1 . The Amazing Holiday Maze
Here is a great way to get your childs party started. Purchase a ball of string or yarn for each child who will be attending the party, and tie a small prize to the end of each one. Hide the prize somewhere, and then unwind the ball of yarn completely around the room, passing it behind furniture, under table legs, and around banisters as needed. Tie a pencil to the remaining end of the string. Repeat this process for each ball of yarn that you have, crossing the strings amongst one another. When the children arrive, hand each one of them a pencil (with the string attached), and let them know that, at the other end of the string, there is a prize. They should wind the string around their pencil until it leads them to the end.
2 . Mystery Stocking
Fill a stocking or sock with a collection of mystery items, then pass the stocking around the circle, letting each child guess what is inside. They may shake the stocking, smell it, or simply feel the shape of what is inside. We suggest filling the stocking with simple party favors that the children can keep (if they guess correctly). Consider including crayons or sidewalk chalk, wind up toys, a toy car, small stuffed animals, a ball and jacks, or a pack of cards.
3 . Holiday ABCs
Give each child a piece of paper with the alphabet written vertically from A to Z. They must come up with a holiday word that somehow relates to each letter. You may want to set the children up to work in teams if it is too difficult for them to work individually. The first team to complete their list wins a prize. Some of the words they come up with may seem like a bit of a stretch, but that just adds to the fun.
4 . Do You See What I See
Have two children sit in front of the group, back to back. Give one child a holiday object (like an ornament), and give the other child a piece of paper and something to draw with. The child with the object cannot say what the object is, but he or she must describe the object so that his or her partner can attempt to draw it. The quality of the final picture obviously depends on how well it was (or was not) described. An alternate version of this game would be to give the two children two trays with the same objects. The goal would then be for the players to identically arrange their trays without looking at the other persons tray or naming any of the objects.
5 . Santa Doesnt Say
Purchase enough Santa hats for all of the children at your party. Before they arrive, pin the name of a holiday character to the top of each one. Put a hat on each childs head without letting them see the name on the hat. Have the children move throughout the room, talking to one another, and asking questions to try to guess their identity. The first person to guess who he or she is wins the game.
6 . Santa in Style
For this game, you will need several rolls of streamers in red, white, and black, a bag of cotton balls, and some masking tape. Divide the children into teams of 3 or 4 kids per team. Each team will choose one person to be Santa and use their given materials to create Santas costume. Do not supply the teams with scissors its more fun to see how they make do without them. Let the Santas walk down the runway of your living room, and judge which one looks the best. An alternate version of this game would be to give each team a bag of items (suitable for either Santa or Frosty) and race to dress one member of their team.
7 . Name that Holiday Tune
Its the classic game with a holiday twist. Play a few notes of a Christmas song, and let the children guess the name of the tune. If you want to up the ante, you can ask them to guess the name of the artist as well. Its best to find old versions of the classics, so the answers are not so obvious. After all, how many 10 year olds do you know who have heard of Bing Crosby.
8 . Limbo with a Belly
This is one game where everyone really does enjoy being in limbo. Put a holiday twist on an old favorite by using a set of Christmas lights or a strand of garland instead of a limbo stick. Add a Santa stomach to each child for a little extra challenge. Then play some Christmas music. You just need a couple of large shirts, some pillows, and maybe a belt. The kids bellies will be shaking like a bowl full of jelly as they laugh in limbo.
9 . Twelve Days of Christmas Relay
Everyone loves a relay race especially when it centers on Christmas. Gather a collection of items to represent those named in the Twelve Days of Christmas. You can find pictures on the Internet and recycled Christmas cards, or grab some items from around the house (i.e. a plastic bird to represent the partridge). Just make sure that the kids all understand which lyric matches each item (and label them if necessary). Divide the children up into two teams (youll need a complete set of items for each team). Give each team an empty bucket, and place two buckets with the items at the other end of the room. At the word go, the race will begin, with each team gathering the items in the order of the lyrics the first child grabs the partridge in the pear tree and brings it back to the team, the second child collects two turtle doves, and the game continues from there. The winning team is the first to collect all twelve items inside their bucket.
10 . Gift Unwrap Relay
For this game, you will need several empty boxes and plenty of time to wrap the gift beforehand. Place a variety of holiday treats inside one box (enough for all of the children at the party) and wrap the box. Place the wrapped box inside a bigger box and wrap that one. Continue wrapping the box, layer upon layer, for as long as you can stand it. When the children arrive, have them sit in a circle. Play holiday music, intermittently stopping it and letting the child holding the gift unwrap a single layer at a time, until all of the layers are unwrapped and the treats are handed out. If you are short on boxes, you can wrap one box in several layers of paper. Also, you may want to consider having the children unwrap the boxes with mittens on their hands for an added extra challenge.