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Unplugged Fun: 12 Screen-Free Activities for Toddlers During Christmas Season

family with Santa

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Imagine it's next year and you're reminiscing on this year's Christmas. What sticks out in your mind? How clean your house was? The cartoons your kids watched? I'd say probably not. Trips to tree farms, homemade pizza nights, gingerbread houses– those are the things great memories are made of, but it can be quite the challenge to come up with ideas or to try new things over and over. Money is tight, and time is short, so strap into your sleigh for these fun (and affordable!) un-plugged holiday activities that will surely conjure chrished core memories with your little one(s)!

In this post:

Why you should unplug for a Merry Christmas

In today's world, it's constantly filled with distractions. Sometimes it's necessary for things that we need to get done. School, work, cleaning the house – screens definitely have their time and place. In this blog post, we will explore the magic that unfolds when little ones unplug during the Christmas season, and 12 ideas to keep your little one entertained for those busy moments, and making memories that will last. Picure this: a living room filled with twinkle lights, laughter from your toddler, and a feeling of togetherness that simply transcends screens and that ever present need for a clean house. How can we make this Christmas season even more magical for our little ones? The answer lies in making screen-free moments by partaking in some screen-free activities. Let's discover the profound influence of screen-free moments on both our toddlers' development and the strengthening of our family bonds. As my toddler loves to sing, "we happy, we family." So let this blog post be your guide to unlocking the wonders of 12 Screen-Free Activities during this Christmas Season. Continue reading for a curated list of activites that will not only captivate your toddler's imagination but also fast meaningful connections. Join us on this journey as we unwrap the joy of the season, one screen-free moment at a time.

Identifying the Problem

Screen time during the midst of the holiday hustle has never been more tempting, between the constant need to clean, decorate, and wrap gifts for the little ones, who has time for anything else?! The importance of making time for family bonding cannot be overstated. Screen time, while seemingly harmless, can affect both toddlers and the dynamics within family relationships because time is so short, and this time of year is so frantic, it simply amplifies this challenge. Despite the dazzling lights, Christmas tree, and all of the activities available, it's crucial to acknowledge that the true magic lies in quality time spent together.

Painting Ornaments Activities

Transforming plain ornaments into a little personalized masterpieces is a delightful holiday activity that entertains both toddlers and parents, but if you're looking for a mess-free project, you might consider skipping this one.

To begin, first gather your supplies: Plain Ornaments (flat or round) Acrylic Paints Brushes Marker Optional: Paper towels, or wet wipes to wipe little ones hands, and paint as you go. Any extra embellishments Disposable tablecloth or newspaper (to attempt containing the mess) Small cups or empty egg carton to hold ornament with wet paint if using round ornaments.

1. Prepare Your Workplace:

Lay down your disposable tablecloth, newspaper or covering, if using. Lay out your other supplies.

2. Choose Your Colors:

Select your colors or lay out a mix for your little one to choose from. 3. Decorate Your Ornament: Paint your toddlers hand and do a fun handprint, or let them free paint with their hands or brushes.

4. Add Personal Touches:

Sprinkle glitter or add embellishments. You could also wait till the paint dries and turn those tiny fingers into a snowman, deer, Santa, or other holiday art. Don't forget to add a ribbon or some twine to hang the ornament!

5. Dry and Display (or gift):

Once it is completely dry find the perfect place on the tree, find an ornament hanger to put it on, or wrap to gift to a loved one.

Don't forget while your making the ornaments, it's not about making picture perfect Pinterest-worthy ornaments–it's about making memories.

Salt Dough Ornaments

Yes, more ornaments! In my opinion, your tree can never be too full. The salt dough is created by mixing salt, flour, and water. This is another activity that is on the messier side, but oh so much fun. My little one loved helping to make the dough, and create the ornaments. Even though in the end they didn't turn out like the vision in my head, making them is a wonderful memory I will cherish.

Step 1: Prepare the Salt Dough To make this recipe, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of table salt

  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour

  • 1.5 cups water


  • Mod Podge (for a finishing coat to help it hold up longer)

  • Baker's Twine (to add for hanging the ornament)

  • Small wood dowel (for making the hole for the ornament)

Step 2: Create the Handprints

Take the dough roll it into the ball and flatten. We used a cookie cutter to make round but this isn't necessary, you can just shape into a circle or any other shape you want. After the shape is ready, have your little one press their hand or foot print into it. Next, paint the hand or foot shape into a Santa, turkey, reindeer or another type festive imagery . You could also paint your toddlers hand and put that on the salt dough circle or even let them paint it.

Step 3: Bake the Handprint

250º F in your oven for 3-4 hours.

Step 4: Paint the Handprint

After cooled down, paint.

Step 5: Let dry & Seal the Handprint

If you'd like to read more about our experience creating these salt dough handprints click here.

Mess - Free Coloring Book Activities

mess free coloring book

Mess-free coloring books are a fantastic alternative to screen time, offering a creative and engaging outlet for children while granting moms a well-deserved break. These innovative coloring books eliminate the worry of stains or spills, allowing kids to express their artistic flair without the mess of traditional art supplies. As little ones immerse themselves in the vibrant world of colors and patterns, moms can seize a precious moment to recharge or attend to personal needs. The convenience of mess-free coloring books not only nurtures a child's imagination but also provides a guilt-free respite for busy moms, striking a delightful balance between entertainment for the kids and a brief reprieve for mom.

Homemade Playdough Activities

Homemade playdough is a delightful and wholesome alternative to screen time, offering children a tactile and imaginative play experience. Creating this soft and pliable dough at home allows for customization with various scents and colors, stimulating a child's senses and encouraging creativity. As little hands mold and shape their own masterpieces, they not only engage in a sensory-rich activity but also enhance their fine motor skills. The process of making homemade playdough can be a fun and educational bonding experience for parents and children alike. Moreover, as kids happily delve into their homemade playdough adventures, parents can appreciate the joy of a screen-free activity that sparks imagination and provides a moment of peaceful play

You can ready more about how to make homemade play dough here.

Painting Giftbags Activities

Painting gift bags adds a personal touch to the art of gift-giving while steering clear of screen time. Transforming plain gift bags into unique, hand-painted masterpieces becomes a delightful and creative activity for both children and adults. This hands-on project not only allows kids to express their artistic flair, but also imparts a sense of pride as they contribute to the gift-giving experience. For parents, it offers a chance to share a meaningful crafting moment with their children while avoiding digital distractions. The result is not just a beautifully adorned gift bag but also a memorable, screen-free bonding experience that adds an extra layer of thoughtfulness to any present.

Christmas Cookies

Baking christmas cookies is a classic and wonderful activity to do together as a family is a great family activity for toddlers, whether you're making them from scratch or doing the ready to bake cookies, it's a great way to spend time together while getting a yummy treat afterwards.

Christmas Tree & Snow Man Pizza

snowman pizza

Christmas tree pizza

These did not turn out how I expected or hoped, but they were good and we will make again.


Christmas Tree

Thin Crust Pizza Dough

Pesto Mozzarella Cheese


Black Olives

Snow Man

Thich Crust Pizza Dough

Mozzarella Cheese


Black Olives

Marinara Pizza Sauce

Experimenting with festive pizza creations turned out to be an unexpected adventure in our kitchen. We shaped these into large squares, for the snow man we cut out large circles using a small plate and round cookie cutter and the Christmas tree we left in the large square shape. We then followed the instructions on the packaging and cooked the pizza dough for a few mins. Then we added sauce and toppings and finished cooking. We allowed our little one to help with the toppings and then enjoyed this tasty dinner together. While it may have been another Pinterest-perfect fail, the more of these I do, the more I realize it really doesn't matter if it's picture perfect. The most important thing is the time spent together.

snow man pizza

Gingerbread House

There are so many great gingerbread house kits to choose from, but if you are feeling really adventurous you could also try to make it from scratch. Each year, this has become a fun tradition for our family. The significance of making a gingerbread house extends beyond the end result; it fosters family bonding, sparks creativity, and instills a sense of holiday magic.

Indoor Snowball Fort/Fight Using Nugget Couch

For this project, we used a Nugget Couch, and some rolled up socks. I also found these indoor snowballs from amazon for just $15.

Once you gather up the your snowballs or rolled socks, set up the nugget into your snow fort, then toss them at each other.

Snowman Pancakes

snowman pancakes

Crafting snowman pancakes was an absolute delight in our kitchen. Utilizing regular pancake mix and circle cookie cutters, we whipped up a batch of these fluffy delights, turning a simple breakfast into a festive treat. After cooking them, we patiently allowed the pancakes to cool, and then allowed our little one to press the cookie cutter into the pancake mix. The creative fun didn't stop there; we decorated our snowy stacks with vibrant blueberries, transforming them into cheerful buttons, and added pretzel sticks for whimsical arms. The process was not only easy but also filled with laughter and bonding, making our snowman pancakes was not just a delicious breakfast, but also a delightful family activity that our toddler cherished, proving that the joy of cooking together is truly the secret ingredient. You could also try to make other fun holiday characters such as reindeer, or even Santa.

Read Christmas Stories

Reading Christmas stories is a cherished tradition that brings warmth and joy to the holiday season. Whether nestled by the fireplace, or gathered as a family before bedtime, the magical tales of Santa's adventures, winter wonderlands, and heartwarming lessons captivate hearts young and old. The soft glow of twinkling lights adds an enchanting ambiance to these moments, creating a cozy atmosphere that enhances the storytelling experience. As the pages turn, and the narratives unfold, the spirit of Christmas comes alive, fostering a sense of togetherness and building lasting memories. Whether it's a classic tale or a new addition to the holiday bookshelf, the act of reading Christmas stories transcends generations, imparting the magic and wonder of the season with each turn of the page.

Drive around looking at lights, get hot chocolate

Embarking on a festive drive to marvel at Christmas lights is a heartwarming tradition that brightens the holiday season. As the night sky becomes adorned with twinkling displays, the joyous spirit of the season comes to life in vibrant colors and imaginative decorations. Whether cruising through neighborhood streets or following designated light trails, the enchanting spectacle sparks feelings of wonder and child-like excitement. The simple act of driving around and soaking in the luminous beauty of elaborately adorned homes and sparkling landscapes becomes a shared experience that brings families and communities together, creating cherished memories that resonate with the magic of Christmas. Bonus points if your drive includes either homemade or Starbucks Hot Chocolate – it really enhances the experience!

Tips and Tricks for a smoother crafting experience

For a smoother crafting experience, consider a few essential tips and tricks that can transform your creative sessions into stress-free and enjoyable endeavors. Firstly, organize your materials in advance, ensuring that everything you need is easily accessible. Having a dedicated workspace with ample lighting also enhances the crafting atmosphere. Break down complex projects into manageable steps, allowing for a more relaxed pace and to prevent overwhelming feelings. Encourage creativity by embracing imperfections, as they often add a unique charm to handmade creations. Additionally, keep essential tools nearby and invest in quality materials to avoid unnecessary frustrations. Finally, remember that crafting is about the process as much as the end result—celebrate each step and savor the joy of bringing your imaginative ideas to life. These tips aim to streamline your crafting experience, making it a delightful and rewarding activity.


In conclusion, embracing screen-free activities during the Christmas season fosters meaningful connections and lasting memories for families. From painting ornaments and crafting gingerbread houses, to enjoying mess-free coloring books and savoring festive pancakes, these activities transcend the digital realm, creating moments of joy and togetherness. As we drive around to admire Christmas lights or gather for a cozy reading session, the magic of the season comes alive. To enhance your crafting experience, follow our tips for a smoother creative journey. Make this Christmas season one to remember, filled with laughter, creativity, and the warmth of shared moments. Unwrap the joy of the holidays with these 12 screen-free activities, leaving a lasting imprint on your family's festive celebrations. Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below—your unique ideas and cherished moments make our community even brighter! We'd love to hear your suggestions and are open to creating more posts like this. Share the joy and let's inspire each other with festive creativity! 🎄✨ If you post on instagram use #allaboutthataddie or tag me so I can follow along with your journey.

Thanks so much for reading,

I appreciate each and everyone of you.


family in front of batman building in Nashville


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Hi, I'm Angie

Hello there! I'm Angie, and I appreciate you taking the time to visit. I proudly embrace the role of being a mom to a delightful 20-month-old, while also embarking on a personal journey of self-discovery. Moving forward, I intend to delve into a wide range of topics, such as our daily routines, effective cleaning strategies, and dive deeper into our adventures with ASQ-3 Testing, helmet usage, and any other exciting aspects that arise along the way.

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