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No Time for ‘I’m Bored’ Over Holiday Break With These Fun Ideas

If you’re kids are looking for something to do over the Christmas break, consider taking them on a playscape marathon, hitting as many playscapes in a day that you can. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

Christmas Day is over, and the kids tore through the wrapping paper, tossed it about, and played with their new toys — for about an hour and a half.

Now, it’s the day after Christmas and they’re staring at you with that look of “What now?”

Most schools still have more than a week and a half off, and it leaves parents wondering how to keep their kids busy as they count down the days until the school bells ring again.

It’s a balance of keeping it inexpensive while keeping it fun.

If you have a day off yourself, check out the Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane in Johnson City. Over the break, the staff has a number of activities lined up, including a few day camps.

On Wednesday-Friday, Dec. 26-28, the Science Mill is highlighting the “Physics of Flight.”

Explore the wonders of flight and the science behind it with paper airplanes, wind tunnels, an egg-drop challenge, and paper plate disc golf.

Special activities are 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. those days, but the facility is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day.

“Physics of Flight” programs are included in the price of regular admission, which is $10 for adults, $8.50 for ages 3-18, $8 for seniors and military members, and free for ages 0-2. Science Mill members get in for free.

On Wednesday, the Science Mill hosts F-16 instructor and U.S. Air Force Major Keegan S. Dale.

Dale, a graduate of Fredericksburg High School and the U.S. Air Force Academy, will give presentations at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dec. 26. His discussion will focus on the science of flight, particularly how lift relates to G forces.

Find out more at sciencemill.org.

GET OUTSIDE

If the weather’s nice, or not too bad, one thing my kids have enjoyed in the past is a playscape marathon.

I’ll pick four or five playscapes within reasonable driving distance from each other, then we’ll try to hit each one in a day. Sometimes, the goal is to glide down all the slides before racing to the next playscape. Or, the boys will pick ones with their favorite climbing structures.

The thing I’ve found, however, is we never make more than three. The boys get to one playscape and just start having fun — and they don’t want to leave.

The Highland Lakes has a number of playscapes, some in city parks and others on school playgrounds.

NATURE IS ENTERTAINING

If you’re stuck at home for the day or just looking for a quick activity for the kids, grab some pine cones — you might have to hit the store’s crafts section — peanut butter, bird seed, and a spoon or two (even a tongue depressor), and make bird feeders.

There are a couple of ways to do it. The kids can spoon peanut butter onto the pine cones or roll the cones around in the peanut butter. Then, splash birdseed on the cones.

After it’s done, hang the birdseed-infused cones on a nearby tree or structure, hand the kids a notepad, and ask them to describe the birds they see. You might want to give the birds a day or two to find the pinecones.

Plus, if you have squirrels, the kids will probably get a kick out of the antics of these four-legged scoundrels as they try to scarf down the seeds and peanut butter.

BRING OUT THEIR INNER SPIELBERG

If your kids prefer technology over trees, let them make a video. Most tablets, smartphones, and even basic cameras have video capabilities. I’m not talking about a Hollywood production, or even something you’d post on YouTube or Facebook. Let them come up with a story, write a short script, brainstorm their shots, then “Action!”

If they say, “I can’t come up with any ideas,” well, have them do a remake of one of their favorite movies or TV shows. Within reason, of course. You don’t want them going all Kevin McAllister and “Home Alone” on your house. Your in-laws, maybe, but definitely not yours.

If all else fails, here’s what my mom and dad did: Open the door and usher me and my brother outside with the admonition, “Don’t come home until it’s dark or we call.”

And don’t worry: It’s only until school returns.

For more things to do, check out the Highland Lakes events calendar at 101HighlandLakes.com/EVENTS.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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