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Ideas for Keeping Children Entertained in the Holidays

You need to wrap presents, write Christmas cards, prepare food and you need to keep your children entertained. This is no easy challenge! I have put together some easy ideas for activities that will keep your children amused for hours.

Peppermint creamsThese are straightforward to make and tasty. They are perfect for presents if you wrap a few of them in a piece of tissue paper and tie with a piece of ribbon.

You will need:

  • 450g icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk (plus any extra you might need)
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon peppermint essence
  • 1 egg white

Instructions:

  1. Sift the 450g of icing sugar into a bowl.
  2. Add in the egg white, peppermint essence and (1tbsp)milk.
  3. Mix with your hands as you would for dough.
  4. If it has too much icing sugar, add some milk. If it is too runny, add icing sugar.
  5. When it reaches a thick enough texture, take it out of the bowl, and knead it on the on top of a table sprinkled in icing sugar.
  6. Dust the surface with icing sugar.
  7. Roll out the mixture till it is about half a centimetre thick.
  8. Cut out small shapes (circles are easiest), and put them on a tray which has also been dusted with icing sugar.
  9. Leave for about 10-15 minutes then turn over.
  10. Leave for another 15 minutes then they will be ready.

You can also add food colouring at stage 2 if you want coloured peppermint creams.

Christmas cards

Make a Christmas card with a standing snow man or Christmas tree.

You will need:

  • coloured card
  • scissors
  • a selection of glitter
  • coloured pens
  • coloured wool and foil

Instructions:

Draw an outline of a snowman / Christmas tree onto card.

Cut the outline out with two pieces of card together so you get two identical cards.

Cut a slit from the top of one of pieces of card to the centre, then a slit from the bottom of the other piece of card to the centre. The pieces of card can then slot together at 90 degrees to each other, allowing them to stand up.

Separate the pieces of card and then decorate them; the wool can be used for tinsel of the tree or a scarf for the snow man and foil can be rolled up to create baubles to hang with cotton from the Christmas tree.

Stained glass windows

You will need:

  • black paper
  • coloured tissue paper
  • glue

Instructions:

  1. Fold a rectangle of black paper in half and draw the outline of the shape you want in your stained glass window, for example, a Christmas tree.
  2. Cut along the outline and unfold the paper so that the shape is symmetrical.
  3. Cut pieces of tissue paper to stick on the back of the black paper over the shape you have cut out.
  4. Ensure there are no gaps in the tissue paper, then turn the stained glass around and blue-tac onto a window. The light will shine through the tissue paper giving it the stained glass window effect.

Christmas stockingsWhen completed, these can be filled with sweets and given as presents.

You will need:

  • 2 pieces of 10cm by 20cm green felt
  • 10cm square piece of red felt
  • sequins
  • 10cm of ribbon
  • glue

Instructions:

  1. Draw the outline of a stocking onto a piece of green felt.
  2. Cut along the outline with two pieces of felt together so you have two identical stockings.
  3. Draw the outline of a letter onto the red felt – the initial of the person who you’re making the stocking for.
  4. Cut the outline of the letter out and sew or stick it onto one of the green stockings.
  5. Place the two green stockings back-to-back and sew around the outside, leaving the top open. Turn the stockings the correct way.
  6. Decorate the stockings with sequins.
  7. Sew a loop of ribbon to the top corner of the stocking.

Quick ideas

These activities require little or no preparation.

Write an alternative Christmas carol – Set your children the challenge of writing their own Christmas carol using the tune of an existing carol. Then let them put together a performance of their carols.

Snowflakes – Using a white paper square / circle, fold the paper in half, then in half again. Cut shapes out of the paper along the fold, cut into the edge of the folded paper to create different edges. Unfold the paper to create snow flakes for your windows.

Christmas decorations – Draw the face of a reindeer with a red nose, draw round both your hands to represent the reindeer’s antlers. Colour the reindeer, cut it out and use cotton to hang it from the tree.

Robin wrapping paper – Using big pieces of white paper create rows of thumb prints using brown paint. When the paint has dried draw a beak on the right side of the thumb prints and two legs from the bottom of the robin’s body, then paint a small red circle for the robin’s chest.