Although the winter break is designed to be a break from school and sometimes -for the lucky few- a breather from work, there still is opportunity for learning. Some traditional ideas for fun family activities that with a tiny twist can still keep the learning alive.
Print the lyrics to Christmas Carols make a book and then as you have a family sing-along your kiddos are practicing fluency this skill is on every teacher’s wish list! Younger kids can illustrate the carols showing reading comprehension. Older kids can rewrite lyrics to the songs with (family appropriate) language from pop culture/social media
Of course the treasured Santa letters from the younger children are always a hit, but kick it up for those who may be of questioning age. For older kids have them write a persuasive essay convincing Santa WHY he needs to bring the coveted gift with at least three reasons arguing in your young authors favor and disputing any naughty behavior with claims of improvement.
Making holiday cookies is of course a lesson in measurement and spatial reasoning for your younger child. For older children have them double and triple the recipes writing out how the fractions were multiplied. If your family is hosting the holiday meal or participates in providing food baskets have your children plan the menu, “shop the ads” (or actually go with you to the store) and calculate the total cost for your number of guests or a family in need.
Holiday Problem Solving
Have your children help with the holiday lights. Younger children can the colors and make a tally of each color represented. Others can use their creative side to make a drawing or prediction of what your home will look like when the lights are up outside or in the window. Older kids can plan the actual circuit design (what is going to plug in where to make it consistent) and implement the given design or propose variation or other possibilities.
Holiday Communication Skills
Have your children practice making contributions to group discussions by revisiting family game night. Have each family member think holiday characters (Santa, Rudolph, Santa, etc. ) Make a list of twenty or so depending on ages and number of players. Write each character on a slip of paper, fold it and place in a bowl. First player draws a slip of paper and then tries to have the audience guess the character without saying the actual name… variations could be “twenty questions(audience can only ask 20 yes or no questions before guessing, charades, Pictionary, etc.) or if your family is really into it you can write family members on the slips of paper … but that might be a bit too much togetherness!
Either way enjoy the break, enjoy your family, and enjoy learning together!
Sarah S. Hill, M.Ed. & M.O.M.