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Free and Frugal ideas for fun with kids on Christmas Break!

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Free and Frugal ideas for fun with kids on Christmas Break!

Last week on Facebook, several Sisters offered some great ideas for what to do with the kiddos while they’re home for Christmas break.  Here’s a roundup of some fun possibilities, and we’d love to expand the list.  If you have more ideas, leave them in the comments or on Facebook, and we’ll add to the list!


  • Jammie Day: My kids, especially my school-agers, love this one.  Having a rare lazy day at home and staying in pajamas all day while we play with new toys and games, and quite possibly watch a little more TV than Mom usually allows is a fun and free treat for everyone!
  • Sled riding:  Looks like the weather will cooperate with this one!  Grab a sled and hit the hills…hopefully there’s some hot cocoa in your stockpile!
  • Library: If cabin fever sets in later in the week, head to the library!  We don’t get there as often now that my older kids are in school, so it’s a great chance to grab some new-to-us books, and borrow a DVD.
  • Christmas Lights: Load up the family with some snacks, and drive around for one last look at the Christmas lights!
  • Spa Day: Bust out Mom’s nail polish, bubble bath, and yummy-smelling lotion for mani-pedis and other pampering.
  • Winter nature hike:  You can do this anywhere, but there are nice indoor areas to learn something and warm up at the Wilderness Center in Wilmot, Sippo Lake in Perry Twp., and the Huston-Brumbaugh Nature Center just south of Alliance.
  • Dance Party: Give the holiday playlist one last hurrah and burn off some Christmas cookie calories 🙂
  • Home Depot Kids’ Workshop–make a FREE Birdhouse:  This one’s technically after our Christmas break (January 5 from 9-noon, but it’s a nice freebie activity that sounds really fun!


  • One-on-One “Date” with Mom or Dad: Especially with more than one kid (I have 4!), it’s nice to get some solo time with a parent.  Ice cream, a milkshake, or hot cocoa makes a not-too-expensive treat, and time with your kiddo is priceless 🙂
  • Movie at the “cheap theater”: Since we see movies in the theater so rarely, my kids don’t know the difference between a new release and an older one.  In Stark County, Movies 10 has older movies for as little as $1.50 (they have Hotel Transylvania, Frankenweenie, and Finding Nemo 3D this week), and Carnation 5 in Alliance has newer releases for as little as $3 (Monsters Inc. is playing there).  If you have another “cheap theaters” in other NE Ohio counties, I’d love to add them to the list!
  • Lock 3 in Downtown Akron: Ice skating is free with your own skates, or $3 skate rental.  Archie the Talking Snowman, formerly from Chapel Hill Mall (and my childhood nightmares…sorry, I think he’s creepy!) is free to visit, and he’ll be there through 12/28.  You can also ride the “Magical Train” for $3 per person, and you can have 33 minutes on the Reindeer Run toboggan hill for $3 .
  • Chalet Toboggan Chutes:   Part of the Cleveland Metroparks, you can ride on the ice-covered refrigerated chutes all day $10 for adults, $8 for kids 11 and under.
  • Museums: Tons to see in NE Ohio, including the Pro Football Hall of Fame, McKinley Museum (coupon in Entertainment Book!), Art museums in Akron, Canton, and Cleveland, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Great Lakes Science Center, and more!  (let me know if I missed any of your favorites!)
  • Go see the animals: Winter is a fun time to visit both the Akron Zoo and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (special “December Days” activities at Cleveland through 12/30).  But if you’re not up for being outside, you could also check out the new Cleveland Aquarium (at $21.95 adults, $15.95 kids, the aquarium’s not exactly frugal, but I’ve heard it’s pretty neat, and it’s out of the weather!)

OK, that’s my list (and no, we won’t do all of these!)…what suggestions do you have that I could add?  I’ll also be looking for New Year’s Eve ideas to post later in the week.  If you have suggestions for fun, frugal, or free ways to ring in 2013, I’d love to hear those too!

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