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23 Family-Fun Ideas for Entertaining the Kids During the Holidays

Posted by Katie Bugbee

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Dec 23, 2013
The holidays are a time for family – but with all the shopping, wrapping, cooking and cleaning, it's hard to remember to sit down. Playing with the kids – isn't that what grandparents are for this time of year? Well, not really. Or yes, exactly!

christmas family pic

No matter who plays with the little ones, this is really a time to create long-lasting memories with them. Which is clearly why you're working so hard. So here are a few fun ideas to do together – to create and teach about all the holidays – and create some playful moments throughout the chaos.

  1. Say hello to Salvation Army Santas that you pass.
  2. Decorate a faux wreath -- buy from crafts store and have kids accessorize.
  3. Turn your guest room into a Winter Wonderland with handmade paper snowflakes.
  4. Have a holiday movie marathon – each night one person in the family shares a favorite flick.
  5. Have a dinner picnic under the Christmas tree.
  6. Host a Hot Chocolate Taste Test. Try peppermint, eggnog and dark chocolate recipes and have people choose their favorites.
  7. Make reindeer sugar cookies adding chocolate-covered pretzel antlers, and brown and red M&Ms for eyes and nose.
  8. "Elf" friends by leaving bags of cookies and treats on their doorstep – ringing the doorbell and running away.
  9. Create homemade wrapping paper out of brown paper bags, stamps and markers.
  10. Make your own Christmas village out of paper houses and crafting supplies.
  11. Give each child a "treasure hunt" in which they have to each find one present using a number of clues found in wrapped boxes.
  12. Make a special holiday treat for your animals. Verify they can eat the ingredients with the vet.
  13. Make yummy reindeer treats with mini pretzel rods or candy canes.
  14. Send special "thank you for your service" holiday cards to the troops.
  15. Create a photo collage or calendar of the past year. Let kids pick out their favorite pictures.
  16. Make noisemakers out of empty water bottles and rocks for New Years Eve.
  17. On New Year's Eve, stream London's festivities and celebrate the new year early so kids don't miss their bedtime.
  18. Create New Year's hats out of construction paper and streamers.
  19. Go through photo albums and talk about how each child has changed and grown each year. Ask what they want to accomplish this next year.
  20. Create a 2013 Family Time Capsule.
  21. Make a New Years Resolution Tree where each person writes a goal (or two) for 2014 – for all to see.
  22. Host a kid-friendly NYE party with a countdown to noon.
  23. Place 20-30 balloons in a tarp (or unopened garbage bag) and tack to the ceiling. During your NYE countdown, release the balloons, blow streamers and throw confetti.

This post is from Katie Bugbee. Katie is the senior managing editor and resident parenting expert at Care.com. A busy working mother of two, she's an expert on many parenting deliemmas, from apeasing picky eaters to finding the perfect babysitter. Interested in blogging for us? Read our guest blog guidelines. 

Topics: Tips & Tricks

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