You know how it goes. The build up to Christmas Day is hectic and it can feel like you are jam-packed trying to squeeze everything in. The food, family and presents keep you busy between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. And then it happens. The long empty days before New Years. The chants of ‘I’m bored’ begin and you need some quick (and free) wins to keep the kids occupied. Well, consider this your cheat sheet. 

Here are some free things to do with the kids once the chaos of Christmas dies down: 

Have a clean out

Need to make room for those extra pressies? Put on some Crimbo songs and sing along while you have a post-Christmas clear-out. Go through your wardrobes and sort out any toys or books that your kids no longer use. Charity shops will thank you for it in the new year! 

Head to the library 

Not only can you borrow books and other items from your local library, you can also enjoy free events.  

Seasonal drop-in craft sessions for families and festive Rhymetimes are being held at libraries across the county throughout December. Please note that libraries are closed from 25 December to 28 December and closed on 1 January. 

You can also access the library from home at any time. The e-library allows you to download your fix of e-books, audiobooks, as well as magazines, comics, graphic novels and more. All for free! 

Find out more about what’s on at libraries 

A library with children reading.

Make a wish tree for the new year 

If crafts are more your thing, why not create a wish tree? All you need is some sticks (sourcing them is an activity in itself), paper and some glitter. The kids can then capture their wishes for the new year. 

Use old wrapping paper to create cards 

Let the creativity continue by making homemade thank you cards or crafts. Loved ones will love receiving these in the new year – you could use leftover remnants of wrapping paper, or even sweet wrappers. There are loads of fun craft ideas you can try. 

Give back 

Giving back as a family is a wonderful way to spend time this Christmas period. Giving back time, as well as items, is just a valuable. Check out our article on ways you can help other people this Christmas.  

Make your own duck food 

Wrap up and feed the birds at your local park. You can make your own healthy duck feed using food you probably already have at home. Sweetcorn, lettuce, peas (no need to cook them, but allow frozen peas to defrost), oats, seeds, and rice (both cooked and uncooked) can all be used. 

Two people feeding a duck.

Beach clean

Feeling cooped up after Christmas? Stretch your legs and take in some refreshing sea air with a festive family beach clean. If it’s a bit cold and windy it’ll be even more rewarding when you come home and curl up with a hot chocolate.  

Make a scrapbook

Create a scrapbook of the year. Select and print off photos and encourage the kids to write and draw about their favourite moments from the past year. 

Beat boredom with board games

It’s easy to get bogged down in the chaos of Christmas. Why not take some time out as a family and play a board game? Or, if you’re feeling creative, check out these ideas on Pinterest where you can make your own. 


Take advantage of the shorter days and star gaze. See who can spot the most shooting stars and enjoy some evening air. East Sussex is full of amazing star gazing spots 

Star gazing

Family movie night 

Gather all the blankets and pillows, snacks and hot chocolates, and enjoy a film as a family. After all, it’s important to slow down and enjoy some rest over this period. Top tip: this can be a day activity in your pjs!