Keeping Kids Active at Christmas (10 fun ways to make a wonderful holiday)

Christmas is a very special time of year for families. The kids are out of school, parents try to take a little time away from work, but life just gets busier and more hectic. There’s shopping to do for presents and food, parties to organize, and maybe even a school pageant to attend. There’s no doubt about it – Christmas can be a frantic time, but it is the time of year when adults and children alike delight in the traditions every family has created.

Children are a lot more excited – and excitable – about everything at this time of year. Depending on their ages, they may believe in Santa Claus, and that brings a special level of fun to the season.

We’ve got some ideas on how to keep the kids busy, active and engaged when they’re home from school, so that spending hours on screens is the last thing they want to do. Sounds good, yes? Let’s get out the decorations, put on the kettle for tea or warm up some oat milk for cocoa, and start getting the children involved engaged in some very special fun, making memories that will last the whole year!

1. Speaking Of Last Year

Ask the children what their favorite part of Christmas was last year, and make some notes. That way, you’ll be sure to hang their stockings in the same place, put out a certain type of cookie for Santa, and hang a particular ornament front and centre on the mantle. You’d be surprised how much kids recall about Christmases past, and it seldom has anything to do with presents. If some of your charges still believe in Santa, be sure you set aside an afternoon to write his letters well in advance.

2. Let The Children Help You Bake

Every family has special sweet treats that they love during the holidays. Whether it’s cookies or a special pie, ask the kids to help – they can read the recipe aloud as you work, or measure out sugar and flour, or chop some nuts to add to the batter. They’ll be thrilled that you are including them in “grown up” chores that must be done before the big day. Who knows? You just might get them so intrigued they start helping out in the kitchen on a regular basis. And don’t forget to ask for their help when it’s time to set the table.

3. Make Decorations For The House & Tree

With a little colored construction paper, kid-friendly paste and crayons or colored pens, it’s easy to make family decorations for the entire home. Look up some “how to” pages online or at the library, and before you know it you’ll have snow angels and paper mache candy canes everywhere.

4. Spend A Day Playing Games

Dig out their favorite board games, cards, or make up a game of your own. We know a nanny who devised a Christmas-themed version of Charades — movies, books and songs all involving the holidays. Each team had to act out and guess titles like “Home Alone,” “White Christmas” and a dozen others that center on Christmas, and playing got everyone got into the spirit of the season.

5. Help Them Make Cards & Gift Paper

When parents receive homemade cards from their children, it touches them deeply and they treasure them for years. Make it an afternoon project when your employers are at work, and they’ll be genuinely surprised on the big day when their kids give them each a handmade creation. Be wildly creative here – there is no going wrong when kids make something for their folks – whether it’s goofy or artistic, the parents are bound to love it.

6. Take Them Caroling

Sounds old-fashioned? Not a bit! Children love to sing, and there is a roster of great songs for this time of year. Look them up online or ask a local pastor what hymns are most beloved by the community. Then practise with them, and on a clear evening take them out through the neighborhood. If you take a “kitty” with you for contributions, let the children decide what charity the money goes to – that will help get them into the true spirit of Christmas.

7. Watch Their Favorite Holiday Movies

Whether it’s “Home Alone” or “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” (or both!) dedicate one evening at least to watching their absolute favorite films. Make it a night where you do nothing more than microwave a giant bowl of popcorn and “hang out” with the kids, just you and them. During such a busy season it’s particularly fun to have one evening during which the gang just relaxes, munches on snacks, gets cozy on the couch, and laughs together at their top-rated Christmas movies.

8. Get Them Outside

Depending on where you live, snow might be something the kids aren’t used to seeing, so make it an adventure! Get them moving with a trip to the park, or build a snowman in the backyard, or a get a gentle snowball fight started with their friends. If there is no snow where you live, get them outside anyway – ’tis the season’ for rich foods and lots of treats, so it’s important to keep the kids (and yourself) especially active.

9. Create A Countdown To Christmas Calendar

If the family isn’t particularly religious and doesn’t have Advent calendars on hand, you can make your own with the kids. Start it around December 15th and ask them what each day should bring, and what you should accomplish by certain dates. Here’s a sample entry: December 18th: “All cookies baked and in freezer.” December 20: “All presents for parents wrapped and under the tree.” You get the idea!

10. Give To Charity

Most families do this each year, but ask the kids whether they would like to try something new. A little research online lets you find, for example, an exotic wild animal you can all “adopt” by making a small annual donation in the family’s name. A gesture like this encourages the true spirit of Christmas: giving to the less fortunate, thinking of the community, and reminding ourselves that presents under the tree are only a small part of the season’s significance. And you want to instill those feelings in the children all year round, right?

We hope these suggestions are helpful to you when the kids are home from school and look at you expectantly, as if to say, “what are we doing today?” None of these ideas are expensive — in fact, most of them are free — but they are all sure to help you  create lasting memories with your charges.

Elite Nannies wishes all our families and all our nannies, great joy this holiday season. We wish you peace, prosperity, and all the best throughout the coming year, each and every day.