Most children look forward to the holidays with tremendous anticipation. Parties, gifts, and time spent with family and friends are all fun for the kids, as well as for the adults. Make the holidays even more special by planning some fun holiday games with your children. Play them at a party or during a family game night. Or, if you are a teacher, adapt them for use in your classroom.
The size of the group of children will determine in large part what type of games you play. Large groups will necessitate games where the kids can be divided into teams. Smaller groups allow for games where individuals can compete against each other. Try to get a count of how many children are expected before you plan the games.
Consider the ages of the children present when planning fun holiday games. Family gatherings often have a wide range of ages present, so you will have to find a game that appeals to all the kids. A group of young children will need a game that will give them all a chance to play (and win) without a lot of complicated rules. Preschoolers are just learning how to take turns, according to the National Network for Child Care. For them, consider a game that will encourage them to wait their turn–but not for too long, as they also have short attention spans. Older children and teens will appreciate a game that involves strategy or skill and that lets them compete against their peers.
The holidays are a busy time for everyone–especially for moms. While you are sure to want to provide a fun time for your children, you probably don’t want to have to do a great deal of planning, or buy a lot of supplies. For that reason, consider choosing games that are easy to set up for and clean up afterward. Simple is usually best when it comes to fun holiday games for kids–and, possibly, for mom’s sanity as well.
Outdoor games are a great way to burn off some of those holiday sweets. Young children, in particular, usually love to play outdoors, especially if there is snow on the ground. Try to have a contest to see which group can decorate an outdoor tree the fastest, or have a race on sleds. Relays are always a huge hit and can be tailored to match the specific holiday. A Thanksgiving relay, for example, might involve running while flapping your arms and gobbling like a turkey. Holiday scavenger hunts are always a big hit, especially with teenagers. List items like “a house with reindeer on the roof” and give each team a digital camera.
Indoor games are perfect for cold rainy days, or for that classroom activity. One game that is sure to trigger laughs is to decorate someone like a Christmas tree. Divide the kids into two or more groups, and designate one of the kids (or an adult) to be the tree. Then, hand each group a box of decorations and let them decorate the tree. At the end of the time period, the judge declares a winning tree. For a silly game, try Stuff Santa. Give each team a red or green sweatsuit and plenty of blown-up balloons. Set a time, and see which team can stuff the most balloons into Santa before time runs out.
- Happy children playing in snow image by Marzanna Syncerz from Fotolia.com