Woo hoo! No school for 12 days! Let's melt our brains and eat really sugary foods and be lazy! Then, we can go back to school on January 2 or January 6 and feel just like we did in September after that amazing long summer break!!
Sound familiar? Of course it does. The kids who I work with are basically chomping at the bit, daydreaming about video games, vacation, and presents. And, hey, I get it; so am I (minus the video games bit). I think it is extremely important that kids take breaks from the monotony and sometimes pressure of their daily schedules to have fun, rest, and recharge their batteries. As a tutor, I additionally think it is important to temper this time with some fun, yes, FUN, activities that they will not even realize are educational. By staying engaged over break, your kids brains won't go to mush...and then all of those sessions they have spent with their teachers and tutors won't go to waste!
1. Write a wish list for the holidays. This one is a given, and it's probably been done already. Even kids who can't write yet can cut pictures out of magazines and circulars to make a collage...which brings me to my next activity...
2. Make a collage. Pick a theme: all about me, what I want to be when I grow up, fashion, pets, whatever! Have your kids cut through magazines to make a cool collage that he or she can hang in the bedroom or on the fridge. Your kid can even make one for a friend or family member as a holiday gift! When I got my tonsils out in 7th grade, I must have made 2 dozen of these. Plus, it is a great way to use up those magazines you have laying around the house to go through another time.
3. Write thank you cards for gifts. This one is just a good habit to get into anyway. You don't have to buy expensive thank you cards; the kids can make their own with stamps, stickers, and other art supplies. A simple: Dear xyz, Thank you for my gift. Love, your kid -- is sure to make anyone's day.
4. Play online games. One of my absolute favorites that I have listed in the Helpful Links section of this blog is Story bird. It is an incredible site on which kids can create books with beautiful graphics. Check it out and share your experience!
5. Help categorize the grocery list. Categorizing is a great way to help kids with organizational skills. Write a disjointed grocery list and then ask your kid to rewrite the list for you, dividing the food items into categories like dairy, dry items, produce, etc. -- or instead of rewriting, your kid could even cut out each item on your list and glue it onto a new paper in separate categories, which would be good for kids who are more tactile in their learning.
6. How about getting out and exploring the City? If your child is into it, have him or her give an oral news report of the day when you get home. Make it fun and dramatic!
7. DO something together and urge your child to explain how to do it step-by-step: make a recipe, build something, have him or her teach you how to do something he or she is learning in climbing lessons or art class or whatever after school activity he or she is involved in.
8. Art! This is a great way for kids not to numb out over break. Make a craft or draw or paint something and don't worry about doing it perfectly.
9. Play a game that uses dice or how about some old-school Monopoly -- your kid is sure to use math skills!
10. How about some musical exploration? Learn song lyrics, play music, go listen to music. We all know music is proven to stimulate our brains, so just like art, let your kid's brain grow instead of turn mush this break.