Printable coloring and activity pages are a great way for kids to pass the time while counting down the days to Christmas or other holidays. And if, like some of us, you still can't resist the sight or scent of a box of fresh crayons, you can print out a few extra pages for yourself.
Once your kids (or you) have finished coloring your favorite pages, you can assemble them into a book, tack them on the fridge, or hang them from a ribbon strung across a doorway or a fireplace (if there's room between the stockings).
Some of the pages require Adobe Reader, which is available as a free download from the Adobe web site.
Updates for 2013 holidays.
We couldn't resist starting this list with one of our favorite Christmas books. The Seussville web site has three scenes from the story that you can color online. Each image has drawing and shape tools that you can use to add your own personal touches, including your signature.
The Seussville web site also has printable activity pages. You can create a Grinch mask, go on a wontubulous word hunt, print and color ornaments for your tree (we especially liked the Max ornament), connect the dots to discover what the Grinch is giving Max for Christmas (who knew the Grinch gave presents?), and work your way through a maze to help the Grinch get back to his cave.
While you're on the Seussville web site, be sure to check out the other activities and games, available from a link on the home page.
The Coloring Castle web site has printable Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year's coloring pages, including some fairly simple line drawings that will be easy for little ones to color. Images include Santa, reindeer, Christmas ornaments, candy canes, gingerbread men, wreaths, candles, dreidels, menorahs, and New Year's banners.
When the holidays are over, kids can revisit the Coloring Castle web site for a wide variety of other subjects to color, including animals, flowers, rockets, sports, cowboys, pirates, teddy bears, and insects.
The site also has other holiday coloring pages, including Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.
What better place to find coloring pages than the Crayola web site? There are more than two dozen Christmas images to choose from, including Christmas stockings, a Christmas tree, a Christmas wreath, elves busily working, candles, ornaments, party invitations, kids playing on sleds, and Christmas bingo boards. You can print the pages to color or color them online with a variety of pens, brushes, crayons, and markers.
The Crayola web site also offers non-holiday activity pages, plus tips for unleashing your creativity with paints, modeling compounds, air-dry clay, crayons, colored pencils, markers, and more.
When the weather gets warmer, be sure to revisit the Crayola web site for ideas for fun outdoor activities.
Kwanzaa, which celebrates the African-American culture, is a weeklong holiday that runs from December 26 to January 1 every year. The name kwanzaa comes from a Swahili phrase (matunda ya kwanza) that means first fruits (of the harvest season). Each of the seven days focuses on a specific principle related to faith, family, self-determination, creativity, and community.
In addition to coloring pages, the KwanzaaLand web site has activities that teach children more about the holiday, and its origins and meaning. You'll also find free Kwanzaa clip art and wallpaper images in four different sizes that you can use to decorate your Mac desktop.
The DLTK web site is educational as well as fun. Among the Christmas coloring pages you'll find a nutcracker, a train full of presents, elves, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer (unless, of course, you choose a different color for his nose), elves, candy canes, bells, a Christmas bear, a Christmas tree, and several images of Santa.
The tracer pages feature images that begin with one of the letters of the alphabet. For example, G for gingerbread, S for stocking, and E for elf. Each page has two printable versions, one in black and white for kids to color, and one that's already in color. Each page also has a traceable upper case and lower case letter, and a traceable word that describes the image, such as star.
Crayola Digi-Color is a free online drawing and painting app that lets you create anything you want, not just holiday images. The tools include Crayons; Twistables, which blend multiple crayon colors; Super Tips, markers that create solid lines; Washable markers that act like watercolor paints; Erasable Markers; Colored Pencils; Slick Stix, another type of crayon; a Mini Stamper; and a Paint Brush. Most tools are available in a variety of colors, with several different tip sizes; some tools even include a glitter effect. If you're happy with your creation, you can print it to a PDF file or a color printer. If you're not happy with your creation, you can click the New Page button and start fresh. Be sure to print your paintings to a PDF if you want to save them, because once you leave the Crayola Digi-Color web page (or click the New Page button), your painting will disappear.
There's enough variety in Spoonful's Christmas printables to satisfy almost everyone, children and adults alike. We especially liked the Christmas Train Paper Craft, which offers a collection of train templates that you can download, cut out, assemble, and put under your Christmas tree or on a fireplace mantle. You can also print and assemble papercraft characters and ornaments, Christmas-themed coloring pages, gift boxes, cards, and gift tags. The collection even includes recipes for delicious treats.