As a mom with young kids, I love to help out in the school holiday parties whenever I can. Some parties it works out with schedules and the classroom needs and other times it doesn’t. When I CAN make it to a holiday party, I love to put on my “therapy hat” and make the games movement-based, promoting development, and fun, all with a holiday theme.
That’s why I was super excited to share a collection of Christmas party games for kids. These holiday party games are perfect for promoting development, play, and movement with a Christmas theme. Use these kids’ Christmas games for classroom parties, kid-friendly family parties, or even as a break from holiday shopping or while waiting at a restaurant. Each of these games are great for promoting the skills kids need while providing sensory input, visual motor skills, coordination, balance, and more.
This post is part of this week’s Christmas Activities for Kids series here on The OT Toolbox. Each day this week, we’re rounding up fun and creative ways to play and support development in kids with a Christmas theme. If you missed any of the posts this week, be sure to check them out on the main Christmas Activities For Kids page.
Christmas Party Games for Kids
Are the kids ready for some holiday celebrations? Here are party games that pack a therapist-approved punch!
Balance and Coordination Christmas Party Games
First, this list of Christmas Proprioception Activities may be just the thing for a transition activity in the classroom. This time of year especially, the regular routines can be off and holiday excitement is on a high level. A movement activity can be a great transition activity.
Santa Says- Put a spin on Simon Says with a Santa hat and even a beard! Kids can move, listen, and balance with this fun Christmas party game!
Santa Toss- Use our Santa Snack Cups to play a game of toss. Kids can either toss cotton balls or ping pong balls into the cups or play a game of catch as they try to toss a ping pong ball from one cup to a partner’s cup.
Gift Push- Load cardboard boxes with heavy objects like books.
Reindeer Kick- Promote calming proprioceptive input through the upper body with wheelbarrow race type movements.
Here are a few more reindeer themed party games with ideas like Pin the Nose on Rudolph and Pass the Stocking (a great game for classroom parties!)
Eye-Hand Coordination Christmas Games
Jingle Bell Shake- Every child puts their head down or covers their eyes. One child moves around the room and shakes jingle bells. Other students need to listen to where the child moves. Then, the child stops shaking the jingle bells and continues to move silently. They can hide somewhere in the room. Then the other students need to race to where they think the child is hiding. Ask students to hold jingle bells by the small loop to promote fine motor skills, too!
Christmas Gift Wrap- Wrap a gift with many layers of wrapping paper. Two kids can put on oven mitts and race to open a gift. The first one to open the gift wins. To play with a group of students, use a timer and have the kids attempt to open the gifts for 10 seconds, and then pass the oven mitts to the next player when the buzzer sounds.
Stocking Guess- Fill a stocking with many small items. A child should reach into the stocking and feel an object. They can guess what the object is by touch. Try to guess all of the objects in the stocking. Use items like small ornaments, mini candy canes, miniature Christmas trees and other items.
Visual Perception Christmas Party Games
DIY “I Spy” Christmas Game- We played this DIY I Spy game with real toys in the past. For this Christmas party game, you will first need to gather various small items and Christmas themed toys. Items may include: candy canes, small stocking, bells, berries, pine twigs, figures, and ornaments of various colors. Spread all of the items on a table. Kids can play “I Spy” by visually scanning for a particular item described by its color or shape.
What’s Missing- Use those same Christmas themed items in a “what’s missing” game that works on visual scanning, visual memory, figure ground, visual discrimination and other visual perceptual skill games. Show the student all of the items and then cover them with a stocking or Santa hat. Take away one of the items. Then reveal the items and see if the child can recall the “visual picture” they saw before to identify the missing item(s).