2023- 2024 SWMI Winter Break Activities: 30+ Boredom-Busting Activities for Families

winter break activities

Make it Memorable with MI Winter Break Activities

It doesn’t get better than having time off to relax, enjoy time with family, and bask in one of the most enchanting seasons of the year, no matter which holiday you celebrate.

However, as the school hiatus progresses, the kids develop a strong case of cabin fever, and you are fresh out of ideas. Where to take the kids sledding or tubing?

Where can you find indoor activities when you need a snow break? What if there isn’t any snow?!

We have done the research so you don’t have to: this guide includes 30+ boredom-smashing winter break activities to entertain and engage families in Kalamazoo over winter break.

Most area schools start winter break officially on December 22 and return to school on Monday, January 8, 2024.

Ice Skating Tubing Sledding Skiing

Play Inside

Although we expect snow in December, sometimes we don’t have it! Get inspired with some warm and dry inside activities away from the cold air.

These shops, museums and other local favorites serve as some great indoor spaces to explore and play during break.

Winter Break Idea 1 – Visit the Air Zoo

6151 Portage Rd, Portage MI 49002 – (269) 350-2812

Escape the chilly weather and come have a blast at the Air Zoo’s Winter Family Fun Days!

There will be exciting activities for the entire family. Enjoy themed crafts and games (while supplies last), meet special guests, and engage in interactive programs.

Come join the fun on Dec. 27-28 and Jan. 3-4!

Don’t want to wait until midnight to celebrate the new year? Start early at the the Air Zoo’s Countdown to Noon balloon drop on New Year’s Eve. The Air Zoo opens at 10 AM to ring in the New Year with fun party activities for the whole family.

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More Indoor Play Ideas

2 – Test your artistic skills by painting pottery at Art Bayou. You can paint in the studio or create at home and drop them off for the kiln.

Kalamazoo Pottery Painting

3 – “Celebrate!” 100 at the KIA. This exhibit will show you how artists have portrayed celebratory moments through photography, prints, and paintings. To celebrate the KIA turning 100 in 2024, Upjohn Mason Grandchildren’s Gallery is returning to an interactive space!

FYI: Admission is FREE for kids 12 and under.

4 – Climb the walls at Allegan Event. Allegan Event offers ziplines, climbing walls, and Michigan’s largest indoor ropes course.

Allegan Event 2022

5 – Go ice skating at Wings West. Be sure to check their schedule online for open ice times.

6 – Try a hot cocoa bomb from a local restaurant. Add warm milk and watch your chocolate drink come to life!

7 – Make your own Sand Candle with Kalamazoo Candle Company.

With shops in both Portage and Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo Candle Company provides two convenient locations for this fun activity.

Sand = no drying time and you can add as many or as few colors as desired. Each color has a different scent.

For an additional fee, kids can also decorate the candle jar with stickers.

Kalamazoo Candle Company
Make a sand candle at Kalamazoo Candle Co

8 – Try a new restaurant. Z&W Chinese Cuisine opened after Thanksgiving in Portage (find them across the street from Wedel’s at 12th street and Milham). We love the build your own bowl option: pick your protein, veggies and sauce.

9 – Work on your inner Jackson Pollock at Pinspiration. Schedule some time in their splatter room to create your masterpiece. Need a night out? Pinspiration is also the perfect spot for MNOs or date night.

Try the full service bar for date nights or other grown up outings at Pinspiration.

10 – Cozy up at the Kzoo Cat Cafe. Playing with adoptable cats and eating snacks sounds like a great afternoon. Be sure to register online before you go.

11 – Climb to new heights at Climb Kalamazoo. There’s a wall for everyone!

12 – Camps & Clinics at Branch Gymnastics. Tumble and flip with friends.

Branch Gymnastics Kalamazoo

13 – Try the inflatables at Jungle Joes. All age groups can bounce and there’s an arcade!

14 – Explore Kid’s Empire. Climb, slide and play at this indoor playground for kids 12 & under on West Main in Kalamazoo.

Kids Empire Confetti Slide

Outdoor Winter Break Activities

Let it snow! Embrace the beauty of a Southwest Michigan winter and get outside- or at least outside in your car to see some light shows before the holiday season ends.

15 – Go skiing or snowboarding at Bittersweet Ski Resort in Otsego.

16 – Go on a scavenger hunt for beautiful artwork downtown with a mural crawl. If the weather is calm, this free activity is a fun way to see the city AND beautiful artwork at the same time. Win. Win.

Kids at mural in Kalamazoo
Mural crawls are a fun, free activity for milder weather

17 – Try out a new favorite sledding spot in SWMI.

18 – Experience one mile of Christmas lights as you drive Marshall’s Merry Mile. The Merry Mile runs through December 30; the cost is $10/car.

Christmas Lights

19 – Bundle up and go for a hike on one of our favorite trails.

20 – Take a stroll downtown through the sparkling lights.  We recommend some shopping or grabbing dinner while you are on the mall too!

Downtown Kalamazoo Holiday Lights Kalamazoo Shopping

21 – Ride the Holly Jolly Trolley on NYE.

22 – Try snow tubing.

23 – Dine outside. Bundle up and dine outside in a heated igloo at a local restaurant. Most restaurants recommend reservations.

The Modern Well in Lawton offers coffee flights in their igloo

24 – Go cross-country skiing at the Kalamazoo Nature Center.

25 -Take a drive down Christmas Card Lane to see over 40 oversized Christmas cards in the Westwood neighborhood.

26 – Try our Portage driving route to see lights, sights and bites! We recommend a walk through Celery Flats to see the KZOOKIDS tree and historic buildings.

Portage-Christmas-Lights Route 2022
Celery Flats 2022

27 Playground Hop. There are over 25 playgrounds around Kalamazoo for your kids to run off their energy. No snow? No problem.

28 – Visit New Year’s Fest. With multiple performances within a two-block radius of Bronson Park, this is a fun, walkable adventure. Stay late for the fireworks and ball drop! Admission is $7/person when purchased in advance or $10 on NYE.

Catch the fireworks at New Year’s Fest in Downtown Kalamazoo

Road Trip

Looking to explore beyond Kalamazoo? Try these day trips during break.

29 – Head west to St. Joe and stroll through over one million twinkling lights. Light Up the Bluff runs through February 15, 2024.

30 – Go on a gnome hunt in Frankenmuth. Pick up the map in the Visitor Center.

31 – Try some drive-through lights in other cities in the Mitten. The Christmas Lite show (pictured) runs through December 31, 2023, in Comstock Park.

LMCU ballpark Christmas Lights

Idea 32- Visit a Scheduled Winter Break Event

Local museums and organizations have planned some fun events over Winter Break.

Try this list for some family-friendly activities before returning to school:

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