The 2020 festive season is shaping up to look a lot different to Christmases past, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. For obvious reasons, we may not be able to get out with our kids and go to Christmas markets and festivals, visit friends and family in their homes, or Father Christmas in his grotto.
But that doesn’t mean your Christmas has to be boring or dull! We’ve made a list of 21 brilliant festive activities that you can do with your kids this Christmas, pandemic or no pandemic. These games and crafts were designed with kids in mind, but there’s no doubt that Mum and Dad will have fun too.
1) Salt Dough Christmas Tree Ornaments
You can use home-made salt dough to make fun Christmas tree ornaments that you can really hang on the tree! Mix 4 cups of flour with 1 cup of table salt and 1 ½ cups of water. Add food colouring to make the dough colourful, if you wish. Then, roll out the dough and cut out fun shapes such as snowflakes and stars – making sure to leave a little hole for the string. Bake your creations at 150 degrees Celcius for roughly one hour, until they’re hard. Leave to cool, paint, varnish, and hang them up!
2) Gingerbread House Building
Gingerbread houses are a combination of craft and baking. They can be tricky to get right, but there’s no doubt that they’re a lot of fun, even when things go wrong! If you’re feeling particularly creative, why not make a gingerbread castle instead of a house? If the little ones are Frozen fans, go crazy decorating it in ice-blue and white icing, and lots of edible glitter.
3) Christmas Movie Bingo
Christmas movie classics such as Elf, Home Alone and Miracle on 34th Street simply never get old, no matter how many times you watch them. To make a Christmas movie marathon even more fun for kids, create a ‘Christmas Movie Bingo’ game full of things they’re bound to spot – such as snow, Father Christmas, Christmas trees, and a turkey dinner. When they’ve spotted one of each item, they get a prize!
4) Make Your Own Fake Snow
Most of us in the U.K. rarely get to enjoy a ‘white Christmas’. Fortunately, it’s cheap and easy to make your own fake snow at home! The kids will love making the snow and playing with it afterwards- you can even make your own mini-snowmen at the kitchen table. Simply add 3 cupfuls of baking soda into a bowl, and add roughly half a cup of white hair conditioner. Mix together with your hands until it forms a fluffy, snow-like consistency. If you’re doing this with young children, supervise them at all times, as it’s not edible.
5) Winter Woodland Walk
Winter woodland walks may not be as popular as spring or autumn walks, but they can still be a lot of fun. Dress everyone up warm in hats, scarves and gloves, and head out to your local scenic spot. You can even create a scavenger hunt for your kids to follow, or collect things to create a picture with at home – such as feathers, twigs, pine cones and needles, holly berries and fallen leaves.
6) Christmas Pebble Painting
Pebble and stone painting is a simple and straightforward craft that anyone can take part in. All you’ll need is some large pebbles or smooth rocks, and some acrylic paints or paint pens. Have fun painting a Christmas design onto each one with the kids, and seal them using a spray sealant. Then, either display them as Christmas ornaments around your home, or hide them around your neighbourhood for strangers to find!
7) Gingerbread Men and Reindeer
Gingerbread men are super tasty, easy to make, and lots of fun to decorate. If you’re not up to making your own, you can buy boxes of pre-made gingerbread men, ready for the kids to decorate with icing, sprinkles and sweets. But did you know that gingerbread men can also be decorated like reindeer? Simply turn them upside down – the legs become the antlers, the arms become the ears, and the head becomes the reindeer’s face!
8) Charity Christmas Boxes
Christmas should be a time of giving, and thinking of those that are less fortunate than you. A fun way to get the kids involved in charitable giving is by making some christmas boxes full of toys and treats to give to the poor and the needy. You can do this through your local food bank, or an organisation such as Operation Christmas Child. Or simply make a box for someone in your neighbourhood that might be alone this Christmas.
9) Christmas Lights Tour
One evening, take your little ones on a tour of all of the Christmas lights in town. You can either go in a car, or on foot – we’d advise avoiding public transport this year, if possible. To make the activity even more exciting, bring along a couple of instant cameras (such as Polaroid or Instax) and let the kids take photos of all the lights that they see. Stick your pictures into a big Christmas scrapbook.
10) Christmas Character 20 Questions
Think of as many Christmas characters as you can – such as Santa, Rudolph, the Grinch, Ebenezer Scrooge, Frosty the Snowman, etc. Write them all down on pieces of card, and place the cards face-down on the table. When it’s your turn, pick a card (and keep it to yourself). All other players have to try and figure out who your character is, by asking 20 questions.
11) Hook a Candy Cane Game
This is a simple, fun game that only requires a big bowl of candy canes. Each contestant holds a candy cane in their mouth, upside down (so that the hooked end is facing downwards). Then, everyone tries to ‘hook’ as many candy canes out of the bowl as possible, and onto their own plates. There’s a prize for whoever manages to hook the most!
12) DIY Snow Paint
If it’s lucky enough to snow where you live, this simple and easy craft will keep the kids entertained for a whole day. Simply fill several plastic spray bottles with a mixture of food colouring and water to make DIY snow aint. Dress up warm and head outside, and have fun spraying the snow rainbow colours!
13) Pin the Nose on Rudolph
The classic party game, pin the tail on the donkey, has had a festive makeover! Craft a giant reindeer from coloured paper, and stick it on the wall. Everyone in the family can take turns trying to pin Rudolph’s red nose in the right spot – while blindfolded, of course. Don’t forget to have a prize ready for the winner.
14) Christmas Message Bauble Hunt
All you’ll need for this Christmas-themed version of an easter egg hunt is a stash of baubles and some acrylic paint. Prepare this game in the evening, while your little ones are in bed. Paint each bauble with a letter, to spell out a secret message (such as ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Season’s Greetings’). Then, hide the baubles all over the house! Your kids will have a great time hunting for the baubles and unscrambling the secret message. When they’re finished, you can hang the baubles up on the tree or as a garland.
15) Paper Snowflakes
Paper snowflakes are easy to make, and like real snowflakes, no two are exactly the same. All you’ll need is a pair of child-safe scissors and several squares of white paper. Fold the paper into a triangle and cut out lots of tiny shapes. Your little ones will be entertained for hours, cutting and opening their snowflakes and seeing what designs they can make.
16) Snowman Bowling
All you’ll need for this fun Christmas game is a stash of tin cans or cardboard tubes. If you’re using tins, make sure there are no sharp edges that might pose a hazard. Paint your tins or tubes white, and get the kids involved decorating them as snowmen by sticking on paper eyes, noses and buttons. Then, stack your snowmen bowling pins high, and take turns tossing a ball at them! Who can knock down the most pins?
17) Home-Made Christmas Wreaths
Remember the woodland walk that we mentioned earlier? Use this opportunity to gather supplies to make your own, handmade Christmas wreaths! Collect fir and pine tree branches, pine cones, holly, berries, and any other greenery that you can find. Then attach everything to a wire ring, or a ring made of florists’ foam. The kids can go wild sticking on bells, bows, and baubles!
18) Hot Chocolate Party
Hot chocolate is the classic Christmas drink, enjoyed by little ones and grown-ups alike. But instead of serving the powdered, just-add-water kind, why not have a mini hot chocolate party? Gather ingredients such as chocolate buttons, sprinkles, candy canes, chopped nuts, whipped cream, caramel sauce, and flavoured syrups to add (mint, orange, cherry, etc.). Have your kids help you make the hot chocolate from scratch (by stirring grated chocolate into hot milk), and let them choose their own toppings.
19) Christmas Pizza Decorating
Have a mini festive-themed pizza party with your kids. Gather lots of red and green toppings (such as pepperoni, red and green peppers, green olives, spinach, and tomatoes) beforehand. Form your dough into a festive shape such as a snowman, a Christmas tree, or a wreath, and let your kids get busy decorating! What about a candy cane-shaped pizza with cheese and pepperoni stripes?
20) Socially Distanced Carol Singing
Carol singing usually involves standing on someone’s doorstep while you belt out your favourite Christmas tunes. Unfortunately, this year, we’ve got to make sure we stay at least 2 metres apart from others – but that doesn’t mean carolling is off the table completely. Give your friends and family a ring to let them know you’re coming, and then stand outside their garden gate while you sing!
21) Make Your Own Christmas Cards
In 2020, we may not be able to see our loved ones as often as we’d like – so Christmas cards are even more important than ever. Making your own, home-made cards is a great way to let loved ones know that you’re thinking of them and that you miss them. Stock up on multi-coloured card, pens, glitter and decorations, and let the kids get stuck in. Or for a more personal touch, check out our range of photo upload cards, and decorate the inside instead!