With Christmas just around the corner and children off school for the next few weeks, it can be hard to find ways to keep them entertained. While going outside is still super important, it might not always be the most appealing thing for little ones when it’s so cold and the days feel much shorter. With this in mind we have put together a few creative activities which are sure to keep the kids happy over the coming weeks - whatever the weather!
Making reindeer food
This activity is fun all round and will promote fine motor skills. It also can be used for early maths to look at measurements and weight.
All you’ll need to make delicious reindeer food for when Santa and his sleigh visit on Christmas Eve is:
- Plastic bags
- Oats (25g per bag)
- Sprinkles (10g per bag)
- Any other seeds such as chia (15g per bag) - be careful of allergies before carrying out this activity
- Measuring spoons for measuring the oats and seeds into the bags
- Drawing and writing utensils to write a note to the reindeer's
What to do:
- Lay out all ingredients and utensils needed.
- Encourage the children to measure out a few spoonfuls of each into the plastic bags. This is where it is really good to encourage early math skills. If you have measuring spoons it will help also as you can discuss the numbers, adding, subtracting etc.
- Close the plastic bag and tie with ribbon
- Shake to mix
- Write or draw a lovely picture for the reindeer
Get little ones to help decorate these festive snowman biscuits. You can bake and freeze the biscuits ahead, then bring them out for a winter’s day activity. Even better if they can get involved with baking! Explore textures, colour, and early math and literacy skills with a fun Christmas baking activity!
- 125g butter, softened
- 125g golden caster sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
For the decoration:
- 400g white fondant icing
- icing sugar, for dusting
- 100g pack mixed red, yellow, black and blue ready-to-roll icing
- tube white icing, for sticking
- tube black icing
- Heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour and mix to a fairly soft dough. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently. Put the dough on a plate, cover and chill for at least 2 hrs.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of around 0.5cm. Use a cookie cutter or water glass to stamp out 7cm rounds. Re-roll the trimmings and repeat
- Transfer the biscuits to two lined baking trays and bake for 8-14 mins until the edges turn lightly golden in colour. Leave to cool.
- To decorate, roll out the white fondant icing on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar. Stamp out 7cm circles using the same cookie cutter or glass as before, then use a dab of the white tube of icing to stick a fondant round on each biscuit.
- Knead together some of the yellow and blue icing to make green icing, then do the same with the red and yellow icing to make orange (alternatively, buy separate packs of each colour). Roll out one icing colour at a time. Stamp out a 7cm circle of icing, cut in half and stick on for a hat. Cut a strip of another colour and make some markings to make it look like the elasticated band of a hat, then trim to fit and stick on. Repeat with all the biscuits, mixing and matching colours.
- Decorate the hats with icing spots and stripes, if you like. Roll out balls of coloured icing, poke holes all over with a cocktail stick and stick on as pom poms. Mould lumpy balls of the orange icing for noses and roll out balls of the black icing for eyes. Press down to flatten, then stick on with white icing. Use the tube of black icing to pipe rows of dots for the smiles. Leave to set. Will keep for up to five days in an airtight container.
(Note: It is super important to encourage the children to be creative and try rolling the icing and decorating themselves as it promotes their autonomy and independence!
This is a super easy creative activity to do with children over the Christmas holidays and it is always special when parents receive a cute card that their child created all by themselves. Making Christmas cards promotes children’s creative, fine motor skills and early literacy skills and it is a great opportunity to practice early writing.
What you’ll need:
- Coloured card
- Crayons or markers
- Glue (or glitter glue if you have it)
- Glitter or stickers
What to do:
- Lay out all the materials
- Fold the card in half- promote the children to do this themselves and guide them through the process
- Encourage the children to create a lovely Christmas picture for their card - it could be a tree, snowman, a picture of their family, presents etc
- Decorate the front of the card with any stickers, glitter
- Allow to dry
- Encourage the children to write or draw a message to who they are giving the card to
Christmas tree ornaments
This is a super fun activity to promote children’s creativity and imagination while also focusing on fine motor skills.
What you’ll need:
- Air dry clay or make your own
- Cookie cutters
- Ribbon or string
What to do:
- Roll out the air dry clay
- Allow the children to select what cookie cutter they would like to use
- Encourage the children to cut out the shapes they’d like. You’ll need to make a hole at the top to thread the ribbon through when they are dry
- Allow to dry overnight
- The next day get decorating your ornament
- Encourage the children to thread the ribbon through and tie
- Decorate your tree with your lovely new ornaments
We hope these activities will give you some inspiration of fun things to do with your children over the holidays which will not only keep them entertained but encourage their development. Let us know how your creations turn out or if you have any other suggestions that we can share with your fellow parents and nannies.