We're guessing you're going to need lots of ideas for things to do with your kids over winter break, and you'd like to keep their brains busy and avoid an abundance of screen time.
These eight fun and smart activities will keep your kids learning while they're on break from school. They also make great family bonding experiences!
1. Visit the local library. Reading is one of the best ways to keep kids' brains active in an enriching way. Chances are your child already visits the library at school, but when you take your child to the library, it can be a whole different experience. When you visit, have your child tell you about his or her favorite kinds of books, then choose one to read while you're there and another (or several) to check out. Check the library's schedule of events as well -- many have activities or authors visiting, which could be a great experience too.
2. Head to the local bookstore. Much like the local library, many bookstores have events that could be really fun for the kids. You can also make a day out of this visit. Have your child spend time in different sections and choose a few books of interest. Then you can talk about the titles and why your child was interested in reading them. After reading, you can have your child retell the story. You can talk about words she may have had trouble with and work on ways to help her sound them out and use in other types of sentences.
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3. Do a book swap with friends. To freshen up your bookshelves without spending a dime, have a book exchange with your kid's best friend. Have your child pick three books from her collection that she thinks her friend will like -- the friend will do the same. Exchange for a couple of days and then meet for a playdate to talk about the books.
4. Cook together and make it a math lesson. Baking cookies yields the ultimate reward, but besides satisfying our tummies, we can create some math lessons, too. Use the recipe's measurements to teach fractions with measuring cups -- it's a great way to learn, and (in my opinion) math is easier to understand when it's during a fun activity.
5. Write thank-you notes. This is genius! Kids can work on thanking grandma for the doll, auntie for the craft supplies, and uncle for the science kit they received for the holidays. And they can practice their writing skills at the same time. Throw some art skills in there too: Go as elaborate as you want. For example, watercolor-designed thank-you cards will most certainly be well received.
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6. Visit a museum. Visit any and all of them within driving distance if you can. While you're there, truly soak it all in. Get the guide, have the kids choose where to go first, have them take notes in a field journal, and then read up on everything as you go.
7. Be in nature. Simply being in nature positively impacts a child's development -- socially, psychologically, physically, and academically. Bundle up -- go for a hike or walk. Explore, bond, and have fun while you are enriching your kid's (and your own) mind, body, and spirit.
8. Encourage your child to write a holiday-themed story. Kids love telling tales, so why not encourage yours to write a short story about something he did during the holidays? Maybe it's about his favorite gift or an excursion you took together. Work with your child to craft the book with paper; he can draw pictures to go with the text on each page.
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