Christmas is celebrated in different ways by different people, but one commonality is the importance of being with family and friends. Children, especially, find the Christmas holiday to be meaningful. Make the holiday more about time spent together than about gifts by playing some Christmas games with your kids this holiday season.
Christmas is a holiday that can evoke strong feelings in children and adults alike. For some, it is all about Santa and presents. For others, it is about the spirit of the holiday. Still others focus on the celebration of Christ’s birth. Think about the way your family celebrates Christmas and about the emphasis you put on the holiday. Then, tailor your games to reflect the lesson or meaning you want your children to associate with Christmas. Although not all games have to have a deeper message, it’s nice to slip a lesson in there if you can.
Because Christmas does mean different things to different people, it is important to keep the beliefs of the participants in mind. Children in a classroom, for example, most likely represent a wide range of beliefs about the holiday, from those who don’t celebrate it at all to those who get a mountain of presents from Santa to others who already know that Santa doesn’t exist. It is important to find a game that will appeal to everyone without giving away any secrets (Santa!) or stepping on anyone’s religious beliefs–or lack thereof.
It is also important to consider the ages of the kids when you choose a game. Young children have fun when they play a game where everyone wins, and especially if everyone wins a prize. Older children have the most fun when they get to compete fairly for a prize, especially if it means outsmarting or outperforming their peers. What makes for a fun Christmas game for one age group does not necessarily make for fun times with a different age group.
Christmas is a fun holiday, but moms know that it is also a very busy time of the year. Most moms are going to want to plan games that are simple, not elaborate. In addition, the best games are often those that don’t require a lot of setting up or a lot of props. Preschoolers do not have a long attention span, according to the National Network for Child Care. Therefore, they enjoy playing short, easy games that do not have a lot of rules and do not require a lot of waiting around. Preteens and teens would often rather play one long game that involves a lot of interaction, competition or problem-solving.
Ideas for Young Children
Place a familiar object in a simple felt stocking. Pass the stocking around, and let each child feel it and try to guess what the object is. Give each child 10 seconds to try to guess the object. The children can whisper their guess in your ear if you want the guesses to remain secret until everyone has had a turn. This is a good “quieting-down” game. For a more active game, have a “snowball” fight. Crumple up pieces of white paper to make snowballs, and let the children throw them at each other. Turn on a Christmas carol while they are throwing the snowballs, and when you cut off the music, make the children freeze in place. Children who do not freeze right away are “out” and have to sit on the floor.
Ideas for Older Kids
Play an interactive game such as charades with older kids. Use Christmas-related words that also match the way you celebrate the holiday. A game of charades played at a Christian Christmas party, for example, might include scenes or words from the Christmas story in the Bible. Or divide the teens into small groups, and give them a list of Christmas items to find in a scavenger hunt. The first team to return with all of the items collected (or to take a digital photo of each of the items) wins a prize. For a game that is guaranteed to create a lot of laughter, divide the kids into groups. Have one child in each group be the “Christmas tree,” and give the other teens a bag of decorations to “decorate” the “tree” with. Give a prize to the best-decorated “tree.”
- it’s christmas!! image by Katrina Miller from Fotolia.com