After days of being away from school, parents can naturally become concerned about whether their child is ready for school. Winter is the time for having fun with projects and activities that they enjoy, playing with friends, and going on family vacations. It is possible for your child to do all of the things that make winter their favorite time of year and yet still keep their minds curious and active. Rather than let boredom set in, here are some excellent ideas to keep their minds sharp during winter break so that they’re prepared to resume their classes.
No matter what age your child is in school, teaching and encouraging writing can last a lifetime. With a bit of paper, pencils, or crayons, you can help younger children practice their handwriting skills during winter break. Older kids can keep a journal, plot out their very own novel, or research a topic that they’re passionate about.
Start a Reading Program
Reading books is one of the best ways to keep young minds and imaginations engaged. When a child understands that a book can serve as a doorway into other times, places, and whole universes, it can spark their own imagination and inspire them to find out more on their own. Most public libraries have a weekly or daily story hour. Some even offer reading programs. Many of these programs offer prizes or awards for reading a certain number of books. If your family is taking a vacation that involves a lot of travel, a child is less likely to act out of boredom if you take a few books along.
Another great thing to do over winter break are learning games. Today there are a plethora of games that are not only fun pastimes for kids, but they also help teach children skills they can use in school or in life. Believe it or not, even nostalgic, old-time board games can be used to teach children of all ages. Educational bingo is made to teach different colors, numbers, plants, and animals, and even math concepts. What better way for kids to pass the time and learn along the way?
Try an Educational Camp
During breaks, even winter break, many companies, community centers, colleges, and universities offer programs to children. Whether your child is interested in music, writing, filmmaking, science, mathematics, or any other subject, there is something out there for everyone. Skills learned during camp can prepare children for both the classroom and in the real world as they progress in life.
Do Open Ended Crafts
There’s a time for crafts. Open ended craft means that a variety of materials are provided and available for children to choose. For example, paper crafts are fun, and it comes from the child’s creative mind. Set out papers, stickers, paints, markers, glue, glitter, tape, string, ribbons, boxes, and see what your kids come up with.
Create A Website
Children growing up today will never have known a time when computers and smartphones did not exist. Children of nearly every age can create their own website which can be visited by family, friends, and the rest of the world. You can encourage your child to take photographs, draw pictures, shoot video, or start a blog of their own where they can write out their thoughts or tell stories about their adventures.
Do a Virtual Museum and Sightseeing Tour
No matter where you are, there are always museums, state parks, and other public spaces designed to simultaneously encourage playing and learning. Even on rainy and snow days, staying inside doesn’t mean the fun and sense of discovery has to stop. Several museums have virtual tours, allowing anyone to see relics of history from the comfort of their own home:
- If your child is fascinated by wild animals, the world-famous San Diego Zoo also offers virtual tours and live camera options to observe the animals at any time, day or night. If the secrets of the ocean are more their speed, be sure to check out either Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium’s Facebook page, or the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
- In France, The Louvre is the perfect place for you and your kids to take a virtual tour. There are three separate tours, like Ancient Egyptian antiquities, that are free.
- London has a world famous British Museum. If your child is interested in knights in shining armor, art, or any period of history, the museum’s free tour is sure to be fascinating.
- Smithsonian Museum of Natural History gives virtual visitors a look inside the natural world here in the US with a 360 degree walk around.
- If you have always dreamed of taking your kids to visit a national park, but a trip to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, or Yosemite isn’t in the cards, you can still visit the parks virtually and experience them without ever having to leave your home.
Overall, this is just a small sample of all of the games and activities that parents can do to help their kids’ minds stay sharp. By the end of the break, kids will be ready to go back to school after the winter break.
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