With the kids on holiday break from school, it’s a great idea to have a game plan ready for activities you can do with the whole family or a checklist for the babysitter. All of the ideas below are educational, fun-filled, and include something for everyone!

Pick one or pick a few—the choices are up to you!

Give the Gift of Your Time
Laval’s local volunteering office, the Centre de bénévolat et moisson Laval has activities all year long where both youth and adults can get involved. There is no better time than the holiday season to teach your children about the importance of giving and sharing. You can get your family involved in the Christmas Basket Campaign, or find out more about the youth volunteering programs available in Laval for youngsters aged 12-17. Call 450-681-6164 or visit www.benevolatlaval.qc.ca for more info.

Calling all Science Lovers
A unique activity center for youth, the Centre d’interprétation de l’eau (C.I.EAU) is located in Ste-Rose along the Mille-Îles River. Students can participate in scientific experiments, visit the multi-media room, learn about water treatment process and much more! To find out about scheduled activities or to book a visit, call 450 963-6463 or visit www.cieau.qc.ca.

Clean Out Those Closets
With a little extra time on their hands, convince your children to clean out their own closets or other storage spaces in your home to make way for all the new Christmas presents they may be getting! Kids can pare down their toys/games collection and then donate at one of the many drop-off bins found around town.
The Salvation Army will come and pick up your goods for free in the Laval area if you call 450-687-4381.
Fripe-Prix Renaissance accepts clothing and household items in good condition at their Laval location on Concorde Est at 450-668-2555.
Entraide Diabétique du Québec also has donation boxes around Laval. You can call toll-free to find the one closest to you at 1-866-313-7800 or visit www.entraidediabetique.org.

Outdoor Treasure Hunt
On December 6th, get some fresh air and help Santa Claus find some lost presents he dropped when he flew over boulevard Le Corbusier. All along the boulevard, children aged 3-10 years old can help find the packages accompanied by their parent(s). Some gifts will be hanging from tree branches or scattered around the ground. A surprise will be offered to each child who helped find the lost parcels! 13h-14h Visit www.boisdelequerre.org for more info.

Get Your Read On
With busy workweeks and school schedules, it seems we never have time to finish that great novel sitting on our nightstand. Encourage a love of reading by teaching your children by example. Take a few hours to visit your local library with the whole family and sign out a few books for everyone. Then, have each member of the family commit to reading a certain amount over the holidays and display the list somewhere easily visible, like the refrigerator. Make sure to reserve some time (such as at the dinner table) for everyone to talk about what they have been reading.

Have a Classic Holiday Family Moment
Nothing makes the house smell sweeter or your table look fancier than a classic gingerbread house. If you’re feeling brave you can make the dough yourself with basic ingredients and the kids will have a blast decorating with candy. An easy recipe to follow can be found at www.foodnetwork.com. Baking not your thing? Many stores such as Walmart sell pre-fabricated/pre-baked kits so all you have to do is assemble and decorate!

See Outer Space up Close
The Cosmodome, located just south of highway 440, has loads of activities and permanent exhibitions all year long. Kids can journey through space in one of the many interactive activities, see giant replicas of space shuttles, learn about other planets and much more! With great family rates and kids under 7 admitted for free, space adventure awaits you and your family! Call 450-978-3600 to find out more. Visit www.cosmodome.org for more details on all activities on site.

Fresh Air Challenge
The winter months can bring on a long period of being indoors most of the time, both for adults and children. This holiday season, get into the Fresh Air Challenge. All family members ‘compete’ against one another for total amount of time spent outdoors. Time can be racked up by taking a walk, shovelling snow, or even just playing outside! For added fun, predetermine a total amount of outdoor time for the whole family to attain (by adding everyone’s total times together) over a certain amount of days, and if the goal is obtained, pre-establish a reward the whole family can share together. Don’t forget to bundle up!

Calling all Art & Culture Lovers
Maison des arts de Laval on Concorde West hosts some of the city’s most varied theatre productions all year long. With theatre productions designed for youth as young as 3 years old and up, there really is something for everyone! Also on site are a variety of more permanent arts exhibitions for some added cultural education. Visit www.laval.ca and click on Maison des arts for scheduling and program listings, or call 450-662-4440 for more info.

Help Celebrate Laval’s 50th Anniversary!
Animation and outdoor celebrations in a festive atmosphere are awaiting you and your family. From December 29th-31st, take part in the city’s anniversary festivities at Place du 50e at Centropolis. Visit www.50ans.laval.ca for more info.