The holidays are always a crazy time for parents. Everybody (you included!) is excited for and very distracted by the season and all of the fun each specific holiday brings. Keeping your kids on task and yourself focused on family health can be a real battle! Instead of trying to force yourself to stay serious all day, try taking small “craft breaks” between tasks. The crafts & activities provide good down-time between the long work-from-home hours and make for good motivation.
Of course, coming up with break-time “get your sillies out” activities every day can be difficult. Even kids will get tired of doing the same basic craft or game. Here are some suggestions for when you need to change things up a bit.
- Culture Exchange
Have each one of your kids create a project out of something cultural or your family’s ethnic identity. It can be an inexpensive family heirloom, a photo, a piece of clothing, let your kids get creative with it. You can do a few of these each day (make sure kids know which days are theirs ahead of time so they can plan). It’s a great way for them to learn about different cultures.
- Card Creation
Creating hand-crafting cards for family members and friends is always fun. You could also turn this into a great exercise in community spirit by having your kids make cards for people in the hospital or in a retirement home. The cards will bring a smile to anyone who gets them, especially from the people who might not have expected them.
- Tchotchke Hunt
Not long ago this might have been called a “peanut hunt.” It takes the traditional Easter egg hunt and turns it on its ear a little bit. Instead of hiding eggs, teachers hid peanuts–wrapping some in gold or silver paper to indicate a bigger prize to be awarded later. Today with allergies, you probably want to be careful with nuts if the kids’ friends are around. You can, however, use something else that is small and easily purchased in bulk. You could also just buy those simple plastic eggs, but in fall and holiday colors and hide stickers or small gifts inside.
A favorite among kids these days is creating plushies for the holidays (those fluffy, stuffed, basic animals). There are a lot of neat ways to engage in making a turkey craft for kids (seeing that Thanksgiving is coming up) that are fairly easy and really fun for children. Plus, they make fantastic gifts and will last longer than simple drawings on paper.
- Paper Lanterns
This one may not be available on your list of activities (because it brings in flame) but paper lanterns are really fun to make and can be quite the event for your kids. The lanterns have a small flame underneath them (usually a small tea candle) which allows them to float up and drift off into the night sky. If you’re antsy about the idea of using a flame, you can make origami paper balloons and let the kids “bat” them around for a little bit!
- Holiday Cookies
Kids + Sweets = Instant Fun. Baking holiday cookies was always a favorite with me and my friends because not only did you learn a few things about the process but you got to have lots of sugar! The other nice part is that we made up little boxes so we could gift them to our friends and family. Cookies are a great activity for pretty much any holiday. Make sure to clear this with parents. Gluten sensitivity, sugar sensitivity, etc. are all major factors these days. If you are worried about food consumption, you can easily modify the dough recipe to make small baked holiday ornaments and trinkets that the kids can paint.
- Their Choice
I know you’re super busy prepping for the holidays but don’t feel that you’re in on it alone. Some parents have found that a suggestion box where kids can put in slips of paper detailing the activities and crafts that they’d like to do during the week can be a great source of inspiration. This is an idea you may just want to outsource to your kids’ teachers at school actually! Tell them they’ll be surprised at the cool ideas kids will bring up when you give them creative control.
Your turn – what fun holiday crafts & activities do you endorse in the home?