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How to keep kids busy during school vacation for the holidays

Most kids can't wait until their break from school for the winter holidays. But that time away from the classrooms can leave parents with pretty full hands.

For kids, the month of December is typically all about special holiday celebrations and the final countdown until school vacation. But for parents, that week or so period of no classrooms and little homework can sometimes be a little overwhelming.

NEWS CENTER Maine looked into some ideas for this holiday vacation to help keep your family entertained.

Enjoy outdoor activities

With a fresh coating of snow on Tuesday, who knows! We may get our white Christmas after all. If there's enough snow piled up on the ground, try sending your kids out to enjoy some wholesome fun sliding down a hill or skating on a frozen pond.

Just make sure that if they do go out, they're keeping safety tips in mind. Tell them to watch out for other sledders when embarking on that downhill journey, and always check to make sure ice is completely solid if they do decide to lace up the skates.

Head to a Christmas tree farm

Let's be honest -- the smell of fresh pine is really just a quintessential part of Maine. If you have free time, try bringing the family out to see all of the different sizes and shapes of Christmas trees. 

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And, if you get there before the holiday and don't have a tree yet -- it could be a great opportunity to make that annual purchase! Some farms offer pre-cut trees, while others let you choose your own and chop it down.

Visit your local library

If standing outside in below-freezing weather doesn't sound appealing to you, not to worry. There are plenty of indoors activities to do during holiday vacation, too!

If you haven't yet, check out the website for your local library. Staff may be offering seasonal events to help to keep your kids occupied during vacation. But try to plan ahead -- some events may require pre-registration, or might be limited to a certain capacity.

Shane Layman, teen librarian for the Bangor Public Library, says gatherings like these can be a great opportunity for younger readers. 

"When you're in school, you're always sort of surrounded by the same people," Layman told NEWS CENTER Maine. "Here, you get a chance to, you know, meet a different cast of characters and explore a new world outside of your own world."

Join a YMCA

The YMCA is open year round and offers programs for kids, teenagers, and adults! During the holidays, the location in Bangor has a pretty stacked schedule in an effort to help parents out with their kids during school vacation.

The YMCA typically offers both outdoor and indoor activities -- and if you like to swim year round, this may be the place to do it! The YMCA network in impacts more than 165 neighborhoods in Maine -- and more than 10,000 nationwide. 

"That's how we get through these cold winters," Emerald Forcier, the Director of Development and Community Engagement for the Bangor YMCA, told NEWS CENTER Maine. "We connect with people. We find things that we all like to do together, and then we find an organization or location where we can do those things."

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