2017 Winter/Christmas Break Guide: 25 fun things to do with your kids in Northwest Arkansas when school is closed

Winter Break Activity Guide, Northwest Arkansas

After the excitement of the holidays, there’s that looong stretch of winter break that can make parents — and kids — feel a little cabin feverish after a while.

When those moments hit, you need inspiration! So consider this guide your Winter in NWA Bucket List.

The Winter Break Guide is sponsored by Grand Savings Bank, with locations in Rogers {Pleasant Grove}; Rogers {Hudson Road}; Bentonville; Gentry; Siloam Springs; Decatur; and Gravette.

While you’re online, you should stop by Grand Saving Bank’s new Life is Grand blog. CLICK HERE to visit the site and enjoy great local features, interviews and all kinds of unique community stories that make us remember #LifeIsGrand.

To keep everyone happy this winter, here are 25 cool ideas for things to do with kids of all ages in Northwest Arkansas:

1. Skate it off, skate it off. Ice skate or swim at the Jones Center (indoors) in Springdale or ice skate at Lawrence Plaza in Bentonville (outside), which is open through Jan. 15.

There are also some roller skating options, including Starlight Skatium in Fayetteville (they’ll have expanded hours over Winter Break) and Great Day Skate Place in Bentonville. Both skating rinks will have New Year’s Eve events for kids (Starlight’s event is overnight).

2. Play places for the little ones. Some great places for little kids to play include Fun City in Springdale (pizza, mini golf, arcade games) and the Amazeum Children’s Museum in Bentonville, which has fun interactive exhibits for all ages (including 2 and under).

3. Go bowling. Bowl, play laser tag, ride Go Karts and more at Fast Lane Entertainment in Lowell or Lokomotion in Springdale. You can also try to bowl a spare at Ozark Lanes in Fayetteville, Rogers Bowling Center or Springdale Bowling Center,

4. Jump your sillies out. Jump and jump your sillies out at at HighRise in Rogers. They have designated times for different age groups to participate, including 6 and under, 7 and older and 15+ on weekend nights. You should also check out Altitude Trampoline Park in Fayetteville for lots of fun for all ages!

5. Climb your cabin fever out. Let the kids climb their cabin fever out at Lewis & Clark in Springdale or at the Ozark Climbing Gym in Springdale, which has two winter climbing camps for kids scheduled for Dec. 27th.

6. Enjoy Winter Break Wonders Camp at Crystal Bridges. Bring the kids to Crystal Bridges museum over their school break to enjoy special family-friendly activities each afternoon, including artmaking, music, puppets, dance, and more. Winter Break Wonders are from 1-4 p.m. beginning Dec. 21st. Free, no registration required.

7. Play arcade games. If you like Pac-Man and Zelda, try Retrocade Arkadia in Fayetteville has all the vintage machines. Lokomotion Family Fun Park in Fayetteville is offering “Totally Neon Arcade Nights” through Feb. 28th on Thursday nights, with half-price arcade games and a free glow pack.

8. Visit a museum. Why not learn something new while hanging out at a great NWA museum on a cold winter’s day? Crystal Bridges is perfect for a fun indoor activity that also enriches. There are permanent and traveling exhibits to check out in addition to classes, workshops, a big art room for play — plus lots of events. You can also enjoy the 50,000 square foot Amazeum Children’s Museum, which isn’t far from Crystal Bridges and offers “Priceless Nights” on Wednesday nights (donation only, not regular admission).

If you’re into history, there’s the Museum of Native American History in Bentonville and Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale. If you visit the Walmart Museum in Bentonville (which has some fun, old-fashioned candy available for purchase), be sure to stop by the Spark Cafe next door for ice cream. There’s also the Rogers Historical Museum, the Clinton House Museum in Fayetteville, the Lowell Historical Museum, the Arkansas Air and Military Museum and Headquarters House Museum.

9. Create something! You can make art together at Imagine Studios, Painting with a Twist, Junque 2 Jewels and Community Creative Center. If you want to bring the art to you, the Traveling Art Teacher is a state certified art teacher who taught public school in Springdale for 7 years. She brings painting parties to kids or adult birthdays, baby showers, ladies nights, church youth group or fellowship groups and more.

10. School’s Out Day Camp (all day) at Rogers Activity Center. Send the kiddos to Rogers Activity Center School’s Out Camps for all-day care. They’ll go on field trips and have fun while school’s out.

11. Enjoy Skatemas Break at the Jones Center. Skatemas Break at The Jones Center will be loads of fun! They have events daily from Dec. 26-29, including public skate sessions for only $3 a skater, door prizes, movies in the theatre each day at 3 p.m. and hockey, figure skating or curling exhibitions each in in the ice rink at 11 a.m.

12. Zing it up. This place is amaZING! Visit the Amazeum Museum in Bentonville with kids of all ages. They’ve got a cafe, gift shop and tons of indoor fun.

13. Play laser tag, inside or out. Complete a super-cool mission at Modern Mission. They’ve got outdoor indoor laser tag or an indoor battlefield to tackle in Fayetteville.

14. Visit a bookstore. There are several quirky favorites in Fayetteville: Nightbird Books, Dickson Street Bookshop or the Curious Book Shoppe on Block Street. There’s also Barnes & Noble in Fayetteville and Rogers.

15. Visit your local library. Browse the books, play with puzzles, listen to a story time or attend an event at the big public libraries in Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale or Fayetteville. The Fayetteville Public Library has holiday movies on Dec. 21-22 and Dec. 26-29. The Springdale Public Library has Game Days December 21 & 22 at 2 p.m. Bring a friend or family member and play your favorite board games in the Library. And on Dec. 26-29, they’ll be hosting If You Build It! each day at 2 p.m. Put on your engineering hat and enjoy a different challenge each day with Magformers and Legos.

16. Watch the magic happen backstage at Rick’s Bakery. You can watch cakes and other treats being made at Rick’s Bakery and they have a new creative space next door called Streetside Studio, where they offer sweet treat classes and camps.

17. Attend a New Year’s Eve event. There are some fun NYE events happening in NWA, including Noon Year’s Eve at Crystal Bridges, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ring in the New Year (without staying up past bedtime) with fun art projects, performances, a Coca-Cola toast at noon, and a family dance party. Free, no registration required.

Later in the evening, Last Night Fayetteville on the Fayetteville Square is a great way to ring in the new year. Last Night is a performing arts festival featuring more than 100 local artists on 11 stages. Starts at 7 p.m. and will run through 2 a.m. Countdown to 2018 with the world famous Hog Drop Countdown to Midnight & Fireworks, and party on into the New Year.

Watch for a larger list of New Year’s Eve events in NWA next week!

18. Play GlowGolf. GlowGolf Mini Golf in Rogers features 36 holes of mini golf, a Laser Maze Challenge attraction and a 3Kick martial arts.

19. Find out where bluebirds come from. Watch the Bluebirds of Happiness come to life at Terra Studios outside of Fayetteville. If it’s not too cold, walk around and see all the quirky sculptures. There’s also a gallery featuring local art of all kinds.

20. Go to the movies in style. You should check out the reclining seats at the newly-renovated Fiesta Square and Razorback Malco theatres, both in Fayetteville. And have you visited the new Skylight Cinema in Benonville? You can eat dinner while you watch a movie there! Ahhh.

21. Hop a train. The Arkansas & Missouri Railroad offers Holiday Express train rides right before Christmas.

22. Visit kitties. The Purr Catfe in Fayetteville partners with local shelters & rescues to facilitate the successful socialization & placement of homeless cats while offering community members “a space to enjoy the company of these furballs & reap the many benefits of purr therapy.” (There is a cost to visit the kitties — this is a non-profit.)

23. Go out to eat on the cheap. Pop over to our Kids Eat Free List to see where you can go during the week for free or inexpensive meals for the kids.

24. Go see the holiday lights before they’re gone! The Fayetteville Square lights will be up through New Year’s Day.

25. Camp out under your Christmas tree. How fun would this be? Get out the sleeping bags, lanterns, snacks and pretend you’re outside in the forest. Hurry before your tree gets recycled or heads back to the attic!

26: Bonus idea: Volunteer as a family. Here are some ideas for volunteering in Northwest Arkansas at the Fayetteville Animal Shelter, Ronald McDonald House and more! Of course, you could always come up with your own game plan, which could include the whole family committing to a “random act of kindess” each week. That could include taking treats to a neighbor who’s lonely, take a thank you card (that the kids created) to the local fire or police station — you decide!