Guest Blog by Nadia | Lakeshore Blog Ambassador from Fun with Mama
With the festive holiday season quickly approaching, you may be wondering how you can entertain the little ones while still giving yourself some ample and much needed adult time. Here are some fun suggestions on how to keep the kids entertained during holiday gatherings—whether you’re hosting at home or celebrating somewhere else. An added perk is that many of these activities encourage learning, creative play and opportunities for children to socialize even more during these events!
1. Bring your own toys.
Bringing a few of your children’s toys from home is a great way to help them feel a bit more comfortable—especially if your gathering is someplace they haven’t been to before. Choose toys that are easy to transport, don’t make a mess and can be used without a lot of setup. A favorite of ours is the Dot & Learn Activity Pack, filled with fun and educational activity pages that combine art and learning. From counting and number recognition to the alphabet and rhyming, there are so many activities that my daughter enjoys!
2. Create a sensory bin.
You could theme the bin according to the holiday or according to your child’s interests. All the kids at the event would naturally be drawn to the bin, and it would be a wonderful social boost for your child too.
Here I created a winter-themed sensory bin using Lakeshore’s Speedy Snow, Washable Sensory Beads, the Classic Forest Animal Collection and the Little Hands Fine Motor Tools. I also added a funnel and some paintbrushes to encourage more creative play. It is always a good idea to add in cups, spoons and other tools. We love that the Little Hands Fine Motor Tools set includes tools that work on a child’s fine motor skills at the same time.
3. Set up a craft station at the gathering.
We love these Pop & Wear Letter Beads to give to friends and family. They are easy enough for younger kids to use and they don’t have to worry about holding a string to string the beads onto. It’s super-convenient that there’s no string needed. You just pop the beads together! Children can make gifts for their friends or family using the kit.
4. Bake together in preparation for the gathering.
While this may not be something you do during the event, baking in preparation will get kids excited about the upcoming gathering, and they will be so happy when family and friends eat their special creations.
We used The Amazing Chef Cooking Set, which provided all the tools we needed (minus the ingredients) to create a special cake. It’s a great way for kids to practice important skills, like measuring ingredients, cracking eggs, peeling and slicing, and more!
5. Create a cookie-decorating station at the party.
We baked cakes before the party using the Sweet Treats! Letter Molds, and then I bought some icing for the kids to decorate the treats with. I love how simple this was to prepare and that the icing packaging kept it from being messy.
You could extend this activity by having the children spell out holiday-themed words.
6. Have a parent-and-child dance-off.
My kids and I love having dance parties. This makes for the most wonderful giggles and family memories. Put on your child’s favorite music. Add in some funky costumes and hairstyles. Then dance! You could also play freeze dance, a wonderful way to help develop a child’s auditory processing skills, build teamwork and have fun!
7. Create an activity idea jar.
Task each adult attending the event to come up with one activity idea for the kids. Write down the ideas, put them in a jar and have each child draw an activity from the jar.
I hope these activities inspire some love of learning at your next gathering. Happy holidays!