As a parent, winter break is a time for rest and relaxation but also, it’s a time when we’ll need to find clever and festive new ways to engage our children. Having a slate of fun holiday activities ready to go can make you and your kids even happier during the season. We’ve relied on our own decades of experience playing, being creative, and getting outside with our kids of various ages to bring you these 17 holiday activities/experiences for you to enjoy with you and yours this holiday season.
1. Go Sledding or Skating
Like a bear in their den, the cold weather can often cause us to want to hide away under warm blankets until springtime, but one of the best holiday activities/experiences can be to venture outside should you get (or be near) snow and ice for a day of sledding down hills and ice skating! Check out even more outdoor winter holiday family activities.
2. Make Homemade Ornaments
Some of the best family activities for the holidays can become cherished annual traditions — like this one! Making homemade ornaments using construction paper, photos, yarn, and other craft supplies to decorate your tree each and every year. This is one of the greatest holiday activities for preschoolers.
3. Make Your Own Advent Calendar
Whether you fill the boxes and pouches with little toys or chocolates, advent calendars are clever and fun ways to count down the days from December 1st to Christmas Eve. Making your own advent calendar is one of the holiday activities for kids that will provide enjoyment day after day during the holiday season.
4. Bake Cookies
Bake up a fresh batch of your favorites and try a brand new cookie recipe during this most classic of holiday activities.
5. Construct a Gingerbread House
While I’ve never successfully managed to construct a gingerbread house myself, your family will surely have better luck with this delicious and delightful holiday activity of building a house…and then eating it!
6. Go on a Holiday Lights Tour of Local Neighborhoods
My kids are 19 and 16 now, but they still love piling into the car to drive around different neighborhoods to look at, judge, and rate holiday light displays on local houses. This is our most cherished family holiday activity and instead of searching for “holiday activities near me” just grab some blankets, turn on some holiday music, and go for a drive at night to ooh and aah over the lights and decorations in your town.
7. Decorate Your Home
One of the best holiday activities/experiences each year is to have your kids help you put up decorations inside and our of your home! From inflatables on your yawn to lights in your trees, dressing your home for the holidays is a fun holiday activity everyone can enjoy together.
8. Listen to Seasonal Holiday Music
From Stevie Wonder's classic holiday album to Harry Connick Jr’s jazzy Christmas music, and Leslie Odom Jr’s modern masterpieces to Nat King Cole’s classic songs, creating a holiday music playlist and having a festive dance party with fresh baked cookies in hand is one of the most fun activities for the holidays.
9. Holiday Movie Marathon
I’d recommend you start with Arthur Christmas, one of the most hilarious and underrated holiday family movies ever, and then add your favorites for a holiday movie marathon during the holiday season.
10. Volunteer Your Time
When you search for “holiday activities near me” also consider ways you and your kids can volunteer to help those in need in your local community this season.
11. Visit a Holiday Market
Many cities and towns across the country have pop-up holiday markets. These are fun and festive ways to spend time outdoors together with a cup of hot cocoa in hand as you shop for handmade and local gifts.
12. Play Holiday I-Spy
This is a holiday activity for kids that can be played at home, during a walk around the neighborhood, or during a holiday lights drive around town. Find a free holiday I-spy printable online and have your kids search for sleds, candy canes, snowman, the Grinch, and more.
13. Make Your Own Holiday Cards and Send to Family and Friends
Everyone loves to receive a thoughtful card during the holiday season! Your family and friends will love it even more when they open up envelopes to find cards you and your kids have made while doing holiday activities for preschoolers.
14. Donate to a Toy Drive/Sponsor a Child
Too many families are struggling to make ends meet, which means too many children may not find freshly wrapped gifts under their tree this year. Consider sponsoring a child through a local charitable organization or donating new toys and books to those in need. Of all the holiday activities/experiences you can do with your kids, none are more rewarding or essential to the community than helping others.
15. Make a Snack Table For Delivery People
Whether they are delivering dinner because you are too exhausted to cook or dropping off boxes upon boxes of gifts you ordered online, our mail carriers and delivery people work extra hard during the holidays. Consider putting out a table of drinks and snacks with a handmade sign thanking these workers for their efforts to make your holidays special.
16. Ugly Sweater Fishing
Everyone loves an ugly holiday sweater and you already love to fish, so do one of the fun holiday activities for kids by combining the two! Put on your most garish sweater, pack up your best winter lures, and head to your local fishing spot during winter break.
17. Make a Blanket Fort
Finally, here’s a classic holiday activity for the wintertime for when the kids are home from school and need to be entertained! Gather up all your comforters and blankets and make a massive fort, then hide away to play board games, watch movies, and take naps with your kids.
Looking for more family activities for the holidays? Try a new winter hobby or take your kids out for one of these cool winter activities with or without snow!