Christmas activities for 2020

With the festive season looking a little different this year, we’re sharing 10 ideas for Christmas fun and trying something a little different.

Xmas decorations

Most of us have spent a lot of time indoors this year so we’ve come up with some festive activities for children to do at home or outdoors, despite the UK’s Tier restrictions due to COVID-19.

This year children at The Children’s Trust have a busy calendar of Christmas activities. Keren Holding, Leisure and Activities Co-ordinator, The Children's Trust, said: “Enabling the children and young people to access leisure, and be able to be out and about, is so important for their mental health. But we can do things indoor and out!

“When children get out and about they gain confidence, and when we’re able to do activities it shows them that they can still access things and have fun, which they especially enjoy with other people in their family.”

Children at The Children's Trust will be doing a Christmas sensory walk, watching pantomime and Christmas films, and getting crafty, making Christmas wrapping paper for example.

“We’ll have a festive sports day and will even make reindeer food. As well as bringing the children lots of fun after a brain injury, activities like these help children with their therapy goals, confidence and to know that life has not stopped,” said Keren.

Check out our list of 10 fun festive things to do:

1 Christmas craftxmas salt dough

There are lots of craft kits to choose from in supermarkets, shops and online, and whether it’s making a paperchain or a wreath there are great benefits from the enjoyment to fine motor skills and concentration. A fun messy play activity is making salt dough, simply using plain flour, salt and water. One you have the right consistency, make the dough into Christmas decorations then bake or air dry before painting, then varnishing with PVA glue mixed with a bit of water.

2 Check out the Christmas lights

Many cabbies this year are embracing the festive season with tours around big cities to look at the Christmas lights. In London, families are booking 2-3 hours trips in iconic black taxis for £100-£200, but there is also a DIY option. Check out which areas near you have the best Christmas lights by looking on social media or googling – then plan a family trip in the car with snacks, blankets and Christmas music playing. Think ahead on where you can stop and park if you want to see some of the lights on foot.Xmas lights

3 A sensory Christmas afternoon

Plan a session of sensory activities at home including touch, smell and sight. Share the scents of Christmas by wafting different smells under your child’s nose – these could include cinnamon sticks, ginger, orange peel and a tiny branch from the Christmas tree! If you have any puppets in the house act out some Christmas songs, such as When Santa got stuck up the chimney, or Rudolph the red nosed reindeer! Hand around some Christmas objects for different textures, such as tinsel and a pine cone. By stimulate children's senses, children learn more about the world around them in a natural way. Children at The Children’s Trust will have a Christmas sing and sign session – you may be able to sign up for something similar online.

4 Geocaching

Many of us have discovered new local places to walk in 2020 – some just a few minutes from home! Geocaching is also on the rise with mobile phones (GPS-enabled) helping us to explore areas, find hidden treasures, and log our part in this  real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game. Find out why people love geocaching

5 Watching movies

Lot of drive-thru cinemas are popping up across the country this year and although many are booked out some still have availability as some are running through January. If you’re staying in, turn the living room into a homely cinema – curtains closed, lights off, snacks and drinks and warm blankets and cushions.

6 Christmas cooking

Enjoy making some Christmas recipes such as gingerbread men or simple cookies that you can ice. The Children’s Trust’s Step-by-step Cookbook launched this year – this book tells the cook every ingredient and piece of equipment they need, then breaks each recipe down into steps so it is easy for follow. Check out the cheesecake recipe – and add some winter berries and grated chocolate on top to make it festive!

7 Digital theatre

Use your homemade cinema to show some of the online pantomimes and ballets taking place this year. Some of the big names are running shows, such as the Sadler’s Wells and the Old Vic, but check out online options specifically for kids. There is a mix of free and chargeable performances, examples include Stage2view showing the musicals 42nd Street, Wind in the Willows and Hetty Feather. And Theatre Royal Bath has an online advent calendar of short performances for kids.

8 Christmas afternoon tea

We may not be getting out to cafes and restaurants but we can bring them to us or create our own! Bakers and supermarkets often have lovely Christmas themed bakes, from snowmen meringues to Christmas tree cookies. Buy some treats and Christmas-themed paper plates and napkins, put on some Christmas music and enjoy!Xmas food

9 Christmas games

This year the Children’s Trust will enjoy a festive Sports Day. Grab your Santa hat and put a new twist on games like bowling or skittles. Or enjoy a festive dance competition!

10 A Christmas campfire

If it’s not too cold outside then wrap up warm for a Christmas feast and some festive carols and Christmas songs. You could use a firepit, BBQ or camping stove to help a child toast marshmallows on, and enjoy a mug of hot chocolate.

Christmas viewing – Inside Out

Inside Out, the Disney Pixar film about a child’s memories, plays a role in helping children and their families understand more about how the brain works.