The kids will soon be breaking up for Christmas! The excitement and energy will be mounting.
Whilst this is all lovely, are you worried about how you’ll manage because you’re flat out?!
Keeping them focused and less fractious can be tricky but with a little thought and time spent, your efforts will pay off. You’ll have kids happy and engaged, filled with good old-fashioned festive spirit AND you’ll have spent some quality time with them. Plus while they’re busy, you might get some jobs done! Win win.
- HOME-MADE CHRISTMAS CARDS:
A timeless favourite. So easy to set up and believe me, you, as parent/supervisor, don’t need artistic talent!
All you need is coloured card, glue, pens, crayons or paints and whatever bits and pieces to decorate with. This could be sequins, cotton wool, stencils, glitter, their hands for handprints, almost anything goes!
Use your imagination or use online guides, plenty out there.
Kids love making them and people are always delighted to receive them (and may keep forever!).
- SALT DOUGH ORNAMENTS:
Your kids will love making hanging Christmas ornaments out of salt dough!
This could be a 2-day activity, preparing and then decorating.
All you need is:
- 4 cups of plain flour
- 1 cup of table salt (essential for preserving)
- 1.5 cups of warm water
- Mixing bowl
- Greaseproof paper
- Rolling pin
- Biscuit cutters, a variety of shapes if wish. Or use hands for little handprint ornaments!
- Thin ribbon or string for hanging
- Mix together the flour and salt and gradually add the warm water.
- Stir until it becomes stiff. Then start kneading the dough until smooth and pliable.
- Now it’s like modelling clay it’s ready to roll out.
- Place the dough onto the greaseproof paper and place another piece of paper on top.
- Roll out but keep the thickness down, around 3mm is enough.
- Remove the top piece of paper and make your shapes with the biscuit cutters/hands.
- Using a straw, or something similar, make a hole in the top of the dough shape so ribbon or string can be threaded through later.
- Put the dough shapes ( leaving them on the paper) on a baking sheet and place in an oven around 150’c or gas mark 2 for around an hour.
- When cool your shapes can be further preserved by sealing (find sealing solution online).
- Decorate using acrylic paints or felt tip pens.
These lovely little ornaments can last years and will provide you with lasting memories!
- PAPER SNOWFLAKES:
Keep them busy folding, snipping and decorating for hours with simple, old-fashioned fun. You may have made them yourselves.
All you need is paper and scissors.
Good for all ages as older kids can make more intricate designs if wish.
Find step-by-step directions/tutorials online.
- PLATE ANGELS:
A fun activity especially for younger kids.
What you’ll need is:
- Paper plates
- Pipe cleaners
- Scraps of cotton/wool for decorating the angel
- Black marker pen
- Metallic marker pens
There are several ways of making them so check out the various online guides!
- Cut out a quarter slice of the paper plate, and then glue this quarter to the opposite side of the plate to make the angel's dress.
- Use glitter glue to decorate the wings and dress. Leave to dry.
- Shape a small halo using a pipe cleaner and glue this in the centre of the gap at the top of the plate.
- Cut out circles of felt for the face and hands. Glue these on in the appropriate places. Then draw on eyes and a mouth with a black pen.
- Cut several strands of wool for hair and glue these into place around the head.
And there you have it, a sweet little angel.
- CHRISTMAS JARS:
Use old jars from your cupboards, decorate and fill with treats for Christmas.
Leave them by the chimney to treat Father Christmas and his reindeer or make them into delightful Christmas presents. Kids of all ages will enjoy this fun activity and will love gifting them!
You’ll just need:
- Jam jars or Mason jars
- Glitter (or anything else for decorating)
- Whatever you’re filling the jar with - small sweets, candy canes, small toys, paper messages/notes - use your imagination (the lid doesn’t need to go on after you’ve filled it)!
- HAND-PRINT WREATH:
A Christmas wreath made out of your children’s overlapping hand-prints is not only easy and enjoyable to make but serves as a beautiful memento.
- To draw a template of your child’s hand
- Red and green card
- Hole punch
- Large round plate (for drawing around)
- Small round bowl
Follow one of the many online tutorials on making a hand-print wreath.
Remember to write the name and age of the child on the back!
- DECORATE A FELT CHRISTMAS TREE:
A fun, safe activity for even the youngest children! This will keep them busy for hours and keep them away from the real tree!
Kits that include a 3ft felt tree to hang on walls or doors plus detachable felt decorations are available online.
- BUILD A GINGERBREAD HOUSE:
Ever popular are ready-to-assemble gingerbread houses!
The kits come with everything you need to make a totally edible house as the ‘glue’ is icing!
A truly fun and delicious activity for the Christmas break!
- HOME BAKING:
Home baking is a cherished tradition and Christmas is the ideal time to start or continue one. Fill the house with delicious aromas, and an active happy atmosphere and ensure everlasting warm memories
Older kids can attempt more complex baking but here’s a recipe younger ones could try (with supervision):
- Snowman Biscuits (BBC Goodfood):
Ingredients (makes 20):
- 125g butter, softened
- 125g golden caster sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
For the decoration
- 400g white fondant icing
- icing sugar, for dusting
- 100g pack mixed red, yellow, black and blue ready-to-roll icing
- tube white icing, for sticking
- tube black icing
- Heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour and mix to a fairly soft dough. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently. Put the dough on a plate, cover and chill for at least 2 hrs.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of around 0.5cm. Use a cookie cutter or water glass to stamp out 7cm rounds. Re-roll the trimmings and repeat.
- Transfer the biscuits to two lined baking trays and bake for 8-14 mins until the edges turn lightly golden in colour. Leave to cool.
- Now the fun bit!
- To decorate, roll out the white fondant icing on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar. Stamp out 7cm circles using the same cookie cutter or glass as before, then use a dab of the white tube of icing to stick a fondant round on each biscuit.
- Knead together some of the yellow and blue icing to make green icing, then do the same with the red and yellow icing to make orange (or buy separate packs of each colour). Roll out one icing colour at a time. Stamp out a 7cm circle of icing, cut in half and stick on for a hat. Cut a strip of another colour and make some markings to make it look like the elasticated band of a hat, then trim to fit and stick on. Repeat with all the biscuits, mixing and matching colours.
- Decorate the hats with icing spots and stripes, if wish. Roll out balls of coloured icing, poke holes all over with a cocktail stick and stick on as pom poms. Mould lumpy balls of the orange icing for noses and roll out balls of the black icing for eyes. Press down to flatten, then stick on with white icing. Use the tube of black icing to pipe rows of dots for the smiles. Leave to set. Will keep for up to five days in an airtight container.
We hope that’s given you a few ideas on how to keep the kids happy and busy while at home during the Christmas holidays! You’ll all be filled with festive spirit and hopefully have a few hand-made Christmas gifts ready too!
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