As much as the holidays can be a magical time for small children, there tends to be entirely too much waiting for them to do. Especially when you’re busy cleaning, cooking and entertaining guests! We have some ideas for keeping the kids busy, ones that will hopefully minimise mess  and carpet stains as well!

Easy activities for much younger children

Pass the Parcel

Easy, if a little messy, this game requires a some prep and someone on hand to stop and start the music. However, it’s fun and easy for small children! Take a small item and wrap it several times in different papers (it’s a good re-use of newspaper if you have it) and tape it well. The parcel gets passed around the circle and when the music stops, the person holding it can tear off a layer. The person who tears off the last layer gets to keep the prize! It can be a pair of silly socks or small toy. Or, if you want to minimise the amount of ‘things’ that kids are receiving, you could explain that inside the parcels are things that you’re going to leave Santa, like a packet of carrots for the reindeer or biscuits.

Pin the Nose on Rudolph

Easily understood and fun to watch, we love ‘Pin the nose on Rudolph’! Red circular stickers are much easier that trying to put a ‘pin’ in a pompom, but younger children might need a little help peeling the backing off. It’s a great chance for older kids to help the younger ones!

Find Santa’s Friends

Similar to an Easter egg hunt, you can hide small figures (reindeer, elves, snowmen) around the house and task the kids with finding all of them. If the game is going quite quickly, there’s no problem with hiding a few extra in the middle of play!


Holiday games that everyone can enjoy

Candy Canes

Ideal for kids ages 5 and up, this simple card game (an adaptation of Spoons) is a fun way to have kids join in a game that adults can enjoy. You need at least 3 players (but more the merrier!) and a deck of cards. Sit in a circle around a pile of candy canes on a table or the floor (one less than the number of players). Everyone starts with four cards and takes turns pulling a new card and replacing one of their current cards with the goal to be the first to get four of a kind (four Kings, four 10s). Once you do, take a candy cane as sneakily as possible. If you notice someone else has taken a candy cane, quickly try to take one as well. The person who doesn’t get a candy cane is eliminated. Do this until one winner remains.

Christmas Carol Pictionary

A classic game sure to induce laughter, this seasonal Pictionary game is perfect for including all members of the family. You’ll need an egg time and pre-prepared cards with well-known carols on them. It’s best to put a pile of easier ones for the younger members of the family, and of course you can always play the carol after it has been guessed!

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