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15 Socially Distanced Holiday Activities for Kids

15 Socially Distanced Holiday Activities for Kids

The holiday season will look and feel pretty different this year. But, cancel the festivities?—not on our watch! Follow these 15 socially distanced holiday hacks to make sure your festive season is as magical as ever.

Here’s how to stay safe this holiday season without sacrificing an ounce of festive fun. And, if you like what you learn here, check out Edmentum and Twinkl’s partner page for even more resources.

1. DIY Decorations

Making your own ornaments is a socially distanced activity the whole family will enjoy! With just a few pieces of paper or cardstock, some crayons, and a pair of scissors, just about anyone can create eye-catching, one-of-a-kind decorations.

One of the best DIY ornaments to make is the homemade tree-topper. To make one with your kids, all you have to do is draw a star on some cardstock, cut around it, and wrap it in aluminum foil. Trust us, it really is minimum effort for maximum effect!

Or, you could use our Christmas craft pack to make decorations for your whole home. This bumper holiday bundle is bursting with fun, easy-to-assemble crafts.

Holiday Hack: Handmade ornaments make thoughtful (and cost-effective) gifts for friends and family. 

2. Caring Neighbor

Put a smile on your neighbors’ faces by delivering homemade holiday cards to their door. All you need for this socially distanced holiday activity is a few sheets of cardstock, colored markers, and a little imagination to make your cards. There’s nothing to it!

The best thing about this festive craft project is that you don’t need any scissors, which means it’s perfect for the whole family, both young and old. When your cards are ready, drop them in your neighbors’ mailboxes, and enjoy the warm glow of knowing you’ve just made someone’s day.

Pushed for time? Use our ready-made card templates

3. Holiday Scavenger Hunt

Everyone loves a scavenger hunt, right? This classic game is an excellent way of getting children active and occupied for an hour or two. Plus, scavenger hunts are super easy to customize for any occasion.

Simply draw up a list of holiday-themed items and give each team or player a copy. To make this a socially distanced holiday activity, make it clear to everyone that all players should stay six feet apart at all times.

Holiday Hack: Save time by using our ready-made Christmas scavenger hunt pack.

4. Neighborhood Reindeer Ring Toss

The aim of this fun family game is to throw as many rings over the reindeer’s antlers as you can.

You can pick up premade game kits in stores and online, but where’s the fun in that? Making your own reindeer ring toss is almost as entertaining as actually playing it!

The first step is to build your reindeer. Use an old box, or something similar, to make the head, and let your kids draw the face and color in the nose. Then, add the all-important antlers. For these, grab some V-shaped sticks from outside, insert them in the top of the box, and you have yourself a reindeer.

All that’s left to do now is to make the rings out of chenille stems. Once everything’s ready, invite players to take it in turns to throw their rings from six feet away. The person with the most rings on the reindeer’s antlers after five throws wins!

Holiday Hack: You can play this game inside with your family or take it outside and compete against your neighbors! Maintain social distancing by staying six feet (or the length of an adult reindeer) apart from other families at all times. 

5. Video Calls

You’d be forgiven for feeling like you’ve had enough of video calls by now. We get it. All the awkward silences, delays, and cries of: “I think you’re on mute” have added up over the last nine months to create a new phenomenon, “video call fatigue.”

But, with many of us unable to see loved ones this holiday season, video calls are our best shot at getting the whole family together. So, send out invites to the friends and loved ones you can’t physically be with and share the day—albeit virtually—with the people you care about the most.

We might not be able to visit family in person this holiday season, but thanks to the wonders of technology, we can still be in the same virtual space as them. So, brace yourself for one more video call, and have yourself a digital holiday gathering to celebrate. Just make sure you remember to unmute yourself. 

6. Movie Night

Nothing says “holidays” quite like watching your favorite movies with your favorite people. So, this holiday season, set aside one evening for a festive family movie night.

Whip up some hot chocolate, get the popcorn in the microwave, and slip into your coziest pajamas. Whatever your go-to holiday movie is, what matters most is spending quality time with your loved ones.

Go all-in on the move night experience using our "Now Showing” movie banner.

Holiday Hack: If you can’t be with your family this holiday season, why not have a socially distanced movie night? It doesn’t matter how far away your loved ones are; just get them to hit “play” on the same movie at the same time as you do, or use a streaming service with a “watch party” feature. You can quote your favorite lines to each other and keep a running commentary via text messages or a group video call. Trust us, this is A LOT of fun. 

7. Create-Your-Own Holiday Stories

One of the best things about the holiday season is the chance to revisit all your favorite stories. There’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas, The Nutcracker in Harlem—we could go on! So many great and diverse reads are available with each passing year.

This holiday season, why not channel your inner Charles Dickens and write your own seasonal tale? Recruit your kids to come up with a plot, add yourselves in as the main characters, and get everyone to chip in with illustrations and a front cover.

To make your storybook, simply fold sheets of paper and attach them in the center with staples or paper fasteners. Then, write out your story, add your illustrations, draw your front cover, and guess what? You have a homemade storybook you can treasure forever!

Holiday Hack: This socially distanced holiday activity is so much fun that your kids won’t realize you’re sneakily getting them to practice their ELA skills during the holidays! 

8. Holiday Lights Drive-Through

This socially distanced holiday activity is an excellent way of getting into the holiday spirit. The idea is this: go for a drive with your family and award prizes (real or imaginary) to the homes with the best lights or yard decorations.

Your kids will love seeing the colorful decorations in the neighborhood lit up at night, and driving around will help you all feel more connected to your friends and neighbors.

Holiday Hack: To spread some festive cheer, hand out awards to the families with the most impressive holiday displays! You could give the winners sealed, store-bought treats or have your kids make crafts like this holiday wreath to add to their display—either way, the recipients will get a big kick out of knowing you appreciate their hard work. 

9. Holidays Around the World

Practicing safe social distancing this year has meant that we haven't been able to visit new places and cultures in the way that we could before. So, why not spend some time this holiday season exploring the winter festivals that other countries celebrate online?

Online research is a great way of helping kids explore the world from the comfort of their own home. Check out our “Holidays Around the World” presentation

10. Festive Face Coverings

Face masks have become a big part of our lives this year, and it looks like they’re here to stay for a little while longer. So, why not give them a festive makeover in time for the holiday season?

All you need are white fabric masks, textile markers, and whatever other craft supplies you have around the house. Think glitter, felt, sequins, chenille stems—the more, the merrier! Once you have everything ready, give kids a mask each and let their imaginations run wild.

Holiday Hack: Some children still feel uncomfortable seeing people in face masks, but this craft project will help them feel reassured that masks are safe and even fun! 

11. Gratitude List

Writing a gratitude list helps us look on the bright side, even when everything seems dark and scary. This holiday season, set aside some time to write down 10 things for which you are grateful. They don’t have to be big, important things; if a cup of hot cocoa lifts your spirits first thing in the morning, add it to the list.

Whatever you’re grateful for, whether it’s the roof over your head or something that made you laugh today, write it down. Being mindful of the positives in our lives is a great way of putting things into perspective. 

Don’t forget that you can also download Edmentum’s FREE sharable gratitude cards here!

12. “Thank You” to Essential Workers

Speaking of gratitude, some people have carried on with their lives throughout 2020 come rain or shine. Educators, healthcare workers, mail carriers, and sanitation workers are among the millions of essential workers who have kept our communities running when it mattered most.

So, how about saying “thank you” to them this holiday season with a small gift? You could use this kid-friendly recipe to bake your mail carrier a batch of delicious cupcakes—just leave them in a box on your doorstep with a little thank-you card.

Or, you could hang one of these coloring sheets in your window to show your appreciation for the sanitation and other city workers as they pass. In strange times like these, a simple “thank you” goes a long way. 

13. Holiday Game Night

Charades is a terrific game you might consider this holiday season. It makes for great family fun, requires little setup, and doesn’t cost a dime. Plus, it’s perfect for this year’s holiday season because it requires no physical contact.

To put a festive spin on each charade answer, all you have to do is make sure all your ideas are seasonally themed. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Holiday Activities: Lighting a menorah/candles, playing dreidel, Santa coming down the chimney, opening presents, making gingerbread houses, putting up decorations
  • Winter Activities: ice-skating, sledding, drinking hot chocolate, throwing snowballs, making a snowman, making snow angels, making a fire

14. Snowman-Building Contest

If you live in an area that gets snow this year, why not organize a socially distanced snowman-building contest? You can compete with your family in the yard or get the neighborhood involved, as long as you make sure you keep a safe distance from other households.

This socially distanced holiday activity is a great way of bringing the community together and getting kids off their devices and out into the fresh air. To up the stakes, you could award prizes to the tallest and best-dressed snowmen on your block!

Did you know? The tallest snowman in the U.S. wasn’t a snowman at all, but rather a snowwoman. The residents of Bethel, Maine, bagged the record for the tallest-ever snow figure when, in 2008, they built a 122-foot snowwoman named Olympia. It was so big, they had to use full-size skis for eyelashes!

15. The Gift of Kindness

When it comes to giving gifts, it’s the thought that counts, not how much you spend. And what better present to receive, in this year of all years, than the gift of kindness?

Check out our interactive acts of kindness calendar. Behind every door is an idea for a simple act of kindness that kids can carry out that day. With such activities as feeding the birds and helping with chores, there’s a suggestion for every day in December. 

Happy Holidays!

We hope you enjoy trying out these socially distanced holiday activities. In partnership with Twinkl, Edmentum now has an exclusive Twinkl page that curates top printable materials, digital resources, and lesson plans for families to support learning at home.

This post previously appeared on the Twinkl blog.