Xmas with spare kids in covid-controlled Australia. Ideas?

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mccardey

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So, I know it's not December yet, but I have four little kids coming to stay this weekend, and I thought I'd set them to decorating a Xmas tree in the cubby house because Why Not? It's been 30-some years since I did Xmas with this particular age-group. Ideas for games? They've had a rough year (dad left), been good, and done well at school regardless and are very adorable (also pretty fundie Christian, so I need to tread carefully.)

Two of them have chicken pox.

ETA: Perhaps to understand quite how adorable they are you need to know that the youngest, aged five, made me a Christian Christmas creche out of toilet-roll-tubes and a shoe-box. They are that adorable.
 
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mccardey

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Advent Calendars! Yes - brilliant! Thank you :)
 

Woollybear

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We used to string popcorn and cranberries for the tree. The strings were the garlands. No idea if that's a common 'old tradition.' Here's some history.
 

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They do sound lovely! Cutting paper snowflakes (fold circle of paper in half then quarters then eighths then sixteenths, make random snips along both outer lines, unfold). Punch a hole in one tip and run string through to hang on tree. Decorating cookies is always good, and (usually) edible. Crafts like candle making if supervised (just need beeswax, string, and for colouring add various crayolas to the pots of wax) -- dip, cool, dip, cool, dip, cool. If you have time to set something up before hand and they will work as a team, arrange a treasure hunt with clues -- each written clue sends them to the next location, which has another clue (and some lollies); the last location holds a prize (more lollies) and the promise of something special (baking cookies with you, going to the beach, whatever). If you have things that need painted (garden stakes, an outdoor footstool, etc) but quality doesn't matter, and you have spare tins of paint, put them into disposable oversized T shirts (the ones you were planning to turn into rags anyhow), give them paintbrushes and the tins of paint, and let them go for it. You may well get treasured works of art out of it. Let them draw murals on big sheets of paper (the back side of workplace wall calendars are good).
 

frimble3

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If the littlest one can make a Creche out of toilet-paper tubes, how about angels? Make wings with a sheet of paper, pleated up in folds, fastened in the middle, and the folded sides opened up into wings. Paper-roll body, maybe dressed up with a skirt, and heads out of whatever roundy things you have on hand. Either standing on their tube-bases, or hanging from strings or thread (attached to the wing-bases.)
BTW, what would a 'non-Christian Creche' be? I am thinking dinosaurs, perhaps.
In that vein, how about more creches?
Or, fold sheets of paper and let them make Christmas cards?
 

mccardey

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Oh, these are such lovely ideas, and they've taken me right back to my child-raising days! Thank you so much for the confidence-boost. I'm going to be in my element :)
 

Chris P

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You might need to brush up on the latest TV, movies, video games and music. Get some intel from their mom if you can. Just show interest and they'll happily lead the way on the discussion. Be prepared to watch the same movie maaaaaany times, hear the same song until you're ready to scream, and cheer them on for hours as they expertly navigate game controllers with more buttons than the space shuttle command console.

Stringing popcorn? The pieces always fell apart for me as soon as I poked them with the needle.
 

CathleenT

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If you have any craft supplies, you could peruse YouTube for ideas. And even if you don't think you have much, YouTube has all kinds of crafts like making animals out of water bottles and such. And there's always the bread dough clay that you color with food coloring and bake in the oven, which used to be a common craft, at least in the US.

Also, since they're Christian, a good theme that you'd probably be able to get behind is making ornaments that have to do with things or people that they're thankful for. Or crafts generally with that theme. Or they could write letters to all their loved ones for Christmas telling them why they're thankful for them (did that one for many Valentine's Days--it works very well, especially if you combine it with origami to make decorated cards.)

And of course, origami is a terrific activity all on its own. They might like to be able to make a bouquet of flowers whenever they're stumped for a gift. My kids gave these things to teachers, significant others, or as small birthday gifts for friends. I did a quick search and found YouTube videos for three different ones right off the bat.

ETA: It just hit me--you're in late spring. In that case, you could also consider making flower pots from recyclables and starting cuttings in them. Or planting a bean or sunflower in them, since both are edible and make impressive-looking plants in a short period of time. : )
 
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Roxxsmom

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We used to have fun making Christmas ornaments by decorating Styrofoam balls with sequins and glitter. You can get stuff like that in craft stores. We used pins for the sequins back then, but I imagine white glue would work and be safer for little ones.

Also, there's the technique of making salt flour dough and cutting it into cookie shapes (with Christmas cookie cutters) to bake in the oven, then decorating with paint and glitter when hardened.

My mom still has some of those ornaments we made as kids.

Oh, and also holiday baking, assuming everyone can eat cookies and so on. Kids love making and decorating (and eating) gingerbread or sugar cookies.
 

frimble3

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And, if they make multiples of stuff - gifts! For their relatives, for their friends, etc. Christmas is a-coming!
Let us know how it goes!
 

neandermagnon

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One year me and my kids made baubles out of ping pong balls, bent paper clips, glue, glitter and various stickers.

A word of caution re googly eyes: a similar activity involving styrofoam eggs at Easter time resulted in one of my kids gluing googly eyes of all different sizes in an irregular manner over the surface of a single egg. It was the most hideously creepy and unnerving "craft" thing I've ever seen in my life. Too scary even for halloween decorations! Thankfully kiddo intended it to look hideous so I didn't have to pretend to like it!!
 

mccardey

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Oh it was so lovely! We had 40 degree heat down here, so the sprinklers were on in the garden and there was chasings and tumbling and various death-defying feats on the wet grass.. In the cubby house we made Xmas decorations that they took home (following advice here, I picked up a whole bunch of craft supplies), cards for their parents (lovely idea, someone! Thank you) and in the kitchen we made icecream and fruit sorbet in fancy glasses. The loveliest thing was a Christmas wreath that the oldest girl dressed for me, with leaves and flowers from the garden.

And we played games and danced to some newfangled dancing video thingy they knew about.

It was the loveliest weekend. :)

ETA: Oh - and also I brought in four water-soakers (those big water-guns), and the little ones ambushed the older ones when they came in for dinner. God, it was fun :)
 
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frimble3

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So glad that it all went well! (I love other people's children!) Let us know the next time you get them, and we can doubtless provide more ideas. Just let us know what season you're in, or what festivity is near!
 

Chris P

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