Winter Break Ideas: Fun and Free Activities To Do in Denver While Kids Are Out of Preschool

The holiday season offers plenty of delightful activities for families to enjoy quality time together. If you’re wondering how to make the most of the winter break for your little one, fret not—we’ve got you covered. Check out our list of free and fun places to visit, local light shows, and homemade gift and game ideas that will bring joy to the entire family.

Explore Denver Attractions

Escape the winter chill this December and treat your child to a vibrant and imaginative experience with the whole family by visiting one of Denver’s many museums. Many Denver attractions, such as the Denver Art Museum, Clyfford Still Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) let kids ages 18 and under enjoy free admission every single day of the year. For more information on attractions with free admission, click here.

You can also spend an afternoon at one of the many festive, family-friendly holiday markets and craft fairs happening this holiday season. Markets like the Cherry Creek Holiday Market run throughout December and are free to attend.

Explore the world of stories and learning with your little ones this holiday season at the Denver Public Library! Storytime at various library branches offer a warm, indoor activity for toddlers, preschoolers, and kids of all ages to enjoy captivating tales every day of the week. While you’re there, check out Denver Public Library’s Little University programming. Little University provides early learning activities for children from birth through preschool.

For more information about upcoming Storytime and Little University sessions, check out the Denver Public Library’s events calendar.

Treat your little one to an evening of dazzling light displays across Denver. Gardens Luminova Holidays, Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo, Trail of Lights at Chatfield Farms, and Blossom of Lights at Denver Botanic Gardens are just a few of the magical outdoor wonderlands sparkling with holiday lights. The world’s largest drive-thru animated light show, Christmas in Color, lets your family view millions of lights while comfortably in your car. While tickets are needed for some events, light shows such as Parade of Lights and Merry & Bright Lights at Denver Union Station are free to attend. For details on upcoming light shows in Denver, click here.

Create Memories Together with Homemade Gifts

Let your child’s creativity shine with a delightful and budget-friendly homemade holiday gift! Get those paintbrushes ready and craft a special handprint apron for the chef in your home. Or spark some joy by designing a personalized photo frame using colored pom poms and glitter. Your little one will also have a blast using their hands to make a salt dough mixture that can either be molded to fit a tea light or shaped with a cookie cutter for a one-of-a-kind homemade ornament. 

These simple and fun projects not only let your child’s imagination soar but also make them an active part of the gift-giving experience. It’s a joyful, budget-friendly way to celebrate the time of year while building memories together.

Stay Entertained with Fun and Easy Holiday Activities

Embrace the holiday spirit with your preschooler during the holiday break with an activity the whole family will enjoy. Whip up a delicious treat like frozen hot cocoa ice cream, design paper snowflakes, or craft a musical instrument using a tissue box or paper towel roll. Too chilly to go outside? Bring a bucket of snow inside and let your little artist showcase their abilities by painting snow using a mixture of water and food coloring. 

You can also conduct science experiments with leftover holiday candy for some at-home STEAM fun with your little one. Other fun and easy ideas include crafting your own props for a festive photo booth using colored paper and popsicle sticks or turning your living room into a stage for a family holiday talent show.

Holiday games are a fun way to entertain your child’s curious mind. Head out for a walk through your neighborhood on a holiday lights scavenger hunt, or lead your little one on a candy cane hunt through the home for an afternoon of laughter and holiday cheer. Grab a handful of mini marshmallows for a round of snowman bingo filled with images of your child’s favorite holiday characters. These activities are a great way to enjoy a snowy day and could even become traditions your family looks forward to for years to come.

From exhibits and light shows to DIY gifts and games, there is no shortage of festive activities and attractions to enjoy with your child this holiday season. Whether you’re cozied up at home or venturing out, these moments are bound to create lasting memories and fill your family with the spirit of the season.