We are now well into advent and soon the schools, along with many preschools and nurseries, will be winding down for the Christmas period. Parents are now on the lookout for activities for children and ways to entertain their toddlers and young children, particularly when the weather is wet and children’s centres are closed.
So what activities for children are there at this time of year? Fortunately, there is plenty for little ones to do in the lead up for Christmas. From hands-on crafts and baking to enjoying the local community to keeping fit and active, here are just some ideas:
Crafts & Baking
When the rain pours and the nights close in, activities for children, for all but the extremely hardy, tend to move indoors. But rather than try to get your Christmas preparations done around the kids, this is the perfect opportunity to turn them into ‘Santa’s little helpers.’ Children often love to get involved with decorating the tree, and while the results may require some ‘adjustment’ afterwards the extra hands can lighten the load. If you really can’t bear the thought of the children being in charge of the tree, perhaps you could get a smaller tree for them to dress up.
Craft ideas for young children include making Christmas cards for their friends and family members, creating a stained glass window light catcher, Christmas-themed colouring books, paper-chain making and helping to assemble Christmas wreaths.
Baking is another firm family favourite, with gingerbread houses, Christmas-style cup cakes and, for the more ambitious, home-made mince pies, among the festive treats the whole family can enjoy.
Into the Community
While many activities for children grind to a halt over Christmas, the local community tends to spring into life. Look in the local paper and community/church magazine, or online, and you will be sure to find plenty of village/street light switch-ons (in addition to the main town or city events); Christmas tree displays; pantomimes; carnivals and arts performances. Even walking around the streets in the early evening can be an awesome experience for young children who are not used to being outside after dark and will love to look around at the lit-up homes and gardens.
Other community-spirited activities for children include making and delivering Christmas hampers to those in need, singing Christmas carols and helping out at local events. Although young children aren’t able to do many of these things on their own they will still benefit from and enjoy the experience of helping out.
Fitness & Activity
Children often look forward to playing outside in the snow but, as we know all too well, there is precious little of the white stuff around in many parts of the country. However, this doesn’t mean that children have to sit around all day, stuffing their faces and watching repeat children’s programmes or playing on the games console. It is so important that children remain active during their break from nursery or school and there are plenty of ways to achieve this.
For example, a local bike ride or hike, even when the weather isn’t perfect, will keep the blood flowing and let them run off the effects of any sugar indulgence. As long as outside activities for children are kept short and sweet, and they are dressed for the conditions, children usually enjoy the outdoors as much as they do in the summer. For those who take a little extra motivation, a nature walk, with the goal of collecting items for a wreath, is a great way to coax them into their gloves and hats.
Dance programmes like Hip Hop Tots are among the best winter activities for children as hip hop appeals to children of all backgrounds and both sexes. The joy of hip hop dance is that it can be done all year round and gives children an energetic workout as well as the chance to have fun and meet young people. Hip Hop Tots also incorporates traditional elements such as story-telling and singing to keep children absorbed. Adults can participate alongside their children and could even become an instructor themselves!
Become a Hip Hop Tots® Instructor in 2016
If you, or an adult child, want to become an instructor, you can visit the ‘become an Hip Hop Tots instructor’ webpage for details on upcoming Hip Hop Tots® Instructor Training Days. These tend to fill up fast, so book early in 2016 to get your New Year off to a positive start.