What to do during Christmas vacation week

Explore the Ice Castles.

The kids will be on school vacation from Saturday, December 22 through Tuesday, January 1 and there are some great events and things to do to keep them busy and having fun.

Squeeze in some last-minute holiday cheer.

The weekend before Christmas boasts some of the season's most-loved events. Don't miss a few of our favorites:

Bake up some cookies or a gingerbread house.

If you haven't had the chance to get into the kitchen with your kids, then school vacation week is the perfect time for baking. We suggest trying your hands at Homemade Gingerbread House, Chocolaty Snow Day Cookies, Sweet Dream Bars, Sugar and Spice Sandwich Cookies and Snow Balls.

Find the recipes listed above here.

Grab the crayons and let your child's imagination fly.

We're changing it up a little for the 2019 ParentingNH Coloring Contest. In past years, we’ve asked kids to color in a page with a pre-determined design. But this year we’d like to see what creations your kids can come up with on their own. On a 8 ½ x 11 inch piece of white paper in landscape orientation, have your child age 6 and older draw and color in a summer camping scene as they show us what they love about camping and/or the outdoors.

Party with the fish at Amoskeag Fishways’ Open House.

On December 27, Amoskeag Fishways in downtown Manchester invites you to its annual thank you and open house event happening from 11 am. until 3 p.m. This free event features two presentations: “Active Winter Animals” and “Winter Backyard Birds”. Kids are invited to create fun crafts, eat yummy treats, and even enter to win door prizes.
More information: Amoskeag Fishways is located at 6 Fletcher Street in Manchester, NH. This is a free event and all are invited to attend.

Get loud and stomp your feet with NH’s own Recycled Percussion.

The Manchester-based group, who rose to fame on America’s Got Talent, will be criss-crossing the Granite State for a number of special shows from December 26 - January 5. Catch them at Rochester Opera House on December 26, Colonial Theatre on December 27, The Palace Theatre on December 28 through January 1 and Flying Monkey Playhouse on January 4-5.

Go the circus and support a great group of talented kids.

Head to the Pine Hill School in Wilton for the Flying Gravity Circus Winter Extravaganza with the Red Trouser Guys on Saturday, December 29. The mission of Flying Gravity Circus is to use circus arts as a vehicle for positive youth development and to ignite in children and teens a love for learning, teaching, and performing circus. Adult tickets are $15 and children 12 and younger are $10; the show starts at 5 p.m.

Ring in 2019 a few hours early at the Currier Museum of Art.

On December 31, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., the Currier in Manchester is holding a special Noon Year’s Eve party for families. Festivities include bubble wrap fireworks and a balloon drop as well as live entertainment, face painting and hands-on art activities.

More information: The Currier Museum of Art is located at 150 Ash Street in Manchester. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for ages 17 and younger (children under 1 are free).

Start 2019 off on the right foot and go for a hike.

There are a number of free, organized hikes happening on Tuesday, January 1 including hikes, including: Silver Lake State Park in Hollis, Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion State Historic Site in Portsmouth and Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown.

More information: For times and meeting locations, visit nhstateparks.org. Don’t forget to bring your four-legged friends along for the hike, too!

Get a new perspective on the stars.

Head to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord and take in a Planetarium show. Kids will love "The Little Star That Could," which shows on Fridays through Sundays at 11 a.m. The show follows Little Star, a very average star, looking to find some planets. On his journey, he will meet other stars and learn what it means to be a star and what it means to be a planet.

More information: www.starhop.com

All aboard Holiday Week Trains.

Visit snow-covered North Conway and catch a ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad, which will be offering old-fashioned train rides two times a day from December 26-31 during school vacation week. While you're in North Conway, make sure you visit Cranmore Mountain Resort's Tubing and Mountain Adventure Park.

More information: www.conwayscenic.com

If there's snow and it's cold enough....

Bundle up and go sledding.

Grab your gloves and toboggan and find the nearest hill! Some of our favorite spots are Alexander Carr Park in Derry, Roby Park in Nashua and Garrison Hill Park in Dover.

Embrace the cold and check out an ice castle.

The ice castles will be back again in the White Mountains, so don't miss this incredible, acre-sized castle made completely of ice. Kids will love the ice thrown, luges and slides as well as beautiful ice sculptures. This beloved pop-up attraction is expected to open in late December (or early January) and sticks around until the temps warm up around late February. Visitors will find an enchanted ice princess and fire performances on select dates.

More information: The Ice Castles are on the move and will be relocating from Lincoln to a new location in North Woodstock. Please contact them directly for more information.

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