Games are a huge hit in our house. Anything from a dice throwing Santa game (yes, I mean this one), to a rough game of football, to a board game, to a fast-paced game of Spoons… my boys love games. And I love that they love games! I love the quality time we spend together, laughing and being completely in the moment with each other. I love that not only are we all having fun, but the boys are also learning valuable life skills through playing games.
The article “The Importance of Playing Games with Your Preschooler” from FamilyEducation.com says…
Playing games together will teach your child about aspiration, success, and disappointment. She’ll gain experience with both winning and losing—and learn that no matter what the result, next time she tries she’ll begin again with a clean slate. Games also give you the opportunity to teach your child about rules, about integrity and honesty, and about luck. Games also can help increase your child’s ability to focus her attention… Game playing enables and encourages your child to practice important social skills that she will need to play well with other children… Games also afford children the opportunity to sharpen certain academic skills.
Seriously, what’s not to love about games?!
So standing over the blissful box of sparkling crafty goodies from our friends at Craft Projects Ideas and hearing the laughter (and rough housing) from our boys playing together, I couldn’t help but want to get in on some good old family fun. Unfortunately for the boys, Nerf gun attacks and playing with superhero action figures don’t really fall in mom’s ideal of family fun. But games do. So I decided that it is on! It is on like Donkey Kong.
This Christmas we are bustin’ out the giant wiggly eyes because well… who doesn’t love giant wiggly eyes?! And dishin’ up our favorite holiday snacks like the mouth-zinging-oh-so-delicious-I-can’t-stop-eating-them Spicy Jalapeño Pretzels and a lovely Christmas cocktail (or two) for mom. My little reward for making up such a brilliant game.
We’re gonna have some healthy family competition, along with some they’ll-never-realize-they’re-learning cutting and counting fun! It’s all compliments of this fun little Santa game that will keep us rolling in the holiday spirit!
And as Clark W. Griswold says in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (well, a cleaned up version of his quote), “we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny Kaye. And when Santa squeezes down that chimney, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of game playing peeps this side of the nuthouse!”
Wait, hold on. I have to stop for a mom confession… I totally stole borrowed this Roll-a-( whatever) idea from a game my boys play at school during their holiday party where they roll for pieces of a reindeer (head, antlers, nose, eyes). And the school party committee totally stole borrowed that idea from the Hasbro game Cootie. Nevertheless, all the kids at school love it. And your kids will too!
And while I dreamily have visions of sugarplums and our family playing this game for hours dancing through my head, I know that’s not reality. So when the kids start to get squirmy, you can give ’em the challenge of turning their Santa game pieces into a craft! It’s actually very easy and requires nothing more than glue and remembering how to put Santa back together again.
However… if your children are like mine, crafts are hit or miss. They’ve gotta be in the mood or it has to be a kick-butt craft. Games on the other hand… games are always a definite ‘yah’! So while the older kids or any non-crafters may call it quits when the game ends, at least you’ve successfully gathered the whole family around the table for some together time. That in itself is a huge win!
And for your craft lovers, this simple Santa face will be a sweet memoir of family game time.
Now, I’ll warn you that the materials list may look a little daunting. But it’s not. Crafts sticks and white 1” poms are all the craft supplies needed. Let the kids count out the number of items each player needs. It’s a genius way to kill two birds with one stone… less prep time for you and the kids get to work on their counting and sorting skills! Double win.
GAME parts that you’ll need for EACH player:
- 9 craft sticks
- 12 1” white poms
- 1 large white pom (If you don’t have a large pom, no worries. Just add another 1″ pom to the count.)
- 2 wiggly eyes… the bigger, the better!
- Santa hat printable
- Roll-a-Santa printable
To turn the game into a craft:
Additional materials needed for craft:
- 2 additional craft sticks per person
- You’ll have to disassemble what you’ve just put together during the game so you can glue the craft sticks together.
- Start by laying the 2 extra craft sticks horizontal and parallel to each other. (NOTE: I cut about an inch off the craft sticks so they don’t stick out past Santa’s face. I cut them with scissors so there were no frayed ends.)
- Add glue to the horizontal craft sticks, face up. This is the “backing” to hold the rest of the craft sticks together for Santa’s face.
- Start reconstructing Santa’s face by adding the 9 craft sticks (so they are touching each other) to the top of the two horizontal, glue-dovered sticks.
- Once all 9 craft sticks are stuck down, glue on Santa’s hat, followed by the white poms, and then the wiggly eyes.
- Note: For step-by-step instructions with pictures, visit my original post of this activity on Craft Project Ideas.
The Santa hat and the Roll-a-Santa game printable can be printed out by clicking on each picture below… Quick tip for ya… have your kids cut out the Santa hats. Scissor cutting skills are critical for a child’s development so cutting out the hats for their new Santa game helps them work on their cutting ability and adds an extra activity to playing the game. (Find out why scissor cutting skills are important and how to help your child learn them.)
The game instructions are written out on the printable so that it’s clear to each player how the game is played. However, it’s always a good idea for you to read through it together first. We don’t want any Grinch spoiling the holiday cheer. Now… go play this super awesome, everyone-in-the-family-is-gonna-love-it dice throwing Roll-a-Santa game! Laugh. Giggle. Make memories! Have fun! And Merry Christmas, my friend!