Hello and thank you for hopping over from The Newby Tribe and welcome to the 3rd day of #12DaysOfParenting. Today’s sponsor is It’s a sling thing who are offering an Ergobaby Original Carrier and the theme is Activities to keep the family occupied! My keyword to enter today’s giveaway is in this post below, good luck! Full details of the #12DaysOfParenting terms and conditions can be found on the Mummie’s Waiting #12DaysOfParenting page and all entries are to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
Activities to keep the Family Occupied – with No Prep or Planning!
Here are my Top Ten “No Prep Needed” Activities for Families to have fun and keep busy indoors over the Christmas period. Entertaining kids over Christmas doesn’t have to be a chore, as it’s naturally a time of year when there’s plenty to do. These are things you can do without any planning or preparation, so ideal for a moment’s notice!
1. Get the whole family involved with the Christmas Cards.
Get the kids to sign their names, draw a picture and decorate the Christmas Cards. After you’ve written them, pass them around and let everyone put their own mark on it. You can let them glue a bit of tinsel, glitter or their own paper-cut designs on it and ask them to draw a festive picture on the inside. It might look a little unique, but that’s what your family is and the personal touch is always appreciated. If you’ve already posted most of your Christmas cards, you could just make some for the neighbours or even the local shops you visit.
2. Bake something together.
There are an absolute ton of easy to bake Christmas recipes out there. I’ll be honest, I’m an abysmal cook, and I don’t think this is ever going to be a recipe blog, but the internet is filled with wonder and I have no doubt a quick google can take you to some tasty treats that the whole family can get involved in. If you don’t have the time or space to be baking, you can also just buy some cookies and a pack of icing sugar and have the kids pipette their own faces and designs onto the cookies! Very little clean up, hours of fun, and something yummy at the end of it.
3. Have a dance hour.
Dancing is a fun and energetic exercise that can be done indoors – just make sure there’s nothing breakable near the dance floor! Fire up the Christmas tunes and get dancing away. If you’ve got a TV or computer connected to the internet, you can get the visual stimulation from YouTube videos too. They’ll soon be out of breath and ready for a nap.
4. Write a letter to Santa.
Writing a letter to Santa can be a good way of practicing reading and writing, and also employing critical thinking skills. You should tell them to include the things they enjoyed this year and some thoughts for other people as well. Make sure to decorate it with glitter, tinsel and Christmas drawings. You can write a letter in return to print out and give them on Christmas Eve, or there are a lot of companies now that offer personalised letters posted back for that extra level of authenticity.
5. Clear out the Toys
Wait, you’re thinking… that sounds like a chore? But you can have a good clear out over Christmas as a fun activity. Get all the toys out (and maybe some clothes too) and put them in piles of their favourite things. Ask them to think about the other children who aren’t as lucky as they are and may not have anything for Christmas. Wouldn’t it be nice to share, and then we’ll have more space for Santa to visit! In selling or donating toys to charity shops you can make a difference to another family and create a bunch of space and have a clear out for your own. This is an activity that could keep your kids busy for quite a while, depending on how much you have to clear out.
6. Movie Fest
Teach your kids how to make popcorn and make a few nacho bowls with some tortilla dips and salsa. Cover the floor in cushions, dim the lights, and get a few Christmas movies playing. Whilst I don’t think sitting kids in front of the TV is something you want to do in excess, a family movie can be a fun thing to do together – or give you a few hours of quiet time to get on with the festive preparations. After the movie is over you can have a Q&A session to make them think about the theme, asking who their favourite character was and why and with questions about the movie. A few stickers as a reward can make this into a real challenge for them, and get those brains thinking about what they’ve just watched.
If you buy a blank cardboard popcorn box or polystyrene cups (sold in every supermarket in the party section), you can also get them to label and decorate their own popcorn boxes beforehand with some crayons or pens.
7. Tree Dressing Ceremony
Make a big hoo-haa about the decorating and call it a tree-dressing ceremony. Have a set date so you’re not constantly being swarmed with “When are we putting the lights up?!” and have a few snacks, nibbles and their favourite drinks ready. As a child we always had a set day when we would cut out and hang paper decorations around the house too. Then have a whole afternoon or evening dedicated to the tree dressing, culminating in putting on the topper! For some added fun, why not dress up for the finale?
8. Build a Den
Hiding in a pillow fort has this magical feeling of being seperate from the rest of the world – even if your parents are hovering about in the next room. Let your kids go wild for a day and help them build a fort out of pillows and sheets, or if you’ve got a spare tent that’ll fit, you could even put the tent up in the living room and have a pretend camping evening. Get a candle and – supervised of course – treat them to a few melted marshmallows after dinner, along with hot chocolate.
9. Create a Busy Box
A busy box is a box full of magic and wonder – in the form of toys and odds and ends that your kids don’t usually play with. This needs to be catered by age, as you obviously don’t want anything dangerous or choking hazards. For babies, you can have shiny balls and rattles, spoons and chains – anything that’s safe, but isn’t their traditional toys. For older kids, you can include a pot of glue and then some crafting things, lollypop sticks, rubber bands, glitter packs, ribbons and all sorts. The idea is you place everything on the floor (or table) and dump the box out and let them get busy!
10. Books, books, books.
Reading as a child was so important to me, so I strongly encourage others to interest their kids in reading as early as possible, even if that means visiting the library a lot! You can make a library visit fun by turning it into a scavenger hunt such as “Find a book that has the word Santa in the title”, “Pick a book to read with a red and yellow cover.” Reading doesn’t have to be expensive, and interactive reading is made easy with the amount of kids and craft magazines available too. Charity shops are often inundated with books and it’s very easy to pick up quite a selection for cheap too. Why not create a Christmas Book Box which contains a ton of new reading material in one form or another and at the end of the day, ask a few questions about the book and their favourite characters.
Just remember, you can also get outdoors even in the cold, rain and snow (if we ever have any…). Layer up and keep active outside because there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing! There are loads of places to go over Christmas and don’t forget to squeeze in that visit to Santa. Exercise and fresh air will tire out the little ones (and the bigger ones) and result in better naps and longer sleep as well as improved moods all around.
Today’s Codeword is: CANDLE, if you would like to read another post and gain another entry, then head over to The Butterfly Mother for their take on Christmas activities!