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5 Tips For Entertaining Kids During The Holidays

Nov 21, 2012 | By Sharon DeWitt

Keep children busy during the holidays with these five cheap and simple entertainment ideas for kids.

Long holiday weekends with children are moments in life that can bring feelings of excited anticipation or looming dread. It all depends on whether or not you have an action plan in place. The old adage "if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail" is especially true with toddlers, preschoolers and girls and boys below the age of 9 years old since they are often still in the process of learning how to entertain themselves.
But don't worry, at Little Heroes, we have you covered!

Here are five cheap and simple ways for keeping kids entertained and occupied during the holidays.

Tip One:  Make Paper Bag Puppets

Kids holiday entertainment: Paper bag puppetsPaper bag puppet making is a great way to stimulate young children's imaginations. Better yet, it keeps them quiet and busy for hours! You can customize the puppets to whatever festivities you're facing using materials you have around the house. Turkey puppets are fun at Thanksgiving. Soldier puppets are great for Remembrance or Veteran's day. Reindeer or Santa Claus puppets are perfect for Christmas. And how about a pumpkin for Halloween? The options are endless! 

What you need:

Paper lunch bags, construction paper, crayons, writing paper, balls of yarn, safety scissors, white glue, paper plates, dixie cups (to put glue and other items in), popsicle sticks and fun accessories (stick on wiggly eyes, feathers, glitter, scrap
pieces of cloth) in order to decorate the puppets.

Good for: Kids age 4 to 9 years.

What to do:

  1. Lay out the accessories in the middle of a table, putting the smaller items in paper plates to keep them organized.
  2. Pour white glue and popsicle sticks into the dixie cups beside the paper bags. 
  3. Cut a piece of construction paper to fit into the fold of the bag (puppet mouth). Glue to the bag to reinforce the pupper mouth.
  4. Have one adult or teen stay with the children to supervise and show them how to adorn the puppets wit the items provide. Kids will love creating their very own paper bag puppets with all the trimmings and they can use the popsicle sticks to glue everything to the bags. 
  5. Once finished making the puppets, ask the kids to name them. Write the names on the inside of the pupper bag and on a piece of paper. 
  6. Set puppets aside for about an hour to let the glue dry. During that time, the children can busy themselves with the next tip!

Tip Two: Write and Perform A Kid's Puppet Show

Kids holiday entertainment: Paper bag puppet show!What's a paper bag puppet without a puppet show? It's amazing the stories that kids can come up just by knowing the names of the characters involved! Plus watching children put on a show is a great way to relax (and digest) after a festive meal.

Items needed:

Construction paper, magic markers, regular writing paper, crayons,  couch or kitchen table with a table cloth and, of course puppets!

Good for: Kids age 4 - 9 years.

What to do:

  1. Give each child a piece of paper with the name of their puppet on it and a crayon.
  2. Ask them to write personalized stories for their puppets (almost like one of Little Heroes customized books!). 
  3. Once all of the kids have written out a story about their puppets, help them to find away to fit all of those stories together, creating one "Super Story". This teaches children how to co-operate with each other.
  4. Using the construction paper and magic marker, help them to write a story board of the new puppet show based on the interconnected story that they have just written.
  5. Create a pupper stage. Easy improvisations are:
    (a) The back of a couch - kids just stand behind and the parents sit in front; or
    (b) Put a table cloth over a table to make a 'curtain', with the parents sitting in chairs, facing one side of the table and the kids on the other side, hidden by the 'curtain'. 
  6. With the stage set, have the kids introduce their puppets and tell the story! Of course they'll make most of it up as they go along but as long as they have that story board "backstage" they'll have at least some idea of how the story begins and ends. 
    Remember: Clap and cheer at the end of their puppet play!

Tip Three: Alphabet Themed Children's Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are a perfect way to bring out the observant side of children. In order to help kids see their surroundings in a whole new way, bring in another theme, the alphabet! Just like our new preschool learning book, Alphabet Zoo, an alphabet themed scavenger hunt can solidify the letters in the alphabet in your child's mind with every day items around the house. 
A scavenger hunt is quite simple to set up and can take a few hours to complete. It's especially good for large groups of children. 

Items needed:

Paper, crayon, magic maker, objects in your house that start with different letters of the alphabet.

Good for: Kids age 3 - 12 years.

What to do:

  1. Set the kids up in teams and give each team a piece of paper and a dark coloured crayon or magic marker. 
  2. On each piece of paper, write out the letters of the alphabet and draw the parameters of the hunt on the other side of the paper. (I.e. A mini map, with clear scavenger zone marked and all other areas marked "off limits"). 
  3. Let the hunt begin! Have the children go in search of every day items beginning with different letters of the alphabet within the scavenger zone. The group with the most items written under each letter wins!
    Safety note:
    If this game is taking place outside, make sure that the scavenger zone is marked clearly, e.g. with streamers. Also have an adult or two outside for supervision.

Tip Four: Create A Family Tree

Kids holiday entertainment: handmade family treeFamily trees are a wonderful way to help children to learn about extended members of family, as well as remembering the names of newly met cousins, aunts and uncles. Vary the color of the leaves to the holiday you're celebrating.
E.g. For Thanksgiving, you can make the tree in fall colors of orange, red, yellow and green.

Items needed:

Construction paper, glue sticks, crayons, green paper cut into the shape of leaves, magic markers. 

Good for: Kids age 6 - 12 years.

What to do:

  1. Have the children sit down, either on the floor in a circle, or at a table. 
  2. Give them each a piece of construction paper, a handful of cut out leaves and place the magic markers, glue sticks and crayons in the centre for them to share. 
    Note: You can make an example of a family tree for them but tell them that it's important that they create their own version of a tree. 
  3. Start the kids drawing their trees and writing their different relatives names on leaves.
  4. Glue the leaves to the trees. 
  5. When complete, put their trees up in their bedrooms at home, where they can see the names of their relatives, whenever they want to!

Tip Five: Make Holiday Decorations

Kids holiday entertainment: Homemade holiday decorationsAlmost all holiday weekends have some theme that kids can create decorations for. At Thanksgiving they can make table centrepieces, for Christmas or Hanukah they can make window decorations or tree ornaments, on Valentine's Day they can make Valentines day cards and at Easter they can paint eggs. 

Items needed:

At almost every holiday you can get away with making decorations with the following supplies: construction paper of different colors, glue sticks,  white glue, dixie cups, paper plates, markers, pipe cleaners, coloured yarn, crayons, glitter, popsicle sticks and scrap pieces of fabric.

Good for: Kids age 6 - 12 years.

What to do:

  1. Place the art supplies in the middle of a table and put a paper plate in front of each child.
  2. Let them go wild and make their very own holiday decorations with the materials provided. 
  3. Once finished, you can decide together where the decorations should be placed in the house.

 

The best source of entertainment for a child is his or her own mind.

Although movies and video games are a good way to keep children occupied during a long weekend, they do little to help develop the mind of a growing child. When you give kids activities that promote problem solving, co-operation and creativity it helps them to be independent thinkers who will eventually (drum roll) … entertain themselves.

Of course, after a long day of holiday meals, arts and crafts and visiting with friends or family, there's something so lovely about sitting down and reading a personalized book with that special little hero in your life.
Which is just another thing we can help you with!

Happy holidays from Little Heroes!

Tags : customized kids book, personalized stories, personalized story book, tips for entertaining kids, kids holiday crafts, kids holiday activities

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