Monday, 20 December 2010

Happy Christmas Activities

With most people having closed up shop for the holidays and most schools now broken up, many of us will find ourselves with a bit of time on our hands to entertain the kids until the ‘big day’ (unless you are still running around like a mad thing!). And with freezing temperatures and knee-deep snow, playing outside only lasts all of about half an hour, meaning quite a number of hours of indoor activities that need to be planned to avoid boredom setting in for the kids (and grown ups too!). So we thought we would give you a helping hand and a few ideas so that these hours become quality hours for everyone. (Now, you may have been doing a number of these activities already in the run up to Christmas but hopefully there will at least 1 or 2 activities that we’ve listed that you’ve not tried yet). Enjoy!

Salt dough decorations
Salt dough is the easiest thing in the world to make and even if you do mess it up, the ingredients are so cheap that you can just start over. The results are fantastic and it keeps even little ones busy and interested for a decent chuck of time. Here is a step by step guide to making salt dough decorations from the fabulous Kirstie Allsopp:
If your Christmas tree is already bursting with decorations you could make gorgeous and personal place settings for your Christmas lunch guests, for example the first letter of their name. Here are the decorations I made with my 3 year old son who absolutely loved this activity.

Paper snowflakes
Very, very satisfying activity (probably even more so for the grown up) because it is very hard to mess up, in fact I still have not messed one up yet which is saying something. The results are pretty amazing considering you can cut pretty much anywhere. Here is your step by step guide (with diagrams and a video which is quite helpful) You will end up with a decent pile of these by the time your little one gets bored which can then be fashioned into some festive bunting. We used ours to decorate the fireplace.

Baking Christmas treats
Pretty much any baking recipe can be made into a ‘Christmas treat’ recipe. All you need are silver balls or Christmas cookie cutters. Here we made ‘Christmas’ fairy cakes – see how the silver balls magically transform them! Always a winning activity because the house smells divine and you get something yummy to eat.

Making Christmas cards
As it is very special for a person to receive a handmade card by a child, this activity is quite rewarding. As your Christmas cards should have already gone out in the post by now, your little ones could make cards for the special people you will be sending the day with or brothers / sisters / mummy and daddy. Here are 2 that we have received this year for a bit of inspiration.

Another idea is to create a reindeer card with your little one’s footprint as his face, 2 handprints as his antlers, a big red nose on the heel of the footprint and 2 little eyes. Viola, it’s Rudolph! (Unfortunately no picture of this because no one kept my, I mean my son’s effort from last year. I’m pretty gutted about this actually!).

Making reindeer food
Get them ready for Christmas Eve by getting them to make some reindeer food. Pretty simple actually – some oats, raisins and the key ingredient, glitter (this, sparkling in the moonlight, will help Rudolph find your house!). Top tip: make sure you get rid of the evidence before they wake up on Christmas day or else it could lead to some awkward explaining!

Homemade presents
Something as simple (and cheap) as a jar of sweets can be turned into something beautiful with a bit of decoration. You could maybe even use one of the salt dough decorations that you made. Check these out – simple, stylish, rewarding!

Decorate a key
For those of you with no chimney for Santa to scoot down or if your child cannot get his head around the fact that some fat man is coming down the chimney (my son keeps telling me that he doesn’t want Santa to make a hole in the roof because all the snow will fall inside – bless!), you could get your child to decorate a spare key you have lying around the house which will then be turned into a magical key. Then they need to leave it outside for Santa on Christmas Eve which he (and only he, hence the term ‘magical’) will use to get inside to drop off all their presents.

Hope you all have a fabulously Christmassy week!

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