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Winter holidays are bursting with magic, especially when you swap hotel breakfasts for self-catering feasts in a cozy cabin. But packing for a family adventure in the cold can be tricky. Don’t worry, parents, we’ve got your back!

As well as your children’s favourite teddy bear or essential sippy cup, here are the top 10 things to pack for a Winter self-catering holiday to ensure a fun and stress-free break with your little ones:

1. Warm clothes galore:

Layering is key! Pack thermals, base layers, fleece jackets, hats, scarves, and mittens for everyone.

Winter landscapes are made for exploring, from snow-dusted forests to twinkling town squares. Warm clothes are the ticket to endless outdoor fun, keeping little bodies comfortable and enthusiastic, even during snowball fights and frosty walks. No shivering lips or chattering teeth, just rosy cheeks and joyful shouts of glee!

After a day of exploring, there’s nothing like snuggling up together on the sofa with a hot chocolate. Think toasty toes in fuzzy socks, soft sweaters cuddled up close, and laughter echoing through the warmth.

2. Entertainment for all ages:

Squirrel Lettings, Self Catering Accommodation in Staffordshire, Book Direct
Garden Toy Shed at Squirrel Barn

Rainy days happen, and keeping little minds occupied is crucial. Board games, card games, books for different ages, and activity books with crayons are lifesavers. Consider indoor games like mini bowling or a pop-up tent for fort building!

Classics like Monopoly, Scrabble, and Cluedo are always a hit, but consider newer options like Ticket to Ride or Carcassonne for strategic fun. For younger kids, cooperative games like Forbidden Island or Castle Panic are a great way to team up and win together.

Create bingo cards with pictures of winter birds, animal tracks, or different types of trees. The first one to complete a line wins, but the real prize is exploring the outdoors and learning about the wintery world.

At all Squirrel Lettings properties, a variety of games and activities are included for all ages.

3. Movie nights made magical:

Download movies and shows your kids love onto tablets or laptops. Pack popcorn, hot chocolate supplies, and cozy blankets for snuggle-worthy family evenings.

For the littlest adventurers, Pixar’s “Coco” paints a vibrant tapestry of family, music, and the afterlife, reminding us that love transcends even the great divide. Join Miguel as he uncovers the secrets of his ancestors, swaying to the rhythm of joyous skeletons and learning that family is never truly lost.

For a touch of whimsy, Studio Ghibli’s “My Neighbor Totoro” offers a magical escape. Follow two sisters who befriend a giant, cuddly forest spirit named Totoro. Their adventures through the emerald world are a testament to the power of imagination and the beauty of childhood wonder.

If you’re looking for a dose of classic charm, “The Wizard of Oz” never loses its magic. Dorothy’s journey over the rainbow and into the technicolor land of Oz is a timeless tale of courage, friendship, and the importance of home. Sing along with the iconic songs, melt for the Scarecrow’s longing for a brain, and cheer for Dorothy’s triumphant return.

For a heartwarming adventure with a touch of mystery, “The Secret Garden” blooms with hope and resilience. Mary, a young girl sent to live with her reclusive uncle in a sprawling English manor, discovers a hidden garden choked with weeds and forgotten memories. As she brings the garden back to life, she blossoms alongside it, uncovering family secrets and forging friendships that heal old wounds.

At Squirrel Lettings, all our TVs come equipped with Fire Sticks, so find a world of movie entertainment just one click away.

4. Creative outlets:

Crayons, markers, construction paper, and playdough unleash hidden artists. Consider packing a craft kit to fuel their imaginations.

Get crafty with natural materials! Pine cones transform into adorable woodland creatures, smooth pebbles become painted pet rocks, and fallen leaves morph into whimsical bookmarks. Pack scissors, twine, and googly eyes, and let nature become your art studio.

The key is to embrace the freedom of open-ended activities. Give your kids the tools and space to explore, experiment, and create. You might be surprised by the masterpieces they conjure up, and the memories you create will be far more precious than any store-bought toy. So pack your bags with a sprinkle of inspiration, a dash of imagination, and get ready to witness the magic of creativity unfold in your winter getaway!

5. Outdoor adventures

Pack sledges, snow tubes, and snowball makers for frosty fun. Don’t forget warm boots, waterproof overalls, and hand warmers for those epic snowball fights. If you’re visiting Staffordshire, why not take a sledge up to the top of Stafford Castle and whizz down the hills!

Create a list of winter treasures – pinecones, different types of snowflakes, animal tracks – and send your little detectives on a snowy scavenger hunt. Encourage them to observe the beauty of the winter world, marveling at the intricate patterns of frost and the silent dance of snowflakes.

If you’re lucky enough to get snow on your break, it’s time to unleash the inner Michelangelo! Gather your family and build snowmen of all shapes and sizes. Decorate them with carrots for noses, twigs for arms, and scarves for warmth. Don’t forget to build a whole snow family – a snow-wife, a snow-dog, and maybe even a mischievous snow-goblin!

6. Kitchen essentials:

Escaping to a self-catering holiday is a delightful way to soak up new sights, explore hidden gems, and unwind at your own pace. But amidst the excitement, the thought of grocery shopping somewhere unfamiliar can feel stressful. Fear not, fellow foodies! With a little planning and these packing tips, you can conquer self-catering on a budget and have more time for the good stuff.

Packing smart for your self-catering holiday is the secret weapon of savvy travelers, especially when you’ve got children to feed. When you arrive, you don’t want to be taking time away from the family fun while you go looking for dinner, so bring the food with you and you’ll also enjoy meals tailored to your preferences and any allergies without hassle from the moment you arrive.

Pack non-perishables like pasta, rice, canned beans, and spices, and don’t forget to pack reusable food containers for leftovers and picnics. Snacks are crucial for avoiding hangry meltdowns. Pack nuts, dried fruit, granola bars, and healthy dips with veggie sticks.

7. Fireside Treats

Squirrel Lettings, Self Catering Accommodation in Staffordshire, Book Direct
Fire Pit at Squirrel Barn

The cold of Winter doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy fun in the garden, especially if there’s a BBQ or firepit just waiting to warm you up.

Opt for hearty dishes like sausages, burgers, and vegetable skewers that cook quickly and satisfy. Wrap fruits like apples or pineapples in foil and toss them in the embers for a delicious dessert. Don’t forget the marshmallows and chocolate for classic fireside roasting!

Remember, winter BBQs and firepit gatherings are about more than just grilling food. They’re about sharing warmth, laughter, and making memories under the open sky. So, pack your winter essentials, embrace the chill, and get ready to create a self-catering holiday experience that will leave you glowing long after the embers fade. With a little planning and these tips, your winter wonderland feast will be the highlight of your adventure!

8. First-aid kit and medicines

Be prepared for minor bumps and bruises as your children run around and explore by packing pain relievers, allergy medication, and a thermometer. This is where the mighty travel first-aid kit takes center stage, your pint-sized superhero sidekick ready to battle bumps, scrapes, and minor mishaps with the power of bandages and soothing ointments.Store your kit in a readily available location, preferably at room temperature and out of reach of young children.

Remember sunscreen and insect repellent even in Winter, and if your children get travel sick check out child-friendly tablets or travel sickness bands to make sure your journey goes a smoothly as possible.

9. Tech essentials

As well as chargers, adapters, and portable power banks for keeping your devices working, some well-chosen tech can be your secret weapon for fostering creativity, learning, and even a bit of peace and quiet (gasp!).


  • Tablets with offline content: Download movies, games, and educational apps before you go. Choose child-friendly platforms with parental controls to set limits and ensure safe browsing. Consider audiobooks and podcasts for car rides or quiet moments.
  • Portable speakers: Create an instant dance party or movie night with a small, waterproof speaker. Look for ones with durable builds and long battery life to handle beachside tunes or poolside singalongs.
  • Headphones for everyone: These are your sanity savers! Invest in comfy, age-appropriate headphones for individual entertainment, allowing siblings to enjoy different games or movies simultaneously.

Creative Companions:

  • Digital cameras: Let your little artists capture vacation memories through their own lens. Choose kid-friendly models with simple interfaces and durable features. Bonus points for instant-print cameras that double as souvenirs!
  • Art apps and drawing tablets: Unleash their inner Van Gogh with portable drawing tablets and interactive art apps. Explore augmented reality drawing experiences or create masterpieces digitally wherever you go.
  • Travel-sized board games: Some classics never go out of style! Pack magnetic versions of Scrabble or chess for fun travel challenges. Consider educational trivia games or cooperative board games that encourage teamwork and laughter.

Learning on the Go:

  • Educational apps and websites: Turn screen time into learning time with engaging apps and websites that cover everything from languages and coding to nature documentaries and interactive puzzles. Choose age-appropriate content and set time limits to avoid overstimulation.
  • Audiobooks and podcasts: Embark on literary adventures together with captivating audiobooks or educational podcasts. Explore historical fiction, biographies, or even language learning podcasts for older children.
  • Travel journals and e-readers: Encourage a love of storytelling with travel journals where they can record their adventures, drawings, and thoughts. E-readers packed with age-appropriate books are lightweight and perfect for rainy days or quiet evenings.

10. Don’t forget the fun:

Whether you’re having a Christmas break, celebrating a birthday, or enjoying a family get together, you can always create a festive atmosphere perfect for a party in your temporary home with a few decorations. Remember, it’s the little things that make memories!

Opt for lightweight paper or fabric bunting that folds up small and adds instant cheer. Look for pre-strung options or pack some string for easy assembly. Helium balloons are a classic, but consider inflatable or air-filled options that take up less space. Choose vibrant colors or themed designs for a personal touch.

Pack a roll of tape and some glue dots for attaching decorations, mending minor tears, or creating impromptu party favors. Download a party playlist to make sure everybody has fun dancing, or if you’re staying at a Squirrel Lettings property, ask Alexa to play children’s party songs!

If you’re celebrating a birthday, don’t forget the candles! A birthday cake wouldn’t be the same without candles, so pack a small pack of birthday candles or even a cake topper for a celebratory touch.

Remember, a successful self-catering holiday is all about embracing the magic and creating shared moments. So pack your bags with warmth, laughter, and a sprinkle of adventure, and prepare for a cozy and unforgettable experience!

At Squirrel Lettings, we are always happy to help you get ready for a party or recommend local child friendly excursions, and all our properties come equipped with entertainment and technology to please kids of any age! So, ditch the ordinary and embrace the extraordinary with a Squirrel Lettings break with your children this Winter. Get ready to explore, to discover, and to create a lifetime of memories. Who knows, you might just end up making some furry friends along the way!

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