Do you hear that ominous rumble in the distance? It’s not another blizzard—it’s the terrifying sound of your children with a week off from school and nothing to do. Midwinter Break is here, lasting from February 16 until February 20. Pry the permanent markers out of their hands, steer them away from the heirloom china, and point your little darlings in the direction one of the East End’s many holiday camps. There is enough variety to keep everyone happy and busy, from your budding Broadway star to your tiny tree-hugger.
The Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill has Winter Vacation Art Workshops available on a day by day basis. Family and Children’s Programs Director Jennifer A. Duque remarked that the museum has been offering the program for two decades.
“In the five-day Winter Vacation session, children create art under the guidance of two extraordinary art educators: Wendy Gottlieb leads the workshops for 4- to 6-year-olds in the morning; Madolin Archer works with children age 7 and older in the afternoon sessions. Each day features a different medium and theme, with Landscape Painting on Monday, Mixed Media Collage on Tuesday, Portraits and Printmaking on Wednesday, Drawing on Thursday, and Seascape Painting on Friday.” The two-hour sessions, 10 a.m. to noon for 4- to 6-year-olds, and 1 to 3 p.m. for ages 7 and up, are $30 per day for members and $40 for nonmembers.
There’s more for your little art lover to enjoy. Guild Hall in East Hampton will keep your 6- to 9-year-old entertained with a new project every day of February break. Sessions run from 10–11:30 a.m. Your budding Botticelli can enjoy the morning with an experienced instructor at Guild Hall’s School Vacation Art Workshop, and have family time in the afternoon. The cost is $10 for non-members and $8 for members. Barbara Jo Howard, Guild Hall’s Director of Communications, adds, “We provide all the materials, and do all the clean up!”
If you’re looking for a morning of fun, the Children’s Museum of the East End, located in Bridgehampton, has a Winter Kids Club from 9:30 to noon. Kids ages 4 to 6 can participate in a daily workshop in science, cooking, and of course, art. The day at CMEE will also include snack time and story time. A day of play at CMEE’s Winter Kids Club is $55 for non-members, $45 for members, and admission to enjoy the rest of the museum afterward is included.
Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor has what your future Oscar-nominee wants—a week filled with acting, singing, dancing and performing. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., kids ages 8 to 12 will be led through theater exercises and games, sharpening their theater chops with standard songs and choreography, and preparing an original work to be presented to family and friends at the end of the week. Instructor Bethany Dellapolla uses her background in theater and her training in childhood education to encourage her students to expand their abilities. The five-day camp is $385 for the week. Class size is limited, so it’s a good idea to reserve your child’s spot.
Some kids just aren’t happy unless they’re in the great outdoors. The South Fork Natural History Museum has a perfect program for nature-loving kids. From Monday, February 16 through Friday, February 20, SoFo’s Winter School Recess Program will include hour long mini-adventures, such as “Are You a Reptile?” or the SoFo Field Walk, which gives kids and their parents a chance to accompany one of the museum’s trained educators on a ramble through Vineyard Field right behind the museum. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for kids, and all are welcome to stay and enjoy the museum and surrounding environs after the program concludes.
Time off from school doesn’t have to mean boredom, or way too much Minecraft. There are plenty of options right here in the East End to keep your kids happy right up until it’s time to go back to school.