Growing up in the Midwest we had one school vacation week in December and a second school vacation in March. It always felt like the perfect amount of time between vacations.
Here in New England I’ve learned over the years that they like to vacation . And frequently. Schools have a vacation week over the holidays in December, another school vacation week in February and a THIRD vacation week in April. We also have an extended weekend over Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday weekend. I’m sure in the end we are all getting the same amount of days in school, but the school vacations come fast and furiously here. I’m not complaining, just observing.
We are about to launch into our February school vacation week and I’m hearing a lot of discussion about how to keep your kids entertained without succumbing to screen time all the time.
In the spirit of keeping our sanity over the next week I thought I would share with you some of the activities that have provided hours of entertainment in our house. I’m hoping you’ll do the same and share what works in your home.
The Monopoly marathon  is finally over. We now have 4 different versions of the game, which I’m hoping make their way out of the game closet again in the near future. We have since moved on to puzzles, board games and Ga-ga (not Lady Gaga-the ball game ga-ga).
The puzzle obsession has always been an underlying theme in our house. When the kids were really little we worked on wooden puzzles and gradually worked our way up to 24 piece puzzles. Our puzzle interest comes in waves. We can go for months without any and then boom the floor is covered with multiple puzzles at once. 
Our most recent puzzle mania kicked off with a few really cool recycled puzzles  given to us by a friend. There was no turning back. Out came box after box of puzzles. Thanks to the kind folks at Buffalo Games  my kids have quite a few puzzles to keep them occupied over the school vacation week. We started off with 300 piece puzzles and are gradually working our way up to the 1,00 piece puzzles. Buffalo Games  puzzles are made from extremely thick graphic board and quality paper. The pieces are sturdy and strong and can withstand three young boys and a dog messing with the pieces! That says a lot. The graphics are interesting and there are so many to choose from.
Monopoly has run its course for the moment, but board games still rule. Checkers and chess have made a comeback and are now in first place with Last Word  running a close second.
This game is for the 14 and up age group, however I did play with my 12, 11 and 9 year old. It was perfect for the 12 and 11 year old and a bit over the 9 year old’s head. It’s a fun, fast paced game perfect for a family with older children. I personally had a blast and was laughing uncontrollably throughout.
The directions were easy to follow for everyone. The game reminded me of a game we used to play on long car rides which involved finding something on the road that starts with every letter of the alphabet.
Our basement now has it’s very own ga-ga pit. This is a ball game that’s been around a while. I used to play it at summer camp and it can provide hours of entertainment. Depending upon the space, it’s most fun with 5-8 kids.
- Section off an area to play. One person drops the ball in the center and as it bounces three times, players say ‘ga-ga’ aloud as a group. This signals the beginning of play.
- Use a soft ball. A soft kick-ball works well.
- After play has started, players can move within the boundaries.
- Players use their hands to hit the ball towards other players. The goal is to hit other players with the ball from the knee down. If a player is hit with the ball from the knee down, they are out. When they are out, they go to the boundary line and help keep the ball in the play area by acting as a wall or a cushion.
- You can only hit the ball with an open hand. No catching, throwing, or holding the ball.
- You can only touch the ball one time in a row. The ball needs to hit either a boundary or another person before you can touch it again.
- The game ends when there is only one player left.
Do your kids have school vacation this coming week? Any ideas to share for keeping kids entertained over vacation week?
Disclosure: I received puzzles and games from the kind folks at Buffalo Games for review. The opinions expressed are my very own.