12 Fun Christmas Gift Activities for Kids

Do your children disappear as soon as the last present is unwrapped?

Dreaming of a Christmas day doing fun activities as a family?

If only there was a way to tie up togetherness with a bow, or fit fun (and inexpensive) family activities into a stocking.

There is a way! The editors of My Kids’ Adventures have searched the web to find 12 perfect pastimes that can be packaged up and presented under the tree.

In this article, I’ll show you how easy it is to give the gift of time spent together with a dozen ideas for fun-filled activities. Pick one your kids will love, print it out, package it up and play!

Make the holidays memorable and create something together with your kids. Find an activity your family can do together that can be packaged as gifts.

Why Give Activities as Gifts?

What do your kids really need from you this Christmas?

Their lists may be filled with overpriced electronics and noisy plastic toys, but half of those will probably be abandoned before the ball drops on New Year’s and the other half may cause your children to abandon you to a beeping screen.

A gift that would strengthen your family’s relationship and create fun memories without breaking the bank would be so much better. I’ll show you how. It’s easy.

I think gifts that are activities to do together with my kids are the most fun for all of us, but most activities away from home are expensive (been to a theme park lately? Or even a movie?). And many prepackaged craft or experiment kits look great on the outside of the box, but are pretty lean on instructions and materials when you look inside.


Our prepackaged terrarium kit was disappointing and expensive. It was easy to make our own. Image source: iStockPhoto.

I discovered this last year when I wanted to purchase my 8-year-old son a terrarium/plant kit. Big disappointment. On a whim, I investigated terrariums online. I was able to learn what supplies we’d need to make one ourselves so I purchased the supplies, cut and pasted some photos and instructions to make a cute card and wrapped it all up with a bow.

Of all the presents he received, this was my son’s favorite! And I don’t think it’s because he loved the terrarium. He loved that we created it together a few days later.

Wouldn’t it be great to make the holidays memorable and create something together with your kids?

kids opening presents

Give your kids activities to do together as gifts. They may like those presents best of all. Image source: iStockPhoto.

It’s easy—My Kids’ Adventures has done the legwork for you. We’ve searched the web (and even our own site) to find 12 activities your family can do together that can be packaged as gifts.

Just choose one your kids will enjoy, use our handy “Gift-It” list to gather materials and wrap it up in a gift bag or box for them to open on the big day. You’ll have everything you need to play or create or experiment together.

Hint: When you print instructions to include with a gift, be sure to check the website for a beautiful image of the finished product. Copy and paste the image onto your instruction card. When your child sees what they’re going to make, they’ll get more excited. Marketers do this all the time with their packaging, and so can you!

#1: Paper Dolls

Remember playing paper dolls as a kid? We fell in love with these fun 3-D cone-shaped paper dolls from Mr. Printables. You can download them for free and introduce the joy of unlimited wardrobe and accessories to your kids—no tabs required!

cone girls

Cone Girls paper dolls are fun to make. Print out several different outfits and accessories for hours of dress-up fun.

You’ll find links for downloadable dolls and lots of different outfits. The Winter Cone Girls collection is shown here. Be sure to check out their spring clothing and special holiday collections for hours of dress-up fun all year long.


You’ll Also Need

  • Printer
  • Scissors
  • White glue

Print out the dolls and dresses in advance and wrap them up in a shallow gift box with lots of tissue paper. Put a note inside to let your kids know how much you’re looking forward to playing paper dolls together.

#2: Constellation Night Light

Kids young and old are fascinated by the stars in the night sky. Bring the constellations to their bedrooms with this fantastic star jar night-light shared by Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom.

star jar

Kids will love sleeping under the stars with a constellation night-light you make together.

You’ll need to save a wide-mouth jar from the recycling bin for this one (a pickle jar works great), so think ahead. Check their website for easy-to-follow instructions.


  • Clean, wide-mouth jar (must be wide enough to fit the click light inside)
  • Disposable aluminum baking pan (rectangular)
  • Small, battery-operated click light (these are 2.5″ [6.25 cm] diameter)
  • Gift note with instructions/photo from Design Mom
  • Optional: Print out a star chart to use as a guide

You’ll Also Need

  • Scissors or a utility knife
  • Ruler or metal straight edge
  • Awl
  • White glue
  • Optional: silver Sharpie
  • Optional: paint (for the lid of the jar)

Wrap the Gift-It materials in a large gift bag. You could also cut the base of the pan out in advance, roll it up and put it in the jar with the other materials and wrap the jar in some festive paper for a cylinder-shaped gift that will keep them wondering.

Include a note to tell your kids how excited you are to make the star jar light together and a promise to read a bedtime story under their new starry ceiling!

In addition, you could include some age-appropriate facts and activities about stars.

Note: Punching in actual constellations is awesome, but not required to have a wonderful experience.

#3: Slime

What kid doesn’t like slime? Make slime together with a recipe from Steve Spangler Science. My Kids’ Adventures first published Steve’s 5 great slime recipes for Halloween, but the gooey stuff is just as fun for Christmas.

green slime stretch

Slime is sticky, gooey fun any time of year. Make some with your kids.

We created a Christmas-themed instruction card and gift tag (PDF below) to make this activity super-easy to give.


  • 8 oz. (237 ml) bottle of white glue (for opaque slime) or gel glue (for clear slime)
  • 1 tsp borax powder in a small jar or bag (look for it where you buy laundry detergent)
  • Small covered container to store slime
  • Gift tag and instructions (PDF)

You’ll Also Need

  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Measuring cup/spoons
  • Warm water
  • Optional: shaving cream (to make slime shiny)
  • Optional: food coloring (to make slime colorful)
  • Optional: zinc sulfide glow powder (to make slime glow in the dark)

Print out the holiday slime instructions and wrap them up with the glue, borax and a container to store the slime in when it’s finished. You can order these cute miniature garbage cans online, use a container you’ve already got at home or recycle a butter tub.

Idea: Put all of your slime ingredients in a plastic tub or mixing bowl and wrap in a clear bag. Put tissue paper in the bag to obscure the items inside. Punch a hole and attach the gift tag to a wrapping ribbon on the outside.

When your kids see they get to make slime with you, they’ll be feeling the joy.

#4: Bracelets

Bracelets are so much fun to make, wear and give that we’ve included two styles: choose either classic friendship bracelets or the thicker survivor paracord bracelets that are all the rage right now. Your kids will love either style.

friendship bracelet

Friendship bracelets are an old classic your kids will love as much as you did.

Friendship Bracelets. We love that these instructions we found at Design Mom were written by a kid—Gabrielle’s daughter, Mimi. That’s proof that this is a fun and kid-friendly activity your children will enjoy.


You’ll Also Need

  • Clipboard
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape or ruler

To present this as a tiny gift that fits in a stocking, just wrap the floss in a jewelry-sized gift box or some tissue paper (or tie a bow around it without any wrapping at all). If you’d like a larger-sized gift, clip the thread to the clipboard and wrap it in a box. Include a note telling your child what you’ll be making out of this floss together.

Hint: Give more than four colors of floss and this could keep your kids engaged designing bracelets all day! You’re sure to be the recipient of a few for giving such a fun gift!

You could also include some decorative paper and modgepodge to decorate an inexpensive, plain clipboard. Two crafts in one gift!

This video shows you how to easily make a paracord bracelet.

Paracord bracelets use the same knot as the friendship bracelets above, but different materials result in a much different-looking bracelet. We found this how-to video from Ms. Freckle Girl. Your kids will get a kick out of learning from another kid.


You’ll Also Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Lighter or match
  • Computer, tablet or phone to watch instructional video

Wrap the paracord and buckle in a small box with a note explaining what you’ll be making together. Be sure to bookmark the video on your computer or mobile before the big day.

#5: Robots With Moveable Parts

If you want a boutique-quality activity gift, this is for you. Caravan Shoppe comes up with consistently beautiful designs. You’ll love these professional downloads designed by Melanie Burke and your kids will love to play with the Ollibot Robots long after you make them together.

Since the PDF includes designs for six robots, consider this activity if you have multiple children or are looking for an activity to do at a family party.

movable robot

Make these cool movable robots with your kids.

Download the printables for six different robots, buy the supplies from the list provided with the download and follow their detailed instructions to connect the movable robots with your choice of snaps, magnets or Velcro.


  • Printed Ollibot graphics (purchase PDF for a set of 6 robots on the website)
  • Wooden blocks for head, torso, circle discs, legs and feet (supply list includes links to online resources)
  • Gift note with instructions/photo from Caravan Shoppe

You’ll Also Need

  • Connectors—snaps, magnets or Velcro (see supply list)
  • Adhesive (depends upon type of connectors)
  • Modgepodge
  • Scissors or X-acto knife and cutting mat

If you are giving this activity to multiple children, divide up the blocks and connectors for each robot. Put the printable, blocks and connectors for each robot in its own box or gift bag and wrap it up. Be sure to include an image of this cool robot project in the gift!

Tip: Be sure to order early enough for the blocks to ship before Christmas.

#6: Sewing Kit and Sewing Projects

Got kids who might be interested in sewing? Boys and girls love to create things from fabric. Here are ideas for a sewing kit and some simple sewing projects you can do together from Jessica at Sew Homegrown.

sewing jar

Inspire a love of sewing by making a sewing kit together.

You can make this simple sewing kit with a clever built-in pincushion to reflect your child’s favorite colors or style.


  • Mason jar
  • Supplies for pincushion: batting, fabric square
  • Supplies to include in kit: pins, thimble, ripper, measuring tape, other small sewing notions
  • Gift note with instructions/photo from Sew Homegrown

You’ll Also Need

  • Thin cardboard or cardstock
  • Pencil
  • Hot glue gun

This one wraps itself. Place all the sewing notions in the mason jar, wrap it with some fabric your child will like, and tie with a fabric ribbon. The wrap is part of the gift! Include a note about a sewing project you’ll work on together. Maybe one of the projects below.

Help your child pursue his or her interest in sewing by finding some projects to work on together. Choose from the three below or search “sew kits” or “sewing kits” to find sewing projects that are ready for you and your child to put together during Christmas break.

Tip: You can customize the mason jar with supplies for a project you choose in advance. Or put together a generic “starter kit” in the mason jar and let your child select a sewing project to do together. Either way, it’s an adorable gift!

Friendly Fox learn-to-sew project:

friendly fox

This friendly fox (and other animal kits) is a great way to teach hand stitching.

Teach your kids to stitch with a simple stuffed animal project like this Friendly Fox from Boulder Bear Works on Etsy. They have lots of animals to choose from. Kits include all the materials needed to teach kids age 6 and up to sew.

Fabric Football:

fabric football

Made with fabric scraps and stuffed with old cut-up t-shirts, this project is a lesson in recycling as well as machine sewing.

Looking for a sewing project for your football fan? Check out these sewing instructions from Made By Joel for a soft football. On this snazzy site, you can search for craft ideas by age. This football is a great way to introduce your child to machine sewing. Find materials and easy instructions on Made By Joel.


  • 2 coordinating fabrics
  • Stuffing: batting or cut-up old t-shirts
  • Thread in a contrasting color
  • Printout of football pattern from Made by Joel
  • Gift note with instructions/photo from Made by Joel

You’ll Also Need

  • Sewing machine
  • Pins, scissors, hand sewing needle

Wrap the Gift-It items up in a sports-themed gift bag and give two activities in one: a sewing project and a game of catch.

Scribble T-Shirt:

decorate tshirt

Your kids can decorate just about anything with these cute scribble-sewn flowers.

Does your child want to make a fashion statement? This scribbled flower t-shirt from Jessica Fediw at Happy Together Creates requires a sewing machine and a moderate amount of skill. All you need for this gift is a t-shirt, some paint and your idea on a note card.

Try this idea different ways: Instead of a t-shirt, decorate a pillowcase or have an older child make a bib for a baby brother or sister.

If the flowers are too advanced for your young tailors or seamstresses, have them doodle flowers that you can sew over and immortalize in thread. Or they can paint the background and you can add the detail.


You’ll Also Need

  • Sewing machine
  • Cardboard or thick paper to place inside shirt while paint dries
  • Pencil

Wrap the Gift-It items up in a floral gift bag and get ready to get creative with your kids.

#7: Toothpick Tinker Toys

Toothpicks, gumdrops and marshmallows are all you need to give a sweet gift that can be enjoyed by kids of any age. Have your youngest make simple connections (like barbells) and older children make more complex shapes and designs.

Stephanie Morgan from Modern Parents Messy Kids shares tips on how to make this building activity a hit!


Gumdrops + toothpicks = a sweet way to build just about anything (and develop math skills at the same time).

Let your children create designs from their own imaginations. If they get stuck, show them pictures on the website to get the wheels turning. Soon they’ll be building all sorts of incredible things.


You’ll Also Need

  • Nothing else needed

Wrap up the gumdrops, marshmallows and toothpicks in small jars or box containers. Then put them all in a gift bag with a card to ask your child to build something with you.

#8: Harry Potter Potions and Wands

Any Harry Potter fans at your house? Get your Snape on and don’t be late for class when you give the gift of two Harry Potter–inspired potions from Jennifer at My Kids’ Adventures. These exciting potions are sure to get high marks from your family.

harry potter potions

Charm everyone in your house with Harry Potter potions.

We created a Christmas-themed instruction card and gift tag (PDF below) to make this activity super-easy to give.


  • Ivory Soap (Muggle soap)
  • Powdered sugar (powdered basilisk skin)
  • Baking soda (horn of bicorn)
  • Rubbing alcohol (dragon drool)
  • Clear plastic cup (cauldron)
  • Stir stick (popsicle stick or spoon)
  • Ingredient labels (PDF). Cut out and affix to the ingredients
  • Gift tag and instructions (PDF)

You’ll Also Need

  • Plate
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Heat-resistant bowl or pan (such as a Pyrex mixing bowl)
  • Matches or lighter
  • Microwave

Since everything used in these potions is given a wizarding pseudonym, it’s fun to pack ingredients in measured amounts and use the printable labels to keep the kids guessing about what the items are in the Muggle world. Wrap up all the Gift-It ingredients, tie on the gift tag and get to potions class!

Can’t get enough Harry Potter? Make these wizard wands we found on Instructables from a sheet of paper and a glue gun—no phoenix feather or unicorn tail required.


Make the perfect wand from a piece of paper—no trip to Ollivander’s is necessary.

In this case, the wand doesn’t choose the wizard, the wizard creates the wand!


You’ll Also Need

  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun
  • Epoxy resin (optional)

Wrap the Gift-It supplies with a picture of the wands you’ll be making and instructions from the site. Your kids will be amazed to transform an ordinary sheet of paper into a real-looking wand.

Place the potion supplies in a larger box and the wand supplies in a smaller box. Stack the two gifts on top of each other and wrap a bow around both boxes so they’ll be opened together.

#9: Customized Journal

The benefits of writing are endless. Encourage your children to write their hopes, thoughts and daily experiences (and doodles) when you give a plain notebook a makeover. Use these two ideas from Oh, Hello Friend Blog and Mom Spark to stoke your child’s creativity in fashioning a journal-worthy notebook.

The notebook is essential for this gift, but the extras make it special. Pick them up from a craft or paper store and include them in the present.

washi journal

Special thoughts deserve a special journal. Decorate a plain notebook with washi tape.

Washi tape notebook:

Colorful, decorative tape called washi tape is used to decorate the cover and make an ordinary notebook something extraordinary. Follow the simple guidelines at Oh, Hello Friend to create a washi tape notebook worthy of your child’s deepest thoughts.


You’ll Also Need

  • Scissors

Wrap a notebook and decorating supplies up in a pretty package. Include a note with a photo of a completed project. Then craft the cover together and turn the journal over to your child to record his or her important words.

Monster notebook:

Give a journal some personality all its own when you decorate the cover with eyes and fur to make a monster notebook from Amy Belgardt at Mom Spark. She shares lots of non-monster ideas for fabric-covered notebooks too, so there’s something for everyone.

monster notebook

Create some creatures that dare anyone to open your child’s diary!


You’ll Also Need

  • Scissors
  • Spray adhesive
  • White glue

Put the notebook and crafting supplies in a box with a picture for inspiration so they’ll have an idea of what this craft is all about.

Let kids know they can use notions, doodles or washi tape to decorate the inside pages as well to personalize it inside and out.

#10: Glow-in-the-Dark Bowling

Light up your kids’ eyes with the crack of a glow stick when you play glow-in-the-dark-bowling. This activity from Kirsten Nelson has been one of My Kids’ Adventures‘ most popular and it’s easy to see why.

Combine a classic game, fun in the dark and the ability to knock something down for an activity that will grab kids’ attention.

glowing bowling pins

Kids get just as excited to make the glowing pins as they do to play the game.

Modify the rules depending on what works best for your family. Don’t want to keep score? That’s fine—it’s your house and your family rules.

We created a Christmas-themed instruction card and gift tag (PDF below) to make this activity super-easy to give.


  • 6 glow sticks
  • 6 water bottles (remove the labels)
  • 1 ball (small basketball or soccer ball)
  • Paper and pencil to keep score (optional)
  • Gift tag and instructions (PDF)

You’ll Also Need

  • A long, dark hallway (or flat area outdoors)

Wrap up some glow sticks and a ball with the included printable. It’s that easy! Make sure you have the water bottles on hand and your family night is ready to go!

#11: Rock Candy

These colorful rock candies are a fun food experiment from Heidi at Happiness is Homemade that will hold your kids’ interest for a whole week!

Spend some fun time together preparing the sugar and skewers and then check in every day to watch the crystals grow.

It’s fascinating (and educational) for kids and adults alike. Your “rock candy–making kit” is sure to be a hit!

rock candy

Keep checking in to see sugar and water turn into crystal candy. Sweet, scientific fun!

Heidi suggests that you do this during the holiday break with your kids and give the completed candies with coffee or tea as gift to neighbors and friends.


You’ll Also Need

  • Sugar
  • Saucepan, stove, wooden spoon
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Flavoring, extracts (optional)

Wrap up the wooden skewers, clothespins and glass jars in a box with colorful tissue paper. Be sure to include a beautiful image from the website so your child can see the finished product.

#12: Science Kit

Do your kids love to mix things up and watch them react? Give them a science kit filled with supplies for different experiments. It’s just what the mad scientist ordered.

Commercial kits are available, but Tabitha from Meetpenny has made it simple to create your own science kit for a lot more experiments and a lot less money. She found fun science activities for kids all over the Internet and compiled them on her site with lists of instructions and materials to include in your own mad scientist gift basket.

science kit

Save money—Create your own science kit filled with experiments your kids will love.

There are over 100 different science experiments linked here, so you can choose the experiments and materials based on your kids’ interests. We’ve included what you need for the “Make a Geode” project below:


  • Alum powder (containing potassium)
  • White glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Food coloring or Easter egg coloring dye (optional)
  • Latex gloves
  • Gift note with instructions/photo from Meetpenny

You’ll Also Need

  • Eggshells (real or plastic)
  • Place for eggs to dry (box, egg carton, newspaper, drying rack)

Wrap all of the ingredients and tools in a large bin. Be sure to include a note with instructions for the experiments you chose and a promise to work in the mad science lab together.

Tabitha recommends this science experiment book with activities broken down in easy-to-navigate sections. Finding experiments was never easier!

book on science experiments

Find lots of science experiments to do with your kids in this book.

Between the book and the Meetpenny website, it will be easy to find lots of experiments your kids will love.

Some Final Thoughts

I hope these 12 ideas inspire you to think about all the memorable activities you can do with your kids and provide you easy ways to give these adventures as gifts.

Before you purchase the latest electronic gadget for Christmas, think about your kids and what sort of activities they would enjoy doing with you. Time and attention are the best gift you can give each other. Take the leap and give them a gift you can do together!

What do you think? Which activities will you give your kids this year? Have you wrapped up any adventures to give as gifts in the past? We’d like to hear about it. Please share your stories and photos in the comments below.

Images from iStockPhoto.

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About the Author, KJ Ammerman

Kristin Ammerman is a mom, creative writer and the evangelist of fun for My Kids' Adventures. Her three kids love that their mom's job includes trying out new family activities. Other posts by »


  1. […] 12 Fun Christmas Gift Activities for Kids […]

  2. Thanks KJ! There are so many great ideas here. I can’t wait to make the paracord bracelets with my boys. We have the science book you recommended. It’s great!

  3. Melody Joy Elick says:

    These are great ideas, Kristin. My daughter-in-law was just trying to figure out some ideas she could put on “coupons” in cute little envelopes for her nieces and nephews. Thanks for these!

  4. KJ Ammerman says:

    My mom taught us how to make the paracord bracelets – that’s where I got the idea! If you watch it done on YouTube, it’s easy to do. I didn’t realize you had the science book I discovered! I’m glad you like it because it’s on our Christmas list!

  5. KJ Ammerman says:

    You are so crafty! I’m sure your coupons in the envelopes are going to be a big hit! Glad to be able to contribute some good ideas :)

  6. Crystal Foth says:

    Wow KJ – these are all great ideas! I love it. My daughter loves the rock candy and I hadn’t even thought of making it ourselves! I’d love to try it. Awesome ideas to share with the kiddos!

  7. KJ Ammerman says:

    Thanks, Crystal! I actually thought the same thing when I saw the rock candy. Great minds think alike, right? :)

  8. Rex Biberston says:

    I can’t remember almost a single thing my parents bought me growing up, and I’m not that old. But I won’t forget the things they made for me and with me. Thanks for writing about how to connect families (a much better purpose for the holidays than consumerism). I’ll be doing some of these this year, and for many years to come.

  9. KJ Ammerman says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful insight, Rex! I think sometimes, as parents, we know logically that we don’t want reinforce commercialism, but it’s hard to take the leap-of-faith to get away from it because we worry about not fulfilling our child’s expectations. But, like you said, what they really want is time with their parent. So if you can wrap that up, it’s a win-win situation. At our house, we do a mix of gifts (toys, books, activities, etc…) and each family can do what works best for them. I’m so glad you found an activity or two that will work for your family!

  10. Crystal Foth says:

    I’ll definitely agree with you on the great minds 😉

  11. Valerie says:

    Great article, great ideas! Now I just have to pick one….

  12. KJ Ammerman says:

    I’m sure your kids will be delighted with whatever they get to do with you, Valerie! Thanks for stopping by to say “hi”!

  13. Lindsay Carlson says:

    This is amazing! I love all the ideas. I can’t wait to make Kai the sewing kit. It’s so funny, but he’s been begging for me to teach him how to sew…and I don’t know how to sew squat. This is perfect!

  14. […] Kids’ Adventures and always thrilled when other great stories go live. Here is a one entitled 12 Fun Christmas Gift Activities for Kids by KJ […]

  15. Gibson Girl says:

    Wow Great article! I have a lot of friends with kids who will love to see this so I will pass it along to them!

  16. Heide Estrada says:

    Love all these ideas, KJ!

  17. KJ Ammerman says:

    I love that you’re teaching Kai how to sew! I know he’s a soccer star, but perhaps he’d be interested in sewing the football? Let me know how it goes!

  18. KJ Ammerman says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! That’s my favorite kind of compliment :)

  19. KJ Ammerman says:

    Thank you, Heidi! I hope you got a couple of good ideas and have a wonderful Holiday with your adorable kiddos!!

  20. Toniko says:

    These ideas are AWESOME! ! ! ! ! Thank you for pulling them all together any in your other post about unique gift ideas

  21. Crystal Foth says:

    We tried it out the rock candy. First attempt – not enough sugar… tried again – success!!

  22. KJ Ammerman says:

    Wow, Crystal! This looks amazing (and yummy)! Thank you for trying it out and sharing a pic!!! AWESOME!

  23. KJ Ammerman says:

    I am so glad you found them useful. I tried to make them as easy as possible to put together. Thank you!

  24. Crystal Foth says:

    It was yummy! She ate it up!

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