Great Ways To Keep Kids Entertained Over the Christmas Holidays

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On Day One of the Christmas holidays, all is love, harmony and excitement. Kids are on their best behaviour for Father Christmas and mince pies are an exciting novelty. Fast forward to Day 13, and things look a little different.

The kids have been cooped up indoors for weeks, 'boring' gifts litter the carpet, and everyone’s consumed way too much sugar to even look at a mince pie. We can’t promise you peace and joy this Christmas, but we can help stop an all-out riot with these inventive kids’ entertainment ideas.

Family-Run Restaurant



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If you’re struggling to get through all that leftover stilton and turkey meat, here’s some good news: You can pass the buck and entertain the kids in one fell swoop. Tell your children they’ll be running a restaurant for one evening only, and let them research, shop for, and prepare their own meal. Set them the challenge of using leftovers and help them make and decorate their own paper menus once the meal plan is settled.

Encourage smart dress for the guests (that’s you), and a bow tie or mini pinny will add a professional touch for waiting staff (just to be clear, that’s definitely the kids). 

Scavenger Hunt

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It can be cosy taking shelter from the elements at Christmas time, but any wise parent knows that too many days stuck indoors will turn even the most sensible child into a feral beast. Walks to the park can be damp and boring in winter, so amp things up a bit with a scavenger hunt.

You can find downloadable lists online, or make your own to include local wildlife (even if it’s just a magpie), trees and landmarks. Arm each child with a police-style notebook and a magnifying glass for extra detective power, then watch the energy burn itself.

TV Character Collage



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Have their eyes turned square yet? To drag little people of any age away from the TV but still keep them interested in their favourite subject, get them making a craft project with a big, messy collage of their favourite character from the small screen.

If you save up wrapping paper, crackers, party hats and sweet wrappers from Christmas Day, you’ll just need kid-safe scissors, some glue sticks, and a few sheets of coloured card to use as backing. Oh, and perhaps some googly eyes to give the end result a snazzy finish.

Create Your Own Cinema



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If trekking to the nearest picturehouse, forking out for buckets of overpriced fizzy drinks and then having to leave for a toilet break during the only funny part is beyond your budget or patience, why not get the kids to help make a cinema at home?

The essential ingredients are simply homemade popcorn and a movie, but if you really want to go the whole hog you might want to stock up on blackout blinds, a film projector, a couple of comfy beanbags or just some mini ice cream tubs if you’re watching your spending after Christmas. Sometimes the small details make all the difference.

Director’s Chair

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Of course you could go one step further and help your offspring to plan, script and storyboard their own short film to be shown in your home cinema. With the help of a clapboard prop, storyboarding notebook, fake microphone, some fancy dress options and a smattering of cinematic sound effects, kids of most ages can produce a near masterpiece. You may be surprised at their creativity – and they’ll certainly be surprised when you bring the results out on their wedding day in 20 years’ time. Mwahh ha ha haahhhh.

Choose Your Own Adventure



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This suggestion is particularly good for younger kids, but even picky tweens can be convinced to join in if you get the story right. The aim of the game is to take your kids on a multi-sensory adventure through your own home. Whether you choose a spooky, fantasy, or far-flung adventure is up to you. Set the scene with some music, put a blindfold on the participants (or ask them to close their eyes if a blindfold scares them) and take them by the hand, leading them through 'swamps' (your living room) or a 'dungeon' (the garden shed).

As you narrate the story of the characters they’re meeting and sights they’re passing, get them to stick their hands into party bowls of cooked pasta or slimy jelly and lychees, sniff herbs or incense, taste unusual flavours and listen to recordings of enchanted voices, before delivering them happily back at the front door after their micro-adventure.

The beauty of this family-friendly game is that it can be completely tailored to whatever your kids are interested in and whatever you happen to have lying around the house. Siblings or friends can be roped in as extra characters in the story – this game works best if you take kids round one by one.

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