Five activities for your kids to do over the winter break

When kids are home for the holidays, keeping them entertained while cooking and preparing your house for guests can be a difficult task. Instead of plopping them in front of the television or other types of screens for hours on end, plan some activities that will not only keep them busy, but will also help make a difference in the community and the world around them.

1. Have your child help plan a family meal: Let them write the list and come shopping with you to make them feel a part of the holiday planning process. If they’re creatively inclined, have them decorate the table or write up menus.

2. Let them help other kids: Talk with your children about kids who have less than they do. Brainstorm ways they can earn money to help those in need. For fun ways to help other kids, look at sites like, which provides donations like soccer balls, feeding a hungry Canadian family and school supplies for children in need overseas.

3. Visit someone who’s lonely: Make a trip to visit a friend who’s sick, a neighbourhood family who are new to this country, or the local retirement home.

4. Write cards to teachers: Take part of an afternoon for your children to write special cards for their teacher. Encourage them to thank their teacher for two or three specific things this year.

5. Share stories together: Look for tales that reinforce the message you’re trying to send, like The Gift of the Magi, in which two young people give up their most treasured possessions for one another.