It’s been a successful semester, but your children are probably ready for the holidays. How can you incorporate family relaxation and fun with a desire to learn? We have the following suggestions for your family to enjoy the holidays while keeping young minds stimulated.
Spend time with games
Always a crowd pleaser, board games and video games are family favorites. Whether you are playing a competitive game of Monopoly or building a block tower with help from the entire family, camaraderie is a constant presence. Many parents reluctantly allow their children to play video games while the busy holiday season kicks into high gear. Instead of letting that time pass, play video games with your children. They will love to share their passion with you, whether it is mining on Minecraft or driving a racecar in Mario Kart. These both teach hand/eye coordination, teamwork, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
Board games create great opportunities to bond as you trade cards or play cards. Many children have never played card games; introduce them to solitaire or double solitaire, rummy, hearts, or spades. Card games are fantastic for all forms of math, and can teach interpersonal skills, analysis and sportsmanship.
If you have a penchant for puzzles, engage your child with a contest to see who can finish a Sudoku puzzle first, or how many words you can find on a seek-and-find puzzle. Sudoku teaches critical thinking and math while crosswords help with vocabulary development and critical thinking.
Mother Nature is a fantastic teacher! Read up on Fibonacci’s number and have your children count flower petals and swirls on a pinecone. Measure tree trunks, branches, limbs, and twigs to see if you come up with the magic ratio. Look at the intricate weaving of a spider web. Take pictures of bees and see how many different varieties you have in your garden (they are more active right after the sun rises). Make long-term goals by measuring your child’s shadow every day in the same location to see when the winter solstice arrives at your house.
Have an arts and crafts day
Unleash creativity with a pair of scissors and paper. Add glue and create any project your child can imagine. Crafts can be as simple as drawing with a pencil and paper, or as intense as creating jewelry with a soldering iron and intricate beads. Even when the crafts are all self-imagined, they still require focus and mental instructions if not written instructions.
Read and research during the holidays
Many children have specific passions, and they’d love nothing more than to travel to the library to research them. Whether it’s dinosaurs or their favorite book series, let them loose in a library with an idea and see how much information they can learn in an afternoon. The act of research helps them process and make connections, and reading is a fundamental learning cornerstone.
Many museums also have a research area if your child’s favorite subject is history or science. Museum docents are wonderful resources of information on where to find information! Always be sure to check a museum’s hours before heading there, as they often change around the holidays.
Maintain a good night’s sleep
Children, regardless of age, require adequate sleep. Studies have proven the time your child sleeps is as important as the amount of sleep. In other words, a child who normally sleeps from 9:00 – 6:00 should continue with a similar routine. Changing to 12:00 – 9:00 will significantly alter their mood, even with the same amount of sleep. Keep their school schedule as much as possible so they will be ready to go when they return to school after the holiday season.
At Lake Forrest Prep, we believe family time over school breaks is essential for learning at home. Give us a call at 407-331-5144 to learn more about our school.