one of these arctic domes or fortresses. Use a food coloring/water mixture in a spray bottle to color your creation.
  • Ice Skating-This slippery activity will be tricky for newcomers. But once they get the hang of it, they might get addicted. For advanced skaters, try speed skating, ice dancing, figure skating, or hockey.
  • Skiing-School-agers are now more coordinated and less afraid of falling, which makes downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowboarding great active activities during the winter months. Beginner downhill skiers can hit the bunny slopes or green circle trails but should have an adult with them. Lessons can help your child learn the ropes. It’s wise to invest in a helmet in case of falls or collisions.
  • Snowboarding- Snowboarding is a popular winter sport. School-agers now have more strength and skills to stay upright and try more tricks. Lessons and safety gear, including a helmet, knee pads, wrist guards, and hip pads, are recommended because snowboarders of all ages have their share of spills.
  • Winter Picnic-Take blankets, snacks, warm hot cocoa or soup in a thermos and enjoy an outdoor picnic! Be sure to dress warm!
  • Outdoor Photo Expedition-School-agers love to take pictures! Dress warm and head outside with disposable cameras for a photo expedition.  Take pictures of the wintry landscape, animals in their winter habitats, or snowmen in your neighborhood. Then, create a photo collage or poster.  For a group challenge, create a photo scavenger hunt!  For a quick resource, download this Winter Scavenger Hunt List
  • Outdoor Obstacle Course-Set up an obstacle course in the yard with jumps, tunnels, and other challenges.
  • Snow Painting/Snow Graffiti-Simply add food coloring to water in a spray bottle; then go out and decorate the white canvas in your yard.
  • Ice Bubbles- When the temperature drops below 32 degrees, blow bubbles and watch them freeze on the wand. Challenge your friends and see who can create the biggest ice bubble.
  • Snow Tic-Tac-Toe-Two players go for the championship in this classic game. Use crisscrossed sticks and pinecones as game pieces.
  • Frosty Toss-Have a snowball-throwing contest! Make a target by creating a bright circle in the snow with colored water in a squirt bottle.
  • Miniature Golf Snow Course-Make a golf course by packing down a section of snow every few feet. Bury tin cans halfway down in the snow to create holes, and mark them with mini flagsticks.
  • Pin the Nose on the Snowman-Pass out carrots, then blindfold each child and let him try to get the nose in place.
  • Practice Your Pitch-Paint a bull’s-eye target on a piece of cardboard, giving each colored ring a point value. Attach it to a tree, and keep score as the kids try to hit the target with snowballs.


Karin Gilbert is ECA’s School-Age Specialist, serving Allen, DeKalb, Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Marshall, Noble, St. Joseph, Steuben, Whitley Counties.  Karin has a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University-South Bend and an Indiana Youth Development Credential.  She has 15 years of experience in school-age youth work.  Karin provides support for providers of SA programs to increase the quality of SA care.



Whether you spend time outdoors or indoors during the winter break, here are some additional ideas to keep your school-age kids busy.