Countdown to Christmas!

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Are your kids anxious for Christmas to get here? Are you looking for some fun ways to count down to the big day? Here are some fun activities for kids and grownup kids alike to make the time until Santa arrives go a little faster.

Red and green meal – Make a healthy pre-holiday Christmas dinner out of green and red foods. Some ideas: A tossed salad with cherry tomatoes and snow peas; another helping of cranberries; pizza with peppers, tomatoes and broccoli, spinach lasagna in marinara sauce; spinach enchiladas. Let the adults pick a healthy red and green entree and then let the kids be creative with the side dishes.

Christmas lights drive – You can do this more than one time, for sure! Load everyone in the car and check out the holiday lights. You can go to new neighborhoods or see what’s new in your own. Make a game out of it by seeing how many Rudolphs you can find on house roofs, count blowup Santa Clauses or listen for houses that are piping music outside. This driving game makes for limitless fun!

Gingerbread houses – Make your own gingerbread house. You can actually build your own out of gingerbread or buy a starter kit. Decorate with gum drops, cinnamon candies, frosting, marshmallows, or really, anything you can dream of and imagine. Gingerbread houses aren’t just fun for one night; they are great decorations for the entire holiday season.

Christmas movie night – This activity is an oldie but a goodie. Pick out your favorite holiday movie and plug it in. Are you a fan of White Christmas? Or is Christmas Vacation more your style? No matter what your taste, a movie night with popcorn and family is sure to put you into the holiday spirit.

Balloon volleyball – Want an activity that is only as holiday-themed as you make it? Blow off some of the Christmas energy by playing balloon volleyball. Put out some ribbon on the floor for a makeshift volleyball net and blow up a few balloons. Indoor balloon volleyball is a great way to burn some holiday calories and get out a burst of family energy.

Bake cookies (and then deliver them to others) – You may be baking cookies already, so fire up the oven for a few more and deliver them to fire houses, police stations, hospitals, assisted living facilities. If you can think of people who serve others or may be lonely during the holidays, then bring them a batch of cookies to show you care and to say thank you.

Make holiday decorations – Break out the scissors because there are few things more fun than making holiday decorations. What do you have in your house already? Construction paper? Ribbon? Glitter? Sequins and Beads? Glue? Styrofoam balls? If you have these things, you have the makings for a fun craft table. If you are a really festive elf, you can leave the craft table up all season and you can make ornaments whenever the spirit moves you.

Start planning now so you can make the lead up to the holidays part of the holidays!

Inside on a Rainy or Snowy Day – Keep Yourself and Your Kids Entertained

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When it’s cold and raining or snowing outside on weekends and during school breaks, the days can drag on. What can you do to keep the kids entertained but not spending the day in front of the television? Try some of these fun activities for a rainy day inside. Keep what you need on hand and you’ll always be prepared for anything. 

Have an indoor treasure hunt. This is a great game for all ages, because you can decide how challenging it is. Hide a small present for each child. It can be a toy or an IOU for a fun day at the movies or skate park. Then, create a set of clues for each participant and hide the clues in order, so the first clue leads them to the second clue, the second clue leads to the third, etc., until they find their treasure.

Create an inside campsite. Drape some sheets over the furniture around one of your rooms to make a tent. Your tent can be as big you want and your sheets will allow. Add some pillows and blankets inside your tent and you have a place to tell ghost stories, play games and, if you’re lucky, take a nap. It may even be fun to have a picnic inside the tent.

Create a story book. All the kids can create their own story books or they can create one together. All you need is some paper, some crayons, a few pens and lots of imagination. Let them write their stories on the pages and draw pictures to go with them. At the end of the day, everyone gets to read their books out loud.

Bake some chocolate chip cookies. Everyone has fun during and after this activity, as the reward is a cookie. Want to sneak a vegetable in? Add some chopped garbanzo beans and add them to the cookie dough before baking to sneak in something good.

Make a splash! If it’s a warm rainy day and it’s just raining, not thundering or lightning, it’s the perfect time to put on the rain boots and rain jackets and grab an umbrella. Go outside for some fun letting off steam and splashing in puddles. Because no one wants to be inside all day if they don’t have to be!

Make a movie. It’s rare today that our phones and digital cameras don’t come complete with their own video recorder. Have some fun. Write a script, learn your parts and try out your acting skills while you make your own movie. Pop some corn and watch your movie on the computer.

Make a family dinner. Is it getting later in the day and it’s still raining? Get everyone involved in dinner preparation. Let the kids make salads or help you stir a sauce. And encourage someone else to set the table.

Put together a Rainy Day / Snow Day Box that you keep on hand. Inside include arts and crafts supplies, like papers, crayons, glue, glitter, beads and other things that kids can use to create fun art; coloring books or other activity books; books to read; puzzles and games; a deck of cards. You can pull this out in a pinch on a rainy day or any time your kids say, “I’m bored.”

With these tips in your box of tricks, there’s no reason your or your kids should be inside AND bored when the weather outside keeps you in.