Unless you're a teacher, at this point it feels like Christmas break has gone on forever. The weather hasn't been great, and your kids have tracked mud everywhere. If you hear "I'm bored," one more time you might cancel next Christmas altogether. And how on earth can they eat so much?

You're almost there. There's a light at the end of the tunnel. Most East Texas schools start back Monday or Tuesday, and there should be some clear weather days between now and then. Here are a few ideas for wearing them out, feeding them cheap and surviving until they go back to school.

Indoor Activities for East Texas Kids on Christmas Break

The ground is saturated, so even if it's nice out you may want to try a few of these ideas:

  • Discovery Science Place -- If your kids are anywhere from just walking to older elementary ages, they'll love exploring this science museum. If you're at your wit's end, you can take a book, grab a bench and let them run.
  • iJump -- This indoor activity park has trampolines, dodgeball courts, a ninja course and an area for toddlers. It's another great option for parents who need to take a break while their kids burn some energy.
  • Tyler Home Depot Kids Clinic -- Saturday, January 5 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tyler Home Depot experts will guide your child in building an easel to display their own artwork. The kids get to keep their craft and the workshop is free.
  • Urban Air Adventure Park -- If your kids are climbing the walls, give them walls designed for that activity. This new adventure park is toward the back of the Village at Cumberland Park shopping center. For kids five and under, access depends on their height.

Outdoor Activities For Winter Vacation

Some places kids can go out and play in the snow. In East Texas, we have mud. However, sometimes getting a little muddy and damp is better than staying indoors one more minute. Try one of these activitiesthis weekend.

  • Rose Rudman -- Enjoy miles of trails and a kid-friendly play area.
  • Tyler State Park -- Take binoculars and notepads and see who can sketch the most distinct species of birds.
  • The Children's Park of Tyler -- This beautifully landscaped park is great for all ages, but it's a manageable size and scale for little ones.
  • Leaf collecting -- If you aren't up to hauling your brood around town, send them out into the backyard to collect as many different leaf species as they can. Let them use posterboard and glue to organize and display their collection.

Cheap Food for Desperate Parents

When they're home it's like you go through three times the groceries you normally do. You're not imagining things, they really are eating constantly. For a lot of parents, the idea of healthy home-cooked meals has gone out the window. You can get back on track when they go back to school. For now, these places offer cheap food fast.

  • Little Caesars -- Drop in, pick up as many $5 hot and ready pizzas as you need. Feed them on paper plates at the park where they can't make a mess in your kitchen.
  • Sam's Club -- If you want to eat at home, grab a rotisserie chicken for under $5, a package of mac and cheese out of the freezer section and a bag of salad. Walk around and let them try all the samples so they can wait till dinnertime to eat.
  • Don Juans -- If you want to sit down and find something you actually enjoy the taste of, Don Juans has a laid-back atmosphere, affordable menu and delicious food.
  • Dickey's Barbecue, Slim Chickens and Freebirds have kids eat free deals on Sundays
  • McAlister's deli has $1.99 kids meals any time.
things to do with kids


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