The kids are out of school for 2+ weeks and we’re here with a list of ideas to squeeze in some family fun around Lakeland. Need to keep them entertained and out of the house while you are cooking and wrapping gifts? We’ve got you covered there too! Whether you’re ready to explore new places in Lakeland OR take your holiday guests to your favorite spots, we’ve got a list of ideas for you.

If you’re heading somewhere on Christmas Eve or Day, or New Year’s Eve or Day, please be sure to call first – we aren’t able to verify the hours for each place on our list but have provided links so you can easily call before you go.

A few of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means we will receive a small commission when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Thank you for supporting Lakeland Mom! 

Christmas Break Single Day Events

Only upcoming events show below. These events feed from our master calendar and are single day special events. Visit our calendar page for ALL upcoming activities.

There are no upcoming events at this time.

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Holiday Themed Fun

Downtown Lakeland Holiday Walkabouts 2018

Celebrate the holidays in Downtown Lakeland at the Holiday Walkabout on Friday, December 21 from 6pm-9pm.

Stores and shops will be open late serving up yummy goodies (like cider and cookies) and special deals. There will be live music on the street corners and carriage rides loading on Pine Street ($1 per person). There will be the traditional holiday lights decorating Munn Park and costumed characters patrolling around for spontaneous selfies.

Activities include:

Lakeside Village Christmas

What do a HUGE Christmas tree, strolling Carolers, a light show, falling snow, free Santa photos, and live music have in common? You can find ALL of them at Lakeside Village this holiday season! Shop, dine, see a movie, and get into the holiday spirit at Lakeland’s outdoor shopping mall. This weekend is the last chance for special holiday activities.

Sometimes it is easier to fit in holiday fun after Christmas. These attractions are open past December 25!

  • Wonderland Of Lights – At Wonderland of Lights, the Christmas season springs to life with dazzling displays of electric cheer. These illuminated spectacles are easily visible during drive-through car tours, but at Santa’s Village, even more holiday wonder awaits. Meet Santa, ride ponies & camels, ride the North Pole Express Train, games, holiday food & treats, and more. Opens Thanksgiving night through December 29. Located at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds – 215 Sydney Washer Rd, Dover, FL 33527 (MAP IT)
  • Ice Skating – The RP Funding Center is NOT hosting holiday ice skating this year, but we’ve got a list of ice skating rinks within an hour’s drive from Lakeland.
  • Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens – Enjoy the Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate and then check out Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden. Christmas at Bok Tower runs through January 6.
  • Safari Wilderness Ranch Critter Christmas Safaris – From December 17 – 23, Safari Wilderness in Lakeland offers a holiday-themed safari at 1/2 the price of a regular visit! Nestled on over 260 acres of land in North Lakeland, Safari Wilderness one of the most unique and memorable experiences in Florida where you’ll get up close and personal with zebras, llamas, Watsui cattle, water buffalo, lemurs, and more. Take a 45 minute safari with a knowledgeable guide, visit the petting zoo barn, aviary, and small mammal house. Located at 10850 Moore Rd, Lakeland, FL 33809.
    • Daily between December 17 – 23. Safaris depart every hour, on the hour between 1pm – 5pm daily.
    • DEAL – Admission for 1 – $39 / Admission for 2 – $75 / Admission for 4 – $145 (Regular Admission $90/person)
    • Click here to save on Safari Wilderness Ranch
  • Enjoy Christmas at Sea World Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa – Get tickets to visit both parks for only $96 per person.
christmas lights in lakeland winter haven

Indoor Fun 

  • Play on the pirate ships in Funtasia at Family Fun Center – while you’re there you can play Miniature Golf, Lazer Tag, Funtasia soft play, Redemption Games, Arcade Games, Vault Assault Lazer Maze, and much more! Fun for all ages.
  • Bowling is always a hit with my kids – we’ve got AMF Lanes and Orange Bowl Lanes in Lakeland, and Cypress Lanes in Winter Haven 

⇒ Get a deal for AMF Lakeland ⇐
⇒ Get a deal for Cypress Lanes Winter Haven ⇐

summer movies in lakeland winter haven

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Cheer on the Team

Head to the RP Funding Center for a game of professional soccer or basketball.

  • The Florida Tropics play indoor soccer and have games on:
    • Saturday, December 22
    • Saturday, December 29
  • The Lakeland Magic are the G-League affiliate of the Orlando Magic. Games during the holiday break are on:
    • Sunday, January 6

Get Creative

  • Sign up for a paint-along class at Art Centric Studio
  • Visit Picassoz Art Cafe to paint a piece of pottery or Breakables Mosaic Studio to create a mosaic or candle, and grab a drink or a treat at Tea Largo while you’re there.
  • Paint Lakeland Rocks and then hide them around town! You can also go rock hunting. Read the FB page for details.
lakeland things to do with kids

Sweet Treats & Good Eats

  • Find the Best Ice Cream, Cookies, Yogurt & Cupcakes in Lakeland – we’ve got a list to get you started!
  • Go out to eat as a family – check out our list of places where KIDS EAT FREE!
  • Head to Hole in One Donuts, Dunkin Donuts, or Krispy Kreme for a sugar filled breakfast treat!
  • Visit the Downtown Farmers Curb Market for fresh produce and other local goods every Saturday from 8am-2pm
  • Pick up fresh local produce at a local Farmers Market – there are 5 across Polk County
  • Go on a picnic. One of our favorite locations is Peterson Park and then we walk the nature trails and boardwalks afterwards.
best ice cream in lakeland

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Outdoor Fun

  • Take a Christmas Safari at Safari Wilderness Ranch. {This is the most expensive thing on our list, however it is a really unique experience and worthy of a special occasion or staycation activity}

⇒ Be sure to snag a Groupon and save 40%! ⇐

  • Feed the ducks at Lake Morton
  • Go on a bike ride (City of Lakeland has a great bike trail map)
  • Look for alligators, eagles, and other amazing wildlife at Circle B Bar Reserve– named one of the “Top 51 Places in the US to See Wildlife” by USA Today! Entry is FREE.
  • Check out the new Se7en Wetlands Park
  • Hike, bike, picnic, canoe, kayak, or fish at Colt Creek State Park in the heart of the Green Swamp Wilderness area north of Lakeland.
  • Visit Lake Crago Dog Park or Dog Leg Woods Dog Park on Cleveland Heights (fun to watch even if you don’t have a dog)
  • Stroll through Hollis Garden and learn about the variety of flowers and plants there. Opens at 10am, closed Mondays.
  • Let your kids get out their energy at a local playground like Common Ground or Barnett & Sunflower Playground
  • Check out a new playground– we bet you can find a new one to explore from the 15 listed in our directory.
  • Walk around Lake Hollingsworth (only if your kiddos can handle the 3 miles!)
  • Dig for sharks teeth and fossils at the Mulberry Phosphate MuseumMake sure you bring a small shovel or other item to dig through the rock pile, and something to sit on – you won’t want to kneel.
  • Take a self-guided walk around the Florida Southern College campus and learn about Frank Lloyd Wright’s unique architecture style. (Paid tours are available as well)
  • Try out geocaching an outdoor treasure hunt where you use GPS coordinates to find hidden containers
  • Find a Little Free Library around town where you can take a book and/or leave a book – for FREE! Clean out your bookshelves and leave a few at each location, and hopefully you’ll find something to take with you. Use the map at to find one near you.
Little Free Library Lakeland

Explore Polk County

⇒ Get a Groupon Deal for Christmas at Bok Tower valid through Jan. 6 ⇐

LEGOLAND Florida Lakeland Winter Haven Things to Do

Deals in Central Florida


Fun at Home

  • Build a fort – Grab some old blankets and sheets and spend the afternoon creating a super cool hideout
  • Create a timed obstacle course out of cushions and furniture
  • Play indoor hide & seek. Play at night and turn off the lights and use flashlights.
  • Build with Legos.
  • Have a dance partyGet wild and turn off the lights and add glowsticks, glow jewelry, or flashing/light-up toys to the mix.
  • Learn a new dance via YouTube
  • Play Board or Card Games – my kids are 7 & 10 and I recently made a list of our 10 Favorite Board Games for ages 7 & up
  • Teach your kids a new card game like Rummy, Solitaire, or Spoons
  • Work on a puzzle.  
  • Have a puzzle race – pick 100 piece or less puzzles and see who can finish each one first (Dollar Tree is a great place for these)
  • Play rock paper scissors
  • Play Simon Says or Red Light, Green Light
  • Play Charades
  • Let the kids play in the bathtub. Optional bath accessories include bubbles, shaving cream, glowsticks, or the animal sponge capsules you can get at Dollar Tree.
  • Have a “King/Queen for the Day” and let that child choose what to do
  • Let the kids do your hair (yes, I’m talking to you moms!)
  • Have a family slumber party complete with sleeping bags for mom and dad (or snag the couch)
  • Take a NAP!
  • Stay in pajamas ALL DAY
  • Clean out closets and old toys and donate them
  • Movie Night – My boys LOVE to have movie night.  We get all the sleeping bags, blankets, & pillows in the whole house and get comfy on the floor, then pop popcorn (and add M&M’s), make chocolate milk or hot chocolate, and settle in to watch their movie of choice
  • Show the kids one of your childhood favorites. My kids already love Back to the Future, Goonies, Sandlot, and Big. (Note that PG ratings in the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s were a little more lenient – if you haven’t seen the movie as a parent, visit Common Sense Media for details on anything that might be inappropriate.)
  • Make cereal jewelry – perfect for a snack while reading or having movie night
  • Create sock puppets and put on a puppet show
  • Make paper airplaneshave a contest to see which one goes farthest
  • Color together – find online printable coloring sheets in your child’s favorite theme.
  • Get out the paint and paintbrushes. Pick up an inexpensive canvas at the store for a true masterpiece! Pull up a picture and try and recreate a famous paintingFinger paint. Paint on rocks or shells.
  • Create art projects using “found” objects, glue and a canvas. Add a unique twist by adding a coat of spray paint to the entire thing when you’re done.
  • Have kids write and illustrate their own book. If they can’t write yet, have them tell you a story to write down, and then hand it over to be illustrated.
  • Learn a new skill or do a science experiment (check out our Online Summer camp list list for some great ideas to get you started)
  • Play dress up with old Halloween costumes or make your own
  • Have a fashion show where everyone puts on the craziest outfit they can find
  • Have the kids create their own skit and perform it for the adults
  • Make miniature boats – sail them in the bathtub, sink, or plastic bin
  • Find a large cardboard box and create a car, castle or other playspace
  • Make musical instruments out of household objects or recycled bottles
  • Make homemade play doh (I LOVE this stuff – it doesn’t dry out like the stuff you buy at the store, AND you can easily make a huge batch!) I don’t remember which recipe we used, but this one is no-cook, just mix dry ingredients and add hot water.
  • Bake Cookies
  • Freeze your own popsicles
  • Eat dinner outside on the porch, in the treehouse, or in the backyard
  • Make homemade lemonade or limeade
  • Make Jello or pudding
  • Whip up some homemade ice cream
  • Make indoor s’mores in the oven
  • Eat breakfast for dinner
  • Pick up some icing and store bought cookies and have a cookie decorating contest
  • Play restaurant and let the kids make and serve lunch
  • Let the kids make a dinner plan and fix as much as they can do on their own
  • Eat ice cream or popsicles.
  • Play hide & seek
  • Go for a bike ride around the neighborhood
  • Have a picnic in the backyard, driveway, or in the garage (the garage is especially fun if it is raining)
  • Go for a walk around the neighborhood
  • Play I Spy
  • Camp out in the backyard
  • Scavenger hunt around the house or the neighborhood. Click here for our Google image search “neighborhood scavenger hunt” and find one that works for your neighborhood. Make it a competition by splitting into two teams and taking photos as you go! Meet back at home at a certain time and see what each team found.
  • Make art with sidewalk chalk
  • Play sports – baseball, basketball, soccer, football. For old school fun play a game of trash can football.
  • Make your own frisbee golf course with targets found around the yard.
  • Plant an herb garden, flowers, or other type of plant
  • Fly a kite on a windy day
  • Bubbles!
  • Play in the rain, splash in puddles, make mud pies (just not in a thunderstorm)
  • Have a super soaker squirt gun war in the yard
  • Set up a slip n slide
  • If you have a pool, create pool games – my kids love to do “themed” jumps and have me rank them. (Air guitar, fly like a bird, cannonball, hit a baseball, etc)
  • Wash the car
  • Have a water balloon fight. Check out these awesome self-sealing water balloons (can also be found at Target and WalMart). Yes, they are more expensive than a normal pack, but worth every penny to save my fingers from water balloon tying misery!

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What are your favorite activities and places to visit in Lakeland & Polk County?
Leave us a comment below and we’ll add it to our list!

Lakeland Christmas Events Activities for Kids

Looking for Christmas Light Displays, Special Events, Concerts & Live Performances, Parades, Santa Sightings, Holiday Movies & more?  For the ultimate list of Christmas activities in Lakeland check out Lakeland’s BEST Holiday & Christmas Event Guide.