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Christmas Break Planner for 2012

christmas break planner 2012
The following represents just a sampling of events and activities happening over Winter Break in greater Grand Rapids. To see everything going on over Christmas Break in West Michigan, visit our event calendar.

by Melody and Keri


With the flurry of present wrapping and cookie baking that is life right now, it might be easy to forget that once the presents are opened the kids will still be on Christmas vacation.

For many school districts Winter Break is structured a little differently this year. Our district still has the typical two weeks off, but since the Holidays come on Tuesdays this year, a good chunk of Christmas break falls after New Year’s Day.

Last year, most students returned to school on January 2, 2012. This time around students will report back on January 7, 2013.

Translation: Mom (or Dad) needs to plan ahead to keep kids busy. 

Even if you only have five minutes right now to sketch out your plans, it will save you from headaches in the future. Many popular activities and events sell out.

Get your idea juices flowing with the items listed below and then head over to our bulging event calendar for plenty of other holiday events or check out our Indoor Play Guide and newly published Winter Sports Guide.

NOTE:  Businesses may change or cancel events at a moment’s notice.  It is your responsibility to call ahead and verify details.

Limited Time

Big Kids

All Ages

  • Drive around and look at Christmas lights using our interactive map.
  • Snowflake Break! at the Grand Rapids Public Museum is back again this year from  December 26, 2012 through January 6, 2013. There will be activities, crafts and games for families, as well as the museum exhibits, find the elf game, and the planetarium show.
  • Breton Village Mall has a wonderful train display that is open during mall hours (free) and Santa visits on occasion as well.
  • See the trains and trees while taking in the exhibit Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World at Meijer Gardens
  • Check out All Day with the Arts at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. With a variety of offerings designed for young visitors and family members of all ages, All Day with the Arts includes hands-on art projects in our education center, kid-friendly tours, and sketching in the galleries. Saturdays 10am-3pm. Free with museum admission.
  • Paint with the family! Most of the Brush Studio Family Days are Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm. Check out their calendar for the featured Family Day paintings. $30 for children under twelve years old.
  • Get crafty with the family! Drop-in Art at the Kroc Center offers a variety of unique arts and crafts projects each week. All supplies will be provided along with professional instruction. Projects will include a diverse range of artistic mediums including paper, paint, and sculpture. Wednesdays 6:45-7:45pm.
  • Thursday evening is Family Night at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum from 5-8pm with $1.50 admission per person, ages 1 year and above.
  • Get the family out of the house and attend a Grand Rapids Griffins Hockey Game! Visit their website for game details. Attend on New Years’ Eve and save money by getting a Fan 4 Pack, stick around after the game for the world’s largest post-game indoor fireworks show, and bring your skates to the rink and take to the ice after the game!
  • The Critter Barn’s Live Nativity in Zeeland.
  • The Kroc Center is offering a number of Christmas events and activities for the family, including free Christmas movie nights.
  • Be sure to check out The Mud Room– they have lots to offer, including $5 studio specials and family specials! And don’t miss Camp Mud classes where kids can explore glass fusing, clay sculpture, and the potters wheel. Classes are offered for ages 7+, and also for ages 4-6 with adult supervision. Pre-registration and payment required.

Get Moving

Brain Benders

Day Camps

  • Mini Camp at MVP Sportsplex For boys and girls 3-6 years old. Activities include swimming, sports, games, arts and crafts. Register online at www.mvpsportsclubs.com. Dec 26-28, Jan 2-4, 9am-1pm.
  • Sports Camp Full Day at MVP Sportsplex For children 6-11 years old. Activities include swimming, sports, games, arts and crafts. Register online at www.mvpsportsclubs.com. Dec 26-28, Jan 2-4, 9am-3pm.
  • Mid City Winter Break Fun Club  Boys and girls ages 5-12 years. Activities include swimming, gym games, build snowmen & forts, snow archery, sledding, arts & crafts. Dec 26-28, 31, Jan 2-4, 9am-5pm. Call 855.9622 to sign up.
  • Christmas Break Day Camp at the Kroc Center Kids ages 5-12 will enjoy swimming, arts & crafts, games, sports and Bible lessons. Sibling discounts available. Dec 26-28, and Jan 2-4, 9am-4pm.
  • Day Camp at GR Gymnastics  A full day of gymnastics, games and activities. Find out more information and register online at GRGymnastics.com or call 975.2992. Dec 27 and Jan 3, 9am-4pm.
  • Winter Camp Kids-n-Paws. This three day mini camp will feature animal interactions, presentations, crafts, games and snacks. Jan 2-4, 9am-12:30pm.

Let us know how you will keep your kids busy over break.

Melody V

Melody V

Melody started grkids.com in 2009 on a whim. The site has grown leaps and bounds since then and she is just as amazed as everyone else. She enjoys listening to audiobooks, creating with chalk paint, tickling her kids and enjoying our wonderful city.



  • Georgine

    thanks ladies. although i do plan on a lot of down time, a few excursions are a must. this list is very helpful. Happy Holidays!

  • Sheena


    IART! Wednesday 12/26 RUDOLPH THE REDNOSED DOUGH NUT! We are making some fun festive reindeer snacks with Ms. Sheena, followed by our famous face paint! Wear those reindeer ears; this will be a blast for ALL ages!

    MIS~MATCH PAJAMA PARTY! Thursday 12/27~Dancing the day away in our p.j.s! Come in your silliest, craziest pajamas, Who says they need to match? Feel free to wear whatever is comfiest!

    Candy Cane Day! Friday 12/28 ~Even though Christmas is over, we can still enjoy all the left over candy canes! :)
    Wear all the red and white clothes you can and maybe there will be a special treat for you! ( candy canes?)

    Story Time Saturday! 12/29~Whether you love reading Dr. Seuss books, about Disney princesses, or any other silly characters today is the day to be your favorite character! Story time will be done in the soft gym, bring the book to match your character and help read it aloud!

    Super Bowl Sunday 12/30~ Root for your favorite football team that will win it all in the Super Bowl! Wear the team colors, or jersey if you have it. Participants will receive FREE face painting!

    MANIC Monday 12/31 HaPpY NeW YeAr! Enjoy a FREE balloon on your way out to bring in the New Year! *We will be closing at 3pm, welcoming 2013! See you next year cuties! -Kick off the New Year with the wildest hair-do you can come up with, or wear some silly crazy socks! Get wild with your outfit, mix-match colors and come have some fun!

    Tuesday 1/1 CLOSED ~ HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    IART! Wednesday 1/2 ~FROSTY THE FACE MAN! Creating a look and find frosty face, out of shaving cream, carrots, and buttons! OH MY! Followed by frosty face paint!

    Twin Day Thursday 1/3~ Come with a buddy dressed the same as you, or as close as you guys can get! Pajamas are welcome too!

    Circus Day Friday 1/4~ What could be better than bringing the circus to Java Gym?! Dress up as a clown, lion, tiger, tight rope walker, lion tamer, or even the RING master! There will be a tight rope, hula hoop of fire, and other fun circus shows to participate in!

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