There's an old saying that Christmas is for kids, and it often does seem that way. The seasonal television programs, the new toys in the shops, the festive food, they all can add up to children being very excitable indeed. All of that youthful energy does not have to be disruptive, though. Planning ahead with some activities for kids at Christmas not only helps to keep them occupied, but it might also make some holiday memories and treasures to keep for years to come.

Kids love to be involved in things. Baking sugar cookies with them is both fun and tasty. Even the youngest child can add the 'buttons' to the gingerbread men, or put the cherries on the macaroons. For a more personal touch, a grown-up can trace out each child's hand in cookie dough. These are then baked, with someone writing the relevant child's name on the cookies in icing. It's a great gift for grandparents and other relatives, and the children just love being able to say that they are eating their hands!

Baking for the holidays doesn't have to be limited to edibles. Salt dough is easily made and useful for a variety of things. Let small children press their hands into circles of it to make handprint ornaments. This might even become an annual activity, with the name of the child written on the back, and the ornament preserved from year to year. Babies' feet, pressed into the dough which is then painted green and decorated with white beads, make a very adorable interpretation of 'mistle-toes.'

Salt dough also makes a great foundation for seasonally scented decorations. Gather the salt dough ingredients, and some pungent seasonal spices such as ground cinnamon, clove, and ginger. Omit some of the flour and add a considerable amount of the dried spice to get a really strong aroma. Cut into shapes using small cookie cutters, not forgetting to add a hole at the top for a hanging string. Cure according to the salt dough recipe. The wonderful thing about using salt dough is that it is non-toxic, should someone decide these smell good enough to eat!

If adults are not afraid of a bit of a mess, then kids can make cute tree ornaments with their handprints. Paint the hands in white, non-toxic acrylic paint, and let the children very carefully hold a round Christmas tree bauble. When it is released, the shapes of the fingers will make snowmen, while the palm of the hand makes a snowy landscape. Once the white paint is dried (placing the ornaments in an upside-down egg carton makes a good holder for drying), then faces, scarves, and other objects of interest can be added with different colors of paint, or a colored marker pen.

Not all activities for kids at Christmas have to involve making something, although that is often the most rewarding. New traditions can be started by inventing a game, planning a surprise, or just doing something together. Perhaps a specific decoration can be hung, one a day, similar to the opening of the doors on the advent calendar. Children might like to include in their activities placing a small 'fairly door' somewhere in the home, so Santa's elves can come and go. Parents can perpetuate this, by leaving little treasures 'from the elves' in a certain place or at a particular time.

Children seem to have boundless energy at this time of year, particularly on Christmas Eve, so perhaps a new custom can be created with a crock-pot of cocoa, a seasonal treat reserved just for Christmas Eve, and a favorite movie on the television. By this time, most parents are looking for ways to calm children and get them to sleep, ready for the joy and excitement of the following morning. At the end of the day, the holiday season is all about memories; sharing old ones and making new ones. Children grow up in a heartbeat; any time spent making memories with them doing activities for kids at Christmas is time well spent, both for the young, and for the young at heart.



More Blog Posts