How can you keep the kids occupied as the big day approaches?
That’s a challenge in itself! As the curtain comes down on the last nativity play, realisation dawns that we can’t keep sending them into school until just before bedtime on the 24th! Which means we are going to have to find something to keep them entertained until the big man comes down the chimney.
Now before blind panic sets in, a little bit of planning goes a long way. After all, there are plenty of things you can do at home, as well as in and around Watford.
First up, kids love crafts, the messier the better. And the internet is awash with fabulously simple ideas. I’ve seen Christmas wreaths, trees and even reindeer created out of paint handprints, decorated with bows, glitter and pom poms. Plain white paper plates are cheap but transform easily into snowmen and angels, particularly with the addition of doilies and cotton wool. Or let them design a special plate to leave Santa’s goodies on come Christmas eve.
Older children can be tasked with making decorative placecards for the Christmas dining table, decorate plain napkins with glitter glue, napkin rings can be fashioned out of pipe cleaners, beading sets or even the latest loom band craze!
In fact, Natasha Kirby, founder of Watford's Boys and Girls Nursery has just written a blog about Christmas crafts. Click here to read the article.
Food, glorious food!
All children love to cook, and this has got to be the easiest gingerbread recipe ever!
350g/12oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
175g/6oz light soft brown sugar
1 free-range egg
4 tbsp golden syrup
Plus writing icing and cake decorations
1. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
2. Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in clingfim and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
4. Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. When cooled decorate with the writing icing and cake decorations.
If you really can’t face the resultant bombsite that once was your kitchen, you can always cheat and let them decorate bought biscuits!
The trick is to have at least one ‘scheduled’ activity per day. Building a den, a trip to the park or going swimming (why do people think swimming is just for summer…they heat those pools you know!) Once you’ve done that plonking them in front of a DVD is almost entirely guilt free!
And if all else fails, take them out to one of the child friendly events happening in Watford this festive period.
On Thursday 18th December, Farmyard Funworld are holding two Christmas Parties. Take the toddlers along from 11am until 1.00pm or for the slightly older children the Junior Party is between 4pm and 6pm.
Come along and join in the fun and games, including a Christmas Meal Box, crackers to pull a gift and the animals.
And there will of course be a visit from Father Christmas.
The grown ups won’t get left out and can enjoy free hot drink, refill and a mince pie!
Tickets are £7 for the toddlers and £9 for the Juniors.
On Sunday 21st December there’s fun for the kids and the grown ups at Chorleywood Youth Club’s Christmas Fair.
Among the activities included you can expect face painting, temporary tattoos, fabulous prizes in the raffle and of course Santa’s Grotto. And the children (and adults I imagine!) can get a very special picture taken at the ‘Frozen’ photo shoot.
Starting at 12pm until 4pm there’s lots to see and do, and cakes and refreshments available.
New for Christmas 2014, visit Santa's Grotto Area at Aldenham Country Park!!
The reindeer are resting at Aldenham Country Park waiting for their big night, why not go along and visit them and call into Santa’s Grotto. Children can join in the supervised arts and crafts session, and receive a personalised goodie bag, and as always there’s lots to see and do on the Farm.
Places are expected to fill up quickly on the day and online booking is recommended.
Admission: £2.00 per child. Please note this activity takes place on the farm, therefore the price is in addition to a purchase of a farm ticket. Car Parking charges still apply.
And Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to the Pantomime!
Choose between Sleeping Beauty at The Palace Theatre in Watford (see our earlier blog) or enjoy the magic of Cinderella at The Radlett Centre.
What’s not to love about the rags to riches, love conquers all fairytale, especially when it's interwoven with live music, a beautiful Fairy Godmother, obviously a handsome prince and those pesky, but hilarious, Ugly Sisters. You’re never too old for a bit of audience participation and this show is just perfect for all the family. Running now until the 31st December, don’t miss it!
So there’s loads to do and lots to keep the children (and you!) entertained, whether it’s at home or out and about in Watford.
For full details of all the fun visit our Events pages.