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Party Plan: Holiday Fun for the Little Ones!

Get the kiddos involved with these fun seasonal tips and recipes.

Celebrate the holidays with the youngsters! Start the fun with crafty ideas like Oversized Paper Ornaments and Salt Dough Christmas Tree Ornaments, a perfect way to decorate the tree. Your elves can help with some Holiday Garland Ideas and Negative Space Tree Painting to fill your house with holiday joy. They can even create Snowman Candles and a Peppermint Topiary Tree for extra seasonal décor!

When it’s snack time for Santa’s helpers, try a Pizza Wreath Pull Apart. A Crunchy Veggie Tree with Ranch Dip is a healthy and festive option as well. And have plenty of Sprinkles in a Blizzard…a yummy, fizzy punch the kids will love! Finally, you can spread some holiday cheer with Reindeer Crispy Treats to cap your “Kids-mas” celebration!

DIY Gifts for Kids: Snowman Candle

DIY Gifts for Kids: Snowman Candle

Helping kids to make gifts for their friends, teachers, or siblings is a lot of fun! Here’s an easy craft idea that uses around-the-house materials and creates minimal mess: turn a plain white pillar candle into a cute snowman!

Things You'll Need:
  • A white pillar candle in a clear, glass jar (vanilla or other wintry-scented candles make a fine, festive touch)
  • Buttons
  • Scraps of felt or fabric
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Beads
  • Googly eyes
  • Permanent marker, black or choice of colors (kids, wear your smocks!)
  • Crafting glue (heat-tolerant and suitable for adhering to glass)

Tip: Save yourself some cleanup time. Lay down a drop cloth before getting out the materials!

Depending on their age and ability, you may need to help the kids cut out and glue googly eyes to the glass pillar candle. Use permanent marker to draw on nose, mouth and buttons.

Cut out and fashion a removable hat and removable scarf from fabric or felt scraps.

Affix pipe cleaners to fashion arms. Ambitious kid crafters might even make little felt mittens for their snowman. Encourage your kids’ creativity!

With a permanent marker or in paint, write “To:” and “From:” on the bottom of the jar. Allow writing to thoroughly dry before setting candle right-side up again.

Safety Note: Do NOT light candle with felt or fabric attached. Remove your snowman’s winter gear and stow it safely away prior to lighting the candle!

View Party Plan: Holiday Fun for the Little Ones!

Evergreen Tree Silhouette Painting

Evergreen Tree Silhouette Painting

This super-easy holiday art project is great for kids of all ages and can be done with supplies you might already have at home.

Tip: If you don’t have holiday-hued paints, use bright colors or whatever you have on hand. You’ll be surprised at how sleek your modern masterpiece turns out!

Things You'll Need:
  • Two pieces of paper
  • Green and silver paints (or your choice of colors)
  • Clear adhesive tape
Directions:
  1. Cut out an evergreen tree shape from a piece of paper and secure it to a larger piece of paper using loops of tape.
  2. Have your child paint over and around his or her tree using green and silver paints. No need to be neat here—in fact, the messier, the better!
  3. Carefully peel off the tree and tape to reveal a striking negative-space image.

View Party Plan: Holiday Fun for the Little Ones!

Holiday Garland Ideas

Holiday Garland Ideas

Decorating always puts us in the holiday spirit, and adding a festive flair with something homemade makes the season feel even more personal.

Candy Cane Garland

This Candy Cane Garland is a fun, easy and fairly mess-free craft, so all ages can participate. Just make sure to have a few extra candy canes on hand to tide over any sweet-toothed helpers!

Tip: Customize your garland to complement your existing holiday décor by coordinating the twine or ribbon colors.

Things You'll Need:
  • Twine or ribbon, your choice of color
  • Candy canes (at least 12)
  • Thumbtacks or temporary hooks (optional)
Directions:
  1. Measure the length of twine or ribbon you’ll need to fit the area where you want to hang your garland, then add a couple extra feet of length (for knotting and draping). Cut.
  2. Cut another strand of the same length.
  3. Holding the two strands together, start about a foot in and carefully wrap the twine or ribbon around the curve of your first candy cane; tie an overhand knot underneath the curve.
  4. Tie the remaining candy canes onto your twine in the same fashion, evenly spacing them along the twine. Every few candy canes, leave a space.
  5. Once you’ve knotted your desired length, hang your garland from those extra spaces in the twine by securing it with thumbtacks or temporary hooks. If hanging from a railing or curtain rod, just wrap the twine around, allowing the garland to sag a little, so the candy canes drape smoothly.

Tip: For a candy-free variation, string store-bought paper snowflakes or ornaments along a thick red or silver ribbon.

Glittered Snowflake Garland

The kids can contribute by cutting out paper snowflakes. After the glue has dried, each of them can sign the snowflakes they cut out, so they can remember who made which in future years.

(PS, it’s totally OK to use store-bought paper snowflakes, if you want.)

Tip: Customize your garland to complement your existing holiday décor by coordinating the glitter and ribbon colors.

Things You'll Need:
  • Bottle of washable school glue, or a glue stick
  • Pre-made paper snowflake cutouts (either store-bought or homemade)
  • Gold, silver and white glitter
  • Hole punch
  • Short lengths of thin (3/8” works well) gold, silver or white ribbon
  • Long length of thick (1” or 2”) ribbon (measure intended display space to determine base length; allow extra 1-2’ length for draping)
  • Tacks or hooks (to hang garland from)
Directions:
  1. Brush glue onto paper snowflakes and coat with gold, silver and white glitter. Allow to dry, then shake off excess glitter. Shake glitter off over a paper plate or pie tin to make cleanup easier.
  2. Punch a hole at the base of each snowflake and string it with a short length of thin ribbon.
  3. Tie each snowflake to the long, thick strand of ribbon, spacing them evenly.
  4. Drape your snowflake garland across the mantle (if you use your fireplace, make sure it doesn’t hang too close to open flame), up a stairwell, or above your holiday buffet.

View Party Plan: Holiday Fun for the Little Ones!

Reindeer Bowling

Reindeer Bowling

In the name of keeping the kids entertained during the holidays, Reindeer Bowling is the gift that keeps on giving: it keeps them busy while constructing the game itself, and once the glue has dried they’ll enjoy bowling for hours!

Things You'll Need:
  • 10 brown plastic cups
  • 20 googly eyes (10 pairs)
  • Brown construction paper
  • 1 red and 8 black craft pompoms
  • Glue
  • Small sports ball or tennis ball
Directions:
  1. Cut out 10 pairs of antlers from the brown construction paper.
  2. Set plastic cups upside down, then glue the antlers to the backs of the cups.
  3. Glue googly eyes to the front of the cups.
  4. Add black pompoms for the noses on all the deer except one—Rudolph gets a red pompom for his nose.
  5. Allow glue to dry, then set up as bowling pins and roll away! Use a lacrosse ball or other small sports ball for the bowling ball.

View Party Plan: Holiday Fun for the Little Ones!

Peppermint Topiary Tree

Peppermint Topiary Tree

The topiary shape gives this whimsical tree a modern twist! One tree makes for a festive standalone decoration, but you can make a more striking display by grouping trees of various sizes in twos or threes, flanking them around a front entrance or lining them up along a walkway.

Bonus: Enlist the kids’ help! They can help unwrap all the peppermints and glue them to the polystyrene foam ball.

Things You'll Need:
  • Wooden dowel
  • Polystyrene foam ball
  • Peppermint hard candies
  • Bottle of washable school glue, or glue stick
  • Red ribbon
  • Planter or vase
  • Floral foam (optional)
  • Colored glass marbles or rhinestones (optional)
Directions:
  1. Insert wooden dowel into polystyrene foam ball.
  2. Glue unwrapped peppermints to the ball, completely covering it.
  3. Wrap a red ribbon around the dowel and glue at the top and bottom to secure.
  4. Use floral foam to steady your new topiary tree in a festive planter or vase. Cover the floral foam with colored glass marbles or rhinestones—or with more (wrapped) peppermints!

View Party Plan: Holiday Fun for the Little Ones!

Oversized Paper Ornaments

Oversized Paper Ornaments

These minimalist paper ornaments are playful enough to hang in your children’s bedrooms and pretty enough to hang in your front window.

Using one color creates an ultra-modern look; for a fun twist, you can mix and match patterned cardstock or scrapbooking paper of complementary colors.

Things You'll Need:
  • Construction paper, your choice of color(s)
  • Scissors or sliding paper trimmer
  • Stapler
  • Hole punch
  • Thin ribbon
Directions:
  1. Cut paper into 1½”-wide strips. For each ornament, you’ll need two 12”-long strips, two 10”-long strips and one 8½”-inch long strip.
  2. Sandwich strips together with the shortest on the inside and the longest on the outside, so that all of the strips’ ends line up on one side, then staple that side together.
  3. Slide the paper strips so that the opposite ends line up flush (the longer strips will bow out), then staple the second side.
  4. Punch a hole in one end and string ribbon through to hang.

Tip: To size these ornaments to hang from Christmas tree branches, scale down all measurements by half.

View Party Plan: Holiday Fun for the Little Ones!

Salt Dough Christmas Tree Ornaments

Salt Dough Christmas Tree Ornaments

Gather up all your little elves for this holiday craft. The kids can help at every step!

In addition to decorating your own tree, these Salt Dough Christmas Tree Ornaments make great gifts for teachers, grandparents, babysitters and neighbors.

Bonus: One-stop shopping! Everything needed for this project is available at your local Kroger store, saving precious time during the busy holiday season.

Things You'll Need:
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • Rolling pin
  • Cookie cutters in evergreen tree and star shapes
  • Drinking straw
  • Ungreased baking sheet
  • Paint brush
  • Acrylic paint
  • Bottle of washable school glue
  • Glitter
  • Thin ribbon
Directions:
  1. Combine 1 cup of salt with 1 cup of flour and gradually mix in up to 1 cup of water, until the mixture becomes dough-like.
  2. Knead the dough for a few minutes, until it is just slightly sticky.
  3. On a floured surface, with a rolling pin, roll out dough to ¼” thickness.
  4. Use cookie cutters to cut out Christmas tree and star shapes, then use a straw to poke a hole near the top of each.
  5. Transfer to an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 200°F up to 3 hours, or until dough is thoroughly hardened.
  6. Once they’ve cooled, the kids can paint their ornaments in any colors or designs they choose.
  7. After the paint dries, brush on a thin coat of glue and sprinkle on glitter.
  8. Once the glue has set, string a ribbon through each ornament hole and hang them up!

Tip: When carefully stored, the ornaments should last for several holiday seasons. To make them last even longer, an adult can apply a few coats of clear acrylic lacquer to them.

View Party Plan: Holiday Fun for the Little Ones!

Crunchy Veggie Tree with Fresh Ranch Dip

Crunchy Veggie Tree with Fresh Ranch Dip

Let the kids help arrange fresh veggies to make a festive (and healthy) holiday platter.

Hands-On Time: 20 min.
Total Time: 20 min.
Serves: 12 | Difficulty: Easy

Ranch Dip:
  • ¾ cup Kroger sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. hot pepper sauce
  • ⅛ tsp. kosher salt
  • ⅛ tsp. black pepper, ground
Veggies for Platter:
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into short strips
  • Other veggies as desired
Directions:
  1. Mix all ranch dip ingredients together in a bowl, until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. On a large serving tray, help the kids arrange the broccoli into a large triangle shape, resembling a Christmas tree. Place cauliflower at the base to create “snow.” Decorate the “tree” with tomatoes (“ornaments”), bell pepper pieces (“tinsel”) and other vegetables as desired.
  3. Serve vegetables with ranch dip. Refrigerate leftovers.

Tip: Try using mini cookie cutters to cut bell pepper into stars or other festive shapes.

Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 80, Calories from Fat 60, Total Fat 7g (11% DV), Saturated Fat 2g (10% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 10mg (3% DV), Sodium 70mg (3% DV), Carbohydrates 4g (1% DV), Dietary Fiber < 1g (3% DV), Sugars 1g, Protein 2g, Vitamin A 20%, Vitamin C 100%, Calcium 4%, Iron 2%.

View Party Plan: Holiday Fun for the Little Ones!

Holiday Wreath Pizza Pull-Apart

Holiday Wreath Pizza Pull-Apart

Kids can roll up cheese and pepperoni and arrange slices into a wreath for a fun holiday appetizer.

Hands-On Time: 15 min.
Total Time: 35 min.
Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 package (8 oz.) crescent roll dough
  • 1 cup Kroger shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 oz. pepperoni slices
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • ¼ tsp. dried Italian herb mix
  • ⅛ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ cup marinara sauce, heated
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Unroll crescent dough on a cutting board. Sprinkle evenly with cheese and slices of pepperoni. Starting at the long edge, roll dough into a log; pinch to seal. Cut into 16 even slices.
  3. Arrange slices, cut side up and adjoining at the sides, into a wreath shape on the prepared pan.
  4. Mix butter, herbs and garlic together in a small bowl. Brush pizza wreath with butter mixture.
  5. Bake 15-18 min., until golden brown. Carefully transfer to serving plate. Serve with marinara sauce.
  6. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 180, Calories from Fat 90, Total Fat 10g (15% DV), Saturated Fat 4g (20% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 20mg (7% DV), Sodium 510mg (21% DV), Carbohydrates 14g (5% DV), Dietary Fiber < 1g (2% DV), Sugars 3g, Protein 9g, Vitamin A 6%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 15%, Iron 4%.

View Party Plan: Holiday Fun for the Little Ones!

Reindeer Crispy Treats

Reindeer Crispy Treats

Simple crispy bars get a holiday make-over with chocolate, pretzels and cinnamon candies.

Hands-On Time: 40 min.
Total Time: 2 hrs. 10 min.
Serves: 16 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup Kroger butter
  • 1 package (16 oz.) mini marshmallows
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 8 cups crisped rice cereal
  • 10 oz. chocolate candy coat
  • 16 craft sticks
  • 16 cinnamon hard candy pieces
  • 32 mini pretzel twists
Directions:
  1. Butter or spray a 9”x13” pan; set aside.
  2. Place butter In a large, microwave-safe bowl; microwave 30 seconds, or until butter is melted. Add marshmallows; continue microwaving at 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until marshmallows are completely melted. Add vanilla; stir to combine.
  3. Working quickly, add cereal to butter mixture. Press into prepared pan. Allow to set for about an hour.
  4. Cut bars into 16 rectangles.
  5. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate candy coat, according to package directions. Dip each craft stick about 1” into melted chocolate then insert into short side of crispy bars. Place bars on parchment or wax paper.
  6. Spread the top of each crispy bar with about a Tbsp. of melted chocolate. While the coating is still wet, place a cinnamon candy in the center of the bar to form a “nose” and place a pretzel twist at each of the top corners to form “antlers.” Allow to cool completely.
  7. Store in an airtight container.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 280, Calories from Fat 100, Total Fat 12g (18% DV), Saturated Fat 7g (35% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 20mg (7% DV), Sodium 65mg (3% DV), Carbohydrates 44g (15% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 28g, Protein 2g, Vitamin A 4%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 4%, Iron 20%.

View Party Plan: Holiday Fun for the Little Ones!

Sprinkles in a Blizzard

Sprinkles in a Blizzard

Your kids will love this tasty punch and its flurry of holiday sprinkles.

Hands-On Time: 10 min.
Total Time: 30 min.
Serves: 16 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1½ qt. Kroger vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 1 bottle (2 liters) lemon-lime soda, chilled
  • Whipped cream
  • Sprinkles (use holiday-appropriate colors or, if desired, parti-colored sprinkles)
Directions:
  1. Place softened ice cream, milk, vanilla and almond extract in a punch bowl, mash to combine. Top with soda and stir to combine.
  2. Ladle punch into glass. Top with whipped cream and sprinkles.
  3. Refrigerate leftovers.

Tip: Try changing the flavor by substituting other extracts, like peppermint, in place of almond extract.

Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 170, Calories from Fat 25, Total Fat 6g (9% DV), Saturated Fat 3.5g (18% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 25mg (8% DV), Sodium 70mg (3% DV), Carbohydrates 29g (10% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 27g, Protein 2g, Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 8%, Iron 0%.

View Party Plan: Holiday Fun for the Little Ones!

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