20 “Sneaky” Learning Opportunities Over Winter Break
It’s the start of winter break and students need some time off. A chance to get away from studying and recharge. To take a break from the lessons and homework. At the same time, no one wants to lose hard-earned academic ground. What’s the solution?
There are plenty of chances for parents to keep school lessons fresh without students noticing. it’s the equivalent of substituting cauliflower in mashed potatoes. Kids get a dose of mental nutrition and don’t realize they’re having something healthy.
Below are 20 “sneaky” ways to help kids keep their academic skills sharp. Almost every idea can be modified for a child’s age or skill level. There are bonus challenges if your student is ready for a little more. The challenge for parents? Try not to make it too obvious or you’ll lose some of the fun.
- Count the change at the super market.
- Help calculate the tip at a restaurant.
- Measure ingredients when baking. Challenge bonus: double the recipe or cut it in half.
- Drive to view Christmas lights. Identify the types of colors. Count the number of a certain color. Challenge bonus: Identify the fraction of or percentage of houses on a street that have lights.
- Write Christmas Cards or thank-you notes. Challenge bonus: write the notes in cursive.
- Read a holiday story out loud by the tree or fireplace. Challenge bonus: read a non-English language version.
- Look at a map, globe or atlas and guess what Santa’s route may be.
- Create a sledding ramp. Consider more than one angle for the ramp and guess at how each option will affect the slide. Challenge bonus: create multiple ramps.
- Plan a fun field trip with a learning component.
- Build a fire outside. Ask everyone to contribute to a story while toasting s’mores.
- Do you have family around for the holidays? Ask a child to interview them about a historical event they lived through. Challenge bonus: record it on video and edit or write it down into a book.
- Take a winter nature walk. Challenge bonus: Draw what you see and identify the proper names.
- Create a winter comic book.
- Draw a winter/holiday scene on a window with erasable marker or washable paint.
- Research seeds and plants to use in a spring garden. Challenge bonus: order it and calculate the tax ahead of time.
- Save toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, boxes, egg containers and other odd items for a maker space. Create it on a table in an out-of-the way area that can stay up through the entire break.
- Read a book on astronomy and winter constellations for your area. Go outside at night to see what is visible.
- Keep track of kind things that kids have done for others over break. List them on a chart and add up the results.
- Keep track of the phases of the moon that occur during break. Bonus challenge: try to chart when the moon will rise each night and when the sun sets.
- Measure snow in various areas of your yard.
Once you start to use them, you’ll start to see learning opportunities everywhere. When you come up with ideas on your own, let us know! Share them with others on our Facebook page.