Thursday, December 13, 2007

Activities for Kids During the Holidays

Gum Drop WreathThe kids are out of school on December 20th and I'll be looking for fun things to do together before and after Christmas. Here is a list of thirteen fun kid crafts that'll keep everyone busy and happy on into the new year.

1. Make a gum drop wreath. Even a three year old can help with this fun craft--though I imagine ours will get picked over pretty thoroughly before the gum drops even get stale. The tutorial is from Posie Gets Cozy. Here's a variation on the theme: gumdrop trees at Bella Dia.

2. Measure the weather. We're going to set out containers and measure how much snow we get and record the daily temperature--want to make sure the reindeer have Optimal Flying Conditions you know.

3. Play indoor hopscotch. We have laminate flooring and will tape game boards on the flooring when the weather doesn't permit the outside versions. There are all sorts of things you can do with masking tape, see this post for more details.

4. Read some holiday books. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is at the top of the list but have you ever read The Christmas Dolls by Carol Beach York? An out-of-print classic that I still treasure. I have a ratty, falling-apart paperback copy that I think we'll need to explore while sitting by the fire.

5. Play "Hide the Button." I sometimes forget how younger children will love simple games like this. You can't go wrong when you take 15 minutes to play this.

Snow Scoopers from Milk Jugs6. Make a snow fort using super scoopers. Gallon-sized plastic milk jugs make terrific snow scoopers when you cut away half the bottom of the jug. Mix some food coloring and water in a spray bottle to use for "decorating" the snow and you've got an instant hit. Now if only we had some snow. . .

7. Make glittering pinecones. If you water down Elmer's glue you can paint it onto the branches of big pinecones (the kind you can find at craft stores). Once it's been well-painted, sprinkle glitter over it and hang it by its stem.

8. Write thank you cards. The perfect afternoon activity. Stickers, glitter, glue, construction paper--get it out and say thanks for all the presents. I bet Santa doesn't get that many "thank you" cards but it wouldn't be a bad idea.

9. Make pipe cleaner snowflakes. Twist sparkley white pipe cleaners together to make snowflakes and hang them from your windows. If you're feeling really adventurous here's a tutorial to make 3-D paper snowflakes.

American Athletic Women's Ice Skates10. Shovel a neighbor's driveway. It's fun to make it a game and see if you can get it done "before the giant sees you."

11. Go ice skating. We've got a hockey rink nearby and last year we had a great time skating whenever we had a free afternoon. I have always had a hard time staying warm and ice skates are the worst for cold feet but last year I found these wonderful soft boot skates that are warm and toasty and great for helping you keep your ankles straight. They're on sale and they even come in pink.

Marshmallow Molecules12. Make snow molecules. Use toothpicks and tiny marshmallows to make "snow molecules" by sticking the toothpicks into the marshmallows in whatever configuration seems appropriate.

13. Make igloos. Use frosting to glue large marshmallows together like snow blocks to make your very own igloo. Sample at your own risk--that's enough sugar to bring down a nation. Susie J had an alternative to using marshmallows at her post here.

Bonus: 14. Attempt this cutie pie dessert. From Sew Darn Cute, my kids would think it was pretty cool to eat a cake that's shaped like a tree and she makes it sound so easy I think I'm going to give it a try.

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Have you entered this month's Write-Away Contest? The theme is "My Favorite Day."

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38 comments:

Maddy said...

Are you double posting today, or am I behind [or possibly ahead?]

Do you notice that you have a severe 'snow' bias, there again I imagine Alaska has an abundance of the darned stuff.

As for hide the button, I think we might have a tad more success with hide the hippo.

Cheers

This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"until blogger comments get themselves sorted out.

EHT said...

Gumdrop wreaths....yummy!

An Ordinary Mom said...

That gum drop wreath looks like it will be a fun activity to do when we are at Grandma's house next week :) !!

VelVerb said...

We need an "Activities with Teens during the Holidays that won't end in an I HATE YOU episode". Have anything on that?

pussreboots said...

I've never heard of a gumdrop wreath. As far as the snow projects do, first it will have to snow. LOL. Happy TT.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Your kids have the coolest mom ever. I love coming here for the great ideas that you collect and share. My kids love using toothpicks and marshmallows as constructor sets.

Loralee Choate said...

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!

2 hyper boys+ Tiny house+freezing weather+NONCREATIVE MOTHER=AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

I bow to you, O Great One!

Robin said...

I wonder if doing some of the snow crafts would wind up with my kids clamoring for a trip up north to go see snow (a 4+ hour trip). On second thought, maybe we'll stick to hide the button and hopscotch.

jennwa said...

I love the gum drop wreath. I just made a gum drop ornament, so I will have to try the wreath too.

Jacki said...

You are one creative woman. I admire that. Thanks so much for posting these ideas...our daughter loves to do crafts and I know she will love doing some of these.

Pieces of Me said...

I think I'll try the skating option. Thanks. I love the yummy wreath.

Megan (FriedOkra) said...

Have I told you lately that I love you?

I love you.

These are SUCH good ideas. And we are SO fresh out of those here!

MommyTime said...

How about these non-snow-dependent ideas: make a puppet theater out of an old box -- refrigerator or oven if you can get it, or a table-top version (then just cover the table with a cloth to hide the kids sitting at it) out of a moving box. Kids can decorate the theater, then make puppets out of brown lunch bags, then give puppet shows. This could take days...

With teens, maybe a cooking contest? Everyone cooks the main dish for dinner, one night at a time, and the family votes on the best? Or a cooking donation activity? Every kid picks a neighbor, one who's lonely, elderly, a single parent, a new mom, facing a rough patch, etc. and plans and makes a meal to take over. You can have family time perusing cooking websites for recipes, making shopping lists, even delivering food. (You could do this with little kids too, as long as you were willing to be the chef.)

Or there's always reading stories aloud. Too many of us think reading aloud should stop once the kids can read to themselves. Try the _Complete Fairy Tales of George MacDonald_ for elementary school kids (complex and beautiful, funny and unexpected, not "babyish") or some classic science fiction like H.G. Wells for older kids.

Babystepper said...

We used to ice skate all the time at the rinks in downtown Gunnison. They would flood the soccer fields every winter and turn them into rinks. There was a pond there, too, that would freeze over. You could even see fish frozen solid into the ice. Great stuff.

I also remember one specific night when we skated after dark, and my toes hurt so bad as they thawed back out at home. I have terrible circulation, which is one reason I will never be an arctic explorer.

Amber said...

You never cease to amaze me. These are all great ideas...they certainly will give me some ammunition for the long days of the winter vacation between the last day of school and Christmas Day! Thank you!

GiftGuru said...

Thank you for the comprehensive list of activities. I think any parent could never have to many activities ready on hand for their wild ones. If you are into crafting, come check out my kids crafts blog:

Kids Crafts

Sonja said...

It is SO nice to come here because you seem like SUCH a nice person! I agree with everyone else that you reign supreme in the realm of good ideas and good taste. It's lucky for me that you are so willing to share. :D

Liza's Eyeview said...

Excellent Post! Thank you so much :)

Scribbit said...

I'm noticing that some people in areas without snow (let's just call them snow-challenged folks) could use some ideas that don't depend on cold weather. This summer I posted kid crafts and activities each Wednesday and you can view those by clicking on the "crafts" label link at the bottom of this post or by going to my sidebar where it says "posts by topic" and clicking "crafts" there. Either way will give you all previous posts that have crafts as their label, including those kid-friendly ones I posted this summer.

Also, on the sidebar under "posts by topic" I have an "indexes" label and that's where I index all my various posts. Clicking there will take you to the "tips and crafts index" and you can view the craft posts by title. A little more compact.

Deb - Mom of 3 Girls said...

What great ideas! We'll have to try some of them - thanks! :)

Cocoa said...

Can we come live at your house? You are so full of good ideas. I think we're going to try the snow molecules. That is so clever!

Lara said...

Lots of fun thingS! Thanks for the list. Now, if only we'd get a decent snowstorm!

Pieces said...

Super ideas! I would do the gumdrop wreath but I would eat all the gumdrops.

MondaythroughSunday said...

Great list!! Love the gumball wreath. Merry Christmas!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I love those ice skates! They sound perfect for me, cold feet and weak ankles and all. If only my Christmas wish list hadn't been sent to Santa yet....

(Of course, I doubt anyone at the rink wants to see a pregnant woman ice skating. So maybe it's best I wait until next year anyway.)

ames said...

Ooh, that 3D snowflake is kickin' I'm all over that! With any luck (and a trip to the craft store) I'll have *something* for your winter bazaar sometime soon too :)

Your kids really are crazy lucky, I hope they know it.

Thea said...

O.K. I totally read "Build a snow fart using your super scooper"...

I imagine that wouldn't be nearly as fun.

Lisa Milton said...

You're a lifesaver.

{I'm pouting about how late they are getting out this year. January is going to feel long...}

Amy said...

I love that gumdrop wreath idea...

Sandy Carlson said...

These are great ideas. I love ideas for activities we can try out and succeed at. That, and I love a good reason to buy gumdrops!

ValleyGirl said...

These are SUCH great ideas!! I've been looking to get more into crafts with my girls because they both love it, but I totally suck. Well, once I know what I'm doing, I'm good, but I'm lacking in the ideas department!

Beck said...

What a wonderful list! I realized that a little town 15 minutes away from us has an outdoor rink, so we have big plans to use it after Christmas.

Mary@notbefore7 said...

LOVE this list! I think I am going to have to do that gumdrop wreath as well as the glitter pinecones! The girls will love the pinecones.

Kerry said...

I've linked to this post and will be using the gumdrop idea (we will make gumdrop Christmas balls, instead). Also, I'm posting a list of the activites we've done or are doing at my blog. Come on by!

Donetta said...

Great Ideas. Hope your enjoying your weekend

K T Cat said...

What great ideas! We dedcided to measure the snow here, too. So far, we've got zero inches here in San Diego.

It's really exciting!

:-)

Kerry said...

Oh, and I've linked to this post in my "Advent Link Love" post for this week. Thanks for the great ideas! I've got an activities post brewing, too!

Sacramento said...

That's really great ideas. :)