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Five ways to keep your kids busy at Christmas

Kids look forward to Christmas time so much, but how can you keep them active and interested while you peel the 98th potato, collect relatives from the train/bus/tram/airport  and wrap yet another last minute present?

Here are five non screen-based ideas for keeping your little darlings busy while you get on with the tasks in hand.

  1. Get them to write their own version of the Christmas story and act it out for you. Odds are, your children will know the story of Christmas even if you aren’t Christian: it’s hard to avoid at this time of year. However, it’s also pretty likely that they won’t get all the facts straight and will have to improvise to fill in the gaps. This can make for some very entertaining live-action theatre. Film it all to show their grandparents and tease them with later in life.
  2. Colour it yourself wrapping paper: We’re giving away our own design wallpaper for the year on the 11 December, specially redrawn to allow for colouring in. Why not set your children to work on it as special treat for some lucky person?chocolate mug cakeThe future of food has arrived, and it’s in mug form. Image credit: The Telegraph
  3. Let them experiment with mug cake recipes. These are relatively new phenomenon that has exploded in recent years, thanks to microwave technology and the power of Pinterest recipe sharing. They only take five minutes to cook, and use relatively small quantities of ingredients. So if one’s an absolute disaster, it’s no big deal to start again. Plus, there’s no handling of complicated equipment. There are plenty of recipes about, but these ones are a great place to start.
  1. Create a ‘Gallery Space’ and let them have at it. Decide what the smallest space is in your home and clear the walls. If you have a cloakroom, use it, or a downstairs toilet, or a walk-in wardrobe – you get the idea. Buy a few rolls of lining paper from a diy shop (it’s not expensive) and tack it in place, floor to ceiling.


Stand on a chair and do the ceiling. Remove yourself and the chair and tack it to the floor too. (These rooms generally have hard floors: if you have a carpet, this part won’t work, so skip it). What you’re looking to end up with is a completely blank space, ripe for decoration. Then let your kids loose with every craft material imaginable. Their brief is to create the room of their dreams to show off to everyone on Christmas day. It’s a bit of effort to make the Gallery Space in the first instance, but it’s the kind of activity that will occupy them for at least a whole day, maybe even two or three. With a bit of luck, they’ll want to do it every year: you can photograph and frame each one as a unique record of your family growing up.

Doodle man underpass
Make like the Doodle Man and decorate every available surface. 
Image credit: Inspiring City
  1. Christmas light treasure hunt: Take advantage of your neighbours’ Christmas displays and create a treasure hunt for your children. Create a list of ten or more Christmas lights they have to spot (reindeer, Santa on a roof, a crib . . . ) They write down the number of the house that has it. Depending on their ages, you can limit it to your street or go further afield. If they’re a bit older and you’re feeling energetic, make up a riddle for each light they have to find, like this:

What’s one of eight, whose nose is red?

It’s shiny too, it has been said.

 christmas house with lots of lights
You could base an entire treasure hunt on this one magnificent display.
Image credit: Love this pic


So there you have it. Plenty of non-screen entertainment for all ages, and possibly even some mug cake left for you to try!