The holidays are officially here, which means its time to bring down the dusty attic decoration boxes, pick your tablescape theme, and compile your house cleaning checklist. That’s right, as quickly as those Christmas trees are being plucked from the market, peak hosting season has arrived. And its time to come up with holiday activities for older kids as well as the little ones!
While entertaining at my household is an annual tradition, there always seems to be something I forget. And now that my friends and family members are getting older, every year there happens to be one more place setting at the kids’ table. As our little ones grow not so small, I am always looking for new ideas to make sure they are properly entertained, and these days turning on a Christmas movie just won’t cut it.
If you too are a busy parent who leaves considering how you are going to keep a group of excited children busy to the moment your guests are knocking on your door, no need to fear! I’ve rounded up some of the best holiday party activities for older kids.
Keep reading for six little to no-mess ideas to try that take only a few minutes before set-up. Have any older kids that want some added responsibility? Let them decide what games to play and encourage them to organize any rules or crafts. Happy holidays and here’s to staying as stress-free as possible!
Holiday Activities for Older Kids
Kids Rule Room
Use spare space to create a kids-only room that welcomes fun and crafts! Lay down newspaper or wrapping paper ahead of time and invite guests to bring a toy to share. This could be legos, dolls, or playdough! Add in coloring pages and art supplies that won’t require much cleanup. Always skip the scissors or anything that requires cutting for even less of a mess!
Santa Hat Decorating
Buy a few Santa hats at the dollar store and add them to your kid’s room as a festive craft! Encourage kiddos to write their names on the white brim of the hat with a fabric marker or glitter pens. Again skip any gooey art supplies to ensure their festive outfits don’t get messy!
Salt Dough Handprint Ornaments
This craft may be a little messier; however, it is the sweetest take-home keepsake! Before the party, mix water, flour, salt, and food coloring into a bowl and store in the fridge. When party guests arrive, give each child a plate. Encourage the kids to take a few handfuls of the dough to roll out and flatten like a pancake. They can then place their handprints into the dough for a memorable ornament.
Before they finish, make sure to poke a hole in the top so that once it dries, you can add string or ribbon for hanging. Tell them to sign their name and place all of the creations onto a cooking sheet. Place into the oven to bake at 150 degrees for an hour. If the last thing you want to do is try to make more oven space, let the ornaments air dry overnight for 24 hours.
Christmas American Idol
If you have a spare room with a television and an HDMI cable, cast a YouTube karaoke video for kiddos to sing along to. They can vote on their favorite singers or style a duet together!
Gingerbread House Decorating Contest
Split the kids into groups of 3 or more and let them each choose a team name. Once they have, one decided to give them a pre-constructed gingerbread house (available at grocery stores) and lots of decorating supplies. If you head to the dollar store, they will have lots of festive candy at a reasonable price.
The contest can be holiday movies, Disney characters, or Marvel themed! Add rules like taking turns decorating or time limits. Encourage teamwork and have rewards ready like Most Creative, Most Life-Like, or Silliest Creation.
Kids Table Activity Book
If your most significant stressor is entertaining kids while they eat or want to keep the noise level down, try a kid’s table activity book. These are great for quiet coloring time or collaborative games like a reindeer name generator! FTD created an excellent kids’ table activity book that you can download and print for yourself!
I hope you find these quick tips useful for your next holiday party or gathering. Whether you are hosting or attending, it’s always a good idea to spend a little time planning some simple entertainment ideas to ensure your little ones kept busy. You’ll be thanking yourself once you receive that much-needed adult time. Happy holidays and happy planning!