Updated: Apr 25
Who says learning can’t be fun? The winter holidays are the perfect time to help your children practice and enhance their skills in reading, writing, problem solving and critical thinking—without them even knowing! Here are five surefire ways to keep your child’s mind sharp during the winter break:
Holiday cards & thank you notes: Aren’t holiday cards the perfect way to send seasonal cheer? When you receive one, have your child read it aloud to the family, and when you send one out, have your child write a special message inside! Also, for every gift that your child receives, have him/her send a thank you card—not only will this teach proper manners and gratitude, but it will also help your child practice skills, such as self-expression through writing, task completion and paying attention to detail!
Never too many cooks in the kitchen: Turn cooking and baking into a family affair by having your children help out in the kitchen! Ask your child to read the recipes to you aloud, as well as help you measure the ingredients and calculate batch sizes. You can even ask your child questions about the directions, have them go back through the recipe, and find the answer. This is a great way to practice reading aloud, reading comprehension, math and, of course, following directions and instructions!
Have a family games night: Oh what fun it is to— have a family games night! Whether it’s a traditional board or card game, or something more hands-on, games nights are always fun! Choose games that require reading and strategy so that your children can practice their critical thinking, problem-solving and planning skills. Some of my favorites are: Scrabble, Scattergories, Cranium, Monopoly, Guess Who, Blokus, Beat the Parents, Battleship, Checkers, etc. Remember that if your child is just learning to read you can team them up with an adult and even make a secret team code or cheer!
Keep a family gratitude scrapbook: What better time to teach your children about gratitude than during the holidays? Each day family members should share what they are thankful for or choose something special to remember and scrapbook it. Don’t forget to include the date and label who chose each selection. Then, you can bring out the scrapbook each year and stroll down memory lane as a family!
Stash away schoolbooks and read for fun! Make a special time for reading during the holidays. Try this: on the first day of the holidays have your children select two weeks worth of books. Every night, instead of reading them a story before bed, have them read the story to you! Make sure to model what an interested and avid reader looks like, by asking questions with a smile, and providing your child with a lot of praise and positive feedback! Also, be sure to do this annually so that reading together becomes a holiday tradition!
Lastly, in the spirit of sharing, I’d love to hear your feedback! What are your secrets to keeping your children’s minds engaged during the winter break?