Have Fun with Paper
Betsy Shaw, mother of a three-year-old, suggests letting children decorate paper place mats made from large rectangles you've cut out of poster board. Supply them with yarn, bits of fabric, crayons, and—if you're feeling especially brave—finger paint. When the place mats are complete, date them and put the artist's name on each masterpiece. Then laminate the mats and use them throughout the holiday season. Your Picassos-in-training will be proud to see their family using something they created.
If you celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, cut out paper candles and let your child paste them to the menorah or the Kinara. Each night of the holiday, your youngster can paste an additional yellow light on the candles.
Build a Playhouse
You don't need to make a playhouse fancy for it to be fun. Stacey DeBroff, author of The Mom Book: 4,278 Tips for Moms, advises putting a sheet over a card table or chairs and letting kids amuse themselves in this secret fort. Add some costumes—old nightgowns, hats, shirts, and jewelry—and have a holiday parade with recorded marching music in the background.
Go Live with a Concert
If you have more than one youngster, give them musical instruments like cymbals, a drum, and a toy horn, and let them play holiday songs for you. You might need a little imagination to recognize the tune, but be sure to applaud the effort!