If you’re planning a Christmas party for a group of elementary-age children, there are a myriad of really fun games you can include. Be sure to have lots of prizes and take lots of pictures because some of the games can be silly!
To get the kids moving around, start with the “fill the stocking” game. In this game, create teams so there are at least 3 people and no more than perhaps 6 people on each team. Have a stocking for each team. Place the stockings on the wall and have also a bowl of candy and spoons.
The first person on each team will put the spoon in their mouth (backwards, so the bowl of the spoon is sticking out) and get some candy out of the bowl. Still holding their spoon in their mouth, they must walk or run to the stocking on the wall and get the candy in the stocking.
They run back to the line and the next child has a turn (each child should have his or her on spoon). The game continues until the candy bowl is empty.
The obvious prize for the stocking game is a big bowl of candy!
Another active game is an “unwrap the game” relay. Provide two piles presents at one end of the room (these can be presents with real teats inside, or “dummy” wrapped presents). The children are divided into two teams and a relay is created.
One person runs to the stack of gifts, unwraps it, throws away the paper and runs back. Then the next child in line runs up, unwraps a gift, throws away the paper and runs back. If the paper lands outside the trash can, the child must run back and put it back in the trashcan before returning to the line and allowing another person to take a turn.
If these to games are played first the kids might want a little rest. Now’s the time to play a sit-down Christmas party game, like “remember this”. Get a large cookie sheet or baking tray and fill it with Christmas-themed items. You might include an ornament, a candy cane, a Santa hat, garland, ribbon, etc.
There should be at least 20 items on the tray. Give each child about 20 seconds to look at the items, then cover the tray and remove it from sight. Give the children another 20-30 seconds to remember everything they saw on the tray. Have them quickly write don their guesses. The prize is for whoever remembers the most items!
Another good sit down game and one that’s also a learning game is a word find game. Provide children with a list of Christmas words and have them find other words within those words. For example, if one word is “reindeer” they might find in, deer, red, den, and so on. Longer words are best, so think of words like Christmas, snowballs, poinsettia, holly berry and the like).
Children love games that involve sitting in a circle and having fun that way. Here’s a “circle” game children are sure to love. This tests their ability to remember little details about other people, like their voice.
Have handy a sleigh, either one cut out of cardboard or a small one purchased a gift or dollar store. Blindfold one child and have another child hold the sleigh. The child with the sleigh calls out to the blindfolded child something like this:
Santa, where’s your sleigh?
Someone’s come and taken it away.
Who has it? Who?
The blindfolded child has to guess who has the sleigh. Give the child 3 chances to get it right before giving the sleigh and blindfold to other children.
For another sit down game, give each child a piece of paper and a pencil. Tell them to close their eyes and then tell them what to draw. Give them the shapes, but don’t tell them exactly what they are trying to draw (though most children will figure it out).
So, first tell them to draw three circles, with the largest being on the bottom and the smallest on the top. Then tell them to draw dots for eyes, and buttons for a coat. Keep going until you have described a snowman. Then have the children open their eyes to see what they have actually drawn. Award a prize for the drawing that most closely resembles a snowman.
Family Fun Christmas Activities
Family is at the core of the Christmas season, so creating fun memories with your family is always at the top of the must-do list this time of year.
What fun activities can you incorporate into your family life that makes Christmas memorable and fun? Plenty, really. There are the traditional and the things a little bit out of the box.
Think back to your childhood and Christmas time in your house. Are there particular memories that are clearer than others? Those are likely the traditions your parents created for you and your siblings. Trying to create traditions in your own home with your own children is one way to make Christmas fun, exciting and memorable.
Perhaps it’s decorating cookies, or making gingerbread houses. Maybe when you were younger your mom always had something yummy smelling coming from the kitchen. You can create the same tradition by simply keeping potpourri warmed and smelling nice, if you don’t have the time to bake frequently.
If you want to do a fun family activity in the kitchen, but baking’s not your thing, you can make a variety of other gift items in your kitchen. The kids love making chocolate and candy covered pretzel sticks, and you can pair those with homemade hot cocoa mix to give as gifts.
Be sure to incorporate music into your family’s traditions. How about some family fun singing Christmas carols or creating your own family music CD? Record your family singing Christmas carols and use that CD as your music CD for the holidays. If you all are particularly talented, you could make these look pretty and give them as gifts.
Many families like to cut down their own Christmas tree. This is a really fun family activity that can add a lot to the Christmas season. Christmas tree farms are located just about everywhere. Check into a local grower’s group for locations.
You simply show up, grab a saw (this is mom or dad’s job) and go hunting. Depending on the location of the tree farm, you might walk only a short distance, or you might have to hike up and down hills and far into the farm’s reaches to find just the right tree.
To add even more fun to this activity, create another family tradition that will annually go with the tree cutting. It can be as simple as also having lunch (at the same place each year) and picking up candy to eat in the car on the way home. You might also add a shopping excursion to the day; after the tree is safe at home in a bucket of water, you might all go shopping as a family for some new ornaments.
Other fun family activities can include annual visits to certain places in your community. Does your town have an annual “Christmas tree lane” where all the homes on one street decorate (sometimes in an over the top fashion) for the holidays? You can make a tradition of driving down the street each year, or walking the entire street, if the weather allows. Walking gives the kids a chance to see some of the details of the various décor items.
Many children think hot cocoa is an essential part of the Christmas season. If that’s the case with yours, you could start a fun family activity each year where you make a big batch of hot cocoa mix at the start of the season.
Let the kids have a small cup each night before bed during the month of December and closer to Christmas, add special items to the hot cocoa, like mini marshmallows one night and whipped cream another. Be sure to leave this family-made hot cocoa for Santa on Christmas Eve!
At a certain age, children enjoy decorating their room for the holidays. One fun family Christmas activity is to encourage this decoration by letting the kids shop for items to put in their rooms and letting them do the decorating. Be sure to take a picture of them in their decorated room each year. They’ll enjoy looking at the pictures year after year.
Dominican Republic Holidays – The Christmas Day
Being predominantly Catholic, Christmas day takes a very special place in the Dominican Republic’s holidays. Sure, there are no white Christmases or Christmas balls, but Dominicans have their special way of celebrating the centerpiece of all Christian holidays in the Caribbean.
First off, Dominicans start celebrating Christmas earlier than most people around the world. They start so early that their Christmas dinner, in fact, is held on the 24th of December, not on the traditional 25th observed by the rest of the world.
But the Christmas mood begins far earlier than that. Beginning on the first day of December, the Dominicans start playing traditional melodic Christmas tunes. Usually, groups of 2 to 4 persons play the official Dominican music, the Merengue, with the accordion, the drum and the güira to the tunes of Christmas carols, which set off anticipation for the celebrations to come.
The sense of community is very strong among Dominicans. This is why it is not surprising that informal Christmas parties, called the Aguinaldos, parties that are open for everybody and not just for a few family members are held throughout the nation. People could come from anywhere, whether they are invited or not.
On most cases, people who participate in the Aguinaldos are the singing parties who, on their way to the Christmas party, have already visited a number of houses where they were either given a home-made ginger beverage called the ‘jengibre’ or a taste of what is served on the dinner table of the family they have visited, called ‘bocadita’.
And of course, once everyone has gathered in a house where the party is set to kick off, partying, dancing, eating, and drinking begins. Beginning with traditional Dominican Republic carols, this party continues well into midnight.
The Aguinaldos have always been the typical Dominican Republic way of celebrating Christmas. These informal community parties are enjoyed in the most populated areas of the country where the sense of community is very strong.
Because most of the people in the Dominican Republic are mostly poor or middle class, the way Christmas is celebrated varies. It is very important though for every Dominican family to be together on Christmas eve and Christmas day. Both are official non-working holidays.
What would be Christmas if there are no Christmas decorations?
The Dominicans have a very distinct way of decorating their homes during Christmas. Most families have recreations of the Nativity or the Birth of Jesus Christ within their homes. These are called ‘Nacimiento’. ‘Charamico’, the Dominican Republic’s version of the Christmas tree, is the literal translation of ‘dry branch’. To serve as a Christmas tree, the ‘Charamico’ is painted white and decorated with typical Christmas tree decors like balls, lights, and ribbons.
Dominicans also have their own special version of the European flower for Christmas called Poinsettia, which they call, ‘Flor de Pascua’. Most homes also grow the ‘Estrella de Natividad’, literally translated as the ‘Star of the Birth’ of Christ.
Truly, Dominican Republic has very special ways of celebrating the festive season of Christmas.
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