It is just two weeks away! The dreaded, for us parents that is, winter break. The happiest time of the year, for kids (besides summer, that is). Two weeks of empty air time, scrambling to find sitters and finding something to keep them busy. So, what to do, what to do? Turn on Sponge Chris Round Pants, or whatever the annoying sea sponge is called, and go to work. Well, are there better ideas? Yes! Keep in mind your child’s mind, it needs to stay active. We can turn that dread into action and adventure for the whole family, ensuring their minds stay sharp in the process.
- Read. Take them to the library on the first day of break and have them pick out a book or two. Make it a goal for them to finish them before break is over. Research shows, as well as, educators recommend, 20 to 30 minutes each day. To extend that time, have them pick up some fun books too. My son likes the Star Wars Encyclopedias.
- Learning Games. Educational games such as Brain Trainer, Rush Hour and Funbrain are a fun way for your child to learn something new. You can even download apps on your phone or tablet for them to enjoy. MathPlayground.com, Education.com, and learninggamesforkids.com are good places to go as well as your app store.
- Make Cards. It’s the holiday season, so make some festive cards! Get some arts and crafts supplies and spend some time decorating and writing notes to your friends and family. This is a creative way for your child to spread some holiday cheer!
- Day at the Museum. Take them on an adventure to the Zoo, Arboretum, aquarium or a museum. Most of these attractions offer fun and interactive displays for your child to participate in. Just do a Google search of museums in your city, many have discount and free days too.
- Learn a Musical Instrument. From Guitar Hero to instructional YouTube videos on how to play the piano, it is easier than ever to learn. You do not need expensive lessons, unless they want to progress. Music does wonders on the brain!
- Cook it Up! Try to bake some cookies and move up to a cake. But do not use a mix, do it from scratch. It is more fun and the measuring process of baking is beneficial for mathematical skills. Explore some recipes and decide what to create, shop for the ingredients and bake away!
- Park It. Get out, and enjoy the Southern California weather, even go to the beach, while the rest of the country is frozen over.
- Be Active. Try to get out and try new things, like bowling, hikes, dancing and biking. Get active!
- Be a Creator. There are always LEGO’s and Crayons, and you can go to an art store and get ideas. Check out these three websites and be creative, makerspaces.com/makerspace-ideas/, learningliftoff.com and teachkidsengineering.com.
- Explore your City! Your city, like Pasadena, may have lots of activities to be involved in, which many are of low cost and fun, https://apm.activecommunities.com/cityofpasadena/Activity_Search, if not check out the YMCA, ymcala.org.
The holidays do not have to be a time of dread and stress, they can be family fun and a learning adventure if you are willing to invest some time and go for it. Remember to keep positive and be a nurturer and inspirer to your child. And some parenting advice, keep some structure going, like bedtimes, meal times and such, Kids may say they do not want it, but they greatly need structure. Just ease it a bit during breaks
For a school that can help you and your child’s success and help you create a supportive learning environment, look here: methodschools.org