Ah, the holiday season… After all the hustle and bustle, the kids are hyped on sugar, and there’s still another week of vacation. Rather than letting them plunk down at the TV or computer, get creative, and plan some activities that will keep their minds and bodies engaged.
Find the book version to your family’s favorite movie. Explain to your kids that books often vary from the film (and are usually better) to excite them about possible differences. Studies show reading aloud to children kindles better language skills. If your kids are old enough, take turns reading chapters. Excite older children about this activity by letting them help make special hors d’oeuvres for a book-club style party!
Write and draw New Year’s resolutions
Get your kids into the New Year’s spirit with a resolutions activity. Talk about why people make resolutions, share you own ambitions, and ask your kids to write, or draw one down. This is a wonderful cultural/social activity. It also opens a calm dialogue about actions and behavior. Discuss a plan to attain your New Year’s goals, and how you will help each other along the way.
Winter scavenger hunt/collage
Draw up a winter scavenger hunt chart, and go for a walk in the snow. Give the kids a sticker for each scavenger hunt item they can spot: pine tree, seasonal bird, icicle, etc. Bring a plastic bag with you to collect nature collage items along the way. When you get home, break out the glue, glitter, and cocoa. While crafting winter nature collages, discuss all the neat, seasonal discoveries made on your winter scavenger hunt.
Art or science museum (or both!)
Check out your local art or science museums. Many centers showcase special exhibits, and offer great vacation deals. Pick up an exhibit booklet when you enter; all the learning materials for great discoveries are ready and waiting for you!
Playing in the snow can be engaging enough to stimulate younger children’s minds. Discuss the weather, where snow comes from, different snow textures-and which is best for a snowman. Kinesthetic learning promotes hand-eye coordination, socialization, and special awareness.
To ward off the “I’m borrred” blues this winter vacation, keep your kids moving, and engaged in active discussion. With their bodies and minds in motion, they will continue to grow and learn while school is out for the season.
Kuo, A. A. et. al. (2013). Parent report of reading to young children. Official Journal of The American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/113/Supplement_5/1944.full