We’re about to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. Part of what makes it so wonderful for kids is the break from school. Vacations give kids a well-deserved pause and a chance to have a good time during this happy season. But learning can still be a part of it. You don’t want your kids to completely disrupt routines in a way that makes the new year harder to begin. Keep kids learning during holiday breaks with these great tips.
Create budgets and shop responsibly.
Reading comprehension skills are honed when children search for recipes. Writing skills are required to create shopping lists for needed items. They also employ math skills to develop a budget for what to spend on food. Encourage them to research local prices on a variety of items. And finally, a family trip to the grocery store teaches them how to compare prices and read labels to make good choices.
Spend some time in the kitchen.
Holiday cooking and baking is a great way to bond with the kids. Spend time together, talk about family traditions and incorporate math, science and reading at the same time. They’ll measure ingredients, follow directions and supervise oven temperatures. Creating delicious pumpkin pies, cranberry bread or a roasted turkey takes some skill. This also helps children appreciate the work that goes into making and serving memorable meals.
Learn as you travel.
Are you heading out of town during holiday breaks this year? Develop locally-themed scavenger hunts where your kids can learn more about the towns or areas they visit. Include trivia, history and landmarks. You can also create fun worksheets or quizzes that your kids can complete. This improves social studies knowledge such as geography, history and government. Make the most of holiday travel by turning car rides into learning opportunities. Consider these ideas even if you aren’t traveling– focus on your hometown and surrounding areas instead.
Is the weather frightful?
Get your little ones interested in meteorology. Improve science knowledge by quizzing them about local weather. When did it last snow in your area? What other weather issues do you expect this time of year? Have your kids collect data on rain or snowfall as well as temperature, frost or other environmental issues.
Enroll in a Holiday Camp near you!
KidzToPros has camps all over the country that help students discover the fun of learning STEM, arts and sports. These are especially helpful for parents who still have to work while their kids are on holiday breaks. Children enjoy everything from Play It All Sports and Digital Arts to Wonder Robotics. You’ll also feel peace of mind knowing they are making new friends and enjoying themselves in a safe and stress-free environment.
Wrap some presents.
Who’s on your gift list this year? Children can create a spreadsheet to keep track of who gets what. This includes names, addresses (did anyone move?), and gifts for different loved ones. Once the gifts are purchased, kids work on math skills by measuring and cutting wrapping paper to properly wrap the gifts. Math skills are also needed to budget the amount of money required to ship or mail gifts.
Send holiday cards together.
Perfect your kids’ writing skills by crafting meaningful holiday cards to family and friends. Do your children know how to address envelopes and mail letters? Where does the stamp go? This is a great time of year to practice this important lesson. Then, after the holidays, children can use those same skills to write and mail thank you cards. This helps them understand the power of gratitude as well.
Interview family members.
Sitting down with older relatives and talking about their lives together is a wonderful way for children to spend the holiday season. Multi-generational conversations help children improve both verbal and nonverbal skills. Writing down the questions and answers is good practice for writing and language arts improvements. Editing allows children to create stories that they’ll treasure for years to come. This will also enrich future generations to better appreciate their own family history.
Switch up your daily routines.
If you set aside each day for reading, or each week for family movies, consider holiday-themed selections. Also review vocabulary, customs, or traditions around the various celebrations that go on between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. And spend time afterwards discussing plot lines, character development and new information learned with each book, movie or lesson.
Ask your children’s teachers for input.
Any worksheets or projects due after the break? There might also be subjects your children could benefit from reviewing while on vacation. Contact your children’s teachers before the break to hear their thoughts. They should have helpful suggestions.
Appreciate local attractions.
Give your child an opportunity to appreciate the arts and other enriching ways to spend your time during holiday breaks. Many local theaters offer free events like concerts or plays during school holidays. Stop by a local museum, aquarium or zoo to ask about student discounts.
Give back to all your kids’ teachers.
Ask your children to sit down and write a nice letter to their teachers. Work with younger students to help them practice grammar and sentence structure. Encourage them to make it meaningful. A nice card or small gift is also appreciated as so many educators pay for their own supplies.
Volunteer your time.
Local charities need help this time of year. Starting with Thanksgiving meals up to delivering gifts on Christmas Day to those in need. Call some of your favorite groups and ask to become a part of this special tradition. Volunteering teaches children social skills, empathy and the power of community for all who need it.
Do keep certain routines.
Maintain sleeping and eating schedules as best you can. It’s especially important to keep those daily 20-30 minutes of reading and physical activity. This helps prevent learning loss after holiday breaks are over.
Keep a journal.
Writing every day is important. For older kids especially, encourage them to write down their thoughts and emotions during the year. Then, during vacations, they can look back and reflect on the past twelve months and how they’ve grown.
Brain drain, or learning loss, doesn’t have to happen during holiday breaks. These tips can help keep kids learning while they’re having fun with friends and family at the same time.