Organizing didn’t come naturally to me. I’ve had to learn it the hard way. But today I feel like I’m organized enough to do everything God has called me to do as a homeschooling mom. If you’d like to take a shorter journey to organization than I took, this article is for you. These are the habits of an organized homeschool mom.
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Regular time with God
The first habit of the organized homeschool mom is regular time with God. I know there are secular homeschoolers who feel it’s possible to be organized apart from God. I’m not going to argue that point for them. But if you are a follower of Jesus who struggles with overwhelm, the first place to start is with your personal devotion time.
Busy homeschool moms frequently find it difficult to have regular devotional time. I understand that. I had three children three and under. That was the most challenging time for me. When you have been up most of the night with a screaming newborn, devotional time tends to fall by the wayside. I get it! But I also see time with God like I see eating. When you’re really busy, you might have to eat standing up or on the way to an appointment, but few of us would forgo eating all day long, no matter how busy we are.Fortunately, time with God is easier to fit in then eating.
The thing that interferes with regular time with the Lord is our notion that devotional time has to fit a formula. It doesn’t. My time with God has looked different during various seasons of my life. When I was nursing a newborn, it meant I was praying in the middle of the night. When I was in a moms’ Bible study, it meant I was spending a lot of time digging into the Scriptures. Today my devotional time is very eclectic and all day. I read a little of my Bible with study notes; I read from a church or another devotional; I pray in the morning using an app and throughout the day.
You can consistently have time with the Lord if you lose the perfectionism. Just talk to Him and read His responses the way you would with a friend who is messaging you. That’s all it is. Yet it is the most powerful organizing habit of all. My mood and my schedule for the day have been dramatically changed as a result of being in God’s presence intentionally.
Organizing habit number two is a routine. I know you’ve heard it over and over again that you need a routine. Strangely enough, I never heard that as a new homeschooling mom. It was news to me. But my willingness to do a few of the same key activities in order, day after day after day, changed me from a woman who was ready to give up homeschooling and having more kids to a woman who felt like she could do this homeschooling thing.
A routine is not boring; it’s not rigid, and it’s not confining. A routine gives your mind the freedom it needs to think about important matters. If you don’t have a routine for cleaning the house, homeschooling the kids, and making meals, your mind will be preoccupied with these things. Any new stressors will put you over the edge. Ask me how I know. I resisted having a routine but the routine liberated me. Routines have had to adjust as my children have grown and my activities have changed. But having routine is the second most important habit for being an organized homeschooling mom
Organizing habit number three is decluttering. Whether you are removing things or activities you don’t use, need, or love, you will never be organized when there’s just too much. We have become victims of our own abundance. Where once it was challenging to find curriculum that worked well in a homeschool setting, now we’re tearing our hair out trying to decide what to buy and what to use once we buy it.
Buying more bookshelves is not an organizing habit. Don’t get me wrong! I love books. We have many of them. But I’ve learned to become comfortable with giving them away. I can bless other homeschoolers, I can repurchase or borrow anything I find I later need. I was not given the job of lending library to the world. Neither were you.
The third habit works together with the first and second habit. We need to ask God to show us a routine that will serve our family. Our routine should include a regular time for decluttering. Rather than think we’re going to take the next month off to declutter and simplify, we need to make decluttering a part of our routine, so that we will never find ourselves overwhelmed with stuff again.
The fourth habit of organized homeschool moms is realistic expectations. I have been guilty of basing my expectations on what other homeschooling families say they are doing. Whether I read their blog posts, look at their photos on Instagram, or see their amazing activities on Pinterest, I can feel like I’m falling behind.
I attended a kindergarten graduation with my second son and was wowed by the kindergartners who performed musically for the ceremony. These children seemed so advanced. My son sat at the graduation, clearly not paying attention to the ceremony at all. It’s so ridiculous now, but I thought he and I were lacking something. That son ironically grew up to be an advanced student and a part of our church’s worship band. I didn’t begin pressing him to do more after that kindergarten graduation, but I could have. I could have let fear about not measuring up add to the burden of homeschooling instead of the joy of it.
Realistic expectations also mean that our to-do list is manageable. We should be able to finish our day’s list on a regular basis. I hear from homeschooling moms all the time who are frustrated and depressed about their students and their own lack of progress. Most of the time that frustration comes from trying to do more than any normal homeschooler can do.
The fifth habit of organized homeschool moms is planning. Diona Navarro shared with us how planning gives us freedom in so many ways. She mentioned how a plan can give us control. I went on to dive deeper into the idea that the plan doesn’t control us; rather, it guides us and gives us peace of mind and joy as we complete it. I asked Diona to talk about The Organized Homeschool Life, which is a plan for helping us to be the organized homeschool moms God has called us to be. Listen to what she said on the podcast.
The Organized Homeschool Life book and planner will help you to create the habits of an organized homeschool mom. First, every day your planner will direct you to spend time with the Lord. Rather than having long lined pages to complete that aren’t realistic for busy moms like us, you’ll have a few lines on which to write your gratitude to God, the word you heard from God, and your response to Him in prayer. Even if all you do is just complete that part of your daily plan, you’ll feel connected to the Lord.
The next habit The Organized Homeschool Life helps you develop is routines. Each day you’ll create a basic schedule for your day. You’ll be guided in the process of creating a routine with a helpful printable. Once you’ve created a workable routine, creating a loose schedule of specific tasks for the day will be easy and gratifying.
The third habit The Organized Homeschool Life helps us develop is decluttering. You’ll be challenged to declutter after Christmas, to declutter bedrooms, clothing, used curriculum, and the places in your home that tend to collect clutter. In the Organized Homeschool Life Facebook group, you’ll receive prompts to remind you to keep up your decluttering habit.
The Organized Homeschool Life also helps you have realistic expectations. Each challenge is made up of four steps that take just 15 minutes each. You’ll be amazed by how much you can do in such a short period of time. The Organized Homeschool Life Planner includes space for your organizing task of the day, so you’re reminded to stay on track with these missions or other organizing tasks you need to do.
In studying my own productivity for a year, I found that on average I completed just six tasks a day, aside from my routine tasks. That’s why there is space for just six tasks on your daily planning page. It feels amazing to complete your task list for the day and not feel like a failure because you haven’t done all 30 of the items on your overly long list.
Finally, The Organized Homeschool Life is a plan. You can develop your own plan for organizing your homeschool life or you can save yourself time and use or tweak mine. The Organized Homeschool Life gives you a starting point. Each week, the four steps of the challenge for the week are outlined for you in a very short read in the book. The weekly planning page in the planner lists the steps for the week, allowing you to plan when to do them. The planner is organized into months and weeks but isn’t dated, so you can start organizing your homeschool life at any time.
I want homeschooling moms have the peace and joy that I have in planning an organized homeschool life. That is why from now through November 17th, 2018, you can gift yourself both the book and planner at launch pricing. Whether you prefer digital books and planners or you love having a printed book and beautifully spiral-bound planner to use, you’ll find both here.
Not sure you can keep up the organizing habit? Be sure to check out How to Keep the Happy Planning Going. You can also give The Organized Homeschool Life book and planner a try with the Christmas Planning challenge. You’ll receive sample pages that will tell you if the The Organized Homeschool Life is for you before the sale is over. Click the image below to have the sample emailed to you. You’ll also be subscribed to Psychowith6 and the Sanity Saturday newsletter.
Which of these habits has been the biggest struggle for you? Comment and let me know.
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If you’re a disorganized homeschool mom, I have Christmas gift ideas you’ll love because I know what’s helped me become more organized. Even if you’re already in the process of getting organized, you’ll love these. If you’re looking for Christmas gifts for a disorganized homeschool mom in your life, I promise she’ll love these–with no offense taken! Be sure to read to the end for the best gift idea of all–cash! I’ve gotten together with some pretty awesome bloggers to give TWO families some CASH in the 5th annual Christmas Blessings Giveaway – $500 cash (delivered via Paypal). You’ll find the entry form at the end of the post.
I was so disorganized that I was ready to quit homeschooling and having kids when we had three. Then I found FLYLady, Marla Cilley who is the author of Sink Reflections. Her no-judgment, 15-minutes-at-a-time approach to getting organized changed my life. In fact, you’ll find my endorsement on the back of the book! If your home is in chaos, you will love this book and implementing the FLYing approach even more.
The Organized Homeschool Life Book and Planner
After creating routines and getting my home decluttered, I longed for organizing help designed just for homeschool moms. I applied the FLYLady 15-minute-mission approach to every aspect of a homeschool mom’s life (seasonal planning, school room organization, curriculum planning and much more). The result is The Organized Homeschool Life book and planner with a year’s worth of weekly challenges that will get your whole life in order. The planner helps you fit the missions into a daily task list that helps you balance family and personal needs. These tools have made me happier and more productive than ever and are the perfect Christmas gift for the Christian homeschool mom on your list.
Get Your Pretty On
If you need help decluttering your closet, simplifying your wardrobe, and putting outfits together that make you feel great, Get Your Pretty On is for you. You’re given a shopping list of wardrobe essentials (whether you want a year-round basic wardrobe, work wear, or a fresh seasonal wardrobe). First, you shop your closet. You’ll have a number of these pieces already. Then you can thrift store shop, Black Friday shop, or request the remaining pieces as gifts. You’ll have a calendar of outfits to wear using these pieces and access to a private Facebook group that is so much fun! You’ll feel fantastic in your clothes–a great goal for the new year. The winter capsule wardrobe or the annual membership make perfect Christmas gifts.
The Instant Pot
If you’re organized, you can use a crockpot. Put the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning and dinner is done! But when you’re not that organized, the Instant Pot comes to the rescue. It’s a pressure cooker that is like the offspring of a slow cooker and a microwave. You can add frozen meat to it and in no time, your meal is ready and tastes like it’s been cooking all day. This cookbook makes a great companion gift.
The Amazon Echo can help you get and stay organized with reminders, timers, automatic ordering, and quick answers. The bonus is you can listen to your favorite tunes while you’re organizing.
When was the last time you vacuumed? I thought so. With a Roomba, that job is no longer yours. And it works with your Amazon Echo!
Magnetic Refrigerator Dry Erase Board
Trying to get your family to check your wall or digital calendar can be trying. But everyone uses the refrigerator! Keep them informed with a magnetic dry erase calendar for the refrigerator. My daughter enjoys filling ours out each month.
Multi-Device Charging Station
If your devices or back-up batteries are frequently low on power at all the wrong times, you’ll be a more organized homeschool mom with this multi-device charging station.
Wireless Key Finder
If you frequently lose your keys or remotes, you’ll love this wireless key finder. Simply attach your keys to a device or stick one of the sensors to a remote and you’ll hear a noise directing you to the lost item. It’s a real sanity saver!
Easily add this personalized carabiner to a backpack or bag to identify it. Perfect for kids’ activities!
Sonic Boom Alarm Clark
We all know it’s easier to get organized if you’re up before noon. If you’re a heavy sleeper (or your family members are), this super loud, bed-shaking alarm clock is the perfect gift for you.
Wifi Digital Picture Frame
Do you have good intentions to scrapbook? While you’re working on creating the scrapbook habit, this digital picture frame will allow you to enjoy your photos now. Anyone can email photos to it. It’s on my gift list this year.
James Brown Tufted Leather Armed Storage Bench
If you a hotspot where items collect, a storage bench can be an attractive solution. I use this bench to store the kids’ extra shoes that accummulate near the front door. It’s a great place to sit and put your shoes on, too.
Revlon Colorstay Ultimate Lipstick
Do you forget to reapply lipstick? I used to until I started wearing Revlon Colorstay Ultimate Lipstick. It wears all day and doesn’t dry out my lips. Perfect stocking stuffer for the busy homeschool mom.
Pilot Frixion Clicker Gel Ink Pens
Pencils have to be sharpened and mechanical pencil lead breaks easily. These Pilot Frixion Clicker Gel Ink pens are my favorite. Fine point, eraseable ink. Problem is other people love them, too, and they disappear. They make the perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite homeschool mom.
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Want more gift guides? Check out this list from the iHomeschool Network bloggers.
Christmas Blessings Giveaway
We hope that the prize will be a blessing to the winning families and will help them fulfill their kids’ Christmas wishes, pay off some bills, or to save for a rainy day. Whatever the money ends up being used for, our prayer is that it helps to lessen any financial burden and/or fills a specific need.
There are lots of entry options in the Rafflecopter form below – the more you enter, the better your chance of winning! I know it can seem tedious and time consuming to go through all the entries, but isn’t a chance at $500 worth it? I think it is! Plus, all of these generous bloggers donated their own money toward the cash prizes and this giveaway wouldn’t be possible without them. So I hope you’ll take the time to check out each one. Who knows? Maybe you will find your new favorite blog.
The giveaway will run from Monday, November 12th through Wednesday, November 21st (ends at 11:59pm EST). Winner will be notified by email shortly after the giveaway ends and will have 48 hours to respond to claim the prize or another winner will be drawn. You must have a Paypal account to win. Please be sure to read the Rafflecopter terms and conditions upon entering.
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I hope I’ve convinced you that planning makes homeschool moms happy. If you haven’t yet read the reasons planning rocks for homeschool moms, do that first. Today we are talking about how to keep happy planning going. If you’re like me and you have begun using numerous planners only to leave them languishing on the shelf, you’re going to love this post.
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How to Keep Using Your Planner
My guest on the Homeschool Sanity Show, Diona Navarro, had these tips for continuing to use your planners.
Buy a planner that works the way you do.
“Don’t just buy a planner because it’s cheap, pretty, or other people are buying it,” Diona says. She explains that the right planner for you should allow you to record your thoughts. Her preference is for a planner that allows checklists and is something she can make pretty with her supplies.
Keep it simple.
Diona sets up her planners so others could take them and use them to direct her family’s day. That means it has to be easy to understand and not overloaded with tasks.
Keep it accessible.
Diona advises leaving your planner out where it’s visible. Leave it on the table in the kitchen, for example. The more you see it, the more you’ll rely on it.
Plan to plan.
Diona takes time every Saturday and Sunday to use her various planners. Without set times for planning, it wouldn’t happen. Diona advises that you plan more than one week at a time in case you can’t do your regular planning time.
I love the tips that Diona gave us. I have a few of my own to add.
Use your planner as a guide, not a boss.
You’re the boss. And no matter what you said you wanted to do in your planner, you get to change your mind. Like a tour guide who has ideas at the ready for you, your planner is happy to take you on any side trips you want to take. A tour guide is not evaluating you and neither is your planner. Planners don’t grade our performance.
If we view our planner as our boss, we will resist opening our planners and having a performance review. Here is how I solved this very pervasive problem for myself. After I have made my plan for the day, I close my planner and walk away from it. I take a picture of my planner, so I can refer to it later in the day when I feel a little lost. But closing my planner gives me permission to take the route I feel led to take through my day. Like a map, my daily plan is there to refer to if I need it. This perspective and approach have made me more likely to follow my plan for the day.
Make planning the best part of your day and week.
My planning always begins with time with God. I am in prayer and in the Word and I have peace. I recognize small matters for what they are. I am reminded of the power I have in Christ for the big matters that are facing me.
I love beginning my planning time with gratitude. That attitude is proven to improve mood even in those who do not recognize a sovereign God. My monthly plan gives me a picture of all my family’s activities and how much I have to be grateful for. I love that I have the opportunity to assess areas where I have missed the mark as well. I can leave any guilt or fear that I have right there on the page.
Once I have spent time with the Lord, I feel ready to consider my priorities for the day. I make this part of planning so rewarding that I don’t want to miss it. I sit in a comfortable chair with excellent light. I have blankets at the ready and often a cute little dog to cozy up to at the same time.
I allow myself to use stickers and colorful pens and motivational quotes as I feel led. I end with a realistic view of how my day will go that gives me peace.
Using these tips, I believe that you can continue as a happy planning homeschool mom. To get even more from your planner, make sure you subscribe to learn the habits of the organized homeschool mom and how to make adopting them easy.
Which of these tips will best help you keep up the planning habit? Comment and let me know.
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Planning has made me so much happier in my homeschool. I want every homeschool mom to have the same happiness. I hope to convince you to start planning for the first time or to resume your planning habit.
I asked Diona Navarro, homeschool mom and planner extraordinaire from AllDayEveryDayMom.com, why happy homeschool moms are planners. I’m going to share her reasons as well as my own in the post below. But you’ll love listening to this podcast episode even if you read. Diona is so inspiring.
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We are happy planners because we experience freedom.
We homeschool moms enjoy tremendous freedom with our schedules. What a blessing! We enjoy even more freedom when we plan. We can make sure the must-do’s are accomplished in the most efficient way possible, so we can enjoy teaching and learning with our kids in the way that makes our heart sing.
We are happy planners because we make time for the best things.
When we plan, we are intentional about making sure the seasonal activities, the great books, and the fantastic field trips happen. When we don’t plan, we often find ourselves disappointed in our homeschool.
We are happy planners because we don’t forget.
Planning makes it less likely we forget appointments and invitations and to-do’s. No one likes the embarrassment of forgetting these things. But even better, because we plan memory-making activities, we are more likely to remember them. We can even keep our planners to remember the good times we’ve had.
We are happy planners as we anticipate activities.
We envision our planned activities and we get a hit of dopamine that makes us feel great. We imagine how excited our kids will be when we go on that field trip, do the cool science experiments, or read a fantastic book together. In fact, anticipating is often better than reality!
We are happy planners because we reduce anxiety.
When we feel that we have so much to do (and isn’t that ALL the time?), but when we get it on paper, it feels manageable. We can control it. We can make decisions about which tasks to delete and which to defer so we can have a reasonable achievable day.
We are happy planners because we’re actually doing something.
That sense of peace we have in planning can lead to another source of happiness: doing. Research is clear that we are more likely to do something when we have planned when we will do it. Furthermore, we are happier actually doing things. We may enjoy talking about our homeschooling or life plans, but nothing boosts our mood like being productive. When I follow my plan for the day, I feel fantastic. I want you to experience that same happiness.
But what if you’re not actually using your planner?
Make sure you subscribe so you’ll be notified of my next post / podcast episode that will share how we can keep the happy planning going!
What makes you happy about planning? Comment and let me know.
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Christmas is my favorite time of year to play games. You’ll find a list of 100 Christmas games for families to play, for kids to play, or for Christmas parties. Be sure to pin this post so you can refer back to it every year.
Family Christmas Games
- Christmas Family Feud is a fun game based on the popular TV show. This link includes directions and common holiday questions.
- Christmas Lights scavenger hunt is a fun scavenger hunt for the whole family.
- The Christmas Story Scavenger Hunt is perfect if you’re looking for a Christian based scavenger hunt.
- Christmas Decoration Scavenger Hunt is a way to focus on the beautiful decorations of the season while playing a fun game.
- These Christmas Reindeer Minute to Win It games will delight adults and children of all ages.
- Super fun Christmas Drawing Game where all you’ll need are sturdy paper plates, pens, and your family and friends.
- Fun Christmas Tree Trimming Game Decorate your best friend or youngest child and turn them into a Christmas tree with crepe paper.
- This Christmas Smell Game is so much fun and will challenge everyone at your party. Place your favorite Christmas smells in jars, blindfold your family or friends and see if they can identify what they’re smelling.
- Christmas Rollick is a Reverse Charades game.
- Bible Christmas Trivia is the perfect family game. This free printable is just the perfect resource.
- You’ve Been Jingled! Is a fun way to celebrate the holidays with your neighbors.
- Christmas Word Scramble can be turned into a game where the first one to complete it wins the game!
- Christmas Party Improv Game This game is hilarious and is perfect to play as a family or include it for your party.
- The Candy Cane Card Game is played like Spoons but you use candy canes!
- Cut the Candy Bar Game The object of the game is to eat as much of the candy bar before someone rolls a double.
- DIY Christmas Jenga All you need for this game is a Jenga game and the free printable.
- Homemade Bananagrams Customize this game to your Christmas theme. It’s an anagram game that drives you bananas!
- Truth and Lies About Christmas Games This is the Christmas version of Two Truths and a Lie. Players guess which statement is a lie.
- Stick it Fun Christmas Game Players have a designated time to throw as many mini-marshmallows as the can into Santa’s shaving cream beard.
- Do You Hear What I Hear Players will rearrange the gift boxes based on the number of bells they hear in each box.
Christmas Games for Children
- Don’t Ring the Christmas Bells is a fun sensory game for small children. This game will allow even the youngest children of the party to join in the fun.
- Christmas means snow in many areas but if you don’t get snow your kids can still have fun with this Snowball Toss Game!
- The Poke-A-Tree Game is perfect for the kids at your party. Included are video instructions and free printables for this game.
- Christmas I Spy Game is a fun Christmas game that will keep your kids busy as they search through the colorful free printable.
- Candy Cane Catch is a fun game where your little ones will fish for candy canes. This simple game only requires a few supplies.
- Naughty or Nice Christmas is a children’s version of the game which involves throwing coal into Santa’s buckets.
- Candy Cane Hunt. Hide a bunch of candy canes and the child that finds the most candy canes wins.
- Ornament Number Matching Game This is a fun game involving cutting, numbers, and matching.
- Santa’s Beard Roll & Count Game This is a sweet game involving Santa and marshmallows. It works on fine motor skills and math.
- Rudolf Balloon Race – combine fun with physics with this balloon race.
- Grow a Christmas Tree Farm Math Game uses the book The Christmas Tree Farm and teaches literature and math while playing!
- Away in a Manger Minute to Win it Game is a team game for kids. Each team has a minute to use as many props as they can.
- Jingle on the Trunk Minute to Win it Game uses jingle bells and tissues boxes. Be the first one to bounce the bells out of the box.
- Build a Snowman Game. Take one minute to blow three ping-pong balls across the table and try to line them up to build a snowman.
- Launching Snowmen Game is a two for one! A fun game and a Science lesson.
- North Pole Game is a ring toss game made to look like the North Pole.
- Snowball Transfer Game. This a timed game will delight little ones as they use a straw to transfer their “snowballs” into a bowl.
- Bow Run. With a bucket on each side o the room, each child will take turns transferring bows from one bucket to the other.
- Lucky Line Gift Exchange Game. Here is a unique game that gives a surprise gift to the winning player.
- Pass the Present Wheel Game uses a DIY printable wheel that guides you as you pass the present.
- Put the Baby in the Manger. Rather than pinning a tale on a donkey, young players have to Put the Baby in the Manger.
- Roll a Reindeer Game is a game your preschoolers will love! Use the free printable and have fun learning.
- Roll a Snowman Dice Game With each roll of a die your preschooler will build a snowman.
- Christmas file folder games are fun learning games that can be played at home or taken to a party.
- Do You See What I See? One player will hold a Christmas object and the other player will have to draw it by listening to a verbal description.
- Christmas Rhythm Game Cards This musical game is customizable according to the age of the children playing.
- Snowman Family Tally uses printables for these math and phonics games
- Christmas Pom Pom Drop will be a fun way to help your kids celebrate while developing their fine motor skills.
- Christmas Picture Puzzle Game for elementary age children only requires this free printable.
- Try December Would You Rather Prompts for a fun Christmas game for older kids.
- DIY Holiday Reindeer Ring Toss is a game for children and adults. This game is easy to make and fun to play.
- Santa Says is a game that is a playoff of the classic game, Simon Says. Use the free prompts to make this the highlight of your party.
- This Pin the Heart on the Grinch game is perfect for your party especially if you a Grinch or two attending.
- The Nativity Game and Craft is perfect for your littles.
- Printable Holiday Lights Scavenger Hunt is the children’s version of the Holidays Lights Scavenger Hunt.
- Christmas Roll a Story Game. Children take turns building a story with each roll of the dice.
- Christmas Mad Libs will be a fun game for kids all the way to adults. You can print out Mad Libs according to Christmas Themes. There’s even a Mad Libs for preschoolers.
- Snow Shovel Race is a simple game to plan and a fun game to play and will also help with fine motor skills.
- The Snowman Slam Game is a fun game made with Styrofoam cups. Simple to make and hours of fun.
- Pin the Nose of the Reindeer takes the popular birthday game and turns it into a Christmas party must!
- Toilet Paper Snowman Game can be played by kids of any age!
Christmas Games for a Party
- Download your favorite What’s In Your Phone game and use it as the perfect icebreaker for your party!
- Print off these free Christmas Photo Booth Props and have loads of fun at your party.
- Build anticipation with your young guests by offering each an envelope. The one Who’s Got the Santa wins the game! Simple, exciting and fun!
- Name that Christmas Tune and How Do You Dooo are two Christmas music games that are sure to please everyone at the party.
- The Christmas Word Scramble Game is an engaging game that doesn’t require a lot of physical energy.
- Christmas Cans Bowling is so much fun for kids. You can use a Cricut to produce similar labels or purchase Christmas vinyl cling or stickers.
- Snowman Toss requires a little bit of prep work but the result will be worth it! Create a snowman with 3 boxes, tape, and homemade beanbags.
- Punch a Present Gift Game is a game and gift giving all in one!
- Candy Cane Snag is a holiday twist on the classic game Tag.
- Sing Song Ping Pong The room is the “table” and the song is the ping pong. Make this a fun game with Christmas songs.
- This Christmas Trivia Powerpoint is a great game for teens but can be played by everyone at the party.
- Christmas Carol Pictionary Relay. Race to draw Christmas Carols and try to get their team members to guess them.
- Candy Canes is like the classic game Spoons but exchanges those spoons with candy canes. You might want to keep this game for older kids and adults, it could get a bit rambunctious.
- Christmas Who Am I? Each guest will have the name of a fun Christmas character taped to their back. They will try to guess who they are based on the clues the other guests give them.
- Christmas Charades is a must for your Christmas party! Charades is a classic game enjoyed by families and party goers everywhere.
- Pass the Presents White Elephant Gift Exchange Game puts a new spin on the traditional White Elephant exchange.
- Ready or Christmas is a fun Christmas icebreaker for your party!.
- Ring a Bell Christmas game is super easy to plan for and super easy to play. All you need are friends, family, and a bell.
- Christmas Oven Mitt Game will bring laughter as your guests try to open wrapped boxes using oven mitts.
- 20 Questions Christmas Game challenges players to guess an object with twenty questions.
- Christmas Carol Catch Phrase using free printables and non-Santa themed songs.
- The Saran Wrap Ball Game is a game that doesn’t need to be played in the kitchen. This free game idea is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
- Fat Santa is a hilarious game involving the largest sweat suits you can find and balloons.
- The winner of this Right-Left Game- Uses for Fruitcake gets to take the fruitcake home.
- Let’s Make a Deal is a fun party game that can be easily adapted to your Christmas theme.
- Gift Wrap Twins Game This game is for teams of two and is fun for all ages.
- Lapland Limbo – Try doing the limbo under a string of Christmas cards with a Santa sized belly.
- Reindeer Antler Game This game is sure to have everyone at the party laughing hysterically!
- Face the Gingerbread man only uses your face muscles (no hands) to get the cookie into your mouth.
- Who Am I Game plays with cards placed on the player’s forehead and then they have to guess who they are.
- Christmas Balloon Antlers Game is the perfect game for large groups of people.
- Gingerbread Cookie Relay Exactly what it sounds like, a relay using gingerbread cookies.
- Olaf Knockdown Game Create these easy Olaf cups, stack them and have the kids at the party try to knock them down.
- Indoor snowball soccer game. Snow & soccer balls are not required but you will need some space for this game.
- Musical Chairs Gift Exchange This fun musical chairs game involves Christmas music and a gift exchange.
- Christmas Card Balderdash. Play this traditional game using Christmas cards.
Christmas Game Apps
99. The Impossible Test Christmas is a free app that can be played with family and friends. It features Christmas trivia, holiday jingles and unique games. Available on iPhone and iPad.
100. Christmas Bingo Santa’s Gift is a Christmas Bingo game you can play on your devices. Available on Windows, iTunes, Android, and Google.
Here’s a bonus if you love Karaoke. Try the karaoke app called Smule. There’s a large collection of Christmas songs to keep your party lively! Download on Apple products, Android, and Windows.
[Read 60 of the Best Christmas Gifts for Kids]
Find more 100 Things posts for homeschooling families right here.
I believe you should study movies as literature with your teens! Here are six reasons why and then I share my review of Cinema Studies, the best way to study movies as literature with your kids.
#1 Movies really are literature.
At one time, novels weren’t considered worthwhile for instruction. Imagine! Now we know that reading novels improves vocabulary, comprehension, spelling, and writing.
Today there is a continuing stigma that movies can’t add to our children’s education. Movies are what our children should watch in their free time, right? Wrong! Movies, like plays, are based on written scripts or books. Because they are literary, movies can be used to teach concepts like character development, plot, setting, and much more.
#2 Movies are taught as literature in the public schools.
Many homeschool parents I talk with are afraid that watching movies isn’t worthy of high school credit. I assure you: The study of movies is credit-worthy. My son took this course as a public high school junior. Because he was taking a number of AP (read time-consuming) courses, his guidance counselor recommended that he take an easier class like a movies as literature course to complete his schedule.
Movies as literature courses count as English elective credits and are an excellent addition to a college-prep transcript.
#3 Movies create great opportunities for discussion.
Kids are used to talking about the movies they see. If you have a teen who isn’t a talker, discussing a movie is a great way to understand your teen’s views on life. Movies can expand your teen’s understanding of others’ motivation and can be used to teach social skills. Teens are more likely to talk about movies than other topics because there are few wrong answers–just opinions.
#4 Movies provide excellent writing prompts.
A movies as literature study provides interesting and personal writing subjects. Writing prompts are rarely dry and students with multiple learning styles can recall and respond to the movies they’ve seen in writing.
#5 Movies are fun for kids to watch.
Even though your kids are learning, they think of watching movies as inherently fun. You’ll get less procrastination and pushback on watching a movie for homework than nearly any other assignment you might give.
Movies mimic the more entertaining lessons of childhood and can be enhanced with great snacks!
#6 Movies are a fun family and friend activity.
Parents of teens rarely do math with them just for the fun of it. But a movies as literature course can get parents involved in the learning process. Some movies have mature themes and aren’t appropriate for younger kids (or you may want to save the films for when they’re older). But the teens and adults in your house can enjoy time together while still putting in homeschool hours.
A study of movies as literature is also a lot of fun in a group setting. It’s the perfect class for co-ops and learning centers. Your teen will enjoy discussing the movies watched with their homeschool friends.
Why Cinema Studies is the Perfect Way to Study Movies as Literature with Your Teen
I used another movies as literature course in the past and highly recommend Cinema Studies instead. Here’s why:
- It includes some more recent films teens enjoy. Studying movies as literature doesn’t mean that the films have to be painful to watch because they’ve become culturally irrelevant. While Cinema Studies includes classics like Casablanca, it also features Rudy — a personal favorite! The movies are easy to find, unlike the previous curriculum I used.
- It doesn’t require you to stop the film over and over again to answer trivial questions. If your teen watches the movie (especially with the questions at hand), answering questions correctly should be no problem. Your student may need to watch the movie a second time (as recommended) to write the paper. In our co-op, we discuss the movie one week and review papers the next, so students may forget specific examples to use in their writing.
- Writing assignments are short and engaging. Writing a long paper on every movie is way more work than students in traditional schools are required to do. Tedious writing assignments can kill interest students have in studying movies. Students always have a personal response option for their papers, which they love.
- Cinema Studies is digital and economical for more than one student. I am able to make copies of the materials for all three of my kids using Cinema Studies.
- The answers are in the teacher’s guide. I have been loving watching the movies with my kids and my husband has joined in too. BUT if I wasn’t able to watch the movie for some reason, the discussion question answers are right there for me.
Be sure to check out Cinema Studies and get ready to teach movies as literature in your homeschool! What is a favorite movie you would love to study with your teens?