Holidays involve decorating the house, baking cookies, wrapping presents and lots of entertaining. Christmas is especially exciting for children, especially when you involve them so we're sharing 12 Christmas activities for kids. Emphasis here is on activities that involve interaction with others … and no electronics!
You want them to have fun and it's a great time to start teaching them that giving feels just as good as getting gifts. When the time comes, you can add magic by teaching them they are old enough to become Santa helpers (read: There's a brilliant, heartfelt way to tell your kids the truth about Santa).
There's never enough time for all the baking and decorating you want to do. This makes it especially challenging to include lots of Christmas activities for the kids. But think back to your favorite memories from your childhood. They likely involve things you did with your parents and other special people in your life. That should tell you that it's far more important to make memories with your children than anything else.
Christmas Activities for Kids They'll Remember
We hope everyone will share their favorite ideas for great activities for parents to enjoy with their children. Try to plan a special activity for each weekend in December, and continue the most popular ones each and every year. One way for you and your children to remember the fun you've had is to take photos and put together a scrapbook. Everyone will enjoy looking at it for years to come.
- Putting up the Christmas tree together, which might include picking out a fresh tree or even cutting a tree down if that's possible where you live.
- Decorating the tree together is one of my favorite activities, especially now that most bulbs aren't made of glass. Don't forget to include some home made decorations that the kids can make like paper chains made from construction paper.
- Putting up Christmas lights inside and outside. My boys loved decorating the front of the house. While I sometimes thought they went overboard, it's their work and they love it … so that's what we have in front of our house.
- Stringing popcorn and berries and hanging them outside for the birds … or creating homemade suet balls to feed the winter birds where you live.
- Making holiday cards for special people like teachers, grandparents and special neighbors. Your kids can make elaborate cards that are also gifts, showing how their appreciation for the people in their lives. You can write your family letter (one of my favorite Christmas traditions) while the kids make their cards.
- Create origami stars from colorful paper in assorted or matching colors. They are beautiful on the Christmas tree, fun to hang in front of large windows and easy to scatter on the table for family meals.
- Making gingerbread houses is one of my family's favorite activities. My granddaughters were so this year that they made them at Thanksgiving. When my boys were younger, we have gingerbread parties with neighbors and family friends. I made the gingerbread and others brought candy. Note to parents: kids need help assembling their houses … but not decorating (eating) with candy.
- Get your party ideas at Holiday Traditions and Gingerbread Houses
- Our recipe for Making a Gingerbread House
Teaching your children the joy of giving is one of the most important things you want to do over the Christmas holidays. By sharing your values about taking care of others, you will pass on the values you learned from your parents.
- Christmas Jars is my new favorite holiday movie (available on YouTube). It teaches you about family traditions and helping others who have less than you. This is our second year putting our loose change in a Christmas jar and now we need to find someone to gift it to.
- Adopt a family and buy food, clothing and gifts for the children. When my boys were younger, we went to the grocery store and each one got their own shopping cart. We had a great time going down the aisles and talking about the best foods to buy. What I'll always remember are the chocolate straws we had to buy. It took almost 10 minutes to find them and then I had to limit the purchase to two boxes each, LOL.
- Sing Christmas carols in your neighborhood or visit a nursing home, to cheer those who are there to listen. It's fun with a large group of people, and when you follow the sing-out with hot apple cider and donuts, your children get to connect with others they might not know well.
- Make food baskets with staples or the ingredients for a holiday meal. This is a fun way to teach your children about eating healthy (see below). Take your kids shopping and involve them in packing up the groceries. Then find a local pantry (ask at church, school) and donate the food baskets.
- Create (or add to) a family scrapbook where you capture photos and other memorabilia about each years festivities. Invite guests to share stories, recipes and memories made this year. My best friend Nance has a large family and they share challenges like who would you have lunch, any 2 people, dead or alive?
I certainly hope your readers are inspired by these ideas. My favorite is filling decorated bankers boxes with food. With so very many living from paycheck to pay check, knowing where their next meal will come from will give them Peace, Comfort and Joy.
We always had a cookie decorating party. Make a ton of frosting, divide it into 6 or 8 bowls and color them. Get sprinkles, sugars, and nonpareils. Do not comment on the amount of frosting. You can buy sugar cookie dough, roll it out and cut the cookies, bake them, and freeze them so that you don’t have to do that right before the cookie decorating party. This is a messy, but very fun time. Kids looked forward to it every year. They usually weren’t allowed to put 2″ of frosting on cookies at home.
Wendy, Love this as last year I learned that the kids were done after we’d made the cookies. It was hard to get them excited about decorating them … so decided going forward, I’ll just bake ahead so they only have to do the fun part, LOL. Like your idea about rules for how much frosting.
Great suggestions. I just received a Christmas ornament from one of my grandsons and I know this will be something to treasure along with other hand-made ornaments given to me each year for many years from my sister, one of her traditions. Anything hand-made seems to be important for a tradition whether it is a gingerbread house, tree ornament, decoration for the table or other craft related items. My sister-in-law always makes her Christmas cards and I bring them out on display from previous years.
Jean, You’re right that hand-made things are special. One of my favorites is Chloe’s hand from when she was about 5 years old. If I’d thought about it, would have been nice to get one each year so we could see her growth every year.
This is SUPER!!! We always need more ways to creatively engage children. Thank you very much!
Great article. Thanks for sharing. I used to love making garland and suet treats when I was a kid. Thanks for the reminder. I’ll have to try with the girls 🙂
Melissa, Thanks & while I was looking for new ideas, I realized the tried & simple are truly the best so I’m going to have the girls make garlands with the cranberries & popcorn I already have … and if the Florida birds don’t like them, oh well. I’m sure you’ll have lots of birds with all your snow so enjoy them all.