Christmas is an exciting time of year for all the family, particularly for children. But although getting presents and spending time together as a family can be exciting, many kids are spending more time on electronic devices than ever before.
A YouGov poll conducted in 2020 found that most children have their own smartphone before they turn 10, even though 50% of Brits surveyed thought parents and carers should prevent kids from spending too much time in front of screens. In fact, at age six, 40% of children say they have their own tablet. This could lead to them missing out on time being outside, exploring the garden or playing games around the home.
Electronic devices are a common gift at Christmas, and while they are exciting to unwrap, it's good to find other activities that you can do as a family to limit the time your little ones are spending engrossed in technology. So, the kids' outdoor clothing and camping gear supplier Little Adventure Shop have come up with some tech-free family activities that you can enjoy at home over the festive period.
Make a mini Christmas market at homeChristmas markets are one of the most enjoyable pastimes of the winter season, but have you tried making your own mini Christmas market at home? Have your little ones make crafted items and baked goods, and set up little stalls in the house or garden. You can then invite family, friends, or neighbours over to enjoy your treats — you could even consider making it in an event to raise a bit of money for charity!
Kids will enjoy making their own Christmas tree decorations, like painting old glass jars to make candle holders. Cinnamon rolls and gingerbread make great easy baking projects to do with children, and they can have fun icing biscuits to look like Christmas characters. To really get the family in the festive spirit, you could try using cookie cutters in the shape of Santa, reindeers, and angels, as well as classic gingerbread people.
Building a Christmas tipi in the garden
All children love building dens, so encourage the kids out into the garden by building a fun Christmas tipi together. All you'll need are some long sticks placed into the ground, and an old sheet that can be your tent cover. Once the structure is made, your littles ones will enjoy decorating the space inside and making it cosy and festive.
You can use cushions, rugs and blankets to make the inside comfortable, and battery-powered fairy lights will make a wonderful addition, as they don't need to be plugged into mains electricity. Not only is a tipi fun to make, but your kids can then enjoy drinking hot chocolate in it during the chilly weather. This is also a perfect setting for making Christmas crafts, or inviting friends round throughout the Christmas holiday.
StargazingJust taking some time to look at the stars can be a wonderful activity over the Christmas period, and you can even ask your kids if they can spot Santa on his way on Christmas Eve! All you need to do for this pastime, is wrap up warm and wait for the stars to appear after sunset on a clear night.
To keep everyone toasty, make some hot beverages and take them into the garden with you. You might want to print out a diagram showing the different constellations in advance, so that you and your children can look for them in the sky. Being able to identify different stars and shapes is not only fun, but a great skill for your kids to explore.
If you want to make it even more exciting, you could even camp outside overnight in a tent, falling asleep under the stars. This will be an exciting holiday activity for your little ones — just make sure they are wrapped up warm. They will need appropriate clothing for the weather, with waterproof hats, coats, and trousers. They'll also need thick sleeping bags, and a good quality winter tent that can stand up to any rain.
Make a wreath or decorations
If you're feeling crafty, you might want to get your kids making their own decorations from foraged items in the garden. Wreaths are an ideal decoration to make, as they can find twigs, berries and leaves in the garden, and glue them onto a wreath base. Some gold or silver spray paint or a little fake snow will really give your wreaths a festive feel.
You can also collect pinecones, and paint these gold, silver, or any other shade to match your Christmas décor. If you have holly in your garden, this is a perfect addition to any Christmas display. Simply harvest a few sprigs, and add it to a vase with some winter flowers or berries. Just be sure to supervise your kids and pick the holly yourself, as it can be very prickly!
Host a mini Winter OlympicsA mini Winter Olympics in your garden is a guaranteed source of entertainment, and will be fun for all the family. You can devise your own games, or go with classic sports day ideas like egg and spoon races and sack races. If you have a slight slope in your garden, sledge races can be lots of fun when it snows. You can also team up for a kids vs. adults relay race up and down the garden.
Have prizes for the top scorers, or for the winning team, and keep them Christmassy. Mince pies, Christmas tree decorations and Christmas crackers are all great to reward the winners.
"As the weather gets colder, it's tempting to spend the Christmas period inside. But with kids having electronic devices in their lives earlier and earlier, it's important to make sure that they are getting the fresh air, exercise, and time in nature that they really need.
"Try some of these fun activities to give some variety to your Christmas celebrations, and if you are spending time in the garden, make sure to dress your little ones for the weather. This is especially important if you are stargazing or camping outside for the night, as though this is an exciting pastime for kids, they can also get chilly if they aren't wrapped up.
"Ideally, they should have boots or wellies to keep their feet from getting wet, and be wearing waterproofs in case it rains. Woolly hats and gloves can also keep them cosy, and prevent their outdoor time being ruined by getting chilly. Then, warm up afterwards with a hot drink.
"Kids enjoy being active and engaged, and will enjoy having things to occupy them away from a screen this Christmas. Getting into the garden for some fresh air is even more beneficial."
— Rebecca McCalla, Director at Little Adventure Shop
For more information, visit: www.littleaventureshop.co.uk