Young children can enjoy the excitement of the season while playing games at Christmas parties. Young children also learn through group play. Taking turns, cooperation, handling conflicts and following directions are skills that can be learnt through playing games.
Musical surprise chairs
Play a game of musical chairs. For a large group of children, divide into two or three smaller groups, if desired. Place a wrapped or bagged present under each chair.
For youngest children, play the game with all the chairs in the circle each time, so that nobody is eliminated. At the end of the game, each child unwraps the gift under his chair.
For older children, play the game using the normal rules. Have one less chair than the number of children playing the game. When the music stops, the child who does not have a chair to sit on is eliminated. The rounds continue until only one child is left. Allow each child to choose a gift when they are eliminated.
Christmas bow race
Place children in one line. Help each child stick a bow onto his nose. On 'go', the children try to race to a designated spot without losing their bows.
Try different things with the bows, like two in the hair and one on each ear. Or have each child carry as many as possible under his chin.
Candy canepick-up game
Divide a large group of children into smaller groups. On each child's turn, give him a wrapped candy cane. Make a pile of other candy canes close to the child. Have him use the crook of the cane to pick up one or more candy canes from the pile. Younger children may need to use their hands to hook a candy cane. Older kids will be able to hook more than one onto the crook of their candy cane.
Kids love a treasure hunt. Hide small stockings, with a gift or candy inside, around a room or play area. Have enough for each child to find one or two stockings. After the children have found all the stockings, they may see what is inside each one.
Add something - game
Play a game like 'pin the tail on the donkey'. Use an item that corresponds with the party theme. Fasten the large picture on a wall, at child's eye-level. Put a loop of tape on the back of one or more items for the children to 'pin' onto the larger picture.
Ideas include placing a star on a tree; a nose on Rudolph; a bow on a present; a hat on Santa; funny shoes on an elf; or a smile on Frosty the Snowman.
Create a duck pond with or without water. Tie a bow around the neck of each duck.
Write a number or letter on the bow, or on the bottom of each duck. Have each child choose a duck, then give child a prize corresponding to the number on the duck.
Repeat until each child has the same number of prizes.
For holiday-themed variations of the game, use a snowball pile, presents under a small tree or small stockings and Santa hats inside a larger stocking or hat.
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