I’m so bored!: Answering the age-old question of how to entertain the kids on winter break

Answering the age-old question of how to entertain the kids on winter break

Children are in need of constant entertainment, especially when they’re on vacation from school. Parents sometimes become stumped, wondering what to do to keep them occupied.

“Coloring activities are the best for littler kids,” said Jenna Stewart, 20, of Marietta. “Most older kids just want to play on their phones.”

Stewart works for the Washington County Boys and Girls Club in Marietta, which will be available for parents from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. during the winter break.

“We usually play games with them to keep them entertained like hide and seek, Red Rover and anything they can think of,” she said. “Most parents can play these games with their kids inside.”

Technology can also be used–but it’s recommended in smaller doses.

“I look forward to sleeping in and playing video games,” said Tyson Ball, 11, of Marietta. “I play Minecraft but staying up late and sleeping in is the best.”

Heather Clark, of Marietta, said she keeps her 11-year-old son entertained by having him volunteer.

“Not only does it lift the spirits of adults, but it’s great to teach kids to pay it forward, to get out of the house and spend some time with homeless animals,” said Clark. “I’m a firm believer in the healing power of helping others. What better way to teach your children to give, especially during the holiday break?”

The Humane Society of the Ohio Valley is always accepting volunteers. Volunteer orientation is open every Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. at 90 Mt. Tom Road in Marietta.

When your child isn’t playing on their iPad or computer, getting them out of the house is an surefire way to wear them out while keeping them occupied.

Ever since the Barking Dog Bookstore closed in Marietta, J&M’s Bookstore in Parkersburg has opened the door for used books in the Mid-Ohio Valley. Not only do they offer used books, but also game rentals.

“We have Pokemon Club every Saturday too,” said owner Jason McCrady. “To rent a game is only 10 percent of whatever the MSRP price is and if you really like it, you can buy the game.”

This is perfect for families with multiple children as the bookstore offers card games, board games and even puzzles.

“When the Barking Dog closed we got a lot of that customer base,” said McCrady. “We have people come from all over the area and even out of state. If you’re interested in a game, call ahead and see if we have it and if we don’t we can get it.”

J&M’s Bookstore is located at 926 Division St. in Parkersburg, only a 22-minute drive from Marietta.

“The possibilities are endless what you can find here,” said McCrady.

Alice Chapman, founder of the Ely Chapman Education Foundation, said that they won’t have winter programs for children because this is a time for children to spend with families.

“Children need a chance to take a break,” she said. “I advise keeping them busy with small chores if they’re older but they also need an opportunity to play with their new Christmas gifts.”

Chapman said small chores for older children such as running the vacuum or doing the dishes teaches them about discipline and responsibility.

“It also gives them a break from all their electronics they have now a days,” she said.

Netflix is popular among even the youngest of children. Father of two Mark Bond, of Vienna, said his children can watch Netflix on their iPads for hours.

“I don’t mind really because they are usually watching something relatively educational,” he said. “As long as it isn’t anything bad, they love it and it really keeps them entertained for hours.”

Bond has two young children and said in between Netflix and napping, he likes to take them to the park or play with them inside.

“Coloring books are also a big part of their lives,” he said.

Pinterest has several ideas for keeping the youngsters occupied, said Debby Martin, 58, of Bartlett, who watches her 4-year-old granddaughter Brooklyn when her mother is working and she doesn’t have preschool.

“We do a lot of crafts I find on Pinterest and she loves it,” she said. “For parents, if they have the time to plan crafts with the younger kids, it’s the best idea you’ll ever think of.”

For example, it’s easy to turn plastic toys into Jurassic jewels. For each, twist a screw eye into a small plastic dinosaur. Brush the dino with tacky glue, sprinkle with fine glitter to cover, then set it on waxed paper to dry and you have a fun, dino ornament.

There are also events in the area for children. On Wednesday, the Campus Martius Museum invites the public to the home of Rufus Putnam to visit with some of Marietta’s citizens from 1789. This is an event to teach young children about how Marietta was when it was first founded. For more information, contact the museum at 740-373-3750.

The new “Star Wars” movie hits theaters this month and is available in 3D too. Bowling and skating rinks are also a great way to keep the kiddos entertained for hours at a low cost. The Marietta Roller Rink is open Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. and Sunday from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $3 and skate rental is $2.

Short road trips can also do the trick.

The holiday lights at Oglebay Park in Wheeling, W.Va. are known nationwide as being one of the top in the country and they run until Jan. 1. The courthouse in Cambridge comes alive nightly with thousands of pulsating lights synchronized to holiday music. This light show runs 5:30 to 9 p.m. every night until Jan. 1.

Tips for keeping children entertained over winter break

– Creative coloring.

– Coloring upside down.

– Coloring windows with window paint.

– Obstacle courses.

– Hide and seek.

– Scavenger hunts.

– Holiday and winter crafts.

– Service projects.

Source: U.S. News.

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