During the Winter holidays, especially if its cold outside, its easy for your children to become restless. Playing and participating in festive games and activities with your family is a magical way to bring everyone together, make memories and bond this Christmas. Here’s our list of festive games and activities that will keep your children entertained while enhancing a number of their skills and development.
Santa says, a take on the classic game Simon says is a fun way to practice improving your child’s body awareness (seeing demonstrated movement and replicating that action), while incorporating other motor skills such as balance e.g. Santa says stand on one foot. Encouraging some Christmas dancing can help your child, build their muscles, bones and physical skills. Don’t forget to include things that Santa would do such as sliding down the chimney.
Baking Christmas cakes
Baking and decorating Christmas cakes to eat or share with others. Getting your kids into the kitchen is a win-win for everyone, they get to learn and you get to teach in a fun way, while spending quality time with them.
Baking can help your child;
- Build basic skills. You can enhance your child’s basic maths skills by getting them count eggs or using a measuring cup. Ask them what comes after one, two etc. when spooning your dough in cake cases.
- Try new foods. Baking can help picky eaters become more open to new tastes. When your child plays “baker” they may sample foods that they wouldn’t try if you just served them to them. Encourage your child to taste different ingredients such as raisins.
- Improve/develop bilateral coordination. Baking presents your child with lots of opportunities to use both of their hands together in a coordinated way such as rolling dough or sifting flour.
- Improve Eye-hand coordination. Baking allows your child to improve and develop their eye-hand coordination skills. Let your child (or help your child) carry out tasks like pouring ingredients into bowls, jugs, cups, spooning cake mix into cake tins or squeezing icing onto the top of cakes.
- Improve their language skills. Being shown/hearing new words from recipes and food labels can help improve your child’s reading skills and learn the meaning of unfamiliar words.
There are so may benefits of finger painting for your child. Yes, it is a messy activity but finger painting exposes your child to a unique sensory world including sight, touch and sound. It can help with your child’s intellectual development. The mixing of different colours teaches your child about their colours and how to make new ones. It creates the opportunity for your child to use their imagination and be creative. It can improve their social skills by teaching them how to share paints, taking turns and working together. Using coloured paper cut out Christmas shapes such as Christmas trees or print out Christmas themed images for your child to paint.
A Christmas scavenger hunt
A Christmas scavenger hunt is an easy, adaptable and fun way to interact with your child and help them to start making discoveries, practice problem solving and teach teamwork in addition to promoting social interaction. Create written and visual Christmas themed clues and place them around your house. Try to make them visible so your little ones can easily find them, hide your clues in places such as beside your tree, on your kitchen table, in their shoes, stuck to your front door or in their toy back. Your children will be excited to find their prize.
What's in the bag?
Young children are curious and love a mystery. A Christmas themed what’s in the bag is a simple and fun guessing game to encourage your child’s thinking skills, appeal to their senses and teach them new words. The goal is for your child to guess what items are in the bags without looking, they can use their sense of touch, smell and hearing to help them find out what item is in the bag.
Things you will need;
- Items to put into the bags. We recommend gathering a handful of Christmas themed items from around your house such as a Santa hat, a pine cone, a bauble, a bell.
- Bags to put your items in. We recommend using the same kind of bags so your children can’t see what’s inside. For younger children we would suggest showing them the items and discussing what each item is called before placing them into the bag.