The Christmas season is undoubtedly a busy time of year. While it is especially exciting for children, it also can be stressful and tiring. Take some time away from hectic schedules to plan some fun and easy Christmas activities with your children. Also, have your children come up with some activity ideas of their own. You might be surprised at how simple and family oriented their Christmas wishes are.
Many children enjoy helping in the kitchen. Plan a few days or afternoons throughout the season to let your children make their own Christmas treats. Make taffy and let the kids choose the food coloring and flavors. Some good flavor options for Christmas are vanilla, peppermint and maple. The children can pull the taffy and wrap the pieces in small squares of waxed paper or plastic wrap.
Make cupcakes and let the children decorate them. Boxed cake mixes are easy to make, and the kids can add the ingredients and do the mixing. Most cake mixes have directions to make cupcakes. Provide different-colored frosting, sprinkles and other edible decorations so the children can make their own personalized treat.
Another baked treat option is to give the kids a ball of cookie dough, rolling pins and Christmas cookie cutters. Let the kids roll out the dough (adult help may be needed for younger children) and cut out cookies with the cookie cutters. When the cookies are cooled, the children can decorate them with frosting and sprinkles.
The Christmas season, as the season of giving, is an appropriate time to provide service to others. Take your children to a local nursing home or assisted-living facility. (Call ahead to let them know you are coming.) Take treats and homemade Christmas cards for the residents. Spend some time visiting with them, and end your visit by singing a few Christmas carols.
Children's hospitals or a children's wing in a hospital also generally welcome visitors. Again, call ahead to let them know that you are coming, and ask if they have any rules or requests on treats or gifts you can bring. Many children will be spending Christmas in the hospital. Find out if you can bring Christmas decorations or a small tree to brighten up their rooms.
Take a walk or drive around your area at night and look at the Christmas lights. Take along a Thermos filled with hot chocolate. Another activity is to provide craft supplies such as construction paper, glitter, markers, crayons, glitter paint and cotton balls. Have the children draw Christmas pictures or make Christmas cards for friends or family members. If you're having parties or family gatherings during the season, let the children make the decorations.
Make an advent calendar paper chain to count down the days until Christmas. Cut strips of colored paper and tape or glue them in a chain-link pattern. The children can rip off one paper link each day. On each link, every other link or every third link (depending on how busy you are during the season), write an activity to do that day. The activities can range from watching a favorite Christmas movie to singing carols to taking treats to a neighbor.