Are you worried about making sure that your child's winter break is educational in addition to being fun? Here are four ways you can ensure that both education and engagement will be part of your child's winter.
Putting Education First
Children often look forward to winter break as a time to be ''free'' and have fun. But as a parent, you want to make sure that your child isn't frittering the entire break away by playing video games and watching television. However, you also don't want to be demanding, forcing your child to study and do homework during his or her precious time off from school. If you're looking for a way to encourage learning during winter break while still allowing your child to have fun, check out these four tips.
1. Explore the Weather
One of the most exciting parts of winter for kids and adults alike is playing in the snow. But fun activities like sledding, snowball fights, building snowmen, and creating snow angels can not only have educational value but also provide you and your child with a chance to be inspired by the beautiful natural world and use it as a jumping off point for imagination and wonder.
For example, while you and your family frolic in the snow, consider exploring the science behind snow and cold weather. Ask your child to take a closer look at snowflakes and guess why they're all different from each other, or use snowfall as an opportunity to discuss the water cycle.
2. Play Educational Games
As much fun as it can be to play in the snow, it's sometimes even more tempting to stay inside on a cold day and enjoy the warmth of a fire (or furnace). If your family is snowed in and looking for a worthwhile activity, consider playing some educational games.
Scrabble remains a timely choice for helping your child expand his or her vocabulary. A matching game is a good choice for smaller children practicing memory skills. Monopoly can be a fun way to introduce more concrete, real-world concepts like finance. There are plenty of game options out there that allow you to infuse education into your quality family time, which you can explore together locally or online. You can also try out winter crafts, like creating paper snowflakes.
3. Watch Interesting Documentaries
Another snow day activity is watching educational movies and television shows that explore interesting topics. Some quality options include:
- Good Eats, which digs into the science behind your kid's favorite foods
- How it Works, which explores the fascinating ways common items are created
- March of the Penguins, a nature documentary
- He Named Me Malala, which tells the story of a very brave child who highly values education, Malala Yousafzai
These are just a few suggestions, but your options are limitless. After you finish watching a movie or series, consider having an interactive discussion about what your child learned in order to really explore the topics at hand. You can even follow up with an art activity, like illustrating a scene from the movie or television show you watched.
4. Read Holiday Classics
Children don't always love to read, but it's hard to resist sitting down with your parents to listen to a classic seasonal story like:
- A Christmas Carol
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins
- Mr. Popper's Penguins
- Hans Brinker
Depending on your child's age, you can either read the story yourself, have your child read along with you, or ask him or her to take the lead in reading to the whole family. It's also a great jumping-off point for a discussion about holiday-related values and the importance of spending quality time with family.
No matter which of these options you choose, you're sure to have a winter break full of fun, bonding, and learning. Enjoy!
For online, kid-friendly educational content, check out Study.com.