With only a few weeks left to go till the big guy arrives to clamber down our chimney and nibble on our mince pies, teachers and parents alike are dealing with increasingly excited children. If this is you and you’re looking for something fun and educational to do with your pupils or kids, take a look at our top 6 ideas for keeping them entertained.
1. FEED THE BIRDS – LET THEM KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME
In the cold winter months, birds often find it difficult to find food when everything is frozen, so why not decorate a tree or bush to make it into a bird feeder? Here’s some ideas for you to try:
- Smear pine cones in salt-free peanut butter or lard and then dip them in bird seed.
- Make strings of popcorn to hang outside.
- Create birdseed fat balls to hang up using this fat ball recipe from Gardener’s World.
Enjoy watching quietly to see which birds come and visit; keep a log of who your visitors are. If you don’t have a tree, put a branch in a large pot filled with stones or peat-free compost. Remember, once you start putting food sources out birds will rely on that source all the way through winter so you must keep it replenished till spring.
2. WALKING IN THE GLARE
Christmas is often associated with overindulgence, so why not wrap up warm and go out for a Christmas walk that will burn off some of that energy? If the countryside isn’t easily accessible, then have a walk around a residential area where children can look out for all the Christmas lights and other decorations – keep a tally and have targets like ‘the first to see 10 flashing lights’. Or write up a spotter sheet with items to tick off, Santa sign, Christmas tree, reindeers, candles, etc. Compare this with decorations that are used all year round (a good reason for another walk in January). A night time walk is an exciting way for children to stimulate their senses in a way they don’t often get chance to.
3. PLEASE CONE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
While out on your walk, or as an activity in itself, you could collect some large pinecones to take home and decorate. To do this, place some string on the pinecones for hanging and then paint the pinecones before sprinkling glitter over the wet paint. You can add them to the Christmas tree as a decoration or, if at school, the children can give them to their parents as a gift that THEY made.
4. BRIGHT CHRISTMAS
Follow the star is a great way for children to explore and stay warm.
Set up a star trail around the school grounds or your neighbourhood. Children have to look for the laminated stars hung in different places and complete the activities written on each star, e.g.
- Do 10 star jumps
- Touch the grounds six times
- Walk backwards 5 paces.
The children could even come up with their own ideas and create their own star trail.
5. CHRISTMAS WRAPPING
In the aftermath of Christmas Day, there’s always lots of unrequired packaging items left around, so why not make something out of the cardboard? You could make a large scale Santa sleigh by putting the boxes together, painting them red and even adding glitter! The children could also make reindeer ears and pretend to be the reindeers pulling the sleigh or sit in the box (when dry) and pretend to be Father Christmas. See http://cainesarcade.com/ for inspiration!
6. LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW!
Playing in the snow is obviously weather dependent and must be done while supervised, but if we’re lucky enough to get some of the white stuff, there’s lots of things you can do with the children:
- Build a snowman
- Make snow angels
- Have a friendly snowball fight
- Go on a walk and identify footprints
- Go sledging!
We hope that this has given you some ideas for getting the kids outside and interacting with nature during the run up to Christmas and beyond. So it’s time to get wrapped up, fill those lungs with fresh air and have some Christmas fun in the great outdoors!