Holiday Activities for Kids

I have a friend who starts school the day after Labor Day and ends right before Memorial Day. They take Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day off and that’s it. They enjoy long summers and don’t mind putting in the extra days during the school year. While I admire her dedication, our school usually starts falling part a week or two before Christmas. My kids get excited about our Christmas plans, baking days, and fun visits with friends and family.

I usually plan to do school until the 23rd of December, but this year, we are taking the whole week before Christmas off. The Happier Husband has been gone for the past 5 weeks and the kids have really missed their dad. Since he has a few days off before Christmas we are going to spend some family time together before our extended family arrives for the weekend.

I have found with my kids that not having anything planned for a week usually leads to chaos. So I like to have a few fun activities planned to keep them occupied when we aren’t out having fun looking at Christmas lights or hitting up the free samples at Costco.

Here are a few activities I found that we might incorporate into our Christmas hours this week.

Gingerbread House Construction

I must admit I cheat on these houses. We use graham crackers and store bought frosting. But the kids don’t care and they have a great time decorating and eating candy. We usually have an informal contest at the end, with categories such as; prettiest house, most creative, best design. Everybody enters and everyone wins.

Salt Dough Ornaments

This was our first year making salt dough ornaments and it won’t be our last. They are super cheap and easy. If you have only little kids you can always make the ornaments yourself and let the kids decorate.

Cookie Frosting Party

The cookie frosting party is probably my children’s favorite extra curricular Christmas activity. I make it super low key. Each guest brings a dozen cookies to frost and I provide the frosting, sprinkles, punch and chips. The kids frost and then run around outside to burn off all the sugar!

Here are a few ideas I found on the web that we might try next week.

Cinnamon Ornaments

This is a great idea posted by the Celiac family. These ornaments contain applesauce and cinnamon so I bet they smell great!

Snowflake Pretzels

These snowflake pretzels from Mom Endeavors are so cute! The only problem with this fun craft is I think my kids might eat all the chocolate pretzels before we make snowflakes!

origami stars

Origami Stars

These stars are so pretty! My friend Kim has put together a video tutorial so that you can make a beautiful star too! Although I don’t think you will be able to stop at just one! Wouldn’t these make a perfect gift topper instead of a bow?

Marshmallow Snowmen

These marshmallow snowmen are definitely on my list for next week! Considering I stocked up on marshmallows at the Commissary I need to put them to good use. Teaching Good Things has an entire section on their website of fun Christmas activities so definitely check them out. Kathy really is creative and shares many of her great ideas!

Gumdrop Garland

Myra is so crafty! She is always coming up with neat ideas that cost almost nothing! This gumdrop garland cost less than a dollar to make and is so festive! Of course it would probably cost me $2, since my kids usually take the one for the craft, one for me approach to anything that involves candy!

Paint Stirring Christmas Trees

I love this creative Christmas Tree idea from my friend Angie. My boys love to make anything with wood, and I seem to have an abundance of paint stirrers around here so I’m adding this one to the list!

What does your family do? Do you take the week of Christmas off or are you doing algebra on Christmas Eve?

If you’d like more ideas for holiday crafts and projects, then we have dozens of them on our homemade Christmas gifts page here!

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  1. Thanks so much for including the snowflake pretzels among such great ideas!! Our kids are too little right now, but I’m making a mental file of the cookie frosting party idea! What a fun way to celebrate Christmas with the kids’ friends!!

  2. We start mid August and take off one entire week between quarters, except at Christmas we take off two weeks. One week to prepare, one week to break it all down, plan the next quarter’s school and get the house in order before heading back to the books. We also make gingerbread houses (graham crackers, homemade frosting and dollar tree candy) and cinnamon ornaments. I love the cookie party and marshmallow people ideas…I need to round up some other friends who want to blow time this week! Thanks for the post!! Merry Christmas!

  3. I can’t imagine that situation, I simply couldn’t do it. Here in Australia our summer obviously falls over christmas. We don’t have the three month break like you guys do, but school finishes up for most students in the last week of november or first week of december, and starts again end of janurary/begining of feburary. I used to get upset at the years where, because of how the terms worked out, we had to work past the first week of dec! How can you work up to the excitment of christmas if you’re stuck in school and work right up until christmas eve? The end of school really added some excitment to the christmas leadup, and everyone has plenty of time to do all sorts of christmassy stuff.

    Definitly couldn’t imagine an american christmas…

  4. Serenity Summers says:

    We are taking off the entire week of Christmas this year. Although today has been chaos so I was considering REVOKING their break and sticking to our schedule and school 🙂 Maybe I’ll use your activity ideas instead 🙂
    Just a thought, the gingerbread houses and marshmallow snowmen could be used to make a cute Christmas village on the back of a cutting board covered with foil. We might do that to make a centerpiece……..

  5. well when you moved to florida you completely bypassed arkansas. there was your opportunity right there! i have very few really good ideas, but that gadget cover thing has been so simple and fun. you definitely have to do that next year.

  6. I love those!! Usually our Christmas is full of crafts and goodie making, but this year isn’t typical as we had a death in the family yesterday, and nothing is as it usually is. Still, while the eclipse was starting to happen last night, I kept my sons up really late and we baked candy cane cookies. It was fun AND educational too because we kept going out to check the moon. 🙂 We take the entire month of December off from school (as well as April & August) so our month is pretty low-key and flexible!

    • TheHappyHousewife says:

      I’m just reading this comment. So sorry to hear about the death in your family. I pray for strength for your family as you continue into the new year.

  7. Great ideas! Love the paper stars.

  8. I just love the way your blog is laid out. It is really cool! Thanks for joining in the Hip Homeschool Hop!

  9. These are fabulous ideas! I am in awe of all you do! Just new to following your blog and loving it 🙂 Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!!

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