Are your children complaining about being bored during the Winter break? Need some suggestions for activities that don’t involve an electronic device? We have some great suggestions for you of things to do with kids during the Winter break that are both educational and fun. We offer suggestions for things to do at home and things to do away from home.
Things for Kids to Do at Home during the Winter Break
After a number of busy days at school, some kids just want to chill out at home. This doesn’t have to mean that they’ll be glued to the TV the whole time though. Here are some other options:
1) No-Mess, Easy and Fun Tricks (Science Experiments)
Sometimes those at-home science experiments seem more trouble than they’re worth— teaching little and leaving a big mess. Here are a few super fun and clean ones. Focus on teaching the related vocabulary word, and you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something educational as well!
Mouth Lightning: Triboluminescence
Colored petals: Vascular bundles and transpiration
Shiny Coins: Corrosion
Disappearing pyrex: Refraction (note- the link tutorial uses a test tube, but any pyrex objects, such as marbles, will disappear)
Freeze water instantly: Nucleation
2) Nurture Your Young Chef
Cooking develops confidence, requires attention to detail, and reinforces math skills. A bonus is that children love to cook, and as long as they follow the recipe, everyone in the family will benefit by being able to enjoy a tasty homemade treat or healthy dish.
Consult your favorite recipe book, or check out the Cook Learn Grow website. Click on “Recipes” to choose step by step instructions with pictures (so helpful for children!) for easy, intermediate or advanced levels.
3) Good, Old-Fashioned Reading
Make a point to set aside time to read to your child. Being read to is one of the most important indicators of literacy for children, and can have a significant impact on their aptitude for learning. For older children, designate a specific time for them to read books each day over their break.
If you have both younger and older children, try reading to the younger children in a public area of your home, such as the living room or dining room. You may be surprised to find that older children will wander in and listen as well. If reading doesn’t interest your child, it’s okay to bribe them with a small treat! After a few sessions, bribes may not be necessary anymore.
Finally, if holiday conversation has left your voice hoarse, check out librivox.org. You can stream or download classic children’s books easily and at no cost.
4) Develop the Art of Conversation
Whether your child has the gift of gab, or is one of few words, break time is a great time to indulge your son or daughter in some meaningful parent-child communication. According to the Oxford University Press, a necessary precursor to developing writing ability is oral language skills, and having conversations is all that is needed to practice. Ask your child about his or her interests, play a game like the guessing game that focuses on speaking, tell stories, do finger plays, and play songs— encouraging your young child to learn the words and sing along.
Things to Do with Kids Outside of the House during the Winter Break
If your child is feeling cooped up in the house, consider the following educational options over the break:
1) Take a Field Trip
Trekaroo is a website where families rate numerous destinations throughout the US and the world. If you’re new to your town or aren’t familiar with child-friendly museums, zoos, state and national parks, or other places that offer learning potential, it’s worth a visit.
This compendium of educational field trips by zip code, each rated and reviewed by homeschooling parents, is also a helpful site for researching options.
Both sites offer insiders’ information that can be so helpful in choosing the right place for the particular needs of your children.
2) Visit the Local Library
The library makes a nice educational outing, especially for elementary aged children. With a little direction from you or the librarian, children can be pointed to books of interest to them, and are soon lost in learning— minutes turning into hours. Libraries often schedule special childrens’ events during breaks. Check out your local public library here to find some.
3) Volunteer to Help Others
One of the most educational opportunities of all is to volunteer at a food pantry, or to visit with family, friends, or complete strangers who are confined to a hospital bed or nursing home. Don’t forget to consider this option over holidays, when residents are likely most in need of company. Your child will learn about others and those who help them, and develop confidence and social skills at the same time.