Shopping, meal preparation, presents, family and other social engagements… the Christmas to-do list can sometimes get out of control! That’s why it’s important to take the time to have some quality time with the youngsters in your life who might be looking for some stimulation during these chilly Christmas days!
‘Tis the season to be hungry! Christmas and food are tightly knit - turkey, gravy, and all the trimmings are to be expected. Since you’re spending more time indoors and around the kitchen, this can be a good time to introduce kids to the joys of baking.
Baking is usually a good place to start out for a kid on their culinary journey. It is less time-pressured, so you can prepare the ingredients at your own pace with the little one(s). Most baked recipes aren’t too delicate either; in fact, the kids can get carried away with the messy dough kneading and egg beating!
Depending on the age of the new baking student, you need to adjust their activities. Under age of 3 or 4, they won’t be able for much more than stirring mixes. Try use a recipe as simple as possible so they can follow. Then to age of about 8, they can get their hands more dirty, and usually follow along as you make most recipes. Breads and cupcakes are a good option here. After age 8 they can start leading the charge with less supervision, and you can attack more advanced cakes and pastries!
An appropriate cookbook and enthusiasm (patience, more like) are all you need…
Winter weather is upon us, and what’s better than homemade wooly hats and scarves to stave off the cold? Knitting can be a challenge for younger participants, so conventional wisdom says to wait until they are at least 5 or 6 to begin (while many kids might not take well to it until a bit older).
A good way to start is with finger knitting, since it requires less hand-eye coordination than tricky knitting needles. It involves wrapping the yarn around the fingers in pattern to make a simple but fun material.
Before you jump to using knitting needles, a knitting knobby (a stumpy tool with a few teeth on one end) can be a good intermediate step. And when they get started with real needles, it’s important to take it slow and use easy-to-handle materials like wool. Once at this stage, your kid can probably attempt a simple Christmas scarf that might actually keep some of the cold out!
Similar to knitting, sewing can be a dream hobby for cozy Christmas days when it’s chilly outside. Thankfully, there are tons of learning resources for all ages that you can use to get your kid up and running with sewing. Kids that start around 4 or 5 should focus on simple lacing cards and threading before moving on to easy embroidery and sewing with felt.
At around 8 or 9 the sewing machine can be introduced. This is a big jump, but with a good intuitive machine it can be straightforward to learn on. Later ages can start to think about how items are put together and also how to express themselves uniquely in choosing what they’d like to sew.
Regardless of what stage your child starts at, sewing can be the perfect pastime around Christmas, when festive cheer can energise youngsters to tackle the challenging but rewarding nature of sewing.
Nothing brightens up a home like colourful works of art from eager kids. When it comes to pain, they love to just get stuck in so there is less of a learning curve (and you can expect more of a mess) than with some other hobbies. From a very young age, kids can get started with simple finger painting. Make sure of course that the paint used is one that is intended for use by small kids, since the toxicity of regular paints could pose a risk.
Little ones who are a bit bigger and wiser can have a try at paintbrushes, and a nice set of watercolours will go a long way to alleviate any cabin fever over the holiday period. Painting can be as advanced as you like, and ages 10 and up can try oil-based paints and colouring miniatures and models as well to add another dimension to the hobby.
Just make sure you keep the paint off the carpet!
This is something you might not have expected, but flower pressing is a wonderful pursuit that can leave you with beautiful mementos of fun days together. It is not very difficult to get started, you can even begin with a heavy book and access to nice flowers of course! There are tons of guides online showing the ins and outs of the hobby, which combines technique with design to make a very creative pursuit.
The dried flowers can be framed or even used to decorate other objects, make candles, or lovely-smelling pot-pourri.
Your options for sourcing flowers are a bit limited during the winter, of course, but there are many winter flowers of note
as well as the option to buy some in. Flower pressing can be a very relaxed alternative compared to other options on this list and for this reason it’s a good addition to your Christmas hobby repertoire!
Make the most of it…
Christmas is sometimes jam-packed with too much to do, but there is no more fun way to spend it than with the children enjoying a fun new hobby. So do a little research and pick something that might make your Christmas extra fun for the kids.