Holiday activities for kids are tons of fun! Has your child been talking about wanting to build something cool with code but hasn’t had time during the busy school year? Are you looking for some ways to keep your child engaged and motivated to learn during the holidays? Here are some great, holiday-themed ways to get your child excited about computer science and kids coding over winter break.
Explore the best holiday activities for kids ready to try coding
Whether it's creating an original animation or designing holiday cards, this post has something for everyone.
1. Create your own holiday animation
Draw out your child’s artistic side by encouraging them to create their own holiday animation using Scratch, a free platform developed by MIT to introduce kids to coding. Join our upcoming free event to find out how to animate a cool Scratch sprite.
Further expand your creativity in our online Scratch class for kids, where through live instruction a teacher encourages students to choose or create their own holiday backgrounds and sprites, and use Scratch’s code blocks to move the character around. Your child can take this in any direction they like - think sledding down a hill, dancing Santa, or a snowflake falling. Here's a great example of a kid-created project, which has an original character take a holiday trip around the world.
2. Your child can create a holiday animation with Python
If your child knows Python, they can use Python’s turtle module to draw their own animations. Check out our tutorial on getting started with Python programming.
Using a few Python commands, your child can draw a star, tree, snowman, or anything else they’d like to animate!
- Set your child up with Trinket.io - for a quick start, use this template.
- Your child can then use the built in backgrounds and characters in Trinket to decide what story they’d like to tell with their animation.
- Finally, use Python’s turtle module commands to draw. For a detailed description and some helpful hints on how to draw with Python, check out our tutorial here.
If your child would like to learn more, sign up for one of the other courses we teach, Python for AI. And we offer a free introductory session.
3. Free coding workshop for kids: design holiday cards
Join Create & Learn for a free workshop during which your child will build his or her own Holiday Cards. We introduce students to Canva, a powerful and very popular graphic design software, to create holiday-themed cards celebrating the winter season, ready to be shared with family and friends. Students can expect to enjoy a fun lesson on how to use Canva’s drag and drop tools and how to create eye-catching, unique designs.
4. Explore Google’s Santa tracker coding activities
For the holidays, Google put together a whole host of exciting, family-friendly activities for children of all ages. Many are geared towards learning how to code. Code Lab and Code Boogie use a Scratch-like block coding interface and engaging graphics that help students practice their programming skills.
In Code Lab, you’ll be presented with multiple levels that will involve moving code blocks onto the screen to first build your characters, then guide an elf through a winter maze. Google starts you off with a great tutorial on how to use the blocks, and provides hints along the way.
- Drag the right blocks onto the canvas
- Press the red play button to watch your character move.
- The levels start off simply and then increase in difficulty as you get used to the blocks.
If you celebrate Christmas, you and your child can also visit this site to track Santa around the world on December 24th.
5. Build a holiday-themed text-based adventure game with Python
Use Python (or Ruby, or another written programming language) to code up your own text-based adventure game! Maybe you’re an elf, stranded away from the North Pole, and you need to return to Santa’s workshop before Christmas. Maybe you’re playing a game of dreidel with your family and are trying to beat your siblings. Or maybe you’re a snowman on a wild mission to find her missing carrot nose.
Encourage your child to come up with their own holiday adventure story and implement it in code. Limited coding knowledge is needed: at a minimum, students will need to know the print() and input() commands, and some basic conditionals.
Try it for yourself, or join us in Python 1 to gain the skills necessary to build this type of game.
6. Build a binary necklace
Teach your child a computer fundamental - binary encoding - in a creative and artistic way! All you will need is some string, beads in two holiday colors such as red and green or blue and white, and a binary code chart.
- Have your child first write out their name in binary, using the chart to find each letter.
- Afterwards, you and your child will thread the beads onto the string, following the pattern of ones and zeros they’ve just written out. Use one color to represent the ones, and the other to represent the zeros.
- If you want your necklace to be longer, you can repeat the pattern once you’re done! Your child now has a new piece of jewelry with some CS flair!
Enjoy fun holiday activities for kids
Now you have six great ways to get your child excited about computer science over the holidays. Up next, learn more about other fun coding games for kids.
Brought to you by Sarah Rappaport, Create & Learn Instructor