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11 Ways to Keep Kids Busy During The Holidays

11 Ways to Keep Kids Busy During The Holidays

By California.com
December 10, 2020

As California mitigates health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, some travel restrictions may remain in certain communities. Call the local and regional tourism offices to learn more about the restrictions in your intended destination. Thank you for reading, and stay safe.

Believe it or not, Christmas is almost here. Between buying last-minute gifts and preparing healthy holiday meals, you may be sleigh-in’ it this winter, but baking Christmas cookies, making California-inspired holiday decorations, and volunteering at your local nonprofits are no miracle—somebody’s got to think of activities to keep the kids busy. Since the December holidays have us feeling extra Santa-mental this year, we’re involving the whole family in the Christmas activities. Let the children get into the holiday spirit with these fun, entertaining games and activities.

Kids’ Holiday Activities

What better way to bond with the youngsters than by spending the day baking a gingerbread house from scratch?

1. Make Gingerbread Houses

The best Christmas activities for kids always include cookies, which is why making gingerbread houses will entertain them for hours. Fir-get about buying the premade ones from the supermarket, and make a (ginger)snap decision to let the children use their creative skills.

If they’re taking their time decorating the delicious treats, you may as well start baking Christmas cookies using recipes from California bakers. This will keep kids busy while you finish up buying holiday gifts for everyone on your list

Spend time in the great outdoors building the neighborhood's best snowman. Get in a snowball fight, too, if you can.

2. Build The Best Snowman In The Neighborhood

Nothing keeps kids busy like a competition to make the best snowman in the neighborhood. This is one of the best kids’ holiday activities that even adults will love. You'll need a carrot (which is not to be snacked on), a scarf, buttons, pebbles, twigs, and, to top things off, a hat. Make a snowball with your hands and let the children start rolling. 

But don’t stop at building a snowman—have a proper snow fight. Set ground rules so all is fair and no child ends up hurt (there’s always that one youngster that’s up to no good). For a friendlier activity, making snow angels is always a fun option. Don’t forget to dress the kids up in warm clothes, though; nobody wants to catch a cold during the holidays. 

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Family Christmas Activities

Spend the evening in with the family watching one of your favorite holiday movies filmed in California.

3. Have A Holiday Movie Night

There won’t be a single resting Grinch face at home once you tell everyone it’s movie night. Watching holiday flicks is one of the most cherished family Christmas activities. There’s nothing like sipping on hot cocoa, snuggling with the youngsters in warm blankets, and watching your favorite childhood Christmas movies.

So, get some popcorn poppin’ and have yourselves a merry little movie night. The family can’t decide which film to watch? You get the final sleigh. Pick movies like How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Home Alone, and everyone’s favorite: It’s A Wonderful Life.

Is there anything more exciting than a slumber party with the family? Don your holiday pjs for this festive fiesta.

4. Throw A Family Slumber Party

When was the last time you built a fort with your pillows? You probably don’t even remember. Put together a family slumber party to keep kids busythey’ll love it. Wear matching Christmas pajamas and start the night with a homemade pizza, letting the little ones pick the toppings.

Do you own indoor tents? Even better. Elevate your game and have an indoor camping experience to satisfy the children’s need for adventure (minus the bugs and mosquito bites). There are more than enough kids’ holiday activities to organize during a family slumber party. Play Christmas-themed bingo, make DIY matching holiday bracelets, fire up the karaoke machine, and sing your heart out.

There's nothing more meaningful in life than helping others, so teach your children the importance of gifting and giving.

5. Donate To A Local Shelter

The holidays are not just for receiving presents—it’s just as important to give back and pay it forward. With Christmas coming up, the children are going to get so many new toys, and they’ll most likely forget about the ones they already own. Teach them the importance of donating; have them go through their toys to pick out items to deliver to a children’s shelter. Nothing keeps kids busy like having to decide which toys to give away, and they can feel good knowing they’re bringing joy to another child. 

Christmas Activities For Kids

Dear Santa...what will your child ask for this Christmas? Have them write a letter to Mr. Claus, but don't forget the milk and cookies.

6. Write Letters To Santa

Do your children still believe in Santa? We certainly wish we did. Get red and green papers along with black and white markers, and help your kids write letters to Santa Claus to send to the North Pole.

Easily turn this activity into a Christmas craft for kids and show them how to make holiday cards and envelopes. Not only will this keep kids busy, but they’ll also practice their writing skills and learn how to send a proper letter. On Christmas Eve, Santa Claus will grace them with his presents.

7. Go On A Holiday Lights Tour

California jingles all the way when it comes to the holidays. The entire state is covered in beautiful decorations, each more breathtaking than the other. An ordinary trip to the supermarket becomes an exciting activity because you get to drive past the best-lit houses in town. If you’re feeling like a kid watching the holiday decor with excitement, imagine how the children feel about the same thing.

Attend San Francisco’s Christmas tree-lighting ceremony and take them on a jaw-dropping holiday lights tour—they’ll forget they’re in the Golden State. All of California will look like the North Pole to them, only much, much warmer. It’s one of the most exciting Christmas activities for kids that they’ll look forward to every year. 

Christmas Craft For Kids

Get the whole family involved in crafting. You'll have a blast and make artistic masterpieces. That's #goals.

8. Make DIY Ornaments

There’s nothing sweeter than decorating a Christmas tree with ornaments your children make. Every year, you’ll notice how their skills improve as they grow older (and perhaps wiser?). The Christmas activity for kids can easily become a new holiday tradition.

Upgrade your tree by adding more unique homemade ornaments your kids created. Not only will you have special and sentimental decorations, but you’ll also be able to keep your kids busy without breaking the bank. This Christmas craft for kids is a fun pastime activity and will make the children feel more involved when it comes to decorating the tree. 

New Year’s Eve Kids’ Activities

What's your favorite New Year's Eve prop? Get creative with the kids and make props for your virtual NYE party yourselves.

9. Create New Year’s Eve Props

We’re all making memories on New Year’s Eve, so why not eternalize the moments with awesome photo props? Don’t buy them this time—let your children make them. Now that the kids have experience making DIY ornaments, they can easily make photo props. This New Year’s Eve kids’ activity will have you capturing hilarious pictures of your children making silly faces with the different props they made themselves.

Watch them swap out the items to create memorable photos. While you’re at it, show them how to make a balloon clock for the ceremony. This New Year craft for kids requires 12 balloons, scotch tape, and a black sharpie. Blow up your balloons, write the numbers on each of them, and stick them to the wall. With each passing hour on New Year's Eve, one child gets to pop one balloon—this will keep kids busy for sure. 

This year, spice things up with kid-friendly New Year's Eve games that are fun for all.

10. Play New Year’s Eve Games For Kids

Virtual New Year’s Eve parties aren’t strictly limited to adults. Keep it family-friendly this year and let the children get involved. Charades, musical chairs, dress up, bingo—there are so many New Year’s Eve games for kids that are fun, entertaining, and exciting.

Once you see how much fun they’re having, you’re going to leave your festive holiday drink on the table and join the fun. Hang a disco ball piñata in the living room, and organize a New Year scavenger hunt to keep kids busy

11. Don't Forget The Silent Game 

As for the kids on Santa’s naughty list…the silent game will do.

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