The holidays are a special time when we focus on family, celebration, thoughtfulness…and of course food! And while it’s completely appropriate to indulge in some fun treats this time of year, I personally don’t think you have to have loads of junk food for it to be a good time. So on that note, and thanks to a little brainstorming session with my facebook fans, here are some holiday party ideas for kids that are not centered around cookies and candy. I promise our children don’t “need” those things to have a little fun with their friends and make some memories! Please share your party ideas in the comments below.
Healthy Holiday Parties (for kids and schools!)
- Book Swap and Pajama Party
Each student can wear pajamas to school and also bring a wrapped (new or gently used) book to “swap” with another student. The teacher or a special guest can choose one book to read to the class.
- Cards that Give Back
Using supplies like paper, markers, glue, buttons, and glitter the students can decorate holiday cards (or ornaments) for those who may be away from home during the holidays (children in hospitals, adults in nursing homes, or soldiers overseas).
- Recycled Craft Party (Make art out of trash!)
Each student or a group of parents can donate “trash” that kids can use to make crafts. For example empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls can become snowmen, water bottles can become reindeer, empty glass jars can become snow globes, jar lids can become ornaments, and paper scraps can become wreaths. There are loads of ideas on Pinterest of course!
- Activity Stations
Ask parent volunteers to run different stations in the classroom that small groups of students rotate through including bingo, crafts, story time, musical chairs, beanbag toss, hot potato, and other games.
- Homemade Ornament Party
The class makes ornaments together using either pine cones, photographs, paper-mache, popsicle sticks, felt, or homemade salt dough.
- Board Game Day
A few children volunteer to bring in board games from home. The class is divided into groups that rotate through the board game stations.
- Food Basket Donations
Each child brings in a non-perishable holiday food item and together the class assembles and decorates 2 or 3 food baskets to be donated to families in need.
“Real Food” Refreshment Ideas:
- Each child brings in a piece of fruit that the teacher or a volunteer chops and combines to make a “Friendship Salad” fruit salad.
- Kids make colorful “Candy Canes” out of alternating fruit pieces like strawberries and bananas.
- Kids make “Holiday Fruit Trees” out of toothpicks, grapes, and strawberries for the tree topper.
- Each child can make “Reindeer Food” by scooping different whole foods (like raisins, sunflower seeds, freeze dried fruit, whole-grain pretzels, popcorn, and cheese cubes) into their own snack cup.