Happy International Childrens Day!
Here are 10 activities to do with your children over Christmas on a budget. These are fun, great for all ages and most can be made from materials you have in your house or garden storage!
Make Gingerbread Houses
Making houses out of gingerbread seems to have stemmed from Hansel and Gretel, the German fairytale published in 1812 by the Brothers Grimm. So crafting gingerbread houses is one old-fashioned activity to try with your kids, and the possibilities are endless.
- 8-10 graham crackers
- Empty milk carton (school size)
- Styrofoam meat tray
- Colorful hard candies to decorate (peppermint, gumdrops, sprinkles, etc.)
- Tube frosting with varied tips
- White frosting
Place the milk carton on the styrofoam tray. Spread the white frosting on the outside of the milk carton. Arrange four graham crackers on the outside of the milk carton. These will be the walls of the house. Add frosting as needed to make them stick. Place one graham cracker on top of your gingerbread house. This will be the base of the roof. “Glue” it on with frosting. To make a pointed roof, lean two graham crackers on the roof’s base. Secure them with more frosting. Decorate the house. The white frosting looks like snow, so it’s fun to spread some on the roof and around the outside of the house. Use the tube frosting to make fancy trim, windows, or doorways. Use small candies for trimmings and decoration. Use construction paper to make a pathway, trees, or people.
Everybody loves a festive wreath! Take the kids outside for a quick winter scavenger hunt to gather evergreen branches and pinecones, trim some from the bottom of your Christmas tree, or just buy some at the store. Attach your greens to a foam or wire ring (a bent metal coat hanger works well) and allow the kids to decorate it with ornaments and bows. Or make this easy paper one by printing this template
Have a Christmas Movie Night
For kids old enough for some extended screen-time, spending an afternoon or evening watching Christmas movies is a must! (You could also spread out your movie marathon over the course of a week.) Let each family member choose their favorite holiday flick to watch with the family. This list of all-time greatest Christmas movies should inspire you!
Make Popcorn & Cranberry Garlands
Have some leftover popcorn from your movie night? Upcycle it! Make some homemade garlands for your family’s Christmas tree, doorways, or mantle. All you need is a needle and some thread or fishing line. Try using fresh cranberries, too. Younger kids can count out the berries or popcorn to make a cool alternating pattern, and parents or older kids can do the threading.
Play In The Snow
If you have white Christmases in your area, this idea might go without saying. But we can all use a little reminder to get outdoors and play ? especially when the winter chill sets in. Remember all the things you did in the snow as a kid (pre-video games!), such as building a snowman or fort, making snow angels, and going sledding or ice skating. There’s something more magical about outdoor winter play around Christmastime, so get your clan off the couch!
Go Carol Singing or Have A Sing-Along
Yes, some families do still go Christmas caroling door-to-door, including mine! Homes where you know the residents might be more welcoming than total strangers in this day and age. (If you’re lucky, you’ll be invited in for some spirits and snacks!) If singing in public isn’t your thing, a family sing-along at home can be just as fun. Print out this booklet of Christmas carol lyrics
Attend a Christmas Concert
If your family really isn’t musical, leave the fa la la-ing up to someone else. Check out the events calendar at your child’s school or in the local newspaper for free or inexpensive holiday concerts, Christmas pageants, and other performances open to the public. Most schools and churches have something entertaining to offer, and it’s great to support the local arts.
Homemade Christmas Ornaments
Decorating a Christmas tree is probably already on your to-do list. Make this holiday tradition even more special by adding a new kid-made Christmas ornament
each year. Mark the year on your ornaments so that you can keep track of when each cutie was created!
Have a Hot Chocolate Buffet
Mmm… There’s nothing like a steaming mug of hot chocolate on a cold December night. Kick it up for the holiday season by making a buffet of toppings for your cocoa. Some ideas include whipped cream, marshmallows, crushed candy canes, shaved chocolate, chocolate chips, and cinnamon dots. Get creative! The kids will love customizing their hot cocoa ? a fun and easy activity for Christmas Eve.
Donate Kids Toys To Charity
Finally, show your family’s giving spirit this holiday season by shopping for a toy or two to give to Toys for Tots or another local toy drive. Since your kids are the toy experts, let them do the picking (within your budget). It will brighten your Christmas and someone else’s. Since the kids are also surely expecting new loot this year, go through their toy box together and find the (gently used) toys they’re willing to part with for charity. It’s a good lesson in selflessness (and moderation!). Merry Christmas!