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The Mother List: Kids Activities for Family Holiday Gatherings

The holidays are a time to celebrate with family, but they can also be stressful. Between missing loved ones who are away at school or work, busy schedules and hosting extra guests, it’s hard to find time for the little people in our lives. When your kids feel left out of the fun, they may become bored or frustrated. To ensure that everyone has a memorable holiday experience together, we’ve put together some fun activities for kids of all ages:

Have a craft table with supplies and some ideas to get started.

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It’s no secret that kids love crafts. It’s a great way to keep them entertained and offer them a sensory experience that they won’t forget. Set aside some supplies, like crayons, markers, and glue sticks. Put out a few ideas for what kids can make with the supplies available—maybe a coloring book or some cardstock paper for making little puppets. Store all the materials in an easily accessible location so that even if you’re going away from home for a few days, your kid can find them quickly enough if they need something to do.

Start an adventure and encourage kids to explore with a scavenger hunt.

Scavenger Hunt Map

A scavenger hunt is the way to go if you want something fun but not too challenging for younger kids. You can make it as easy or as difficult as you want, depending on how many items are on the list and where you hide them around the house or yard. To make it more challenging, use multiple sources of information to find clues instead of just one. This will encourage kids to use their motor skills, explore and think more creatively when figuring out where their next item might be hiding!

Since everyone will have their list of things to find when they roam around the house and yard, parents can get in on the action by helping out with those household objects that might be hard for kids’ little hands and minds to grasp (like pot lids).


Put kids in charge of an easy recipe.

Kids baking and cooking

Kids love to help out with cooking, but they usually don’t have the patience to do a lot of prep work. Give them an easy recipe and something simple to do— like mixing up a batch of cookies or assembling salads — and they’ll be happy to help out. They might even surprise you with how much they know about cooking! Older children can also be in charge of washing vegetables or setting the table.

Create a winter wonderland in your backyard with outdoor toys and games.

Kids making a snow man

What better way to enjoy the winter than by playing in the snow? Create a winter wonderland in your backyard! The best part about this is that it doesn’t require materials, just snow! Some fun kids activities include building a snowman, having a snowball fight, or going sledding. Just be sure to bundle up, so you don’t get too cold!

Snowball fights

Kids get a thrill out of snowball fights. If you’re looking for something more traditional, try building a snow fort and have fun defending it.

Make snow angels

When the snow falls, and the temperatures drop, it’s the perfect time to get creative and build a snow angel! This classic winter activity is a great way to get the whole family outside and enjoy the winter weather. Plus, it’s a great way to get the kids to use their imaginations. Let them create their own masterpiece!

Build a snowman

For those who are feeling ambitious, create a giant version of everyone’s favorite winter-themed character (or just your own). You could even incorporate classic holiday decorations like wreaths and lights into the design. This activity is a fun way to get kids involved!

Put on a play or skit for family members to enjoy.

Family watching a skit or play

The holidays are a great time to gather with family and friends. If you’re hosting your own party this year, consider putting on a themed play or skit for everyone to enjoy. This activity is sure to be memorable for everyone involved!

No matter which holiday you and your family celebrate, make sure to include references or traditions specific to that holiday in your script. For example, if you’re celebrating Christmas, you could have Santa Claus read from the Bible in one scene; if you’re celebrating Hanukkah, you could have dreidel spinning in another scene; and if you’re celebrating Kwanzaa, you could have drumming circles in yet another scene.

Ensure that your youngsters are familiar with their lines before the event. It will be easier for them to recite them when they’re on stage at your party rather than having to read from a script. If this is not possible, especially if there are young children involved, then consider having them hold up cue cards with reminders about what line comes next when speaking lines that use specific information that is only loosely linked together within the context.

Boost your kid’s creativity with cookie decorating.

Cookie decorating

Decorating cookies can be a fun addition to any holiday get-together, and it’s great for the whole family. You can experiment with ways to make cookie decorating fun for children of all ages. For example:

1. Start with a simple sugar cookie recipe.

2. Let the kids help decorate the cookies with icing and sprinkles.

3. Get creative with the icing and decorations.

4. Use cookie cutters to make shapes.

5. Make a game out of it and see who can decorate the most cookies in a certain amount of time.

6. Take photos of the finished cookies and share them with friends and family.

7. Dig in and enjoy eating the cookies!


Do something new by making a family photo album or gift.

Family looking at family album

One way to show your appreciation to your holiday host is by creating a personalized gift. This could be in the form of a photo album featuring pictures of you and the host spending time together during the holidays. Or, you could create an album for each member of the host’s family. If you’re feeling ambitious, maybe you can write down some of your favorite memories from this holiday season and include them along with photos from your trip. The gift doesn’t have to be complicated; make sure to include a few silly stories and some inside jokes, so they know how much fun you had during the holidays together.

Another idea would be to buy small gifts for each member of the host’s family—or even multiple gifts that go together, such as puzzles or board games where everyone will want to join in on the fun! Making these small gifts personal will show how grateful you are for being invited and will teach kids the importance of gratitude and gift-giving!

Make ornaments and color them!

Kids making ornaments

Decorate your Christmas tree with colorful ornaments made by your kids. This is an excellent sensory activity for families with toddlers and young children, who will get excited about creating their own decorations to hang on the tree. Toddlers can also get involved by helping to add glitter or glue pieces to their creations.

This project can be done by adults as well, especially if they want to make handmade ornaments that show the personality of each person in the family—for example, an ornament with family photos or one with a favorite saying written in glitter glue and decorated with sequins and beads.

Whether you’re decorating for Christmas or Hanukkah, it’s essential to stay away from toxic materials like leaded paint when making any decorations for children (or adults) to use every year around holiday time!

Hone your child’s skills by playing board games.

Kids playing board games

There are many board games for kids available these days. They can be a great way for kids to learn new skills and have fun at the same time. Be sure to choose a game that suits the ages of those playing it and is fun for everyone involved.

Examples of popular board games include:

Monopoly Jr.

Kids can learn to count money and make smart business decisions as they buy, sell and trade properties with their favorite characters from the Monopoly world. The game has a lot of editions, including Super Mario, Disney Pixar Cars 3, Peppa Pig, Dinosaurs, and more! Ages 5+.

Scrabble Junior

For an educational twist on the classic word game, try Scrabble Junior! It’s based on the same rules as Scrabble but has some new twists, including a junior dictionary that includes words like “zoo” and “fish tank” that aren’t included in traditional Scrabble dictionaries. Ages 7+.

Pictionary Jr.

This classic game is great for helping kids practice their drawing skills and for letting them show off their artistic talents. It’s also a fun way for families to spend time together — even if they don’t have much experience in art! Ages 7+.


Beat boredom by having a dance party.

dance party with kids

Music is a great way to get everyone involved. It’s also fun and can be enjoyed by all ages.

If you’re hosting a family reunion or friends gathering for the holiday season, throw a dance party! Having fun together is sometimes the best way to create lasting memories with your loved ones.

Make it a family affair by inviting guests of all ages to join in on the fun. A playlist ready to go will keep it simple and ensure you don’t have any embarrassing moments when people aren’t familiar with what’s playing.

If you don’t want to pay for another service (like Spotify), use your phone as an mp3 player!

Get moving with active outdoor or indoor activities for kids.

Family doing charades

Active games are a great way to get the whole family moving. They can be played indoors or outdoors and competitive or cooperative, depending on your preference. 

If you’re looking for a new way to play together as a group with all ages included, try these active games:

Charades is a great indoor game because it’s easy to understand whether you have guessed correctly by watching the other person act out their clue. You can play in teams if there are enough people in your group. Check out this Charades for Kids game.

Cornhole (bean bag toss) is an outdoor game that involves throwing bean bags at targets on opposite sides of the field. The target height for cornhole varies depending on the skill level of the players. Some players might prefer taller targets so it’s easier for them to hit, while others might prefer shorter targets so they can compete against one another more evenly!

Keep kids engaged with fun kids activities.

You don’t want your family gatherings to become a scream-fest. Whether you’re hosting the party or just attending, there are ways to make sure everyone is having fun and enjoying their time together.

Younger children need something to do other than sit in front of the TV, but an adult event shouldn’t be a babysitting job either. Variety is essential when it comes to keeping kids engaged throughout any gathering—whether it’s Christmas dinner or game night with friends!

So if you are looking for some fun things to do with the kids (and adults) this holiday season, here is a quick, handy list that might be just the thing for you. Don’t forget to come back and let us know how your family gathering activities turned out. We hope these suggestions will help make your gatherings memorable and enjoyable for your whole family.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links and we may earn a small commission from them when you click on the links with no additional cost to you.

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