From cookie exchanges to cocktails to secret Santa gifts and more, holiday parties often focus on adults. But don't forget the kids. With a little planning, it's easy to keep youngsters busy, happy and having fun.
Keep games family-friendly and easy to play. For example, "Cards That Make You Lol" by In Stitches Games is suited for kids 5 and up and can be played by two to 10+ players. Here's how it works: There are two teams; a player reads a card and then both teams discreetly bet on how many players from the other team can do the activity, such as wiggle your ears, fold your tongue or cry on command. Both teams complete the challenge. You earn one point for correct guesses. The first team to earn 15 points wins.
Keep it simple and seasonal with "Real Life Holiday Bingo" by Breaking Games. This bingo features holiday experiences like gift envy, unsolicited life advice, lame holiday music and more.
Need a fun game for hours or just a few minutes (ice breaker, anyone?), play "Mandela Effect." The game, for two to four players over age 13, asks players to compare memories of popular people, place and things. For example, was the kids book about a family of bears called the Berenstain Bears or the Berenstein Bears?
Consider holiday maze books where kids have to solve seasonal maze challenges. Or pick up a few search-and-find books. Scholastic.com added the "I Spy a Christmas Tree" book by Jean Marzollo to its list of "30 Books to Read with Kids." They call the book, "a parenting win" since kids will spend a lot of time looking for specific holiday items on each of the 20+ pages. Think of like a treasure hunt in a book.
If you're up for the challenge, create your own real-life scavenger hunt for kids. Give them clues and set them loose throughout the house. Pinterest has many Christmas scavenger hunt ideas and free printables. Be sure to have prizes for the scavenger hunt winners.
Little ones love to play and get gooey so consider giving kids slime. Note: Make sure parents are OK with slime, which can get messy and permanently stick to clothes, hair, shoes, rugs and furniture. If they approve, set up a slime station in an area that is easy to clean up, such as a table on a linoleum floor. Have the kids roll up their sleeves and give them smocks if you like. If possible, have a teen or adult supervise the tacky play.
If you want something sticky that's not so messy, opt for a Christmas sticker book, like Clever Publishing's "Holiday Season Sticker Book," which has 1,000 stickers. Kids can make their own festive sticker designs and take home their creations.
Grab the scissors and the glue and get the kids ready for Christmas crafts! Set up a crafts table so little ones can have a place to get creative. Don't be surprised if adults stop by the table, too.
Retailer Michaels sells a felt ugly sweater kit that's fun for kids of all ages to decorate. Sweaters are precut and you can add garland, pom pom ornaments, glitter and more to make your creation. Another seasonal choice? Craft a penguin pom plate kit with a paper plate, foam, ribbons, pom poms and wiggle eyes.
Stock your craft table with the tools kids will need to make glitter Christmas tree, sleds and snowflakes ornaments. Glue craft sticks together in a triangle shape for a tree, a rectangle for a sled or crossed for a snowflake. Then add glue, lots of glitter and sequins. Adding yarn allows you to string your design as an ornament.
The best part about crafts? They're a built-in party favor guests can take home when the party ends.