It’s that time of year again. The time when you’re overloaded with holiday tasks and events on top of your everyday schedule. Oh yeah, and your kids are on holiday break with lots of idle time.
One of our biggest tasks as parents is to keep our kids entertained over the holidays. That’s easier said than done, especially if they span different age groups. To help busy parents out this Christmas, we’ve put together some of our favorite ideas for entertaining kids at various ages.
Keeping Young Kids Busy Before the Presents
Young kids between the ages of 3 and 9 who believe wholeheartedly in Santa are always excited during the holidays. They’re ramped up with spirit and the thought of what will be under the tree for them to open on Christmas day.
If you have young kids there’s one thing you need do this holiday to keep them entertained – stock up on activities!
Have lots of holiday arts and crafts on hand. You can make Christmas ornaments, snow globes or personalized stockings. If you’re looking for a few cheap ideas that will keep kids entertained for at least an hour or two hit the Bullseye’s Playground section of Target. You’re guaranteed to find cheap holiday activities the kiddos will enjoy.
Make Christmas cookies and gingerbread houses. What kids doesn’t like a sweet arts and crafts project they can eat? Sure, it can get messy, but you’ll make memories while making holiday cookies that the kids can decorate. You can really go all out by putting together a kid-friendly gingerbread house that can serve as a display during the holidays.
Let them help you wrap presents. Yes, the process will be a lot slower when young kids are helping. But it’s an activity they really enjoy and actually take pride in. Just make sure they can keep a secret and not let the gift recipient know what they’re getting ahead of time.
Show Tweens They Still Have the Christmas Spirit
It’s that unfortunate time when your kids are past the Santa excitement phase and are well on their way to becoming moody teens. Kids that are 10-12 years old can be tough to keep entertained during the holidays because some are just too cool for the traditional festivities. If you don’t want them to rain on the Christmas parade try these tricks to keep them preoccupied yet involved.
Holiday movie marathon – Let your tween pick their favorite movies and they’re sure to get somewhat in the spirit.
Make them the videographer/photographer. Half of tweens have a smartphone these days – and they’re always on it. So why not put it to good use? Ask your tween to be the family videographer/photographer this holiday season. Get them into the idea by treating it like a real job and maybe even consider bumping up their allowance if they agree to help out.
Get them to make a holiday music playlist. Another techie way to get tweens interested in joining the holiday fun is with music. Ask them to make a holiday music playlist that can play in the background as you open presents.
Encourage Older Kids to Use Their Off Time Wisely
Busy teens that are usually playing sports and enjoying extracurricular activities during the semester deserve a break. But completely slacking off may actually make it harder to get in the swing of things once school starts back up. While they have some down time it’s an opportunity to knock out to-dos that are hard to squeeze in otherwise.
If your teen is old enough to get a driving permit, the holidays is the perfect time to start the process since there’s plenty of free time. They can complete an online drivers ed course, and you can practice behind the wheel with them (as long as there aren’t icy conditions, which is hard for experienced drivers to navigate). Here are a few other productive ideas:
- Schedule one or two SAT study sessions over the holidays.
- Juniors and seniors can research colleges, or you may be able to visit a few.
- Pick up a few babysitting jobs or side work to earn extra cash.
- Volunteer at a local organization – it will look great on their college application!
These activities keep teens productive and keep them busy so it’s a win-win.
There you have it! No matter how old your kids are the suggestions above can keep them entertained over the holidays so you can keep your sanity.