Five Holiday Games and Activities

The holidays are coming and kids and adults alike can get caught up in the fun and excitement that comes with time off school, winter fun, and the idea of presents.  Spending time with families and friends can be even more fun for kids when they have games and activities to do.  (They can also be fun for classroom times too.)  Here are a few holiday-themed ideas for games and activities for kids of all ages to celebrate the holiday season:

Candy Cane Ring Toss.  Make sure you have enough candy canes for all the people playing.  Have everyone decorate a base for the candy canes using cardboard so the candy cane stays upright when put on the ground.  Once you have all the candy canes ready, place them around the room with a set spot where kids will throw from (which can be marked with tape if it’s for younger kids who may need a visual cue).  Using rope circles with a bead on them for weight, throw the “ring” and the child gets whatever candy cane it lands on.

Holiday Scavenger Hunt.  There are so many things that are holiday themed that are everywhere for kids to find that this is the type of scavenger hunt that parents (or teachers) don’t necessarily need to set up.  This is also a great way to get kids to think outside their usual holiday zone by focusing on the various holidays taking place at this time.  Have kids look for things like decorated Christmas trees, menorahs, and nutcrackers.  Have kids take part in activities like ice skating, building a snowman, and making hot chocolate, taking pictures for proof of completion.

Candy Cane Ornaments.  Some people do throw on regular candy canes onto the tree, but what if you could make your candy canes into something else?  The trick is to bake your candy canes at a low heat (around 250 degrees F) for about 3-5 minutes which softens them enough that they are now malleable and will allow you to shape them how you like.  As this doesn’t last too long, you won’t want to heat too many up at once or they’ll harden before you have a chance to work with them, but if you do 3-4 at a time, you can likely create all sorts of things out of candy canes that you never thought possible.

Holiday Mad Libs.  Take your favourite holiday stories (whatever holiday you choose here) and remove some of the words, making sure you have a mix of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and so on, then spend a family night (or day in the classroom) asking people to fill in the blanks, reading your favourite stories with the new twist that others have given them.

Make Ice Candles.  What kid doesn’t love fire and ice together?  Ice candles are a way for kids to enjoy both and can make for a very beautiful scene for any meal or evening.  To make the ice candles, you need to fill an empty tin can with rocks and place in a bowl of water.  You want enough rocks that the can is lowered into the water, but not enough that it sinks all the way.  Freeze the water by placing the entire bowl in the freezer.  Once frozen, remove the tin can and the bowl and place the frozen water with a hole in the middle into a bigger, shallow dish (or leave in the bowl if you find your bowl festive).  Place a candle where the tin can was and there you have an ice candle.  One idea is to make many and have them floating in a shallow dish of cold water which will help keep the ice from melting too quickly.  Just don’t expect your candles not to end up in the water once the ice has melted!

By Tracy Cassels

December 14, 2015