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Are you one of the thousands of households hosting a holiday party in December or January? If you are, chances are that some early learners (and older!) might be in attendance. See below for some play area ideas to keep busy hands occupied so that you can be the host or hostess with the mostest.

What You Will Need:

  • 4 or more surfaces that you don't mind getting messy: tarps, card tables, protected table top, tile floors, cement floors
  • An older child or older children to be the Presider(s) of Activities; parents can also lightly supervise in shifts
  • Coloring sheets or blank paper
  • Crayons or other coloring tools
  • Empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls
  • Elmer's Glue
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Feathers
  • Pompoms
  • Googly eyes
  • Glitter (if you're brave)
  • Other craft supplies
  • Tons of Play-Doh OR blocks/building supplies
  • If using Play-Doh—molds, shapes, and tools

Set up the stations below in a way that makes the most sense for your household layout and plans to supervise.

Station #1: Coloring Center!

Use blank paper or printed coloring sheets (Christmas or holiday themes are the best!) to set up a coloring station for your young guests. Ask them to create Christmas presents for mom, dad, grandparents, siblings, or even Santa!

Station #2: Sports Center!

Set up an area where kids can play with foam balls, paper basketballs/mini hoops, empty paper towel rolls, and other soft toys for sports. Have your presider encourage the early learners to make up a sport—or just let them have at it. This is a great place to put any wheeled toys you have around the house. If you don't have any early learners at home, ask your guests to bring some of their children's favorite sports or toy cars.

Station #3: Craft Center!

Gather popsicle sticks, feathers, pompoms, googly eyes, glitter, and other craft supplies. Challenge your young guests to create holiday decorations in categories. Who can create the biggest decoration? The smallest? Who can create the prettiest?  

Station #4: Building Center!

With Play-Doh or blocks (make sure there are enough!), challenge early learner guests to make the tallest tower that they can together or separately.

The key is to keep the stations separate. Decision making and traveling from station to station all take time and keep busy hands from boredom (or mischief)—and add to the fun! Finally, make sure all participants know that materials must remain at the same stations at all times. Do you have any activity station ideas? Let us know and have a happy holiday hosting season!

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Topics: Child care

Claudia Auger

Written by Claudia Auger

A volunteer for Child Care of Southwest Florida