25 Holiday Activities the Kids Will Love

Caroline Olney | Nov 25, 2014 Big Kid

The ring-ting-tingling bells of the holiday season are slowly growing louder, and it's WONDERFUL. The holiday spirit hits homes on December 1 exactly, and this year you can be prepared to count down to Christmas with 25 holiday activities to do with kids.

These can be printed out and slipped into different days on an advent calendar or pulled from a jar each morning. Kids can even take turns choosing one item off the list each day. Whichever way you try it, there's tons of fun in store for the whole family.

kids ready for christmas fun

What are your favorite activities to do with kids during the holidays?


Images © iStock.com/maximkabb; Sunny studio/shutterstock

  • Make a 'Things We Love' Paper Garland


    It's a great time to recognize that you're lucky to have people and things you love in your life. For this activity, simply cut out strips of paper in wintry colors and have kids write out all the things they love and then connect the rings together into a garland using tape, glue, or staples. You can do this in an afternoon or write one a day until the season is over. Either way, it's a pretty holiday decoration and an important exercise in gratitude for kids.

  • Make Kid-Designed Wrapping Paper


    Let kids loose with markers and a couple large sheets of paper. Come back in 20 minutes and voila -- custom wrapping paper that grandparents are guarenteed to love.

  • Host a Cookie Decorating Party


    Cookie decorating is a must during the holidays, and it can be even more fun for kids if all their friends are invited, too. Bake some sugar cookies ahead of time and ask each friend to bring a bowl with one edible topping to share with everyone.

  • Make Pine Cone Bird Treats


    Always a favorite for kids and birds alike. All you need for this wintry and all-natural bird feeder is some pine cones, peanut butter, and birdseed. Spread the peanut butter in the open petals of the pine cone (hint: if the petals are closed, stick the pine cone in the oven at 300 degrees for a couple minutes). Roll the whole thing in birdseed, and hang with twine.

  • Create a Family Holiday Playlist


    Have everyone in your family pick out their favorite seasonal tunes and add them to one huge family playlist. Hit shuffle and enjoy a soundtrack tailor-made to your family that will last the whole season.

  • Send Cards or Care Packages to Troops Overseas


    Sending cards or packages to troops overseas is a wonderful way to say thank you to all the servicemen and women deployed during the holidays. Have the kids draw a card saying "thank you" or pick out useful items to send to those away from their families this season.

  • Decorate With Paper Snowflakes


    Paper snowflakes are so easy to make and always look beautiful, especially when hung from the ceilings or in front of windows. The more, the merrier!

  • Go Caroling


    A Christmas classic! Learn the words to a couple favorite carols, bundle up, and head out to share the holiday joy with the neighbors. If you have a few spotlight-shy stars in your family, even just singing together as a family at home is a fun way to bond in the name of the Christmas spirit.

  • Draw Your Family Tree


    This is the time of year to celebrate family, and what better way than to teach your kids about their geneology? Have the kids call up their extended family and ask them about their childhoods. Write down some details and turn it into a big family tree to hang up.

  • Draw Christmas Cards


    Spend one afternoon with your kids drawing Christmas cards to send out to family and friends. Not only is it cheaper, the child's touch brings way more life to these cards than buying them in a store. Plus, it's fun and Grandma and Grandpa love getting the grandkids' art!

  • Make a Wreath Craft


    There are so many ways to turn holiday wreaths into kid-friendly crafts. Some are elegant, some simple, and some straight-up silly, but they're all great ways to spend the afternoon with kids.

  • Make a Gingerbread Version of Your House


    For this fun twist on a classic craft, you can make your own gingerbread or modify a store-bought kit. Adjust the size and shape of the walls to match your own house, and decorate it to look like home!

  • Play With Snow


    If you live somewhere where it snows, you can turn the backyard into a blank canvas by filling spray bottles or plastic water bottles with dyed water and squirting onto snow.

    If it doesn't snow where you are, that doesn't mean you can't have fun, too! Making homemade snow to play with inside is easy -- just mix 2 parts baking soda to 1 part hair conditioner.

  • Turn Old Jars Into Snow Globes


    These gorgeous little pieces take an artistic touch, but they can be the perfect addition to the holiday decorations. Build a small wintry scene on the inside lid of a recycled jar, add some glitter, then screw the jar on upside-down.

  • Turn Decorating the Christmas Tree into an All-Day Event


    Decorating the Christmas tree is fun no matter what, but it can be turned into an extra special event. Start off the day by going out and choosing the perfect tree to chop down. Cook a special dinner complete with eggnog or cider and tree-inspired desserts, then hang up the ornaments as a family. Afterward, light a fire or plug in the Christmas lights and have a family slumber party underneath the new tree!

  • Take Turns Reading Holiday Stories


    Let everybody in the family choose their favorite holiday storybook and take turns reading them out loud to everybody else. It's a great way to practice reading for little ones and an even better tradition to continue next year.

  • Decorate Stockings


    Plain stockings can turn into masterpieces and keepsakes with a little fabric paint and whatever else you can come up with to include. Help the kids paint Christmas-y designs and hang them by the chimney for Santa to fill up as Christmas gets closer.

  • Gelt Scavenger Hunt


    Turn the traditional giving of Hanukkah gelt into a fun scavenger hunt for kids. Have a trail of the coins lead to an even bigger pile of chocolate or even one of their Hanukkah gifts.

  • Donate Clothes and Gifts


    The holidays are a great time to remember those less fortunate. Have everyone in your family (that means you, too!) go through their closet and toy box and put aside everything they don't wear or use anymore. Donate it all to a homeless shelter, charity, or toy drive.

  • Make a Cranberry and Popcorn Garland


    String together cranberries and popcorn to create a traditional garland to hang around your tree. Use a needle and fishing line or wax thread to string everything together.

  • Backyard Bonfire


    December 21 is the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year. Why not celebrate with a bonfire in the backyard? Just because it's winter doesn't mean you can't break out the crackers, marshmallows, and candy canes and toast up some seasonal s'mores.

  • Check Out the Christmas Lights


    Take a drive and find out who has the best Christmas lights in the neighborhood. Even cuter: Make an award or trophy and give it to the family who wins.

  • Write Letters to Family Members


    Put all the names of your family in a hat and have everyone draw one. Each person writes a letter to the person they drew about why they're so special. Seal the letters and open them on Christmas morning.

  • Bake and Decorate Christmas Treats


    There are a million holiday treats to bake! Take an afternoon and try them all. Sugar cookies and gingerbread men are a must, of course, but there are tons of creative Christmas dessert options, too.

  • Make Reindeer Food


    Sure, Santa gets his milk and cookies. But did you ever think that reindeer get hungry on Christmas Eve, too? Mix together one part uncooked oats to one part sugar and a little colored sugar or sprinkles (skip the glitter -- it can be harmful to animals) for decoration. Sprinkle outside the night before Christmas to give the reindeer a treat!