Even when we have the best of intentions, sometimes you find yourself staring at a screen. I'm not sure how it happens… One minute you're tidying up the kitchen bench, and the next, you realize you've spent the past hour in an Instagram hole scrolling endlessly.
In fact, there have been many weekend days where I've looked around the room and our whole family is glued to a screen. Of course, I'm not against devices. Technology is the future, and our children are growing up in a whole new world. An iPad can also be quite educational. But lately I'm finding myself craving mindful activities we can do together that create deeper emotional bonds.
And now that the holidays are upon us, many parents are having mixed emotions—equal parts happiness and mild panic at the thought of entertaining the kids over the entire school break. While there's always Disneyland or Universal Studios here in L.A., these are expensive options at a time of year when finances can be tight.
So we compiled a list of 50 no- to low-cost things to do with the kids during the holidays that don't require a screen. Happy holidays!
1. Build new creations together with all your leftover Legos.
2. Spend a day volunteering.
3. Bake a new cookie recipe.
4. Get out the craft glue and scissors, and make your own 2019 calendar.
5. Film a video singing karaoke to your favorite tunes.
6. Make finger puppets.
7. Go crazy with the spirograph.
8. Host your own puppet show.
9. Write your own holiday storybook.
10. Have a treasure hunt.
11. Make handmade cards for birthdays or special occasions.
12. Host your own sports day.
13. Try making a new dessert recipe.
14. Write a thank-you letter to Elf on the Shelf (if you have one) before he goes back to the North Pole.
15. Write a list of all your favorite holiday flicks, and have a movie marathon with popcorn.
16. Make a gingerbread house.
17. Start a family tennis or sports tournament.
18. Play all your favorite board games.
19. Start a family book club.
20. Start a garden.
21. Play family Four Square.
22. Go for a family bike ride.
23. Create your own paintings, frame them, and create a gallery wall.
24. Have a family picnic indoors (or outside).
25. Make your own Play-Dough.
26. Write new lyrics to your favorite songs, and record them.
27. Make new decorations, and hang them on the tree.
28. Host a New Year’s Eve slumber party.
29. Create a time capsule for the family, and bury it in the yard.
30. Make potato stamps.
31. Go camping in the backyard (or the living room).
32. Take a mini road trip somewhere new.
33. Make a family trip to one of your local flea markets.
34. Fly a kite.
35. Make your own snow globe.
36. Go on a bug hunt in the yard or at the local park.
37. Visit the local zoo, and make a book about it.
38. Set up a family art school, and paint the sunset.
39. Have a beach day, and build sandcastles.
40. Host a family dance party, and show off your moves.
41. Make a family mixtape with everyone's favorite songs.
42. Create your own musical instruments (or noisemakers).
43. Play indoor volleyball with a balloon.
44. Have a pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey contest.
45. Teach the kids to play croquette.
46. Build an indoor fort.
47. Print out your favorite photos from 2018, and make a collage.
48. Build a snowman or create one with shaved ice.
49. Cook some edible decorations.
50. Make your own mini-golf course in the living room.
Shop some of our favorite activities to do with kids below:
This post was originally published on September 17, 2015, and has since been updated.