Looing for a few ways to develop skills through Christmas games for kids of all ages? I’ve got you covered! These therapy games for Christmas are perfect for a classroom holiday party, a virtual Christmas party, or even Christmas youth group games that get kids engaged and having fun as a group. You’ll love how easy these games are to set up (most use holiday items from around the home)…and the therapists here will love the skill-building benefits of these Christmas occupational therapy activities!
This time of year, there are classroom holiday parties and Christmas party activities to plan. When planning Christmas activities for kids, I love to put on my “therapy hat” and make the games movement-based, promoting development, and fun, all with a holiday theme.
From creating your own Christmas memory card game to playing a game of Santa Says…these are fun therapy games for the holidays!
Here are Christmas party games for kids that double as therapist-approved!
Christmas party Ideas for Kids
When there is a classroom Christmas party to plan (or hey, even a fun office Christmas party…) it can be hard to come up with ideas that are quick, inexpensive, festive, and develop skills. These Christmas party ideas can be used to promote skills like fine motor, gross motor, and sensory processing.
Try these Christmas fine motor activities to boost skills like precision, hand strength, grasp, and other skills needed for tasks like pencil grasp and managing clothing fasteners.
Try these Christmas sensory activities for messy, tactile, and sensory play during Christmas games.
What is a Christmas party for kids without a Christmas craft activity? The ones listed in this post promote visual motor skills and fine motor skills.
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.
Each of these Christmas Games for Kids and Party Ideas are separated into skill area, so if you are hosting an occupational therapy Christmas event, then these would be a perfect fit!
Are the kids ready for some holiday celebrations? Here are party games that pack a therapist-approved punch!
Christmas Games FOR bALANCE AND cOORDINATION
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.
Christmas Twister- You’ll need a Twister game for this party game. You could also create a Twister board on the floor using masking tape. On the Twister game mat, tape squares of paper. On each piece of paper, write Christmas-themed words. Each color should have the same Christmas themed word. Then, they can put their right hand on “gift” or left leg on “reindeer”, etc.
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! Use these printable Simon Says commands to target specific skills during the 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. Ask the child to push the boxes across a room. For less resistance, do this activity on a carpeted floor. For more heavy work, do this activity outside on the driveway or sidewalk. This can be a relay race where teams of students transport gifts across a room. The students can wear Santa hats as they push “sleighs” across a space.
Reindeer Kick- Promote calming proprioceptive input through the upper body with wheelbarrow race type movements. Kids can also stand on their arms and legs in a quadruped position and kick their legs up. Try other animal walk types of movements with races with a group of students or children.
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!)
Christmas Games FOR EYE-HAND COORDINATION
Below are some active games promoting eye-hand coordination. These are great for the classroom or for a kid-friendly holiday party:
Mitten Toss- Fill a plastic sandwich bag with dry beans and tape to secure. Push the filled bag into a mitten. Use the mitten as a DIY bean bag in tossing target games. Or, make regular bean bags into snowflake beanbags. They can be used to toss into a bucket or bin.
Bean Bag Relay Race- This is a great relay game for a large group of students. Split the group into teams. Each team should stand in a line. The beanbags can be in a bucket in front of the first person in each line. The first student can pass the bean bag between their legs to the person behind them. That person can pass the bean bag to the student behind them by handing it over their head. Each team can race to pass all of the bean bags over and under the heads and legs of each member in the lines. The first team to get all of their beanbags to the end of the line wins.
Snowball Toss- Use a ping pong ball or soft craft pom pom in a tossing game. Use these homemade Santa Cups as targets. Making the cups is half of the fun!
Christmas Cookie Relay- Make these EASY no-sew felt cookies and use them in a relay race with friends. Teams can race to move all of the cookies on a cookie tray to plates on the other side of the room by using a spatula to carry ONE cookie at a time from the cookie sheet to the plates. The first team to finish is the winner!
Sensory 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.
Christmas Games FOR VISUAL PERCEPTION
These Christmas games develop skills like visual perceptual skills, attention, memory, impulse control, and other executive functioning skills.
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.
Christmas Ornament 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).
Christmas Writing Games
Use Christmas paper to list out Christmas items on a tray. Kids can race to write as many items as they can. The only rule? Handwriting must be legible!
Use Christmas paper to work on line awareness and letter formation while writing a letter to Santa.
List out as many words as you can spell using the letters in a word or phrase such as “Christmas Party” or “Santa Claus”, or “Frosty the Snowman”.
Write a list of holiday kindness activities. Make it a checklist and get started on sharing holiday cheer.
Working on handwriting with kids this Christmas season? Grab your copy of the Christmas Modified Handwriting Packet. It’s got three types of adapted paper that kids can use to write letters to Santa, Thank You notes, holiday bucket lists and much more…all while working on handwriting skills in a motivating and fun way!
More Christmas Games that Build Skills
You’ll find more occupational therapy Christmas games and holiday party activities in our Christmas Therapy Kit. The kit includes materials to develop a huge variety of skills. Use them in obstacle courses, gross motor brain breaks, Simon Says games (call it Santa Says!), fine motor activities, party crafts, and much more.
Looking for done-for you therapy activities this holiday season?
This print-and-go Christmas Therapy Kit includes no-prep, fine motor, gross motor, self-regulation, visual perceptual activities…and much more… to help kids develop functional grasp, dexterity, strength, and endurance. Use fun, Christmas-themed, motor activities so you can help children develop the skills they need.
This 100 page no-prep packet includes everything you need to guide fine motor skills in face-to-face AND virtual learning. You’ll find Christmas-themed activities for hand strength, pinch and grip, dexterity, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, endurance, finger isolation, and more.
Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to email@example.com.