By TMoM Team Member Sydney D. Richardson, Ph.D.
The holiday season is upon us and, for many it’s the best time of the year. Shopping, cooking, and decorating the house with all sorts of items fill this time of year. It’s also a time to gather around family and share memories, along with good wishes for the new year. However, for others, anxiety rises for various reasons. One reason is due to the children getting out of school for the winter break. Two weeks or more of children at home often means chaos for many families. Are you wondering what keeps kids entertained, especially after you are getting home from work exhausted?
While I can’t promise fun filled activities that will keep children occupied for 24 hours, below are a few Christmas activities to get children in the holiday spirit and keep them busy. What many parents find is that they get just as involved in these activities as the children, which can’t be a bad thing, right? Here we go!
Hot Chocolate Bar and a Movie
What’s better during the holidays than hot chocolate and a holiday movie? With this activity, the entire family can relax and enjoy their time together with a sweet drink. Each night, a family member can choose the movie, while others set up the hot chocolate bar. For kids, this becomes a special after dinner treat and something for the entire family to participate in. The children can even take part in preparing hot chocolate and topping their mugs with goodies.
Hot Chocolate Bar
• ½ cup-1 cup of chocolate chips
• 4 cups of whole milk (or 2% milk)
• ¼ cup of cocoa powder
• ¼ cup of sugar
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• In a pot on the stove, warm the milk over medium-low heat.
• Once warmed, add the chocolate chips, and stir until completely melted.
• Next, add the sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract and stir until everything is blended well.
• Pour the hot chocolate into mugs and top with your favorite topping.
In our house, we have the following toppings as part of our bar: sprinkles, whipped cream, candy canes, and marshmallows. Children and adults alike will enjoy making their own cup of cocoa.
Aside from the wonderful hot chocolate bar, you might want some added decorations around the house. One activity the kids could do is decorate their own wooden ornament. This is an easy activity because it combines three things: a round wooden ornament, markers, and zero drawing ability!
You can purchase the round wooden ornaments at any craft store or online. Depending on the cost, buyers can get up to 30 in a box for a low price. For this activity, sit the kids around the table and let them draw a picture of their own on the wooden ornament. Then, have them color it. Oil based paint markers are great for this activity as well but use regular markers if that’s what is available. When everyone finishes drawing, allow the marker ink to set for about 20 minutes. When dry, hang the ornament on the tree or around the house. If you use these annually, each child will be so happy to see theirs every year.
Finally, what’s a holiday without a lesson? This final activity involves the kids doing something fun and sweet for a sibling: Holiday glitter jars! Holiday glitter jars are fun and simple to make. They hardly get old and kids can shake them throughout the year (and they will). As a sweet gift to one another, have the siblings make a glitter jar for each other. In our house, we make the jars for one another while retelling the Christmas Story or a story about St. Nick. These are great gifts for the holiday, but they also serve as stress relievers for the kids (and the adults).
• Mason jar (8oz, 12oz, or 16oz)
• Clear glue
• Glitter (color of your choice)
• Distilled water
• Fill your mason jar halfway with distilled water.
• Add ¼- ½ cup of clear glue. Use ½ cup if you have a 12oz or 16oz jar.
• Add 4-6 teaspoons of glitter.
• Place the top on tightly, shake and enjoy!!!
Regardless of the activity, be sure to choose one that allows the children to exert their creativity without overburdening the parents. Anything for the entire family is always a treat!
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