Holiday Activities To Do With Kids

My family and I recently attended a game for the Chicago Storm indoor soccer team. It was so much fun and very exciting for kids and parents alike. The kids all play soccer and my husband, Alvin, is a coach, so for them, it was an inspirational experience.

In that game, the team had “Family Night” where they held a teddy bear giveaway for charity. The kids were asked to bring a stuffed animal to be donated to children in need. While giving away toys is not their favorite pastime, our kids eventually got over their reservations and felt good about sharing a gently used toy with a child who didn’t have one.

When the Storm scored their first goal, all the kids got to throw their teddy bears on the field, a no-no most of the time. So not only did they do something good for others, but they also got to break a rule – fun!

That experience got me thinking about other fun things to do with kids this holiday season. The holidays mean more time to spend with our kids. It also means greater opportunities to give back to friends, neighbors, and those in need. Why not combine the two and spend some time with your children doing projects that will make others feel good this season? You may find that it’s one of the things you remember most about the holidays this year.

Everyone enjoys holiday cookies – especially kids! So let them help you make some treats to share with those you care about. The recipe below is the winner of the Christmas Cookie Contest. It’s easy to let kids help with this project, and after taking one bite, you’ll see why this one is our favorite!

Cranberry Pecan Cookies

Makes two dozen

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pecans

What to Do:

For the pastry: In a mixing bowl beat the butter and cream cheese until combined. Stir in the flour. If desired, chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Shape the dough into 24 balls; place in ungreased 1 3/4-inch muffin pans. Press dough evenly against the bottom and up sides of each muffin cup.

For the filling: In a mixing bowl beat together the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt just until smooth. Stir in the cranberries and pecans. Spoon filling into the pastry-lined muffin cups.

Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Cool in pans on wire racks. Remove from pans by running a knife around the edges. When cool, package the cookies in a holiday mug or bowl, wrap them in colored cellophane and tie them with a ribbon for a pretty gift. Have the kids write a note to go with it.

This next recipe is perfect for cozy mornings at home or as a hostess gift for holiday gatherings. Everyone will benefit from the antioxidants in the blueberries and beta-carotene in the pumpkin!

Blueberry Pumpkin Muffins

Makes two dozen

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

What to Do:

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine the canned pumpkin, eggs, and oil. Gently stir wet ingredients into dry until just moistened. Gently fold in blueberries.

Spoon batter into greased muffin tins, filling three-quarters full. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes. When cool, place muffins in a basket lined with holiday-themed tissue paper, wrap in cellophane, and tie them with a ribbon. Have kids draw a holiday picture to go with it.

Children love crafts, and this one makes a special gift for a teacher or relative or even for your tree at home. Be careful with small items that could pose a choking hazard to young kids. Children of all ages need constant supervision when making crafts.

Sparkly Holiday Ornament

What You’ll Need:

  • Two CDs (blank ones are available for purchase)
  • Gold cord or ribbon
  • White gem glue
  • Low-temperature glue gun
  • Gemstones
  • Disposable bowl
  • Newspaper

What to Do:

Cover your work surface with newspaper. Hot-glue two CDs back-to-back, putting a loop of cord or ribbon in between them for hanging. Put some gem glue in a bowl.

Have your child dip a finger into the gem glue and then onto the CD. Press a gem onto the glue. Continue until both sides are filled with gems. Sprinkle both sides with glitter to cover the excess glue. When dry, shake off the excess glitter and package the ornament in a pretty gift bag. Have kids make a handmade label for the recipient. Consider taking the ornaments to an elder care facility and bringing smiles to the residents there.

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