Continuing Education Over Holiday Break
● By Hood Magazine
By Hannah Steck
The joy of holiday break can quickly turn into boredom. While it is nice for children to have a break from school, it is also important not to put everything they've learned on hold until the school year resumes. There are numerous opportunities for learning over break that are both easy and fun. Thank you to local educators Jessica Bauer, Mackenzie Jensen, and Lisa Larson for contributing many of the following tips. See if you and your family can accomplish them all!
- Make a commitment to your child and yourselves to set aside a small amount of time for academics over the holiday break. It is easy to push aside or simply forget to do academic activities with the hustle and bustle of the holidays!
- Read, Read, Read!!! Children should spend 20-30 minutes a day reading. This can be reading alone, reading aloud, listening to someone read, or even listening to a book on CD or on the iPad!
- Depending on age and writing ability, have children write thank you letters for their gifts. Even having a child sign his/her name to a prewritten thank you is great practice for preschoolers and kindergarteners.
- Encourage your children to keep a journal or a diary of activities they do over the holiday break, family members that visit, and/or their favorite gifts to keep up the writing skills they have learned.
- Have your child help you shop for groceries. They can help you cut coupons, write or draw a grocery list, read prices and labels, and help you with your change by naming the coins and their values.
- Younger children may enjoy making sugar cookies shaped as letters, then spelling their names or simple sight words. If you spend time baking holiday treats together, make up some story problems! For example, Sally decorated four cookies and mom decorated three cookies. How many did they decorate altogether?
- Mixing food coloring and water in old ketchup bottles and letting children spell words in the snow is sure to bring a smile and trick some little minds into learning while playing!
- Board games, Bingo, and old card games all reinforce basic math skills. Playing these games together allows time for family fun and learning. Age-appropriate puzzles are also a great idea.
- Take your children on “field trips.” Field trips do not have to be anything fancy or elaborate. Trips to the library to pick out new books or attending story hour are fun, simple, and free. The Washington Pavilion, Butterfly House, Outdoor Campus, or any of the great parks are always awesome! Parents should encourage their children to look for patterns, shapes, and print that they can recognize on their own and share their findings with the family.