Dark nights and twinkly lights are here and often while you are busy trying to make this festive period as perfect as Hollywood would have us believe it should be, it is often easy to forget the simple things that amused us in years gone by. As well as offering creative workshops, we have put together some simple ideas for when you are at home or out and about in the run up to the Big Man's visit...
Bird, mammal, fish
This was an old favourite played by my family at my grandparents' house - be warned, it can become very competitive! You will need paper and something to write with (nothing fancy, an old envelope and crayon is fine - we played it out and about in a restaurant with napkins and eyeliner!) The rules are simple: if numbers allow, a young member of the family pairs up with an older relative to form teams. Youngest person choses a letter of the alphabet (next oldest starts the next round). The task is to name a bird, mammal, fish, boy's name, girl's name, town, country, tree, flower and river all starting with that letter. You can use all or some of these categories, or put a modern twist on the game and include Pokemon, superheros, pop stars or cartoon characters so all family members can join in. Set a timer for five ot 10 minutes, whatever suits you best. Scoring is simple: if only one team has an answer, they score 3 points, if two teams have the same answer, they each score 2 points, more than two teams with the same answer score 1 point each. The team with the most points wins, play as many letters as time allows.
On the move
Stuck in winter traffic at busy retail parks or en route to visit friends or family?
Chose a side of your car or bus, and count Christmas trees as you drive about. The person who counts the most trees wins! (Handy tip, if you bagsy the front seats you have both sides!)
Number plate nonsese
For older children and bored adults play the number plate story game. Scan number plates as they wizz past and read the lettersat the end- for example FWU. Take turns to use the letters to make a phrase eg. Frogs Wear Underwear or Frankenstein's Wrong Umbrella. The most imaginative gets a point. To score, play first to five or 10. Warning: this can become very addictive!
Check out Dispel-Art on Facebook for more inspiration for activities and workshops.