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Every year I plan fun activities for my family during the Advent season. When my kids were little we did toddler-friendly activities like make Christmas patterns with pony beads and read Christmas picture books. They adored that stuff when they were younger. As they get older though, those little kid activities just are not as much fun for them. In order to keep our tradition alive I needed to come up with Christmas activities for tweens, activities they will actually enjoy.
I plan one activity every day from December 1st – December 24th. Bigger more time intensive activities are sprinkled in between easy low-stress activities. We did a few of these Christmas activities for tweens last year and they were a huge hit.
Christmas Activities for Tweens
My tweens are obsessed with making slime right now. I buy glue by the gallon to keep them in slime supplies! Switching up the slime recipe by adding red or green glitter, peppermint extract, or paint can add a holiday flair.
Midnight Movie Marathon
Camping out in the living room and watching movies all night is something we pretty much never do. This makes it special when we do pile blankets on the living room floor and stay up all night. We pop popcorn, make a ton of cookies, and watch Christmas movies back to back all night long – Elf, Home Alone, Christmas with the Kranks, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation are all favorites. This is one of our most recent Christmas activities for tweens because both kids are finally mature enough to be safe and responsible if I fall asleep while they are still up. They are also past the cartoon phase, so we can watch movies that the grown-ups enjoy too. Will my kids stay awake all night? Yes, definitely. Will Paul and I be able to stay awake all night? Doubtful.
Try a New Holiday Recipe
Older kids usually have longer attention spans, so this is a great stage to try new cookie recipes. I am allergic to gluten, but thankfully there are tons of awesome gluten-free cookie recipes out there nowadays. The Celebrations cookbook has amazing Christmas treat recipes, but my kids also like to scroll through Pinterest to see what looks good.
Take a Last Minute Trip
This is definitely a ‘bigger’ activity, but it can be really memorable. One of the great things about older kids is that they can usually pack their own overnight bag pretty reliably. Wouldn’t it be fun to announce over breakfast that you are leaving on a secret trip in an hour? This definitely requires plenty of prep (making sure everyone has clean clothes to pack, arranging pet care, hotel reservations, etc.). Visiting grandparents, old family friends, a Christmas attraction in another city, or even a cute cabin is definitely a way to make some Christmas memories and spread a little holiday cheer.
Board Game Night
My kids love board games, but sometimes there just isn’t enough time to play their favorite – Monopoly. They are ruthless and the game takes hours. I’m going to clear the calendar one evening so we have plenty of time to play. Eating take-out and playing Monopoly sounds like a great way to get some family time, but this will work for any game. If you need a new game, check out this list of our favorite board games for tweens and teens.
Go to a Movie in a Theater
We have so many movie streaming options at home now that we almost never actually go out to see a movie. One thing I noticed the last time I went out to the movies was that theaters have gotten so much nicer recently. Most of the theaters in our town now have a wait staff to bring real meals right to the reclining seats! Enjoy the flexibility of the homeschool lifestyle and save money by going to a matinee.
Putting together a doughnut bar is a sweet treat for a gathering with friends or a quiet morning with family. I have never seen gluten-free doughnuts available commercially, but they are super easy to bake in a doughnut pan. We set out a variety of topping options – Christmas sprinkles, crushed candy canes, shredded coconut, etc. Everyone makes their own delicious doughnut creations.
Stay Up All Night Reading
Last year we observed the Icelandic tradition of Jolabokaflod for the first time. It was instantly a family favorite and the kids have already begged us to do it again this year. This tradition involves staying up late reading books and eating chocolate. What is not to like? I had new cozy pajamas, a decadent chocolate bar, and a few books waiting for everyone in our family when we returned from the Christmas Eve church service. Everyone got comfortable and read late into the night. It was such a peaceful way to end Christmas Eve. I’m on the hunt for this years book selections, so if you have any suggestions for a 10 year old boy or 13 year old girl let me know!
What are your family’s favorite Christmas activities for tweens? Share them in the comments!
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