The holiday season is a time to build memories and reconnect with your family, and often during this wonderful but busy time of the year, parents may forget the wonder and magic of the season that kids feel. So, here's a list of five kid-friendly activities to do in the kitchen to create lasting holiday memories and to make the season brighter for both you and your little ones.
Deck the kitchen
The kitchen is the heart of the home that brings together loved ones, so enlist your little ones to create festive and whimsical decor to add holiday cheer to your home's most-used room. Have your kids cut up white paper snowflakes and tape them to the kitchen window to create a winter wonderland. If you have a white refrigerator, turn it into a snowman by cutting out circles of different sizes from black construction paper -- you'll want two eyes, five for the mouth and four buttons. Cut out an orange triangle for the nose and two thick red stripes (one should be the width of your fridge and the other half the length) for the scarf. Affix them all with tape. Need a place to display those Christmas cards? Tape a piece of red ribbon down the front of your cabinet doors and let your kids attach the greeting cards with clothespins.
Peppermint "puppy" chow
Now that the kitchen is all decked out, get the kids together to make a Christmas snack. Looking for a kid-friendly recipe? Try making a batch of crunchy peppermint "puppy" chow (for the kids, not the canines). The magical mixture of rice Chex cereal, white chocolate, crushed candy canes and powered sugar will surely become a favorite holiday treat. First, pour five cups of rice Chex cereal into a large bowl. Then, crush 15 candy canes in a blender. Melt 10 ounces of white chocolate according to the package directions. Pour the melted white chocolate and crushed candy canes over the cereal and fold the mixture until the cereal is completely coated. In a large Ziploc bag, pour in one cup of powered sugar and the coated cereal. Seal the plastic bag and shake. Pour into a bowl and enjoy!
Take a break from snacking to craft homemade Christmas mugs. These easy-to-make mugs are perfect for sipping hot chocolate out of or giving away as gifts. First, buy white mugs from the dollar store and wash and dry them. Using an oil-based Sharpie paint pen (available at office-supply stores), draw a holiday design or Christmas saying on the mug. Don't worry about your kids messing up because the paint rubs off with a little water. Place the mugs on a baking sheet and bake them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Let the mugs cool completely in the oven before taking them out. These mugs are not dishwasher safe and should be hand washed only.
Kids can brighten up the Yule tree by creating homemade ornaments. Purchase clear ball ornaments and fill them with fake snow, pine needles, glitter or -- sure to be a kid's favorite -- sprinkles. Start by taking off the topper of the clear ball ornament (available at any craft store) and pouring a teaspoon of varnish (any kind will work, it just needs to be clear) into the ornament. Slowly swirl the varnish around so that it coats the entire inside surface area. Next, put the ornament upside down and let it drain into a paper cup for 30 minutes. Once the varnish is fairly dry, use a funnel to pour the sprinkles (use colorful ones or red and green ones) into the ornament. Gently swirl the sprinkles around the inside. If there are extra sprinkles, shake the excess out of the opening of the ornament. Finally, place the topper back on and hang the ornament on your tree. Bonus idea: Squirt a teaspoon of acrylic paint into the clear ball ornament, and slowly swirl it around until the inside surface area is coated. Then, put the ornament upside down in a paper cup overnight so all the excess paint drains out. Finally, add the topper and you'll have a painted ornament in any color you choose.
Candy cane steamer
Looking for the perfect holiday drink to serve to kids and adults? Skip the hot chocolate and try a candy cane steamer. This sweet, warm peppermint drink can be enjoyed with your favorite holiday cookies. First, heat one cup of milk in the microwave for 60 seconds and stir. Next, add two tablespoons of candy cane syrup and stir. Finally, top with whipped cream and garnish with crushed candy canes.