I recently heard a quote that said, “When you grow up, you realize the magic you felt during the holiday season was all because your parents worked so hard to make it special.” And it’s true—from the aroma of warm cookies in the oven to familiar holiday movies, the most wonderful time of the year is oftentimes made up of cherished traditions and festive activities with our loved ones.
If you’re looking to get into the spirit of the season and create lasting memories with your children, look no further. I searched high and low and tested some of the best holiday activities for you and your family to try this December.
Play snow: This sensory activity is a fun way for your children to experience “snow” if you live in a warm climate. There are several ways to do it, but we prefer to use ½ cup of white hair conditioner and 3 cups of baking soda—this packs very well and can be used to build your very own snowmen that won’t melt in the warmth of your home.
Snowman button counting: Practice math and fine motor skills this holiday season with snowmen—no snow required. Build your snowmen with construction paper and label each with a different number, and have your child match the correct number of buttons with each snowman.
Peppermint oobleck: Is it a solid? Is it a liquid? It’s both! To create this mystery goop, all you need is corn starch and water. Once mixed, you’ll see that at rest, it’s a liquid. But once your children’s hands start squeezing and quickly tapping at the mixture, it will thicken and feel like a solid. Throw in some peppermints or crushed candy canes to add a holiday twist and a delightful scent to this timeless sensory activity.
More holiday fun:
Chocolate sea salt rugelach: This recipe is easy to follow, and these tiny rolled, chocolate-filled pastries will have your taste-testers saying, “Wow!” Plus, your kids can help you throughout the process from rolling the dough to sprinkling the tops with colorful sprinkles.
Mexican wedding cookies: A holiday crowd pleaser at our local fire department, this cookie is a delightful, nutty, buttery treat. Once out of the oven, get a bowl full of powdered sugar and let your kids help coat the cookies for the finished product.
Runner-up recipes to try:
Fingerprint Christmas lights: All you need is paper or a canvas, a black marker to draw the light strand, and finger paints to create the lights. Not only does this activity help them practice fine motor skills, but it also creates a precious keepsake that you can enjoy for holidays to come.
Star of David suncatcher: Grab a paper plate, some popsicle sticks, tissue paper, and a ribbon to create a unique decoration that will dazzle your children as the sunlight shines through the translucent paper.
More crafts to get you in the spirit:
“The Crayons’ Christmas:” This interactive book follows Duncan and his crayons, who send handwritten holiday cards and punch-out activities to show how they celebrate the season. For a fun, lighthearted addition to your holiday books that will even have adults chuckling, check out “The Crayons’ Christmas.”
“How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah?:” In this book, dinosaurs celebrate the Festival of Lights while finding mischief along the way. This one is sure to have your kids laughing as they follow the dinosaurs throughout the celebrations.
Keep on reading:
- “Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa: A Kwanzaa Holiday Book for Kids”
- “The Christmas Blessing”
- “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Sleigh”
- “The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story”
“Christmas with the Kranks:” My top pick, and in my opinion, the best of the Tim Allen holiday movie options. This film is based on the John Grisham book “Skipping Christmas,” and chronicles a couple who decides to skip Christmas and go on a luxury cruise when their daughter leaves for Peru. But when she unexpectedly announces she’ll return for the holiday, the whole community comes together to create a fun celebration they’ll never forget.
“Full-Court Miracle:” In this film, a group of young Jewish basketball players search for a coach who can help them turn around their losing streak. Set during the Hanukkah season and based on the true story of Lamont Carr, this inspiring film shares the importance of helping others and is a must-see for families.
More movies to add to your watchlist:
- “The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas”
- “Miracle on 34th Street”
- “The Polar Express”
- “Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever” (New on Disney+)
- “Dashing Through the Snow” (New on Disney+)
No matter which activities you choose, your children will love the time spent together as a family celebrating the holiday season. Be sure to tag us on TikTok @LearningLiftoff if you share videos of your family trying one of the activities above! We can’t wait to see you and your loved ones having fun and getting into the spirit of the holidays.
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