Take Your Kids on Vacation, At Home

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Between distance learning and Zoom karate, kids have been heads-down on devices for months. But it’s easy to get them on the other side of the screen, said Carol Greenwald, director of children’s media for Boston public media producer WGBH.

“What does your kid know how to do really well?” she said. “Bake cookies? Do a somersault? Have them make a video showing you how.” Kids can also film their own stand-up comedy show or commercial. “Make up a silly product or use something at home,” said Ms. Greenwald, who codeveloped and is the senior executive producer of “Arthur,” the longest-running children’s animated series on television.

Have siblings make a podcast together — “One thing that’s super fun for kids is making sound effects using their voices or what’s around the house,” she said — or shoot a scene from a favorite book. “I’m seeing Max being sent to his room, falling asleep, getting into a boat and then having a wild rumpus.”

Introduce aspiring animators to Scribbles & Ink, a digital interactive experience that lets kids add their own drawings to a story to create an adventure. Or for a heartfelt holiday present, have your children record themselves playing reporter. “When my son was in elementary school, he ‘interviewed’ my mother about what life was like when she was his age,” Ms. Greenwald said. “It was lovely and I actually learned some things about her I’d never known.”

Things feel fresh on vacation because you’re breaking patterns, said Caitlin Ramsdale, managing director of Kid & Coe, a vacation rental company specializing in family-friendly homes and hotels. For preschoolers, a change of scenery can be as simple as pulling the bed out from the wall to create a new space to play, she said. “Even just changing a toy’s location can make it feel new again.”

Most kids love room service, said Ms. Gumbinner. “We have ‘hotel day’ once in a while, which involves bringing a tray of food into our bedroom and eating in robes on the floor in front of the TV,” she said. “As long as the kids help clean up afterward. There’s no housekeeping service at Hotel Mom.”

Book a spa appointment — in your kitchen, that is — by making a scrub from raw sugar, coconut oil, vanilla extract and lavender essential oils, said Amy Retay, director of spa operations at The Breakers Palm Beach, where the Spa Petite caters to guests as young as 6. “Children’s skin can be sensitive, so put it on hands and feet, not faces,” she said.

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