I love holiday lights! Strings of colored bulbs wrapped around trees, icicle lights hanging from rooftops and fences, a yard full of inflatables, glowing luminaria outlining sidewalks – they dazzle my eyes and warm my heart. I can’t wait to load up family or friends and drive the Tacky Light Tour. And I’ll happily bundle up to walk my neighborhood in search of new displays.
Tasteful or tacky, holiday lights are everywhere. So grab the kids and set out on a scavenger hunt that will get everyone exploring the symbols and experiences that holiday lights evoke. Take photos or videos of each item as you find them and upload to a Google Drive folder or phone album that children can visit again and again. Or use a bingo card (see Related Resources) to mark off your finds.
Lights set to music. They seem to leap and swirl with joy, chasing after possibilities. Watch how the music comes to life and then encourage children to dance along. Snap a shot of them in action alongside the light show.
Stars. They beckon us to stretch our minds toward infinity and charm us with their twinkling light. For centuries, people have wished upon them. Invite children to share a wish they have for the well-being of the world.
Candles in windows. Traditionally set out to guide travelers home, they can help us find our way. Ask children: When do you feel lost? What would help you find your way?
Elves. Known for being helpers, they come in all shapes and sizes. Brainstorm with kids all the ways they can help. Then suggest that they pick one of their ideas and follow through like an industrious elf.
Countdown clock or calendar. It can be hard to wait patiently for something we want to happen. Having a way to mark the time can help us manage our impatience. Invite children to show you how their body looks when they are feeling impatient. Then invite them to show you their body being patient as they count down time.
Carolers. Many people have one or more favorite holiday songs. Sing a few verses together or stream them on your phone. Encourage children to share why they love a certain song (such as how they feel when they hear it, what its words mean to them, or where they were when they first heard it).
Icicles and snowflakes. These beautiful creations show off nature’s artistry with their dramatic points and diverse patterns. See how many kinds of icicles and/or snowflakes you can find. Notice what is similar and different in their shapes.
Pathway decorations. These might be candy canes, stakes topped with figures, or containers with cutouts through which lights glow. Whatever their form, they suggest following a path to a destination. Invite children to walk that path (actually or in their mind) while repeating a personal affirmation (e.g., “I am loved”, “listen to your heart”, “be the change”) that helps them move toward a positive future.
Wreaths and greens. Less exposure to sunlight in December means some people develop feelings of sadness or depression. Decorations made from evergreen, eucalyptus, and holly branches are popular because they represent that life endures even in the dark winter. Ask kids: Do you feel sad when daylight gets shorter? If the answer is ‘yes’, research seasonal depression and its remedies together, then implement a plan for addressing these feelings.