For many of us, Christmas time means a little more time with family or even a break from school. We do an adventure points system over school breaks, but I wanted to brainstorm some more Christmas ideas. Here are some fun Christmas activities for kids that encourage creativity, imagination, and movement during this holiday season.
Christmas Activities for Kids
I already have a big list of 100+ boredom-busting activities for kids. But sometimes it’s nice to have something a little more in the holiday spirit for them to do. Maybe your kids are home on Christmas break and you’re looking for a fun family activity to do together. Or maybe they’re getting a little bored and are looking for something hands-on.
Our family focuses on gratitude and giving over the Christmas season, so you’ll find plenty of kid-friendly ideas that line up with that principle. There’s just something a little magical about this time of year and it’s fun to enjoy fun Christmas activities along with a mug of (healthy) hot cocoa.
The ideas below aren’t divided by age, but you may find that some of your kids will enjoy one activity over another. Older kids aren’t as thrilled with sensory bins and very little ones aren’t really able to do an activity like snowboarding. So pick and choose what works best for your family.
Playdough is a hit with little ones everywhere and it’s easy to make your own. I like this playdough recipe here, plus it’s gluten-free for kids who have allergies. I’ll add a little natural red or green food coloring to make it holiday colored. Add a little peppermint extract to the batch to make a fun candy cane playdough!
Holiday Themed Sensory Bin
This one is great for toddlers and preschoolers. Even kids who are a little older love getting their hands in a bin of rice or beans for sensory play! The best sensory activity is one that encourages creativity and free play. It’s not as fun if the parent spends more time putting all of the details together than the kids do playing with it.
It’s also a great opportunity for little ones to use tweezers, spoons, and other utensils to transfer the objects from one container to another. This is a fun way to practice fine motor skills.
- Make a cinnamon themed bin with rice, cinnamon sticks, pine cones, and little gingerbread themed items from around the house.
- Create a natural Christmas sensory bin with pine cones, cranberries, fir branches, and small pieces of cut wood or branches. Mix them into a base of red beans, dried peas, and white beans (like navy or lima), for a red, white, and green theme.
You may be a paper plate, popsicle stick, and glitter kind of family or maybe your kids prefer less crafty art projects. I enjoy sitting down with the kids to draw or paint, and we’ve done several art projects this way together. Here are a few holiday crafts the whole family can do together.
- Cut out paper snowflakes from white paper and hang them up to display
- Make a Christmas tree craft out of construction paper, popsicle sticks, or miniature ornaments. Older kids can make one out of scrap wood.
- Pull out the pom poms and make a festive photo ornament wreath.
- Try an origami Christmas project.
Do a science experiment (together or have the kids do one on their own. I love this book for the kids because it has projects they can mostly do themselves. And I don’t have to buy any special ingredients or supplies.
KiwiCo also offers a subscription box for those who love having science experiments delivered. They also have art and craft boxes if that’s your thing. I like that they have options for everyone from babies to teens (and older).
If your kids aren’t old enough to wield a paintbrush yet, then try this edible finger paint! I use spirulina or spinach for the green color and beets for a pinkish red. They have a lot of fun painting with it and I don’t worry if they get some in their mouth. The art projects only last for about a day, so I’ll snap a picture if it’s something I want to keep.
Build a Gingerbread House
A candy covered gingerbread house isn’t something you’re going to find on my table. However, there is a way to get in on the fun and still be (relatively) healthy. I’ll make sweets for the kids on occasion, just with healthier ingredients.
Bake Christmas Cookies
One year my kids wanted gingerbread cookies so I came up with this molasses cookies recipe. It has all the flavors of gingerbread without the junky ingredients. Coconut macaroons and chewy chocolate cookies are also a big hit at our house.
This is the perfect opportunity for the kids to bake some treats for the neighbors, nursing home residents, or extended family and give as a gift.
Make a Christmas Card
Christmas is the one time of the year when we all wear coordinating outfits and snap a family picture. Even if you’re like us and send out a family photo Christmas card, you can pair it with a homemade card. Kids can use construction paper, paint, and markers to make their own Christmas cards with a heartfelt note. These can either be mailed or hand delivered.
Christmas activities for kids can be delicious too. Years ago I started making my own homemade marshmallows. The kids love the taste and they’re full of gut healing gelatin and naturally sweetened.
You can play some Christmas songs in the background while the kids are doing chores around the house, cooking meals, or doing fun projects. Do some Christmas song karaoke or dance to your favorite tunes for fun movement.
Countdown to Christmas day with an Advent calendar. I use this one that gives a prompt for a kind act we can do each day. It takes the focus off of getting stuff and encourages us to do for others. Here are more ways our family honors the advent season.
Make a list of Christmas movies to watch together and make some popcorn and snacks. We keep a basket of blue light blocking glasses in our living for everyone on family movie nights. It’s a Wonderful Life is one of our favorites that we watch every year.
Capture the Memories
Every year I gift the kids a photo book with some of their favorite memories from the past year. They always look forward to it and enjoy looking back on what they’ve been up to. Kids can make their own keepsake photo books with their holiday memories. They can also make one with favorite family recipes from the holiday season.
Some kids may need a little more help than others with formatting their special photo book, but places like Mixbook make it really easy.
Sip on Cocoa
Hot cocoa is a must have in our house. Even better if it has some homemade marshmallows on top! Make some homemade cocoa to sip on while wrapping gifts or reading a favorite Christmas book. I also like this healthy premade hot chocolate that’s packed with superfoods (like medicinal mushrooms).
Make a DIY Christmas Snowglobe
If your kids are anything like mine were, they’re fascinated with snowglobes. They can make their own with a small figurine or ornament and a mason jar. Here’s a simple tutorial for how to make a glitter snow globe.
DIY Christmas Ornaments
If your kids like working with air dry or oven bake clay, then they can have fun making their own customized ornaments. Salt dough is another great way to make homemade ornaments, even for young kids. Little ones can make a handprint ornament to give to the grandparents. Or use cookie cutters to make Christmas shapes to decorate.
Get the tutorial for how to make salt dough ornaments here.
Make a Garland
The kids can make a popcorn garland or string together cranberries and dried oranges. This is a fun activity to do while listening to a favorite Christmas book or music. You can hang the finished garlands around the Christmas tree, the stairway, or even the wall.
Get the instructions for how to make a DIY natural Christmas garland here.
Craft a Window Display
Decorate the window for a festive Christmas display. Kids can hang up some Christmas lights, garlands, or ornaments for passers-by to see. You can even get large, removable holiday themed stickers for the kids to put on the glass.
Make a Gnome Garden
Some kids love fairy gardens and can rearrange and play with the pieces for hours. Help the kids make a holiday themed version with gnomes. You can add little gnome figurines, rocks, moss, twigs, and other natural ingredients to the garden. Lincoln logs also make great gnome houses!
Learn how to make your own gnome (or fairy) garden here.
Make a Holiday Wreath
My girls started sewing at a fairly young age and they’ve had a lot of fun with sewing projects over the years. This easy burlap wreath tutorial can be customized to make any shape you want. I did an egg for Easter, but kids could also cut out and sew a gingerbread man, a star, or a Christmas tree.
Get the instructions for a DIY burlap wreath here.
Find a local Christmas tree farm and go pick one out together. Whether you opt for a real tree or an artificial one, decorating it is another favorite Christmas activity. Don’t forget to put on some Christmas music and sip on a peppermint mocha or hot cocoa while you decorate!
Donate to Local Families in Need
The week before or after Christmas (when we’re not busy doing school), the kids and I go around the house looking for things to get rid of. Things that we can share with others that they’ll benefit from. This helps make room for the new gifts and items coming in on Christmas day. The idea isn’t to clear out junk but to bless someone else with something they’ll love.
We also do what we call the surprise Santa tradition. We find another family, either through a local church or a domestic violence shelter who is in need. Then we’ll get them gifts, clothing, enough food for some meals, and gift cards. Even though we don’t actually meet them in person, my kids absolutely love doing this for others.
Go Christmas Caroling
Our neighborhood has a wagon full of carolers that go around singing Christmas carols to the neighbors. Your kids can go caroling around their own neighborhood, at a local hospital, nursing home, or assisted living facility (if rules allow). It’s a great way to spread free Christmas cheer.
DIY Christmas Gifts
The kids can make their own Christmas gifts for friends and family. Younger kids may need a little more help with this one. Some popular DIY gifts around here are things like lotion bars and sugar cookie lip scrub. You can find a whole list of DIY gift ideas here.
Christmas Eve Feast
For years our family has had a fishy tradition. On Christmas Eve we’ll make a traditional Sicilian feast of the seven fishes. Yes, I really make 7 different types of fish! A lot of times it’s something small like an oyster, or a crab cake so we don’t end up eating a huge amount.
The kids love getting involved with the planning and the making of the meal. You can read more about how this tradition started for us and why we do it here.
Outdoor Christmas Activities for Kids
Get outside and into the fresh air with these Christmas activities for kids ideas.
Build a Snowman
If you live in an area where there’s snow, building a snowman is a timeless kid’s activity. Everyone can work together to build the ultimate snowman, or each family member can create their own. No snow? Make one inside with moon sand.
Many towns have Christmas light displays that are fun to go see. You may find one at the local park. Or maybe the neighbors don’t pull any punches when it comes to decorating their yards for Christmas. Take a walk around and enjoy the lights together!
Go Ice Skating
Ice skating is a fun way to get some more movement in during the colder weather. Even if you don’t live near a pond or lake that’s safe to skate on, you can probably find a local indoor or outdoor rink. Some offer discounts for groups or during certain (slower) times of the day.
Of course, I couldn’t leave out this classic pastime. If you’re in an area with enough snow, then find a big hill and haul out the sleds. You may also be able to find a tobogganing track near your area.
Christmas Scavenger Hunt
Put together a neighborhood scavenger hunt. Make a list (or use pictures) of items the kids can find around the neighborhood. These can be things like Christmas lights, a snowman, a cardinal, and a wreath. They can work in teams or individually to find the items. Or instead of a checklist, turn it into a bingo card and see who can get 5 in a row first.
Here are a few more Christmas activities for kids:
- Make eco-friendly cloth gift bags to wrap presents for family and friends.
- Start a winter garden or plant a windowsill herb garden.
- Whip up a batch of snow cream (if you’re in a snowy area).
Does your family have any special traditions or activities during the holidays? I’d love to hear about them! Let me know in the comments below!