With a houseful of extended family, last-minute cooking and sport fandom, entertaining the little ones can easily become an afterthought. You may have meticulously planned out every part of the holiday but forgot to plan activities for the kids. Instead of enduring the day of chaos that will ensue, plan for peace by creating a little holiday fun. Here are three low maintenance activities that require little to no supervision, but will keep the young ones entertained.
Dedicate a vacant corner as a temporary library. You can use books from your own collection, ask each child to bring a few to share or make a trip to your local library beforehand. Make the reading corner comfy and inviting with pillows, blankets, rugs and even stuffed animals. For the best results, make sure to stock a variety of genres and reading levels to accommodate all ages. Comic books, magazines, picture books without text and even search and find books (like Where Is Waldo or I Spy) are perfect for the occasion. If you have younger kids who are still learning to read, consider encouraging the older children to partner up with the emerging readers. You can also set out a few tablets or laptops with online read-alongs, e-books and headphones. Reading is a quiet, educational activity that many children enjoy, especially when they have autonomy in choosing their own book, reading partner and comfy spot to read.
Kids love slime. Scour the internet for a toxic-free, easy-to-make slime recipe and prep a few batches before the big day. Set up a covered table with slime that’s been pre-packed in travel-safe take-home containers. Make sure to provide a marker to label each child’s slime. In small bowls, provide a few options of fun mix-ins like fall or winter colored sequins, confetti, buttons, small styrofoam balls, rock salt or beads. Allow the children be as uniquely creative as they’d like. This long-lasting sensory activity will be a highlight of the day.
*Be mindful of choking hazards for pets and small children.
Prop Photo Booth
What’s better than family pictures? Set up a holiday photo booth and capture some family memories from a child’s perspective. All you need is a few child safe tablets, cell phones or digital cameras and a prop corner. Props can include dress up items, accessories such as hats, glasses, noticeable jewelry and holiday themed items. If you have some extra time and resources, you can even make a backdrop or large picture frame to spice up your photo-booth. Let the kids take as many pictures as they’d like, then create a digital album to share the most adorable ones. Cross-generational photographs are always a treasure, so don’t forget to encourage the kids to take pictures with adult family members as well. This is also the perfect opportunity to get pictures with family members who don’t see each other often.
Setting aside a few moments and a little space to entertain the kids will make all the difference in their holiday experience. Doing so will also make it easier for your adult guests to enjoy themselves without worrying about what their children are up to. Pick an activity or two (or three) and let the good times roll.