Read as much as you want on BostonGlobe.com, anywhere and anytime, for just 99¢.

25 things to do with kids on winter break

February vacation week is almost here, and there’s plenty going on in Boston and beyond all week long to keep children entertained.

Illustrations by Ryan Snook

ARTS & CRAFTS

Performances at the Puppet Showplace Theatre, Brookline

This Brookline theater draws puppet troupes from all over the country. During vacation week, kids 5 and up can enjoy The Little Bread Hen and Trickster Tales! performed by the Barefoot Puppets from Richmond, Virginia; also that week, Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers from Bar Harbor, Maine, perform Everybody Loves Pirates. Book in advance, though; the venue has only 100 seats. February 18-26, show times vary, $10

Continue reading below

> 32 STATION STREET, BROOKLINE, 617-731-6400, PUPPETSHOWPLACE.ORG

February Vacation Week at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The MFA turns into a zoo just in time for winter break. The “Paper Zoo” exhibition, which launches February 7, showcases prints, drawings, and photos of animals by artists such as Picasso and Rembrandt. To accompany the exhibition, naturalists from Drumlin Farm visit daily during vacation week. Kids can see live hawks, owls, snakes, and more at the museum’s Druker Family Pavilion and learn how to sketch animals. February 20-24, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (Wednesday until 8 p.m.), no charge for program, museum admission free for children 17 and under during vacation week

Continue reading it below

> 465 HUNTINGTON AVENUE, BOSTON, 617-267-9300, MFA.ORG

Vacation Week Workshops at Create a Cook, Newton

Kids (and parents) whip up mouthwatering masterpieces with the help of trained chefs at this fully equipped kitchen offering a range of themed classes. Older kids (12 and up) can enroll in workshops with teen-friendly themes like Takeout Thai and Cupcake Crazy; ages 7 to 11 can take a variety of classes, including Better Than Takeout and I Love Chocolate; younger kids can join their parents at a Princess and Pirates dinner party or learn to make sushi. February 20-24, times vary and prices range from $50 to $80

> 53 WINCHESTER STREET, NEWTON, 617-795-2223, CREATEACOOK.COM

Children’s Workshop at the Boston Children’s Theatre, Boston

The 60-year-old theater hosts weeklong acting, singing, and dancing classes for ages 4 to 13. Younger kids learn the art of improvisation and storytelling, and older kids rehearse and perform Annie Jr. Classes are taught by the theater staff, and parents are invited to the grand finale. Preregistration is preferred, but last-minute registration will be available on-site February 20. February 20-24, 9 a.m. to noon for children ages 4 to 7, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for children ages 8 to 13, starts at $200

> 316 HUNTINGTON AVENUE, BOSTON, 617-424-6634, BOSTONCHILDRENSTHEATRE.ORG

February Vacation Camp at ImprovBoston, Cambridge

ImprovBoston’s comedy camp is a good bet for any class clown. The troupe runs weeklong sessions for kids in grades 1 to 3 and grades 4 to 8, hosted at its Central Square performance space. Both sections emphasize teamwork and mimic the curriculum used for adult classes. The camp culminates with comedy performances on Friday, and parents are invited. Preregistration is required. February 20-24, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., $275

> 40 PROSPECT STREET, CAMBRIDGE, 617-576-1253, IMPROVBOSTON.COM

Color Sleuths at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

Why do you have a favorite color? What are the colors you associate with different feelings? This workshop, led by visiting artists, encourages parents to work alongside kids to explore color and emotion through artwork. It’s held in conjunction with “Figuring Color: Kathy Butterly, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Roy McMakin, Sue Williams,” an exhibition featuring colorful works like a sculpture made from wrapped candies. February 21-23, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., no charge for workshop, museum admission free for children 17 and under

> 100 NORTHERN AVENUE, BOSTON, 617-478-3100, ICABOSTON.ORG

FUN & GAMES

Winter Festival at Cedariver, Millis

Cedariver, once a riverfront farm and now part of the Trustees of Reservations, hosts a sledding and snowshoeing festival on February 18. After a few runs, unwind by a campfire overlooking the Charles River while snacking on s’mores and hot cocoa. If there’s no snow, call for the rescheduled date. February 18, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., free (donations to the Trustees are appreciated)

>161 FOREST ROAD, MILLIS, 508-785-0339, THETRUSTEES.ORG

Northeast NTRAK Modular Railroad Club at the National Heritage Museum, Lexington

This model-train exhibit is great fun for kids who can’t get enough of the railroad. NTRAK trains – which are a bit smaller than traditional model trains – climb mountains, pull freight, wind along narrow tracks, and stop at scaled-down model stations. The museum also features exhibits on American history and pop culture. February 18, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and February 19, noon-4 p.m., $7 per family

> 33 MARRETT ROAD, LEXINGTON, 781-861-6559, NATIONALHERITAGEMUSEUM.ORG

Big Bouncing at Sky Zone, Everett

This indoor trampoline park is an active kid’s dream, outfitted with trampolines for open jumping, a foam pit for practicing flips and tricks, and a 3-D dodge ball court. There’s also a toddler section for tot-friendly adventures. Sky Zone operates a Boston location, too, but that one doesn’t have the foam pit. Open seven days a week, activity times vary, $12 for one hour of jumping

> 69 NORMAN STREET 1B, EVERETT, 617-387-1000, EVERETT.SKYZONESPORTS.COM

Packages at Nashoba Valley Ski Area, Westford

This manageable mountain 45 minutes northwest of Boston offers three-day packages geared toward kids 5 to 18, from beginners to speed demons. Packages include an all-day lift ticket and a one-hour lesson each day. The cozy Outlook Restaurant overlooks the slopes and serves lunch and dinner daily. February 20-26, $185 (equipment rental is an additional $75)

> 79 POWERS ROAD, WESTFORD, 978-692-3033, SKINASHOBA.COM

Vacation Week Adventures at Barefoot Books Studio, Concord

Barefoot Books is more than a bookshop: It’s an independent children’s book publisher whose Concord studio is also a pottery space and a community center that hosts concerts, workshops, kids’ crafts, and storytelling for young readers. Each morning during vacation week, drop in on activities like pirate- or animal-themed storytelling and pottery painting, African stories and mask-making, and a Mardi Gras party. Best of all, you can get select books and pottery at a discounted price after each class. Events are suitable for kids up to age 12. February 20-24, 10:30 a.m., free

> 89 THOREAU STREET, CONCORD, 978-369-1770, BAREFOOTBOOKS.COM

Me and My Doll Mardi Gras Party at the Wenham Museum, Wenham

Let the good times roll! Bring a favorite doll to the Wenham Museum to celebrate Fat Tuesday in 19th-century New Orleans style. Dine on King cupcakes and create Mardi Gras masks for yourself and your doll, then check out the museum’s vast antique toy collection. The party is for kids ages 7 and up; preregister by February 17. February 21, 1-3 p.m., $24 for members, $30 for nonmembers

> 132 MAIN STREET, WENHAM, 978-468-2377, WENHAMMUSEUM.ORG

Bedtime Stories Pajama Party at Hotel Commonwealth, Boston

Parents may know the Hotel Commonwealth for Eastern Standard, Island Creek Oyster Bar, and the new Hawthorne cocktail bar, but kids will find plenty of fun, too, at the hotel’s annual storytelling and pajama party. Storytellers from ReadBoston, Mayor Tom Menino’s literacy organization, read bedtime tales. Kids and parents then retire to a hot cocoa bar with tons of toppings. Families spend the night and wake up to a pancake-making class taught by Eastern Standard and Island Creek chef Jeremy Sewall. In-room touches like complimentary kids’ slippers from L.L.Bean make winter feel a bit warmer. February 24 or 25, 7 p.m., $219, overnight stay included

> 500 COMMONWEALTH AVENUE, BOSTON, 617-933-5000, HOTELCOMMONWEALTH.COM

HISTORY & CULTURE

Saturdays at the Boston Fire Museum, Boston

Boston has the oldest professional Fire Department in the country, so it makes sense that this former firehouse contains magnificent fire engines and equipment: antique hydrants, boots, helmets, and more. There’s also a 19th-century steam pumper and old-fashioned fire alarms. The Fire Museum is close to the Children’s Museum and the Institute of Contemporary Art and can make for a nice stop before a visit to one of the larger spaces. It’s open on Saturdays and by appointment. February 18 and 25, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., free

> 344 CONGRESS STREET, BOSTON, 617-338-9700, BOSTONFIREMUSEUM.COM

George Washington’s Birthday at Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge

This 1830s-era time warp celebrates Washington’s birthday in style. Kids can learn traditional toasts and hear songs, stories, and myths about the first US president over the long holiday weekend. Activities held all week include candle-making, hearthside cooking demonstrations, and, weather permitting, sleigh rides, ice skating, and sledding. February 18-20 for Washington’s Birthday activities, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m., $24 for adults, $8 for children ages 3 to 17, free for children 2 and under

> 1 OLD STURBRIDGE VILLAGE ROAD, STURBRIDGE, 800-733-1830, OSV.ORG

“Shapeshifting” at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem

“Shapeshifting” is the museum’s new Native American art exhibition, which will include vacation week performances by noted dance troupe Yellow Bird, weaving demos, drumming concerts, film screenings, and storytelling by members of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. Kids can also learn how to draw using porcupine quills. February 18-24, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., $15 for adults, free for children 16 and under

> 161 ESSEX STREET, SALEM, 978-745-9500, PEM.ORG

February School Vacation Week at the Old State House Museum, Boston

The Old State House hosts historic activities that blend learning with fun. At various events, fashion and don your very own family coat of arms, make scrimshaw, learn how to tie sailing knots like an authentic swashbuckler, and play (age-appropriate) tavern games just like the Colonials did. February 20-24, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., free with museum admission ($7.50 for adults, $3 for children ages 6 to 18, free for children under 6)

> 206 WASHINGTON STREET, BOSTON, 617-720-1713, BOSTONHISTORY.ORG

Royalty Discovery at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

It’s only fitting that the regal and newly renovated Gardner Museum’s vacation theme should be royalty, nobility, and crown jewels. Gawk at giant portraits of royal families dressed in lace and armor and then adjourn to the museum’s studio to construct crowns and armor to take home to your own castle. February 20-26 (closed February 21), 11 a.m.-4 p.m., $15 for adults, free for children under 18

> 280 THE FENWAY, BOSTON, 617-566-1401, GARDNERMUSEUM.ORG

SCIENCE & NATURE

National Engineering Week at The Discovery Museums, Acton

The Discovery Museums have two campuses: a children’s museum for kids 6 and under and a science museum for all ages. At the Children’s Museum, kids can design hooks to rescue baby penguins that stray too far from mom and create masterpieces at a Duplo construction zone. At the Science Museum, youngsters can help build a 6-foot-tall geodesic dome on February 20 between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. The museums are easy to spot: Stop when you see Bessie, the great big dinosaur, out front. February 18-26, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., $10.50, free for teachers and children under 1

> 177 MAIN STREET, ACTON, 978-264-4200, DISCOVERYMUSEUMS.ORG

It’s Electric! at the EcoTarium, Worcester

At the EcoTarium, kids uncover the wonder of science and nature through hands-on activities. It’s Electric! is an interactive vacation-week program geared toward kids 5 and up and their parents. Build a human circuit, become part of a copper atom, and investigate the mysteries of static. Kids can even make a wearable electric wrist cuff (there’s a small materials fee) that lights up on its own – a fashionable back-to-school accessory. February 21-24 for It’s Electric!, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., free with general admission ($14 for adults, $8 for children 2 to 18)

> 222 HARRINGTON WAY, WORCESTER, 508-929-2700, ECOTARIUM.ORG

Geckos: Tails to Toepads at the Museum of Science, Boston

Explore the leisurely lifestyle of these sociable lizards, known for their friendly chirping and unique toepads that help them cling to all sorts of surfaces. Experience their night vision, try to spot them in camouflaged settings, and even build a custom gecko. After all that, check out Explore the Universe at the Charles Hayden Planetarium. It’s a live, in-depth look at the Milky Way and beyond, led by a Planetarium educator. February 18-26, exhibition free with museum admission, costs vary

> 1 SCIENCE PARK, BOSTON, 617-723-2500, MOS.ORG

Vacation Week at Boston Children’s Museum, Boston

Budding scientists, rejoice! On February 18, seldom-seen hawks and owls visit the museum as part of Wingmasters raptor-education program. On February 26, the museum celebrates National Engineering Week with activities devoted to various types of engineering, led by volunteers from the MIT chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. Kids under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. February 18-26, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Fridays open until 9 p.m.), $12 for adults and children ages 1 and up

> 308 CONGRESS STREET, BOSTON, 617-426-6500, BOSTONCHILDRENSMUSEUM.ORG

Nature Programs at the Mass Audubon Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, Lincoln

This working farm runs an extensive curriculum of one-day and multi-day age-appropriate programs that showcase Drumlin’s rolling farmland campus. Learn about maple sugaring, explore the winter woods, build snow forts, and brush up on outdoor survival techniques. It’s not all rugged living, though: Kids will cozy up by the fire for storytelling and crafts post-adventure. Preregistration is required for each class. February 20-24, times and prices vary based on class

> 208 SOUTH GREAT ROAD, LINCOLN, 781-259-2200, MASSAUDUBON.ORG

Nature Exploration at Puddlestompers, Newton

Ideal for parents who crave some downtime during vacation week, Puddlestompers’ drop-off program gives mini-naturalists ages 3 to 6 outdoor playtime in a structured setting at Nahanton Park. Teachers trained in environmental education lead activities that range from animal tracking to storytelling and movement games. With a child-teacher ratio of 5 to 1, kids get lots of personal attention. Preregistration is required. February 21-24, $48 per day, 9 a.m.-noon

> 455 NAHANTON STREET, NEWTON, 781-235-6677, PUDDLESTOMPERS.COM

Trustees of Reservations February Vacation Program at Weir River Farm, Hingham

Weir River Farm’s three-day educational programs mean that kids don’t have to spend their winter vacation cooped up inside. Trustees staff lead nature hikes, supervise visits with chickens, sheep, horses, goats, and cattle, and organize games. Camp lasts for three hours each day – just the right amount of time for parents to get some errands done while the kids frolic. Preregistration is required. February 21-23, 9 a.m.-noon for children ages 5 to 8, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. for children ages 9 to 12, $85 for Trustees members, $108 for nonmembers

> TURKEY HILL LANE,HINGHAM, 781-740-7233, THETRUSTEES.ORG

Kara Baskin blogs at boston.com/community/moms/blogs/24_hour_workday. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.
Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week