22 Things to Do With Your Kids
As we're bombarded with more and more commercialism during the holiday season, it can be easy to lose sight of what this time of year is all about. Don't focus on the gifts and the money this year, but instead remember to spend some quality time with your kids, making holiday traditions and memories.
1. Decorate the Christmas Tree
This is something that every family should do together at some point. Kids will love helping to choose where every ornament goes, and it takes some of the burden off you.
2. Bake Something
Cookies, muffins, cupcakes, and gingerbread men are all great options! Whether you're a whiz in the kitchen, or this is your first rodeo, it's always a good idea to get your kids in the kitchen, learning how to cook for themselves, especially if you're making something from scratch.
3. Visit Santa
Even if you're the busiest person ever, waiting in line to see Santa at the mall is a great way to distract the kids while your other half does some quick toy shopping. Once the toys are dropped off in the car and covered well, mom or dad can come and join you for the photos.
4. Read a Holiday Story
Whether you're skilled at making them up on your own, or you need a few funny books to get the kids interested, start the tradition of reading holiday stories to your kids every year. You can read a short book each night, or start a more mature chapter book and read one chapter each evening. It's a great way to get kids excited about reading.
5. Make an Ornament
You can use construction paper, papier-mâché, plaster, Popsicle sticks, or whatever your creative brain can come up with to make fun homemade ornaments. It's a great tradition to start. Put the year and your child's name on the ornament, and you'll cherish it for years to come.
6. Organize a Neighborhood Snowball Fight
Kids LOVE the snow, and the least you can do is bundle them up once or twice and have a huge snowball fight with them! Teach them a little strategy or have teams to make it a little more interesting for the adults involved.
7. Make a Snowman
As soon as you get a heavy snow, you should take the time to help your kids make a snowman! Provide button eyes and a carrot nose, and play a little Frosty the Snowman music while you work. If you don't get snow, how about making a "sand man" down at the beach?
8. Go Sledding
Again, if you don't get snow, that shouldn't stop you. In most areas of the country, snow is just a few hours away, so if you can't take them sledding on trashcan lids in your backyard, take a Saturday trip to the mountains for snow tubing and organized sledding. They will love it.
9. Help Them Write a Letter to Santa
Let them do their own draft first, and then either leave it in its adorable, unedited state, or make it a learning experience. You can do this by explaining that Santa might not know all the words if they're not spelled correctly, and encourage your kids to look them up in the dictionary!
10. Buy Toys for Children in Need
Teach your kids generosity and selflessness by having them pick out a few new, unwrapped toys for kids and families in need. Explain how some parents can't afford gifts, or maybe say that Santa has trouble finding some kids, so they can help out.
11. Ice Skating
Find a safe and sturdy pond or lake, or a local ice rink and teach your kids to skate. It's a fun afternoon and a good workout!
12. Make Holiday Decorations
All kinds of decorations can be made from home, including living room, kitchen, and bathroom accessories. Update your holiday style with glitter sticks and homemade Mason jar candles with help from your little ones.
13. Make Gingerbread Houses
Whether you end up using store-bought graham crackers, or you actually have the time to make gingerbread, it's the act of making the beautiful house of candy that counts.
14. Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen
It's always a good idea to expose kids to the reality of the world at a young age. Spend an afternoon or two volunteering at a soup kitchen or a local fundraiser to teach them the importance of community service.
15. Go Christmas Caroling
In the neighborhood or at a family gathering, it's always fun to let kids put on a performance for friends and family!
16. Put on a Play
You can reenact A Christmas Story, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, or any other holiday story depending on your kids' preferences. It's also fun to reenact stories from religious celebrations, such as the 8 nights of Hanukkah, or the birth of Jesus. It can be educational and fun!
17. Make Cards for Family Members
Grab some glitter and construction paper and make homemade cards for long-distance cousins or aunts and uncles, and send them off in place of regular store-bought Christmas cards.
18. Go See The Nutcracker
A timeless classic that's always worth the visit, seeing The Nutcracker ballet is a great way to spend an afternoon with the kids!
19. Daily Advent Scavenger Hunt
Make a secretive scavenger hunt with something to find or do each day. Whether you have them help out cleaning the house, finding a treat in kitchen, or something more elaborate, it's a really fun way to help your kids decipher clues and get in the holiday spirit!
20. See the Christmas Lights
As it gets closer to Christmas, take a drive around the neighborhood to see all of the lights in the area.
21. Help Decorate the Community
Community centers and public buildings often ask for help from local community members to decorate, so volunteer with your kids and spend a few hours in organized chaos!
22. DIY Advent Calendar
Whether or not you do the scavenger hunt, you should definitely create an advent calendar that your kids can help with. Hide all of the "treats" inside first, whether it's chocolate or toys, and let them color or design the outside.
If you're looking for last-minute toys and books, you can always count on The Lakeside Collection to complete your holiday list. Shop here to find more ideas for kids this season.