We tried this idea out with our home school group as a Christmas Gathering with mostly Christmas themed activities, but you could do this any time of year with other craft/activity ideas. It’s a great way to share talents and enjoy a multi-generational afternoon with friends. Our Christmas Gathering, by the way, was a grand success and included about 50 families.
Ours is a 3 hour event with multiple craft/activity stations set up all around a large hall allowing children of all ages to freely move from station to station creating projects or participating in games/activities. Naturally, we provide a snack area as well.
All participating families “fund” this event by either providing the supplies and supervision for a craft OR by bringing 2 liters of juice, 3 dozen cookies (or equivalent amount of healthier options), AND $5 to go toward the cost of paper goods and rental or donation for use of the hall. My goal is to have at least 20 craft/activity stations set up. Any last minute families are expected to choose the juice, snack and cash option.
While teens enjoyed some of the activities, it is probably a better idea to include them as assistants. They can man the food area, be in charge of or assist a craft/activity table, or assist moms with multiple children in taking their children to the various booths. Don’t forget about the older generation either. Invite grandparents along to teach a craft or participate with their grandchildren.
I let parents come up with their own crafts or activities, but also supplied a list of possibilities for those who were willing to host a table but were lacking ideas.
Here is a plethora of ideas, but be sure to read all my TIPS at the end of this article as well.
- Beaded bracelets
- Cake pops
- Christmas Origami
- Christmas ornaments
- Cookie Decorating
- Gift jars (This one could get pretty costly though.)
- Gift Coupon booklets. (Coupons good for help with a chore, providing a service, guaranteeing a good attitude, etc.)
- Graham Cracker “Gingerbread” houses.
- Hot Cocoa in Bag (Provide a variety of additions to layer. Use the clear, cone-shaped, decorating icing bags with curling ribbon to tie them shut.)
- Little gift boxes made from old Christmas Cards
- Marshmallow Corn Flake Crispy Wreaths (with red cinnamon candy “berries”)
- Paper chain for the Christmas tree OR a count down ‘til Christmas chain (rip off a link every day)
- Potato Print Wrapping Paper
- Puzzle Piece Wreaths
- Refrigerator Magnets
- Scrapbook paper cut in triangle flags and paper-punched to string together for a wall banner.
- Scrapbook Style Christmas Cards
- Sock snowmen
- Snowflake Cutting
- Snow globes – using baby food jars
- Balloon Animals
- Christmas Jigsaw Puzzle
- Coloring / word search table
- Face Painting
- Grand Prize Game
- Guitar Accompaniment to sing Christmas Carols
- Hand bells or xylophone with charts to follow to play Christmas Carols
- Kid’s’ Karaoke
- Letters to soldiers
- Nativity Costume Corner (just a dress up corner to act out the Christmas Story – not take home costumes)
- Puppet Booth
- Temporary Tattoos
- Be sure to give families at least a 2 month notice of this event to allow them time for preparation and to watch for sales for their crafting supplies.
- It’s best to do this somewhat messy activity in a tiled rather than carpeted area.
- I do not run this as a drop-off activity. It is expected that every child in attendance will have an adult that is keeping an eye on them.
- You may want to station a worker at the door to take the cash donations and keep children from leaving the area.
- Keep the food and drink contained in a specified area.
- Be sure to assign someone to oversee the snack area.
- I hate for families to miss out on the fun, so I ask “food families” to register, but also allow last minute families to show up as long as they bring the required food and cash donation.
- Set a deadline for craft families to register their craft at least a week before the event. (Most will need more time than that to prepare anyway.)
- If two or more families have a very similar craft idea, the 1st family to register their craft gets to do it.
- You may want to allow 2 families to sign up to do a craft together for two reasons. 1) It allows the expense and preparation time to be shared. 2) One of the moms can keep an eye on both families’ children as they move from station to station and the other can man the booth.
- I wouldn’t allow more than 2 families to work a craft together or you will not have enough activities to keep the children occupied.
- I suggest craft families be prepared for about 100 kids to visit their booth. This is based on 50 families.
- My other suggestion for crafters is that their craft can be completed in less than 10 minutes.
- I try to have a number of crafts for every age group and some that are fun for all ages.
- We suggest each family bring a box or bag in which to collect all their children’s creations, but also have on hand a supply of plastic grocery bags for whoever needs them.
- You could alternatively set up a concessions area to sell snacks and charge admission if you want to do this as a fund-raiser. I know WE were working with large families on tight budgets so I tried to make it as economical as possible. Know your participants.
- Reminder for the organizer – don’t forget nametags, ice, cups, plates, napkins, plastic table covers.
- This is a big event for a single person to organize. Find yourself an organizing buddy.God bless your efforts. May your event be as much fun as ours have been.