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Cheap Christmas Activities for Kids to Cure the Boredom

Several weeks ago my kids had several days off for Thanksgiving break. Within two hours of being home from school they were showing signs of boredom. I guess being out of their natural school routine was a shock to their system and they didn’t know what to do. Sound familiar?

christmas activities for kidsIt occurred to me that a more serious situation would be coming up soon – two weeks for Christmas break. Yikes! What Christmas activities for kids could I find to keep them from being bored out of their mind for that length of time?

Really it’s only the first week of break that is a concern – the week leading up to Christmas. So that’s five days or so that I have to keep them busy. After the 25th – with all the presents they receive – they usually have enough to occupy their interest and keep them busy until they return to school.

Of course I will grant them a small portion of their time to watch some TV and play video games. They’ve earned it with all the hard work they’ve put in at school. But I don’t want those two activities to take up the majority of the day.

And I certainly don’t want to be spending a lot of money on activities seeing how we are already spending a lot for gifts.

So here are some Christmas activities for kids I’ve come up with and will do my best to implement over that first week of Christmas break. I don’t know how original these are but by golly my kids are doing them. I don’t want to hear them whining about being bored.

Christmas Activities for Kids

I know some of these will require me to oversee the activity. I’m OK with that as long as it keeps the kids busy. And I should say my 4 kids are ages 7-14 so the activities are geared for their age level.

1. Play Monopoly or Risk (or any other board game)

The reason I listed Monopoly and Risk are that these are the two board games we own that take the longest time to play. Done properly each could last a whole day. I’ve even had some Risk games last multiple days. My kids already know how to play Monopoly and love it. I’m thinking this is the Christmas to teach them Risk. I mean what’s wrong with teaching them about total world domination?

2. Bake Christmas cookies

This is my mom’s specialty. She does this each year with the kids and they simply love it. So I’m sure we’ll be scheduling them a trip to her house some time that first week of vacation.

You’ll have to buy a few things here but not a huge expenditure: cookie dough, Christmas themed shaped dough cutters, icing and anything else you want to decorate the cookies with.

3. Family home movie night(s)

I know watching TV together as a family isn’t the same as doing an activity together as a family. But we are still together and that should count for something. We’ll do two Christmas movies both of which are family favorites: It’s a Wonderful Life and The Christmas Story.

4. Local Christmas production or service

Many civic organizations put on special productions during the weeks heading up to Christmas. And it wouldn’t be hard to find a church doing a Christmas Eve service somewhere in your community. We have several in our area that we will check out again this year.

5. Go see Christmas lights

Other than opening gifts on Christmas morning, I think this is one of the most fun Christmas activities for kids out there. We love Christmas lights! And we have several families in our area who go all Clark Griswold every year. They are the type of homes you’d drive miles to get to because it’s so impressive. Nothing beats an over-the-top homemade light display set to music.

6. Help with Christmas shopping

OK…this might not be ideal. You’d rather shop without the kids. Taking them along could just add to the stress of shopping. Plus, you couldn’t buy any gifts for the child you take while they are with you. That would ruin the fun of Christmas morning.

With four kids though we can take multiple trips and split up who goes each time. We can have some together time while we shop for the other members of the family. Plus, this has the added benefit of teaching them how to Christmas shop, how to stick to a budget and how to avoid the excessive, emotional spending that often happens this time of year.

7. Get outdoors

In warmer regions of the country like where we live this might be easier. Mid-day December temperatures here in the South can still climb into the 70s. That means there is still time for bike rides, outdoor basketball, hiking, and general kid revelry in the backyard.

But even if it’s cold and snowy kids can survive outside. Bundle them up and get them playing in the snow. My sister and I loved it and we managed despite the cold temps. I know my kids would love it if we got a winter snowstorm in a couple of weeks.

8. Do some crafts

I’ve got to say this is the least favorite activity I came up with mostly because I’m not a creative, crafty type of guy. I don’t really have the patience or the eye for it. And since I’ll have to oversee this a bit I’m not generally excited about it.

But my kids seem to enjoy doing them – especially the two little ones. So I’ll be surfing the web for ideas. Have any you enjoy doing?

I think it’s important to guide and suggest the Christmas activities for kids you’ll be doing. Many kids struggle when left alone to come up with their own activities. They’ll simply revert to easy options like TV and video games. At least with these we can get away from those two things for some time.

Questions: What other Christmas activities for kids can you come up with? Do your kids ever get bored when they get off their normal schedule? What’s your favorite Christmas activity or tradition?

Image by Lynne Graves at Flickr Creative Commons

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  1. These are amazing activities in Christmas. I like make cookie and watch TV with family in XMas

  2. My son enjoyed the outdoor activities. The summer holidays I often for little trips. Thank your ideas.

    • I love to get kids in the outdoors and away from technology. There is so much to appreciate we often miss it when we spend all of our time inside.

  3. Playing board games is the best way to kill time, and it is actually make the kids more productive 🙂 it’s my kids’ new hobby now

  4. I know watching TV together as a family isn’t the same as doing an activity together as a family. Nice tips.

    • You are right…it’s not. But we derive a lot of satisfaction after the fact from shows/movies we watch. What I mean by that is we talk a lot as a family afterwards about what we watched – recounting funny lines from the show, talking about the themes, asking questions about things we didn’t understand, etc. We’ve been going for days with this on the new Star Wars movie we just saw.

  5. Walking the neighbourhood to check out Christmas lights has become a new activity on our agenda. We have an 18month old and she loves to see the decorations. Since it is dark by 5pm, we can get out for an after dinner walk about 6 and see all the pretty lights and still be home and in bed for 7. It’s perfect – takes care of that hour of time where we are sometimes looking for activities.

  6. My husband gave my kids a set of different lego structures and there is a Christmas-inspired lego. And, it turned out that my kids very much love it. There so many possible combinations they can make. One of the activities they look forward to doing not only in Christmas.

  7. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says

    I and my kids enjoy going to parks especially at night when park is lighted with Christmas lights in different colors. This is just a simple activity yet kids have fun with it! It’s also very relaxing in my part.

  8. The beans aren’t old enough for most of these, but we will definitely be doing more of these things with them as they get older. 🙂

  9. The girls will be off for two weeks for Christmas too. We manage to stay fairly busy, in part, because Taylor’s birthday also falls within their holiday break. 🙂 We also set up play dates with friends and host some too.

    • It’s so hard when they get out of the normal routine. I’m really trying to be proactive this year so I don’t feel like the bad guy when I say “No” to the “Can I watch TV/play video games?” question. 🙂

  10. Our kids love doing artwork and crafts and other activities. They aren’t always even Christmas related now. The other day, my son ‘built’ a house out of paper and tape, and decorated it with crayon. I was really impressed!

    • That’s awesome MB! Love when they get creative on their own. My youngest daughter loves to build with Legos…she comes up with really creative designs on her own.

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