Free is Fun

Christmas will soon be here! We have 9 children in our family with ages ranging from 9 months to 11 years old with 5 girls and 4 boys. I need to have some mad tricks up my sleeve to keep everything under control. In my experience, video games create more havoc and just don’t cut it when you want your family to interact and make memories!

Although I can heard kittens, a.k.a. teach kindergarten, I have to pull out all the stops when the family gets together. I used to wonder why it seems so much harder to keep my family in harmony and the main reason is structure. At school I have lots of planned activities and expectations. At home we are more relaxed and have much more time that could use some filling. This is where games come in to play. Board games are fun for sure, but FREE games and activities are my favorite! Here are some ideas below.

1. Cups

Did she just say cups? Yes I did! Plastic cups that can be stacked. They are very inexpensive and can even be purchased at one of my favorite stores, Dollar Tree. My kiddos loved building a tower and then shooting it down with Nerf guns. This occupied all ages.

One of my boys using his Nerf gun to shoot down the cup tower.

2.   Toothpicks and Marshmallows

This may need to be supervised depending on ages. I supplied the kids with toothpicks and marshmallows both of which I had on hand. I encouraged the kids to build 3-Dimensional shapes like cubes, pyramids, and rectangular prisims. We had some pretty neat sculptures. Gum drops also work well, but are heavier. Tip: put marshmallows in freezer before using as it makes them less gooey.

My oldest building 3-Dimensional house.
My oldest building 3-Dimensional house.

3.   Mad Libs

This one is for the older kids usually 1st grade and up. You can find tons of free printable Mad Libs on Pinterest. What are they? Silly stories you create by filling in nouns, adjective, verb, or adverb. The kids then take turns retelling their version of the story. There are usually lots of laughs on this one!

My oldest building 3-Dimensional house.
An example of what a Mad Lib looks like.

4.   Cards

I don’t know about you, but we have lots of decks of cards. There is so much you can do with them! You can build card houses, this one is super tricky and best for older kids. Play a basic game of war, or younger ones can match numbers or put numbers in order. There are many other card games kids can play or learn like Go Fish and Rummy.

5.   Creation Station

I usually have an area designated for creating. I usually have crayons, markers, colored paper, blank paper, free printable coloring pages, and scissors (monitored depending on age). Let your child have fun with this! I love seeing all the fun pictures they create.

I hope this will help your holiday planning and help make those fun memories together!

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