10 full days off of school for winter break can seem like a dream for kids. But that much time off can also lead to parents hearing an abundance of two dreaded words: “I’m bored.” Luckily, there’s no need to be bored when you live in Southwest Michigan! We’ve rounded up 12 great ways for you and your family to get out and explore Berrien County, and have a lot of fun along the way.
- Krasl Art Center knows how to keep kids busy with their hands on Winter Break Camps happening December 27-30 (registration deadline is December 20). Classes are designed for different age groups and participants can choose from a variety of activities to get the creative juices flowing including racing mini skiers and snowboarders, launching a penguin rocket, or painting a snowy blizzard.
- Experiment, create, and have fun with over 100 hands on exhibits and actives at Curious Kids’ Museum. The museum is great for all ages and was founded by educators and parents to provide an environment that invites curiosity, allows exploration, celebrates childhood, and inspires learning. Reservations are required for the two weeks of Christmas Break (December 18-December 31).
- Climb aboard a horse, tiger, or giraffe and take a spin around Silver Beach Carousel beneath the twinkling lights. Online reservations are required for Friday/Saturdays at 11a, 12:30p, 2p, or 3:30p. Each admission ages 3 and above is $6 and you’ll get unlimited rides during your one hour reservation. You can also stop by the Brass Ring Gift Shop or enjoy beverages, fresh popcorn, cotton candy, and other treats from the Refreshment Stand.
4. School’s out, art is in with the help of Spark. Ignite. Launch! Learning Academy. Kids will have fun creating their own gift wrap, tags, and ornaments with a variety of art supplies to choose from during a class designed for students in grades 1 through 5 happening on Thursday, December 23 at The Box Factory for the Arts.
5. Turquoise Top Hat takes the guess work out of at home craft projects with their “all in one’“ DIY kits which are perfect for busy parents. The kits provide all the supplies kids need and include step-by-step directions to create homemade ornaments, wooden reindeer, door hangers, and more.
6. Lace up your skates and hit the ice at the John and Dede Howard Ice Arena – a semi-enclosed, family-friendly arena within the City of St. Joseph. Skate rentals are available on site and open skate hours are available seven days a week (hours vary each day). The Garden Ice Arena also offers public skate times and ice bumper cars during their special holiday events happening on December 22 and 26. When you’re done skating, cozy up with a warm beverage at Caffe Tosi in downtown St. Joseph.
7. Games, dinner, and dessert…what more could a kid ask for? Head to Fire and Ice for their signature stone fired pizza and flash frozen ice cream. They also have a variety of game tables and play areas for kids (and adults) to burn off some energy.
8. Kids certainly won’t want to miss out on two weeks of fun holiday activities including gift making and cookie decorating, happening at Power in Motion during their 2021 Holiday Camp. Camp is open to all children ages 4+ and takes place from 8:30am-12:30pm, Dec 20-22 and Dec 27-29. Cost is $36/day and space is limited.
9. Get outside! Don’t let the cold temperatures keep you stuck inside in front of screens. Bundle up and hit the trails for a family hike. Grand Mere State Park and Warren Dunes State Park both offer fun and challenging trails over the frozen dunes which lead to Lake Michigan. Or take a spin down a dune on a sled!
10. Looking for an activity that both kids and adults will enjoy? Head to Peat’s Cider Social, where adults can sip on refreshing cider while kids enjoy a family-friendly environment trying to see who can knock down the most pins in the retro bowling alley. Bowling lanes are first come, first serve during open bowling hours and are rented by the hour.
11. Take a walk down Candy Cane Lane December 20 through January 2 at Milton Park on behalf of the St. Joseph Department of Public Works. See how many candy canes you can find in the park, read the book “Polar Express,” take a picture by the train cutout, and look for painted rocks with holiday pictures.
12. Get lost in nature at Sarett Nature Center in Benton Harbor. They are offering a variety of activities for kids such as Winter Break Escape, a family-friendly trail activity happening December 18 – January 2. For $10/session kids can also become a junior naturalist on December 18 during a special club for kids ages 8-12 who are really interested in nature.
Looking for a way to make your holiday outing even more special? Get extra-cozy with a hot cup of coffee, tea, or a holiday-inspired beverage at our Fun & Festive Holiday Series sponsor, Caffe Tosi, in downtown St. Joseph! Caffe Tosi offers “The tastes of Italy in the heart of Michigan.” Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and a variety of beverages including beer, wine, and mimosas!
About the author: Jessica Springer is a Michigan native who has called Southwest Michigan home for the last seven years. She works full time as a health care marketing specialist and is also the founder of the travel blog, Well Planned Adventures.