Blog 2: 12 Days of Christmas – Activities to keep your little ones active over the Holidays!

Need some ideas for keeping the kids active over the Christmas holidays?

Holidays can be a great chance to spend quality time with the children. I have come up with some fun and competitive games over 12 days to provide your children with hours of energy burning entertainment! All activities can be done inside or outside and do not require any specialised equipment.

Here are the 12 Activities you can use:

Day 1 – HEADS, SHOULDERS, KNEES & TOY!

You need 2 people and a toy to play this game. The two players stand opposite each other around 1 metre apart with a toy on the floor in between them. Another person (or it can be the parent) calls out random body parts i.e. Head, Elbow, Tummy, Toes. As the body parts are called the two participants facing each other have to place both hands on the body part called. When the caller says ‘TOY’ the two participants compete to grab the toy first from the middle. You get one point if you grab it first! Repeat until first to 5 points.

To make it more tiring you could place the toy a few metres away so they have to run to get it. Good for teaching children about competition!

Day 2 – DODGEBALL

This is a game the whole family can play! All you need is rolled up socks (probably around 10 of them) and something that shows where they have to run from and too i.e. a piece of rope, jumpers or a bed sheet.

One person has to be the game leader or ‘meany’ stood on the side and they have all the socks. The other children/family members stand behind the first marker or rope. When the ‘meany’ shouts dodgeball everyone has to run across to the other marker around 5 metres across whilst the ‘meany’ is throwing socks at them. If they get hit then they sit down next to the ‘meany’ and help roll the balls at other people – the last person left is the winner. This can be played several times and if there are less than 4 people you can add lives. This means they lose a life rather than getting out.

Day 3 – SANTA’S FOOTSTEPS

Santa’s Footsteps can be hours of entertainment for your children! 2 year olds may need a little support but they still seem to love it! All you need is 2 or more people to play, a place to start (could be sat on the sofa) and a place where the Santa stands (around 3/4m away).

As you can see from the photo, we chose the benches as the place to start for those who are not Santa. The chosen Santa (as shown in the photo) has to stand about 3/4 metres away from the bench, face the other way and pretend to go to sleep! While Santa is asleep the rest of the adults/children have to creep forwards (no running) trying not to wake him/her. When Santa wakes up and turns around everybody has to stop still like a statue! If Santa catches them wobbling or moving then Santa will point at them and they have to go back to the starting point and have another go. First person to reach and tap Santa on the back, becomes the next Santa! And so it repeats! To make it more tiring you could replace the creeping movement with jumping, sidestepping or hopping etc.

Day 4 – The Reindeer Assault Course

This one will require a little bit of preparation as some household objects will be needed and potentially a little bit more space if you have it. So things you might need are as follows:

  • A piece of string/skipping rope.
  • Hard back books or pillows
  • Cardboard box
  • Chairs
  • Table
  • Bowl
  • Rolled up socks

You don’t need to have all of these to make it work, you might also be able to find something similar in the house.

I like to call this Reindeers in training! Feel free to dress up as reindeers and pretend you are in preparation to take Santa around on his sleigh! So now you need to design the assault course, again you can do this in any order. Lay the string or skipping rope on the floor and ask the reindeers to balance across it trying not to fall off! Then place some pillows or books in a zig zag, a small distance away from each other so the children have to jump from one pillow to the next, again trying not to touch the floor! If you open both ends of the cardboard box it can become like a tunnel so the reindeers have to climb through it. If you have small children’s chairs place them about half a metre away from each other in a line so the reindeers have to weave in and out of them. You can put a small table in the way so the child has to climb over or under it (obviously be careful if the table is unstable!).

To finish the assault course the reindeer has to pick up a rolled sock and try to throw it in the bowl around 2 metres away – if they get it in they get 1 reindeer point! You could also try it where the child has to catch the rolled sock to get a point but that would require someone throwing it to the at the end.

Day 5 – TIDY THE SNOWBALLS

This activity is for children and adults of all ages! Make sure you assign a leader who explains what to do and keeps time.

All you need is to split a room into two sections (could use chairs, piece of string or bed sheet etc). You will then need 15 rolled up socks (these are your snowballs) and place them around the room. You split the children and adults down into two teams and get them to go on either side of the room, so team A will be on one side of the room and team B on the other.

As soon as the leader shouts ‘Tidy the Snowballs!’ team A have to pick up the snowballs and throw them over to team B’s side of the room. Team B have to pick up their snowballs and throw them over to team A’s side of the room. CAUTION move anything delicate out of the room before starting! After a minute the leader will shout ‘STOP’ and the teams need to count up how many snowballs are in each side of the room. The team with the lowest number of snowballs is the winner! Repeat this several times and the children will be shattered!

Day 6 – CHRISTMAS MUSICAL CHAIRS 

I thought this activity would be appropriate for Christmas day because everyone tends to have Christmas music on so why not play a game with it!

So, for Christmas musical chairs you will need some way of playing Christmas music and a set of chairs or cushions around the room. Try and leave enough space for the children to skip around and dance. Two lines of chairs in the centre of the room works well, as does a ring around the edges. Alternatively, scatter them around the area randomly.

Similar to musical bumps and music statues, the children dance and skip around while the music plays. When the music stops they must race to sit on a chair or cushion. In the first round there will a space for everybody, but then you remove one chair after each round and the child who doesn’t find somewhere to sit is eliminated.

Day 7: SANTA SAYS

Again this game can be played by anyone and is great for children’s listening skills! You will need a leader or a ‘santa’ to call directions.

Get the group to stand facing you. Tell them that they should copy your orders but only if you first say the words “Santa says”. Tell them that they are out of the game if they follow an order that doesn’t begin with “Santa says,” or if they fail to do what Santa says they should do. Begin with something quite basic like “Santa says, put your finger on your nose.” Then check to see if everyone has put their finger on their nose. Give another order such as, “Simon says, jump up and down.” Check again. Then demonstrate an order without ‘Santa says’ like sit down. If they copy tell the child they would have been out (but just a practice) because you didn’t say ‘Santa says’.

Continue giving orders which could include:

  • Move like a crab (side ways).
  • Star Jumps.
  • Sit down
  • Stand up
  • Skip around
  • Freeze
  • Hop around
  • Jog around

If someone copies an action where the ‘Santa’ didn’t say ‘Santa says’, then they are out of the game. Play until one person is left. That is the winner. Let that person give the commands for the next round.

Blog 8: BALLOON ACTIVITIES

Push to your partner! This needs two people, so whether that is a sibling or yourself it is good fun! Try and push the balloon to your partner, see how many you can get in a row! Easier – Just catch it and throw it back to each other. Harder – Play against the other person, if the balloon drops to the floor the other person gets a point OR add two balloons and try and keep them going at the same time!

Day 9: CHRISTMAS RELAY RACE

We have put together some races for you to do over the Christmas period with the family. It can be played by everyone but needs a minimum of two teams of at least two. You will need an indoor/outdoor space with markers such as jumpers. The first marker is where the team stand one behind the other, around 5m away you place another marker where the team turn around and come back.

Race 1: Balance the candy cane on the face – Place a candy cane on your head or face, if it falls off at any point just pick it up, place back on and continue. Two goes each and then sit down and put your hands on your head. First team to be sat down with their hands on their head is the winner.

Race 2: Penguin Waddle –  Each team will have one balloon. The person at the front puts the balloon between their legs and has to waddle to the marker and back again. If the balloon pops out they have to put it back in before moving again. Two goes each and then sit down and put your hands on your head. First team to be sat down with their hands on their head is the winner.

Race 3: Dress up as a snowman racePlace loo roll half way between the markers, and a number of scarfs and hats at the end by the marker. The person at the front on ‘go’ has to run down to the loo roll and cover themselves to look like a snowman. They then run down to the marker and put on the hat and scarf and run back. Tag the next person and the next person does the same.1 point can go to the best snowman and the other point goes to those who finished first.

Race 4: Christmas Wrapping Relay – Place the same number of wrapped presents as there are team members – put the presents by the end marker. These presents do not have to be presents they can just be wrapped cardboard boxes if you prefer. Adults have to wear oven gloves, children do not. On ‘go’ the person at the front has to run down unwrap the present then run back and tag the next person. First team to unwrap all their presents, sit down and put their hands on their heads is the winner.

Day 10: ELF, ELF, SANTA

This is a Christmas version of Duck, Duck, Goose which most children absolutely love! This games requires at least 4 players sat in a circle.

All the players, except the first person who is Santa, sit in a circle. The chosen Santa walks around the outside of the circle, tapping each player on the head, saying “Elf” each time. When they decide to tap someone on the head and say “Santa!”, that person then stands up and runs after Santa around the circle, trying to tag him/her before they can take the seat of the person they tapped.
If they successfully reach the Elf’s seat without being tagged, then they get to stay as Santa and start the process again – if the elf manages to tag the Santa then they get to be the new Santa – the old Santa becomes an elf and joins the circle. So it repeats! Try and make sure everyone gets a turn at being Santa.

Day 11: CAT AND MOUSE

This is a great outdoor activity to play with family and friends. There is one cat and everyone else is a mouse. Make sure there is plenty of space to play this game so children do not bump into each other. All mice have to wear a “tail” (e.g., scarf, cloth, pinnie) and they have to stuff a small part of it into the side of their shorts/pants. Tails are not to be wrapped around belts or in belt loops. Remind participants that no body contact is allowed and that they can only grab their tails.

The cat has to grab all of the mice’s tails off the mice. If your tail is taken, that person also becomes a cat! The last person left is the next cat!

Day 12: HIDE THE CHRISTMAS TOY!

I play this game with my nephews all the time! Take a small toy, one person is the hider the other children are the finders. You go into another room to hide the toy. Once you have hidden the toy you give the children a few minutes to find it! Usually I help by saying whether they are ‘hot’ (being close) or ‘cold’ (no where near). The person who finds it gets to hide the toy!