Christmas activities for children in Dorset

Put some Ho, Ho, Ho! into the season with some of these fabulously festive ideas in Dorset…


Christmas Lights Switch-On, Markets and Lantern Parades 

Although the big build up to Christmas Day starts from the autumn, the real fun begins when towns, villages and cities switch-on their Christmas lights and host festive events.

Many mark the occasion with lantern parades, music from brass bands and dress the streets in bright illuminations, and some places hold themed Christmas markets following traditions of days gone-by.



PTA Christmas Fayres and School Nativities 

Schools are incredibly busy places in the run up to Christmas, with many PTA’s holding Christmas fayres, which are huge money-raisers for the schools – for extra Christmas Fair ideas for your PTA event see

Whilst for many parents, one of the best bits about Christmas, that is the most heart-warming of all, is watching the brilliant school performances or nativity plays and listening to the children sing. Don’t miss it!


Green Christmas 

Reduce, reuse and upcycle your Christmas waste this festive season…

DIY Decorations

Have a go at getting the kids involved by making some DIY Christmas decorations. Cut out snowflakes to stick on the windows, stick cloves into oranges and bake until dry, and pick some holly and ivy to make table decorations and wreaths.

This can be a fantastic way to reduce your waste and costs, while having fun with the kids too.

Get Scrapbooking

As a nation, we use 83 square miles worth of gift wrap every festive season, but this doesn’t mean it needs to be scrapped.

Get the kids involved by cutting and sticking your leftover paper, gluing it into a scrapbook, and adding photos, words and decorations to create a family book of festive mementos.

DIY Decorations for the Tree and Home

Always eager to please, it’s no surprise that Santa’s hair has turned white as the finances at this time of year are often stretched and sometimes even he has to pull tightly on the reins. Still, he always manages to make Christmas dreams come true.

So, taking a giant leaf out of Santa’s book, you too can make amazing savings by making your own Christmas decorations for the home and tree.

Make even more savings by sending Christmas e-cards to friends and family instead of sending traditional cards. Notably, the ‘Elf Yourself’ digital Christmas cards are especially popular –



Giving at Christmas 

Christmas is truly the season of giving and there are so many ways families can give something back to the community or worthwhile charity.

Christmas Day Swims, such as those in Weymouth Harbour and Charmouth Beach, are becoming incredibly popular whilst the Santa Fun Runs are a colourful spectacle that all members of the family can join in with.



Buying a Real Christmas Tree 

What better way to celebrate the festive season than with the most glorious Christmas tree! Each tree species can be a little different in size, scent and needle retention, so here’s the Forestry Commission England’s guide to choosing the perfect Christmas tree:

Norway Spruce: Considered the traditional Christmas tree, the Norway Spruce is best known for its wonderful shape, abundance of branches and lovely ‘Christmassy’ scent.

Nordmann Fir: With its big needles which are lovely and soft, Nordmann Fir are perfect for those with young children. Having soft foliage and an even shape, it makes it a joy to decorate.

Lodgepole Pine: With the best needle retention of them all, Lodgepole Pines are perfect for those who like a long festive season. It has luscious long green needles with branches that point upwards which hold a wonderful pine scent.

Caring for your Christmas Tree

Preventing needles dropping and the green from fading on your Christmas tree requires a little bit of care and attention. Follow these top tips for a longer lasting, healthier real Christmas tree:

  1. Cut off 2.5cm from the trunk to aid with water absorption
  2. Put the tree in a stand with the trunk immersed in water
  3. Keep your tree in a cool, dry space. Away from radiators and fires
  4. Water your tree regularly



Read on for more about the wide range of Christmas events and activities taking place in Dorset...


Cast of Poole Panto Pull Out All the Stops 

The beanstalk is growing, the cow is looking worried and the hero is ready to save the day with a wink and a smile… it can only be the cast of Jack and the Beanstalk, Poole’s family pantomime, gathering for the first time at Lighthouse. Written by former Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan, who is also playing the Dame in the panto for the first time, the show features former Sugababes singer Amelle Berrabah as Fairy and Connor Byrne – best known as Mike Milligan from the Tracy Beaker TV series – as Squire.

There’s also a twelve-foot Giant to contend with. Jack and the Beanstalk can be enjoyed in 40 performances at Lighthouse from Thursday 12 December to Sunday 5 January. Tickets on sale now at the box office, by phone on 01202 280000 and online at


There's No Place like Adventure Wonderland this Christmas 

Click your heels and give your family a wicked start to Christmas with a trip to multi-award-winning theme park, Adventure Wonderland.

Santa, his helpful elves and his faithful reindeer, Rudolph, will be dropping into their cosy log cabin to meet the kids and give them a fantastic present plus there's the unmissable live panto, The Wizard of Oz.

Join Dorothy, Tinman, Scarecrow and the cowardly Lion as they try to follow the Yellow Brick Road to find the Wizard. This pantomime production has sparkling ruby slippers, stunning costumes, brilliant songs and dance routines, loads of audience interaction and hilarious jokes. Capture all the magical family Christmas fun with a Santa Selfie and enter the #santaselfie competition to win a summer season ticket for the whole family (2 adults, 2 children).

Tickets to visit Santa are now available – book at


Go to Santa’s Christmas Farm and Grotto at Honeybrook

Go to Honeybrook Adventure Farm, near Wimborne, to see Santa and its Festive Farm. As well as admission to Honeybrook, you can ride on the tractor sleigh, use all the play equipment, meet and greet the real reindeer, donkeys, llamas and all the baby farm animals. Plus, of course meet Santa in his grotto for a fifteen-minute visit.

Honeybrook Adventure Farm will be open every day from 23 November to 24 December. There is no need to book – just turn up! See their advert for full details of what is included free in the child admission price. Early Bird tickets are superb value and are available online and from the farm. For details see


Fun and Festivities in Poole

The Christmas Lights Switch-On in Poole on Saturday 30 November marks the beginning of the festive season and a truly magical programme of events hosted by Poole BID. There is a Santa Parade on Sunday 1 December when Santa will ride his sleigh through the town – this is followed by Santa on the Quay on Sunday 8 December which includes a Santa’s Grotto. To complete the fun, there is a Christmas Singalong on Saturday 14 December and family movies on Saturday 21 December. For more information, visit


Get Your Skates on Over to Cool Coast Ice Rink

Cool Coast Ice Rink returns to Bournemouth International Centre this winter! Whether you’re a newbie to the ice or a skating veteran, the rink is perfect for all - youngsters can ease onto the ice on the mini rink or pre book a skate mate to glide around the ice with. There are fantastic savings to be made for families, children, seniors, students and large groups. Cool Coast Ice Rink is open from Friday 6 December 2019 to Saturday 22 February 2020. For more, call 01202 055629 or visit


Christmas Holiday Fun at RockReef on Bournemouth Pier! 

Have an adventure this Christmas at RockReef on Bournemouth Pier - climb to new heights on their 28 climbing walls, challenge your fears on the Highline obstacle course, have some fun on the Vertical slide or choose from one of the many other activities. Get great savings by booking the Friends and Family ticket - it’s valid for 4 people meaning 1 person goes free. If you’re thinking of gifting an experience to a friend or loved one this Christmas, a RockReef gift voucher is the perfect adventure experience. Book online


Festive Adventures at Upton Country Park 

This December go along to Upton Country Park for a whole heap of fun and festive events. Its new Adventure Playground is open and brilliant fun for all ages, so make sure you check this out as well as grabbing your tickets nice and early for the bookable events such as Santa’s Grotto, wreath making workshops, Christmas party evenings and lunches. There’s also a Christmas Arts and Craft Fair at Upton House in November for all those Christmas gifts too. Check for further details or call 01202 262753.


Santa Counts Down to Christmas

Santa’s Christmas Countdown is a 45-minute, interactive family show, particularly suitable for 2-7 year olds. Afterwards the adventure continues as each child gets to meet Father Christmas and receive a specially wrapped present from him – it’s the most Christmassy Christmas show ever!

Santa’s Christmas Countdown is at Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts, on Saturday 30 November. For tickets see or call 01202 280000.


Ice Skate Bournemouth 

Bournemouth's iconic winter destination is back this Christmas, from 14 November until 5 January 2020, with an even bigger ice rink and magical ice path. Plus, there’s a festive Moguls Alpine Bar with a cosy chalet and indoor winter wonderland. Warm up after skating with a luxury hot chocolate, or feast on some award-winning street food. This year, with discounted family rates, skate aids and Toddler Time, the focus is on creating the ultimate ice-skating experience for all the family. For more, read




































































































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