Kids home for the holidays? Here are eight family friendly, fun-filled activities that will help you maintain your sanity and have fun with your kids at the same time. 

1. Christmas crafts. With just a little pre-planning in the evening, you could have all of the materials ready for crafts that would be fun for your kids to make and keep them busy for hours. As an added bonus, they can give their crafts to family and friends. Try a few of these Christmas craft ideas. Or if you are giving away baked goods for the holidays, let your kids design holiday treat bags using brown paper bags and crayons or markers. Speaking of holiday treats...

2. Bake. Kids love to help in the kitchen, so Christmas break is the perfect time to work on holiday baking. To avoid frustration for both of you, scale your baking projects to match your kids ages and abilities, and don't forget to let your kids enjoy some of the treats when you're done!

3. Talent show. Kids love to showcase their many talents, and there is no better way or time to do this than with a holiday talent show. If you're trying to get some things done around the house, task your kids with practicing their talents. They can sing Christmas carols, choreograph a holiday dance, act out a scene from their favorite holiday show, or write their own holiday play. The possibilities are endless. If you have time, feel free to get in on the fun!

4. Decorate. Kids love to decorate, adding bits of holiday bling here and there around the house. Keep a special stash of kid-friendly decorations that they can use over Christmas break. If you don't want them tossing tinsel in every room, limit their decorating canvas to the playroom or their bedrooms.

5. Get outside. Sure the weather outside might be frightful, but with the right winter clothes, your kids can still enjoy an hour (or more) of outdoor play. If there's snow on the ground, pull out the sleds, snowballers, and snow tubes and let them have at it!

6. Clear clutter. Christmas break is the perfect time to get kids to organize their rooms and clear up their clutter around the house. It's a great way to get things organized before Christmas. For added motivation, I remind my kids that we don't want Santa tripping over toys as he's tip-toeing around the house.  

7. Hit the town. During most of the year, the kids are so busy with school, homework and extra-curricular activities that we hardly have time to enjoy the activities going on in our own town. So holiday break is the perfect time to hit local museums, art galleries, and story time at the local library. Call your town office or chamber of commerce for a listing of local events and activities in your area.

8. Read (or write!) a book. Want to instill a lifelong love of reading in your kids? Set aside a little time each day to read together as a family. Holiday break is the perfect time to squeeze in this fun and fundamental activity. Obviously little kids are going to read with you, but older kids can read, or even write their own books. They can read in their rooms or better yet, get the whole family together to read in the living room.  

MNN homepage photo: 3sbworld/iStockphoto

Fun family activities for Christmas break
8 great ways to get the most out of extra family time when the kids are out of school for Christmas break.