How to Use Your Child's Winter Holiday Excitement to Create Learning Opportunities


Are you a parent of an elementary schooler looking for a way to turn your child's excitement about the holidays into enthusiasm for learning this winter? This blog post offers unique ideas for including education in your kid's winter.

Channeling Holiday Excitement

Elementary school-age children - and, let's admit it, adults, too - tend to amp up the excitement and anticipation as the December holidays approach and the season gets underway. There are so many things for them to focus on, from gifts to snow to favorite holiday songs and movies, it makes it hard to think about routine topics like school and learning. That's why it's important for parents to find a way to channel their child's winter holiday excitement in a way that creates opportunities to learn. Here are a few ideas for how to do just that.

You can use your child

Play the Naughty or Nice Card

One idea for encouraging your child to learn in the weeks leading up to the holiday season is to let him or her know that Santa puts a lot of value on school when he makes his naughty or nice list, meaning that kids who focus in class and do all of their homework are certain to end up on the nice list, while those who neglect schoolwork and act unfocused and distracted in class are sure to end up on the naughty list. That way, you're using concepts your child is probably already familiar with (Santa) and things he or she cares about (getting presents) to stay motivated and focused in school.

Give Educational Gifts

Another approach you can use in order to keep your child's brain active in the time between the holidays and when he or she goes back to school is to give a gift or two that engages your vacationing student mentally. Ideas that fit the bill include:

  • A puzzle
  • A kid's detective novel
  • A book of optical illusions
  • Sudoku
  • A board game like Trivial Pursuit
  • A book of logic puzzles

Your choices should be both absorbing and entertaining as well as mentally engaging and educational.

A child opens educational gifts

Encourage Mentally Active Activities

One final way to create educational opportunities is to use the free time your child has during holiday vacation from school to engage in family activities that include learning in some way, shape, or form. There are many options you can consider that will work for this purpose, like:

  • Going to a natural history museum
  • Taking a nature walk with specific learning opportunities in mind (don't forget to bundle up!)
  • Having a curiosity-fueled dinner table discussion about a school subject your child finds interesting
  • Watching The Nutcracker and talking about the history of the ballet

A family goes on an educational winter nature walk

Like the gifts mentioned above, these make for effective choices because they're not only educational, but will also engage and interest your child in a way that doesn't feel forced. That's the key to fitting learning opportunities into the holiday season in a natural manner your child won't reject. Happy holidays!

An engaging, educational online resource that will keep your child occupied this holiday season is's library of online video lessons.

By Daisy Rogozinsky
November 2019
k-12 holidays

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