Tips & Toys | Christmas activities











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Dear Santa:

  1. This game is a variation of the listening game “we are going on holiday and….”
  2. Start the game by saying: “Dear Santa, this Christmas I would like puppy.”
  3. Your child then adds an item to the list, saying: “Dear Santa, this Christmas I would like a puppy and a teddy bear.”
  4. See how many items your child can remember in sequence.


Find the bell:

  1. Blindfold all your children.
  2. Walk around ringing a bell and let the children try to find you.
  3. The first child to catch you now gets to ring the bell and has to try his/her best to stay out of the way of the other players while ringing the bell.


Christmas memory game:

For this game you will need twenty cards with Christmas themed pictures (make sure that you have two cards with the same picture on the back, but do not repeat the same picture on more than two cards). Lay the cards on a table or on the floor with the pictures face down. Players take turns flipping over two cards. They must try to remember where the pictures are. Once a child finds a match they pick up the cards and keep them until the game is over. The person with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner.


Snap:

  1. Use your Christmas cards to play SNAP. Sequencing:
  2. Make sure that you and your child each have one set of cards.
  3. Place three cards in sequence and let your child look at the pattern for ten seconds. Cover the sequence and let your child copy it with their set of cards.
  4. Increase the number of pictures until your child can remember ten in a row.


Pin the star on the Christmas tree:

This game is just like “pin the tail on the donkey”. You will need to create a large picture of a Christmas tree and several paper stars. Stick the picture of the Christmas tree on the wall and place a piece of prestik on each star. Blindfold your child, spin him/her around a few times and then have him/her attempt to get their star onto the picture of the Christmas tree. You can give clues such as “a little bit to the left, up, down or to the right”.


Musical Statues:

Let your children dance around the room while you play some Christmas carols. When the music stop your child has to freeze in the position s/he is in. The first child to move is out of the game. Continue until only one child is left.


Pass the parcel:

  1. You will need a small present wrapped in numerous layers of wrapping paper. Secure each layer of the parcel with glue, string or elastic. You can also place a small gift in each layer of the parcel.
  2. Let all your children sit in a circle. Let them pass the parcel around while you play some Christmas carols.
  3. When the music stops the child holding the parcel get to unwrap one layer.
  4. Continue until all the layers are unwrapped.


Musical Chairs:

  1. Place a number of chairs in a single row (one chair less than the number of children playing), each chair facing the opposite direction to the one next to it.
  2. Let the children form a ring around the chairs.
  3. Play some Christmas carols while the children walk around the row of chairs.
  4. Stop the music without warning.
  5. When the music stops the children has to sit down on the chairs.
  6. The child without a chair is eliminated from the game.
  7. Continue the game until only one child is left.


Christmas card picture puzzle:

Draw puzzle pieces over old Christmas cards and let your child cut out the pieces. Mix them together and let your child build the puzzles. Increase the number and sizes of the pieces to increase the level of difficulty.


Twinkle Twinkle:

  1. You will need cardboard or old x-rays for your stencils, black paper and white paint.
  2. Cut out stars in the cardboard/x-rays for your child to use as stencil.
  3. Let them paint white stars, using the stencil, on the black paper.


Stained glass windows for candles:

  1. Give your child a piece of black cardboard, folded in quarters.
  2. Let your child cut out interesting shapes out of the folded sides of the cardboard.
  3. Open up the cardboard and let your child glue/tape pieces of different coloured cellophane over the cut out shapes for a very colourful effect.
  4. Fold each side of the card (about 2cm) over so that the card can balance and place a birthday candle behind the stained glass window.


Christmas place mats:

  1. Give each child a piece of thick cardboard in the desired size.
  2. Have different art mediums handy: crayons, felt pens, collage materials etc.
  3. Let each child decorate his/her own place mat.
  4. When they are done cover the place with modge podge or decoupage or have it laminated.


Paper chains:

  1. Help your child use his/her ruler to mark out lengths of paper about 5cm wide by 20xm long.
  2. Let your child cut out the strips.
  3. Show your child how to fold over the first piece to form a loop and then staple it closed. Remind them to always use the stapler flat on a table and to press it down hard with both hands until they hear two clicks.
  4. Let them loop and staple all the strips together until the chain is long enough to use as decoration.


Christmas Hats:

  1. Show your child how to cut strips (60cm long and 5-8cm wide) out of crepe paper.
  2. Let them cut triangles out of the edge of each hat to make them look like crowns.
  3. Let your child cut out pictures of old Christmas paper and cards to decorate the hats with.
  4. Show them how to apply glue lightly and sprinkle glitter while the glue is still wet.
  5. When the strips of decorated crepe paper are dry, measure the family’s heads and glue the ends together to make them into lovely Christmas hats.


Snowflakes:

  1. Show your child how to cut squares into different coloured and textured paper.
  2. Fold each square into a triangle and then fold it again.
  3. Cut out some notches along the edges – when you open them up you will have beautiful snowflakes.
  4. Let them hang in front of your window or use them to decorate your Christmas tree.


Christmas Tree Ornaments:

  1. Mix 3 cups of plain flower with 1 cup of salt and 1 teaspoon of glycerine. Pour in 1 cup of water, stirring as you add it. Mix until the mixture is fairly stiff and let your child knead the mixture until it is smooth.
  2. Let your child roll out the dough or simply push it flat with his/her fingers until it is 1cm thick.
  3. Give your child different shaped cookie cutters to push out different shapes. Show him/her how to make a hold near the top of each shape with a nail so that they can hang the decoration.
  4. Put the shapes on a baking tray and bake slowly in the oven until they are hard.
  5. When the dough is dried, let your child paint the decorations.


Angels:

  1. Show your child how to cut through to the centre of a gold or silver doily.
  2. Bend it into a tight cone and stable at the back. Cut off what is left over.
  3. Smooth out a milk silver milk bottle top for the halo.
  4. Cut a smaller circle out of cardboard and draw the angel’s face on it. Staple the face and the halo to the tip of the cone.
  5. Let your child cut arms and hands from a folded piece of silver foil.
  6. Fold a second doily in half and cut out a wing shape.
  7. Staple the arms and wings to the back of the cone.
  8. Pull the arms forward and spread out the wings.
  9. Attach thread at the back and hang the angels on the Christmas tree.


Tree Frieze:

  1. Using green crepe paper cut the crepe paper into long strips and roll each strip up loosely.
  2. Flatten the strip and cut it into a tree shape. Be careful to leave some of the fold uncut on both sides to keep the frieze together.


Candle Holder:

  1. Let your child trace the shape of the wise man onto a card.
  2. Let your child cut out, draw on faces and decorate, using paint, scraps of material, beads and sequins. Give each of the three wise men a different gift.
  3. Stick the wise men to candle holders with a piece of prestik.


Communication pictures:

You and your child will both need a clipboard, a piece of paper and crayons or pencils for this game. Sit back to back. Tell your child what you are drawing, e.g. “I am drawing a yellow sun in the top left hand corner of the page.” Your child has to listen carefully and draw exactly the same thing on their paper. Continue the game until your picture is complete. Compare pictures. Now it is your child’s turn to be the speaker and your turn to be the listener.


Wrapping paper:

You will need three spray bottles with food colouring or powder paint in yellow, red and blue. Stick a piece of unprinted newspaper on an outside wall or peg the paper to the washing line. Let your child spray the paper with the spray bottles, mixing the colours. Use the paper to wrap your presents with – letting your child help wrap family and friend’s gifts.

  1. Place two kitchen sponges, one with red paint poured onto it and one with green paint poured onto it on a plate.
  2. Cut some large potatoes in half and carefully cut out some simple Christmas shapes out of them with a sharp knife. The shapes must stick out at least 2cm above the rest of the potato half.
  3. Let your child press the potato onto the paint and then print with it on unprinted newspaper.
  4. While the paint is wet, sprinkle a little gold or silver glitter on to add a festive touch.


Christmas Cards:

Begin by cutting (or letting your child cut) white cardboard into the desired sizes. If the cards are to be posted, make sure they will fit comfortably into a standard envelope. If they are to go with gifts, let your child cut small rectangles or squares to attach as gift tags. Let your child punch a hole in the corner of each gift tag. Decorate the cards by drawing, painting or using stamps, adding some glitter while the paint is still wet.


Christmas newspaper:

Let your children help you compile a family newspaper to send to family and friends. Build a collage with family pictures and add interesting news about your year.


Holiday Scrapbook:

  1. While you are on holiday save all the memorabilia, such as entry tickets, photos and postcards.
  2. Let your child assemble all the mementos and photos and glue them in a scrapbook in chronological order.


Gingerbread Men:

Cream ½ cup of sugar and 125g butter, then add 1 egg and beat well. Sift 1 cup plain flour with ½ teaspoon baking soda and 2 teaspoons ground ginger into the mix. Using a floured roller, roll out the gingerbread on a floured board. Let your child help you cut out the gingerbread men. Help them lift the gingerbread men with a lifter onto a greased oven tray. Give your child mixed fruit or chocolate bits to decorate their gingerbread men. Bake the gingerbread men in a moderate oven at 180°C for 15-20 minutes.


Christmas Stars:

Using a large bowl let your child rub 90g softened butter into 1¼ cups of plain flower until it resembles fine crumbs. Mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 1 tablespoon of water and add to the flower mixture to form a firm dough. Let your child lightly knead the dough on a floured board until it is smooth. Wrap the dough in some plastic food wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour. Show your child how to roll out the dough until it is about 4-5mm thick. Cut the dough into 6cm squares. Using a small knife, cut from the corner of each square almost to the centre. Carefully fold the right-hand corner of each section in to meet at the centre. Press firmly so they stay down. Put a little strawberry/raspberry jam in the centre of each star and glaze the stars with lightly beaten egg white using a brush. Bake on an ungreased baking tray for 10 minutes in a moderate oven.


Welcome Ring:

Help your child to bend a wire coat hanger into a circle. Let your child wind long strips of crepe paper around the wire and secure with sticky tape. Let your child wind a length of tinsel garland loosely around the hanger and tie on Christmas roses. Let your child cut out two bellshapes out of silver foil. Staple the bells to thin strips of crepe paper and hand them in the centre of the circle. Add a big bow of paper at the top, letting the trimmed ends hang down.