30 Ways to Stay Busy During Winter Break in the Southwest Suburbs

Where has the time gone? It seems like the first day of school was all we could think about, and now we are already planning winter break activities! Winter break is so busy enough with the holidays and then the new year, but this time of year often means parents have some days off and, of course, kids have winter break. If you are looking for some different ways to fill your days, check out our list below for some ideas!

30 Ways to Stay Busy During Winter Break

Out and About Winter Break Activities

  1. Run, jump, and climb at an open gym near you. Can you think of a better way to burn energy?
  2. Swimming isn’t out of the question just because it is cold outside! Indoor swimming pools have open swim times and if you close your eyes real tight, you can always pretend you are on a beach. Feeling crazy? You might even take the kids to an indoor water park.
  3. Get in touch with your inner drama queen (or king) and see a local play. Visit our half-price page for discount tickets on some holiday favorites and more.
  4. Delight your children by taking them out to an afternoon tea event. Hot chocolate and crumpets will be aplenty!
  5. Get out! Escape rooms are popping up all over the suburbs and are such a fun way to bond over the winter break.
  6. Discover a museum you wouldn’t normally visit and explore something new. The major city museums do not generally have free admission in December and beginning of January, but the smaller ones do!
  7. If you don’t mind the crowds, or the admission fees, visit one of the major museums in the city.
  8. Show your kids that you still have skills and participate in some fun, family competition. Visit an arcade, game room, or laser tag arena near you.
  9. Tackle an indoor climbing wall.
  10. Bounce on over to a bounce house or trampoline park. Open times are generally increased during school breaks.
  11. Lace up your bowling shoes and throw some strikes and spares, (maybe a few gutter balls) at your local bowling alley.
  12. Explore the wonders of nature indoors. Nature centers are a great way to experience the great outdoors even when it is cold outside.
  13. Play your heart out at an indoor play area. Locations are located all over the suburbs and range from free to cheap to expensive. You can go low-key or grand as well. Choose whatever your needs are for the day!
  14. Check out your local library for story times and a little play session afterwards in the play area.
  15. Glide your day away on one of the indoor or outdoor ice skating rinks in the suburbs.
  16. Bring out the artist in your child and go to a pottery or ceramics studio near you.
  17. Fore! Indoor miniature golf is a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening with the kids while getting in some physical activity.
  18. Take a trip to a bookstore or toy store. Barnes & Noble and Lakeshore Learning are great stores for kids to explore and play. Try not to leave with too much merchandise!
  19. Visit the Oak Lawn Children’s Museum, the Frankfort Children’s Museum, or make it an adventure and travel out to one of the further children’s museums.
  20. There really is no shortage of places you can go or things you can do. For more ideas, look through the Kidlist calendar for local happenings. There is always something to discover!
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At-Home Winter Break Activities

  1. Pull out those board games and get a game going!
  2. Build a blanket fort and turn the day into a movie day! Lay some pillows and blankets on the floor of your fort, pop some popcorn and enjoy cuddling as a family!
  3. Grab a blanket, make lunch or some snacks and have a picnic! Indoors in the family room, or outside in the backyard, something about eating on a blanket is always fun for the kids.
  4. Read some classic books or check out some new ones together! Cuddle up under the covers and start a new chapter book, reading a chapter or two at a time. If your kids are too young for that, pick out a few board books they enjoy.
  5. Sort through the endless amount of arts and crafts ideas on Pinterest and choose an activity to do with your children. 
  6. Have a dance party with your kids! Nothing is more fun than seeing mom and dad bust a move. Check here for some kid-friendly music.
  7. Cook something new together. Pick a recipe and involve your child from start to finish. They will be so proud of the finished product.
  8. There are bound to be some boxes left over from Christmas, gather them together to create a village. Let your kids color on them and see what they can create.
  9. Make some crock-pot hot chocolate for the kids after they come in from the chilly outdoors.
  10. If absolutely nothing interests you on this list, turn off the television, turn up the music, and put out random toys. You’ll be surprised with what your children can come up with when they are bored!
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For more winter break fun, search all of our indoor activities on Kidlist.


About the Author

Jill Kowalski
Jill is the mom of two energetic little girls, ages two and four, who keep her seriously busy. She and her husband grew up in Orland Park and are now raising their family there as well. When Jill and her family have free time, they love to check out local parks or drop-in at fests where their girls can take over a dance floor. She is always looking for cheap, yet entertaining and worthwhile things to do. When she is not wrangling her kids, Jill has a passion for starting, and sometimes finishing, do-it-yourself home improvement projects, trying out random recipes she finds on Pinterest, and organizing every nook and cranny of her life.

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