The holidays sneak up on me no matter how prepared I think I am. I am scrambling to get this or that done and I still find myself cursing as I lay in bed about not getting everything on my list completed. So where in there do I possibly make time to coordinate fun activities for my son?
Here are some fast and easy ways to keep your little ones busy while managing to check off the most important to do on your list.
1. Play Dough.
When I am baking my son loves to help, if I am making short bread that is great because there are no eggs or risk of salmonella from him sampling the dough. However most of the Christmas cookies around here have raw eggs in the dough so instead I make fun Holiday play dough ( recipe here) !
Add red and green glitter, and peppermint extract to make regular old play dough into candy cane dough. Grab some of the cookie cutters , rolling pin and even a cookie sheet and let them make their cookies while you make yours. Only their dough can be refrigerated and reused many many times!
2. Wrapping Collages.
Don't throw away the scrap paper from all the wrapping you are doing, hand your child a large piece of paper, a glue stick and some safety scissors and you are set! They can make a winter scene or something completely abstract. You won't have to make any extra trips to the store for craft supplies and have something festive to hang on the fridge!
3. Gift Blocks.
This idea comes straight from my childhood. My parents had most of the presents under the tree well in advance of Christmas. I admit I was a snooper and unless it was wrapped I would find it. In any case, my sister and I would have competitions to make the most creative structure using the wrapped gifts.
A variation for younger children is to as them to find specific size gifts ( smallest, biggest) shapes, and colors.
4. Christmas Tree I Spy
This was another favorite of mine as a child, my sister and I would sit in the living room with the lights off, save for the tree and play I spy with the ornaments. I was tickled when my son loved playing this game as well. Not only does he like finding the correct ornament after he does I can share a little about where the ornament came from and why we have it on our tree.
I hope these easy and frugal ideas help you in the busy days to come!