December 27, 2013

Holiday Break Events & Activities

What do you do with the kids after Christmas during the holiday break? Believe it or not, there is a lot to do over the holiday break when the kids are not in school.

First up, be sure to check out the Hands-On Holidays at the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum (220 E. Ann St., Ann Arbor). The special exhibit happens December 26 through January 5.  Attendees will enjoy special activities, including make and take projects and special experiments, the AAHOM schedule is packed with hands-on excitement. Each activity highlights a science concept, making the programming educational and entertaining for children and adults alike.

We'll do lots of crafts at home, visit with my best friend when she comes into town and hopefully get out for some outdoor fun, ice or roller skating, or taking a winter hike! So what will you do with the kids over the holiday break? Most days there are several free activities happening around town - From free movies, to crafts, science and even teen activities. Check out all of the cool activities and fun for the kids!

Will you see some free movies over holiday break?
Free Movies

Many of the local libraries are offering to show free movies during holiday break - Movies the whole family will enjoy! The Dexter District Library and several branches of the Ypsilanti Library are offering movies.

12/26 - Elf - Ypsilanti District Library (Whittaker) | 3:00 p.m.

12/27 - Wreck-it Ralph - Ypsilanti District Library (Whittaker) | 3:00 p.m.
12/30 - Despicable Me - Ypsilanti District Library (Whittaker) | 3:00 p.m. 1/2 - Escape from Planet Earth - Ypsilanti District Library (Whittaker) | 3:00 p.m.

1/3 - Oz the Great and Powerful - Ypsilanti District Library (Whittaker) | 3:00 p.m.
1/3 - Monsters University - Dexter District Library | 11:00 a.m.

Holiday Break Crafting

What about taking the kids out to do some School Break Drop-in Crafts? The Ypsilanti District Library (Michigan)  is hosting "Crafternoon" on several days during break at 3:00-4:00 p.m. Stop by the youth desk to create an easy winter craft on 12/23, 12/26-27, 12/30, or 1/2-3.  On New Years Eve day, bring in the New Year at the Ann Arbor District Library (Pittsfield Branch) at 2:00-3:00 p.m. Create your own celebration hats and noisemakers!

Did your child get the hot Rainbow Loom for a gift this year? It's likely they are already bored with the simple chain or perhaps even a bit intimidated. Fear not though as Learning Express Toys of Ann Arbor has you covered with several free how-to classes. On December 28 stop in for an 11:00 a.m. beginners class or a 2:00 p.m. Tulip Tower stitch. On December 30 there is a second opportunity for a beginners class at 11:00 a.m. and the Zippy Chain stitch at 2:00 p.m.

12/27 - Kids can create a cozy collage at the AADL Downtown Library at 2:00 p.m.
1/3 - Just Tape It duct tape crafts - Dexter District Library | 11:00 a.m.(Grades 5-12 | Teen Event)

Get Up, Get Out, Get Moving

It's a New Year so why not wake up with an energizing Shoe Year's Day Hike at Maybury State Park. Hike, enjoy a fire and healthy snacks at 10:00 a.m. at the Concession Building. Use the 8 Mile Road entrance west off of Beck.

On January 4, 10:30 a.m. - noon take the kids (Ages 3-6) to enjoy Winter Fun for Kids: Let it snow! at County Farm Park, Field Operations Building (Platt Road Entrance, come to the building right next to the playground). Your kids will learn about how snow forms and take magnifying glasses outdoors to examine the unique shapes of snowflakes. Then indoors we will make paper snowflakes and have a
snack. Please pre-register for this free event with Shawn Severance at 734-971-6337 x335.

There's another fun outdoor program happening January 5 at Independence Lake. Be sure to join in on the Annual Winter Hike, Potluck and Nature Sharing program that the Washtenaw County parks and Rec puts on. For this free event, consider bringing 10 to 15 of your favorite nature images to share! The program will start with a one hour hike to the prairie habitat of the park which is followed by a potluck. Hot drinks will be provided, but please bring your own table setting and a dish to pass. After eating, we’ll share some nature photos and nature tales. For questions, contact Faye Stoner at 734-971-6337, X334.

Does taking the family swimming in a tropical paradise sound appealing? Perhaps joining in Family Swim Time at the Goldfish Swim School (2107 W Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor) sounds appealing. Family swim hours are Monday-Thursday noon-1:30 p.m., Friday's 6:30-8:00 p.m. and Sunday's 5:00-6:30 p.m.

The kids and I enjoy roller skating and there is a great rink located within a few minutes drive in Canton. Skatin Station has many open skate times over the holidays too. Take the kids to the rink from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on 12/23, 12/26-27, 12/30 and 1/1-3 for just $6 admission.

Speaking of skating, the Buhr Park Outdoor Ice Rink also has special skating times over the holidays. School Break Skating sessions will be held Noon-2:00 p.m. Dec. 23-24, 26, 31; Jan. 2-3. Fees are less that $6 with a $3 skate rental cost if you don't have ice skates.

Winter Break for Teens

Teens need something to do when school is closed too and there are many great free teen events happening throughout the next two weeks. From movies to crafts to gaming and trivia. Be sure to check it out.
  • Teens can participate in the January Teen Trivia Contest at the Dexter District Library. The theme will be music and Grammy Awards. Stop by the Teen Zone to enter for a chance to win a $15.00 Target gift card! 
  • RU Game? Teens and youth in grades 4-12 will enjoy a huge assortment of board games and snacks at the Dexter District Library on January 2, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. This is a free drop-in program.
  • Have you heard of Amigurumi? The Ypsilanti District Library (Whittaker) has a teen club to learn this fun activity. Stop by on December 28 at 11:30 a.m. to learn more. This event is for youth and teens ages 10-19.

Science and Nature

Another fun family activity is to check out the birds and critters at the Leslie Science and Nature Center (1831 Traver Rd., Ann Arbor).  The Critter House is open every Sunday, noon-3:00 p.m. Don't forget to hike their fantastic trails too!!!

Another great free science program continues at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History.  There are always free dinosaur tours each weekend as well as hands-on science. The kids will get a kick out of the Hands-0n demonstrations Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and Sunday's at 3:00 p.m.

Do you have a little engineer on your hands? Then be sure to take the kids (grades K-5) to the Ann Arbor District Library (Downtown) for the Marshmallow Engineering Challenge on December 29, 2:00-3:00 p.m. Test their engineering and building skills with toothpicks, marshmallows and lots of fun.

Have you heard "I'm bored" yet, well the Ypsilanti District Library can take care of that with Boredom Busters. Kids will enjoy marble magnet mania, balloons in a bottle, candy science, balloon skewers, and so much more at this fun program at the Michigan branch on 12/23, 12/26-27, 12/30, 1/2-3 at 2:00-3:00 p.m.
  • 12/28 - Explore how much fun batteries can be at the AADL (Pittsfield) at 2:00 p.m.

Drummunity is fun for the entire family!
Music and Stories

The younger set even gets into the act over holiday break with many story-time opportunities including two I'd like to highlight. Preschoolers will enjoy Joe Reilly as he performs Environmental Songs For Kids at Ann Arbor District Library (Downtown) on December 30, 2:00-2:45 p.m. Then on January 2, the kids will have another fun story-time day with a Wacky Winter Time With Storyteller Adam Mellema at Ann Arbor District Library (Downtown).
  • 1/3 -New Year Nonsense! Storytelling and tunes for preschoolers and kids through grade 3 at the AADL (Downtown Library) at 2:00 p.m.
  • 1/4 - Get into the groove with a tribute to the Big Band era with a family concert by the Pete Siers Trio at the AADL (Downtown Library) 2:00-3:00 p.m.

New Years Party

The entire family will enjoy the SRSLY annual New Year’s Eve party at Beach Middle School (445 Mayer Dr., Chelsea) from 4:00-8:00 p.m. on New Year's Eve. This is a free event full of fun! Find a great line-up of performers, team games and competitions (eating contests, relay races, card games and more), face painting, video games on classroom Smart Boards, cookie-decorating, live music, swimming, basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, and a chili cook-off. Door prizes awarded every half hour will include gift certificates to local restaurants and businesses, board games, and free passes to bowling. Pizza, pop, and other refreshments will be available for a suggested donation of $1 per item.

Skatin Station has a fun New Year's Eve Celebration for kids too - They even have a special prize-filled balloon drop at 3:00 p.m.!  Skating is just $7 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. For the older kids they have a special New Year's Eve (Late) Skate too from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. the next morning. The $20.00 admission is an all inclusive package price too!

Earlier this week I posted about the festivities at the Noon Year's Eve festivities at the Toledo Zoo too!

I'm sure more events will come onto my radar over the next few days, so be sure to check back often for fun, free and often inexpensive holiday break activities for everyone in the family!!!

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