25 Fun, Memory Making Activities For This December Holiday
We all look forward to a quiet, peaceful December Holiday to recharge and rest after a long, hard year. A holiday filled with sleep-ins, suntans, drinks with friends and long afternoon naps, but as mothers we know that this will likely remain but a wish on our Christmas Wishlist for the next 16 years. The kind of expectation vs reality thing. Yes, for us moms holidays mean getting up at ridiculous hours (because for some reason our toddlers who couldn’t wake up early for school now thinks 5 AM is a reasonable time to wake the household), cleaning ALL day (and then giving up on cleaning, just to clean some more), re-decorating the Christmas tree multiple times a day, learning how to become a master snack maker and then just a snack maker because geez these little ones can eat, and having to attend tea parties with dolls or grabbing the opportunity to hunt dinosaurs just so that you can hide in the kitchen cupboard for only 10 minutes of the much needed me-time we will never get. Yes, holidays are magical – its the kind of magic that turns the once loved silence into a horror film (silence means trouble easy as pie), it’s the kind of magic that makes one hour feel like 10, and one day feel like a month, its the kind of magic that makes you realise how blessed you are with your child’s teacher or nanny… yes, Holidays are magical.
So, because I too am a mom in desperate need of ideas to keep my little wild child busy and out of trouble, I have decided to share 25 of our favorite, fun, memory-making activities to do during this festive holiday. Lets face it, holidays with young kids isn’t about the holiday (because it’s beyond exhausting), no, its about making new, lasting memories, and that’s what we plan on doing!
1. Decorate your Christmas tree together.
I know a lot of you have already set up your tree, but it is tradition in our house to do this together on the 1st of December. We wake up early in the morning and together we giggle and laugh over some Christmas music playing in the background while we decorate our tree together. Aryan’s Elfs – Alfie and Snowflake also returns, bringing him his very own felt Christmas tree that he can decorate and re-decorate throughout the month as and when he pleases. (We bought our felt tree from Pandapost Learning last year, but I have seen a ton of local companies selling them this year, just search on FB).
Idea for your Elf on the Shelf:
Make some elf footsteps with some flour or artificial snow (you can buy the stencils from Crazy Store or @FunAtics) and add a letter with a small gift to announce your Elf’s return. I bought Aryan a small stationery kit from Crazy Store for R99 that he can use for all of our arts and crafts activities throughout the month. Our Elf will also bring Aryan his advent Calendar and felt tree.
2. Do some Arts & Crafts together
Christmas calls for A LOT of arts and crafts. Take this opportunity to make some Christmas cards for family, friends and neighbors, or make your very own Christmas tree decorations. Pinterest is full of fun and easy DIY ideas!
3. Make a family bed in the living room, pop some popcorn and watch your favorite Christmas movies together.
Our movie line-up includes: 1. The Star, 2. Home Alone, and 3. The Grinch. Just a mama also did a whole blogpost on the ultimate movies to watch this Christmas, so for more move inspiration just tap on the link – https://justamamma.com/best-christmas-movies/
4. Color Christmas Pictures together and decorate it with some stickers or stamps.
I will be printing a couple of coloring pictures about Jesus’ Birth so that I can explain the real reason for Christmas to Aryan as we color together. Put out some snacks, play some background music and have fun.
5. Read a Christmas story
Oh how we love reading together. There are some amazing and fun Christmas storybooks out there and lets not forget to read the greatest story of all time – the story of our Saviour’s birth. To add a little extra excitement, set up your teepee or toddler tent in the garden, hide books around the garden and let your toddler find a book, then read it together. Before moving on to the next one, play a simple game together whether it is kicking or throwing a ball to each other, have some snacks and then continue to find the next book.
6. Have some sensory fun!
Make a sensory bowl that you both can enjoy. Some of our favorite sensory Christmas fun ideas include:
- Christmas themed edible slime:
You will need: ½ – 2 cups of Cornstarch, Red Jelly and Water
How To: Mix the dry ingredients together and then slowly add some water. Start with only ½ cup of cornstarch and slowly add some more until you have the desired texture.
- DIY Snow:
You will need: 1 cup of baking soda, ½ cup of white conditioner
How To: Mix the ingredients together and enjoy.
- Color some rice/pasta/corn with food coloring and make a Christmas themed sensory bowl.
- Christmas themed Cloud Dough
You will Need: 4 cups of flour and ½ cup of Cooking oil. Optional ingredients could be some sprinkles, vanilla essence and food coloring.
How To: Mix the ingredients together and have fun!
We will be sharing our activities on our FB page as well with step-by-step instructions.
7. Make a sticky wall Activity
You can decide what type of sticky wall you want to create – you can choose a gingerbreadman, santa, presents, Christmas tree, reindeer, etc. Find a picture that you want to use, cut it out and stick it to the wall. Cover it with the backside of some decifix so that the sticky side faces outwards. Now give your toddler/child some beads, pom poms, ribbons and other materials to decorate the picture with you.
8. Decorate your own ornaments
Buy some plain, cheap ornaments (we usually get them from our local Homestar or China shop) and give your toddler some koki’s, glue and glitter to decorate his/her ornaments by themselves. Join in on the fun and see who can be the most creative.
9. Have a Pajama Day
Sleep in or just cuddle for as long as possible (we all know sleeping in with a toddler is impossible), then make both of you a cup of hot chocolate (or babychino as Aryan calls it), enjoy breakfast together, have a pillow fight and rock those jamies the rest of the day – because mama deserves a break as well.
10. Make your own Christmas themed Clay
and then build your own Christmas tree, snowman and santa workshop. There is a ton of easy DIY play dough recipes on Pinterest, and we will share our chosen one on our FB page.
11. Go look at some Christmas lights and make it a family outing.
There are tons of Churches and malls that has Christmas exhibitions throughout December, some of our favorites include the Garden of Lights at Emperors Palace and the Festival of Lights at the Johannesburg Zoo. Make it more fun by giving your child a little list of things that they could possibly find there and let them have a little Christmas light scavenger hunt. You can also take the Gautrain to go visit the Christmas Village in Sandton City for an extra family outing.
12. Bake your own cookies together and decorate them
Let your toddler/child help as much as possible. You can even make an edible cookie paint by mixing some food coloring with water or by using smarties and a wet paintbrush.
13. Take some of your cookies and previously made cards and deliver them to family or neighbours
It is in fact the season of giving. Be vigilant and careful though and make sure that your child is never left unsupervised. If possible let your toddler drive his/her bike there and knock on the doors by themselves to hand over their little “gift”.
14. Plan a special outing to a play park or restaurant in your area or visit a kiddies Cinema.
Some of our favorite places are:
- Hyto Tyto
- Kidz Fun House
- Mazi Mo’s
- Christmas Village – Sandton City (take the Gautrain)
- Bokkie Park
- Ster Kinekor Sandton City
- Emerald Casino
- Play Town
15. Do a scavenger Hunt in and around the house
Make a list of things you need your toddler to find (for toddlers your list can be a bunch of pictures) and help your toddler look for them. You can also make some clues to follow as to where your toddler can find a big prize.
16. Have a picnic under the stars and a garden “campout”
Put up a kiddies tent and let your toddler help you pack a little picnic basket with some food, drinks and some snacks. Grab a blanket and enjoy a lovely summer’s night under the stars. Show your toddler the stars or even clouds and see if you can make pictures from them.
17. Decorate the family’s Christmas gifts
Cover your Christmas gifts in plain white or brown paper and give your toddler some koki’s and crayons to draw pictures or make patterns in order to decorate the gifts as he/she pleases. Not only will your toddler love this, but you add a personal touch to the gifts.
18. Build a Gingerbread House/ Train together
You can find cute little no bake kits on Takealot or at Christmas markets.
19. Have a Christmas Glow Party
Buy some body glow paint and let your toddler paint a picture and themselves using the glow paint. Make sure you and your toddler are wearing old clothes and ask some family members to join in on the fun. Once done switch of the light (s) and switch on a blue light (you can find them for really cheap at a China shop) and some Christmas music and dance the night away. Have little dance offs or just dance with your toddler. You can also add some glowsticks to the mix for a little bit of extra glow fun. (Thank you @minimatissediaries for the fun idea!)
20. Bathtime Fun
Fill a bath with some bubble bath and throw some glowsticks into the bath, switch of the light and let your toddler play freely. You can also cut open the glowsticks and splash them all over the bathroom and bathwater (just make sure it’s the non-toxic one). Please DO NOT give your toddler an open glow stick to play with – the paint on the inside does burn when it gets into the mouth and eyes. Acornkids also has a very fun bathtime range that will guarantee hours of clean & safe splashing fun!
21. Attend a Christmas Market in your area
I absolutely love Christmas markets – the vibe, the atmosphere, the Christmas music in the background, the giggles of children running and playing, the food and all the pretty handmade goodies. It’s the perfect family outing idea.
22. Let the kids help you prepare and plan a Birthday party for Jesus
Let them help you bake a small cake/cupcakes, decorate some party hats, set a small table, etc.
23. Have a Birthday Party for Jesus
To celebrate what Christmas is truly about!
24. Donate some toys to your local children’s home or Church
Let your toddler help you to sort through his/her toys and cupboards and throw out the toys he/she no longer plays with or the clothes that no longer fit. Then let your toddler/child take his bag/box to a the Children’s home or Church.
25. Have a game night
Dig out the old board games hidden at the back of your living room cupboard. Sure, your toddler might not understand everything perfectly but be patient, losen up and have some crazy Jenga or Twister fun with your toddler.
Remember – when you choose to collect experiences rather than things, you’ll never run out of storage space. Sure, getting gifts are nice, BUT it’s the experiences they remember best! Have a lovely festive Holiday and never forget to make those memories!