Its that time of year again! Both stressful and exciting, winter break is a time for family, friends, and the celebrating of holidays. Not to mention a break from school (and sometimes work).
I wrote a post about the true meaning of break last year. You can check it out here.
I just want to reach out to everyone as you are gathering your energy to head into this year’s break and plant one thought in your head….”What will your child learn this break?”
Will they learn that school and learning is something they should “take off” from? Will they learn more about how their religion celebrates the many holidays of this season? Will they find learning opportunities in a variety of places they never thought of?
We all know that learning is something that should be done daily. That if you take off two weeks from all Math, Reading, Science, and History, your brain will start to cut off those neural pathways. Then it will be that much harder to get back into learning in the new year. New connections will need to be made, memories will need to be refreshed, and for some that two weeks can set back a month or more worth of progress.
I am not saying you should have your child sit down and do worksheets for 30 min-1 hour every day. We’d have a mutiny on our hands! But, there are a ton of other ways to create learning opportunities for your child during the break. Not just in the traditional core subjects, but also in things like travel, religion, communication, cooperation, arts and crafts, DIY, and so much more.
Here are some ways you can create a positive learning experience for your child this break:
- Build something together
- Research different ways to do it and analyze together what the best way for you is.
- Then build it.
- Skills involved: Manipulation, cooperation, critical thinking, Math, Reading, engineering, and creativity
- Go shopping together
- Have them help you keep a running total.
- Use percentages, deals, etc. to figure out ways to save (it’s never too early to teach children about the value of conscientious spending).
- Use critical thinking skills to decide on the best deals, what you will actually use/wear, and who will appreciate a special gift and why.
- Skills Involved: Math, Reading (signs count!), critical thinking, and empathy
- Complete a puzzle together
- This can be a great bonding experience, not to mention teaching valuable critical thinking and spatial reasoning skills.
- You can even use puzzle glue to hold it together when your are done. Put it in a frame or on backing, and you can hang it as a celebration of the experience.
- Skills involved: dexterity, spatial reasoning, Math, visualizing techniques, and cooperation.
- Create an adventure or experience with extended family and friends (these activities can all be done with immediate family or just you and your child too!)
- Instead of doing the same old dinner, and sitting around chatting social occasion that we so often do with extended family around this time, go out and make a memory together!
- You can go to a science, art, or history museum. Take the whole gang on a scavenger hunt. Have a board game night. Have a mystery game night (similar to “Clue” with a “who done it” scenario). Make a family movie. If it isn’t too cold go to a park and roast smore’s over the charcoal grills that a lot of parks have. There are lots more, your imagination is the limit!
- Skills involved: cooperation, creativity, critical thinking, empathy, and for some activities Science, Math, Reading, or History.
- This could be at a library, an animal shelter, a food bank, etc.
- Involve your child in whatever activity you are volunteering for.
- Skills involved: Math, Reading, empathy, cooperation, and critical thinking
- More traditional learning experiences
The sky’s the limit this break. How are you going to create meaningful learning for your child while they aren’t in school?
Please share your ideas in the comments below.