Looking for something to do with the children over holiday break?
Assuming you can tear the kids away from their new toys for a few hours, here are some ideas for things to do at home and nearby. From penny candy to 1,000-foot vertical slopes, there's something for everyone.
Do you have something that you plan to do, or would like to do, over vacation? Tell us in the comment section below.
Here are some good ideas if you want to stay home and/or if you want to play host. Disclaimer: If you have teens, be careful if you try some of these at home (like a tea party).
- Bring a Book to Life. You can use a book and costumes you have at home or, if you plan ahead, you can borrow books, costumes and puppets from your local library.
- PJ/Game Day. Invite kids to show up in their pajamas and bring a board game too. Sometimes the games actually get played.
- Snow activities (if we have snow) including snowman and fort building, snowball fights, snow angels, etc.
- Tea Party featuring hot chocolate and holiday-themed cookies (see disclaimer above).
- Video game party. Have the boys over for pizza and soda (and all other holiday leftovers).
- Yankee swap. It's never too late to give/get a holiday gift. Invite a few friends over and swap away (and parents can do the same).
In Your Town
Bowling. Check your town's Patch directory for a local bowling alley. Have the kids try Big Ball, if they've never tried it before.
Local library. Great resource for vacation programs and museum passes (some of which can give you discounts on activities listed below).
Movies. Consider a new release with discount tickets. Local supermarkets often sell discount movie tickets which you can also find at www.AAA.com if you are a AAA member.
Paint Your Own Pottery. Check our your local Patch directory to see if there are any PYOP options in or near your town.
Restaurant. Is there a new restaurant in town that you've been meaning to try. Take the kids or get take-out -- now's the time.
Sledding or tubing. If we get any snow, this is always a good bet. If the kids (or the adults) need some persuading, take them to a local store and let them pick out a new sled, saucer or tube; and if you have a tobaggan, you will make friends quickly on the hill -- what's Christmas without a tobaggan? If you are a sledding enthusiast, take your snow-loving group outside the town limits to one of Boston.com's 40 greatest sledding hills.
Things to Do
Boston's Public Art. Consider borrowing or purchasing the book, "Boston Bronze and Stone Speak to Us,’’ by Joseph R. Gallo Jr. This book highlights Boston's bronze and stone statues that are found around the city. Turn the day into a treasure hunt, take photos next to each sculpture and create your own book. Self-guided maps (aka treasure hunt cheat sheet) and more information is available here.
Camping off-season. Many state parks are open during winter months.
Ice-Skating. Check out one (or more) of the state's public ice-skating rinks all around Massachusetts. Many offer lessons; call ahead.
Ride the Trails. Find state trails on which to ski, snowmobile, ride horseback, bicycle, run, walk, etc.
Ski Massachusetts. Check out one of the many ski areas around the Commonwealth with vertical slopes ranging from 100 foot to 1180 feet.
Places to Go
Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress Street, Boston.
Boxing Day at the Old Manse, Concord. Enjoy and purchase items from England. Dec. 26 only.
Colt Observatory at Boston University, 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston. Call first, 617-353-2630.
Funspot, the World's Largest Arcade, 579 Endicott Street North, Laconia, NH. This is a bit of a drive but could be done in one day if you don't want to stay overnight (which could also be fun). Includes an arcade game museum featuring classics like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, etc.
Mapparium, 200 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston. A world-famous, three-story, painted-glass globe is one of the key attractions at the Mary Baker Reddy Library.
Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston. Discover the MFA with fun and educational activities designed for children ages 4 and up to do with adults in the galleries with their Family Art Cart and Family Activity Totes.
Museum of Science, 1 Science Park, Boston. IMAX theatre (extra charge) includes Santa vs. Snowman about the misadventures of a lonely snowman as he wages an epic-scale polar war on Santa and a hilarious battle ensue.
New England Aquarium,1 Central Wharf, Boston. Aquarium is under construction so call first for exhibit availability; for example, most of the penguins are off-site though there are a few left for viewing.
Penny Candy Store, 10 Merchants Way (Route 1), Sharon. This store is on the Sharon/Walpole line. Closed Sundays. Buy one piece or several pounds. Need we say more?
Prudential Center Skywalk Observatory, 800 Boyston Street, Boston. Perhaps the best views of the city.
Sports Museum, TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, Boston. All the sports memoriabilia you could want to see (and more).
Wolf Hollow, 114 Essex Road, Ipswich. View gray wolves in their as-close-as-possible natural setting. Sundays only.
Zoolights, Stone Zoo, 149 Pond Street, Stoneham. Enjoy the zoo alive with dazzling holiday lights, bald eagles, North American porcupines, reindeer and arctic foxes (new this year). Through Dec. 31.
Things to See
Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker, Boston Opera House, 539 Washington Street, Boston. Through Dec. 30.
Disney On Ice Celebrates 100 Years of Magic, TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, Boston. Dec. 27-30.
17th Annual Family Trees: A Celebration of Children's Literature, Concord Museum, 200 Lexington Road, Concord. Through Jan. 1.
Little Red and the Gingerbread Man, Puppet Showplace Theatre, 32 Station Street, Brookline.
Rolie Polie Guacamole Family Concert, Jam Time, 86 Powder Mill Road, Maynard. Dec. 28 only.
Tanglewood Marionettes, An Arabian Adventure, JFK Library, Columbia Point, Dorchester. Dec. 27 only. Reserve tickets.
But whatever you do, have fun then circle back and tell us in the Comment Box how you spent your vacation.