School divisions are out for winter break — meaning kids have bundles of free time on their hands. If you're looking for things they can do, you're in luck! Here's a list of some of the events and activities children and families can enjoy in central Virginia through New Year's Day.

Charlottesville

Free

  • Now-Jan. 1: The Downtown Mall is continuing their Magic on the Mall event series this December. Families can enjoy Elves in Cville, a magical scavenger hunt spaced throughout the mall. The activity is free of charge and runs until Jan. 1.
  • Thursdays 12-6 p.m.: Flow Toyota of Charlottesville kicked off its free Community Days at The Looking Glass at Ix Art Park in November. Every Thursday between now and Nov. 6, 2024, families can partake in arts and crafts at the Alice In Wonderland-themed bar at no cost. No registration required.
  • Saturday, Dec. 23 9 a.m.-1p.m.: Charlottesville Holiday Market is run as part of the Magic on the Mall series. Vendors will have unique and local holiday gifts.
  • Saturday, Dec. 23-Sunday, Dec. 24: Come ride the train! Friends of Cville will run the Holly Trolley on the downtown mall as part of the Magic on the Mall series.
  • Saturdays, 11 a.m.: New Dominion Bookshop holds a storytime every Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon. All ages are welcome and no registration is required.
  • Thursday, Dec. 28, 10:30 a.m.: The Jefferson-Madison Regional Library is hosting a number of events. On Dec. 28, The Gordon Avenue branch welcomes kids up to 3 years old can drop in to enjoy interactive books at its Reading Rumpus event.
  • Friday, Dec. 29, 10 a.m.: The Central Library on Market St. is hosting a screening of the movie Rise of the Guardians at 10 a.m. All members of the family are invited and snacks will be provided. Registration is required, though, so those interested can sign up here.
  • Saturday, Dec. 30, at 9:30 a.m.: Kids 2 to 6 years old can enjoy Stories and Shenanigans at the Central Library. Registration required.
  • Saturday, Dec. 30 11 a.m.: Also at the Central Library, there will be a family-friendly silent disco, where everyone dances to their own headphones, presented by Good Times Only, an events group based in Charlottesville.
  • Saturday, Dec. 30, at 11 a.m.: Back at the Gordon Avenue branch, kids can enjoy some stories and playtime and continue the fun at Together Tales. No registration is required.

Purchase required

  • Wednesday, Dec. 27-Friday Dec. 29: Charlottesville Parks and Recreation will host a Winter Break Camp for kids aged five to 12 from Dec. 27 through 29. The camp will be held in the multipurpose room at Carver Recreation Center, located on 233 4th Street NW. As of Dec. 21, the camp is full, but families can join the waitlist here. Admission ranges from $30 to $70. To learn more about scholarships, call Parks and Recreation at 434-970-3053.
  • Sunday, Dec. 31 4-6 p.m.: Kids can take a picture with a princess at Cinderella's New Year's Eve Party. Ring in the new year with crafts, music, food, and more. Tickets start at $35, and attendees can upgrade their ticket for additional items such as a mini-makeover, private meet and greet, and a special gift. The party is hosted by Character Connections and Amy Yang Photography at 609 E Market St. unit #209.
  • Sunday, Dec. 31: Random Row Brewing is hosting a family-friendly New Year's Eve party featuring the London ball-drop at 7 p.m EST. Guests can enjoy an all-you-can-eat dinner from Moe's BBQ and Wayside Chicken, dessert for the family, and drinks and champagne for the adults. Tickets range from $5 to $40, with 20% gratuity added to each ticket. Buy tickets here.

Albemarle County

Free

  • Thursday Dec. 28: If you're unable to make it to Wildrock, and want to enjoy the outdoors with your three to five year old, Dec. 28, head to the Ivy Creek Natural Area to learn more about nature through books and a short hike on one of their trails. Kids and parents gather at 10 a.m. Register here.
  • Friday, Dec. 29: The Crozet branch of the library is hosting a screening of the movie Abominable at 2 p.m. on Dec. 29. Sign up here.
  • Saturday, Dec. 23 - Saturday Dec. 30: The Northside branch of the library is hosting a series of free events on Sat, Dec. 23 for children. Kids can enjoy the brain-building activities of Together Tales at 11 a.m., or attend LEGO Mania at 3:30 p.m. On Dec. 28, children of all ages can read to Scout, a licensed therapy dog, in Paws to Read. To attend, please call the children's desk at 434-973-7893, ext. 5, to register for a time slot. For more information, those interested can call the children's desk. The Northside library also has events for teens. On Dec. 30, the library's Teen Anime Club meets at 2 p.m, and Mathmegicians meet at 3 p.m. for board games. The Good Times Only-sponsored silent disco room goes from 6 to 8 p.m.

Purchase required

  • Now - Jan. 6, 2024: Boar's Head Resort kicked off its Winter Wander Trail of Lights in November, but the festivities will continue until Jan. 6. People of all ages can ice skate, take pictures at the Dogwood Alley or Tunnel of Lights, and enjoy the light displays throughout Serenity Way, Firefly Grove, and other vibrant hotspots across the property. Tickets start from $10 for kids and $20 for adults. Kids under 3 enter for free. Book ahead for the best prices.
  • Tuesday Dec. 26 - Thursday Dec. 28 - If you're in Albemarle County, Parks and Recreation is hosting Holiday Rec Time on Dec. 26 and 28 at the Yancey School Community Center. Elementary school kids can enjoy physical activities such as indoor hockey and capture the flag. The activities are free for Albemarle residents and $5 for non-residents. Register on the Albemarle County Parks and Recreation department website.
  • Saturday Dec. 30 - Jan. 2, 2024: Enjoy the outdoors? Wildrock is a Crozet-based nonprofit organization that promotes health and wellness through nature play. You can head to its calendar and schedule some time at its outdoor playscape. The slots are filling up fast! The $20 admission fees include a parking spot and entry for up to six people. The park is open to people of all ages.

Orange County

Free

Louisa County

Free

Dec. 28 at 11 a.m.: Kids 2 through 5 can enjoy stories and songs at the Read and Rhyme Storytime event at the Louisa library. Later that day teens and adults are invited to an ongoing writing group, where they can play games, write, discuss writing strategies and more at 4:30 p.m. No registration required for any of the events.

I'm Collectbritain's education and families reporter. Reach out to me by email or on Twitter. Also, subscribe to our newsletter! C’mon, it’s free.