Every kid looks forward to the time of year when they get to stay home for the holidays—no school work to worry about, just holiday activities and hanging out at home. But, for the parents, this can be a stressful time of the year, between taking care of the kids all day long, shopping for presents and getting ready to entertain guests for the holidays. Instead of letting the kids spend the day glued to the TV screen or iPad, there are a few easy ways to keep your kids engaged during winter break without taking too much time out of your busy day. Getting them involved on projects like diamond painting will entertain them while also furthering important skills like creativity, critical thinking and more. Check out some of our suggestions to keep your kids busy and learning.
1. Discuss World Events
Depending on the age of your children, it’s a good idea to talk about current events. This gives your child a more global perspective and helps him or her to develop their own understanding of the world. These days, much is taking place on the political stage as well as with the environment, making it easy to come up with relevant topics to talk about. This type of activity is better suited for older children with a slightly more sophisticated knowledge of the world, but you can find kid-friendly current news to talk about as well.
Issues surrounding climate change are valuable topics to discuss to help your child make connections and develop critical thinking skills. Make this a nightly routine by asking your child something they learned that day or presenting them with a current event and discussing it over dinner.
2. Read Books Together
Reading is one of the best ways to entertain kids while also encouraging them to learn. With young children, you can make time each night to sit down together and read to him or her. These moments allow you to foster more intimate relationships with your child and demonstrate the benefits of reading. As your child gets older, you can encourage reading by creating a family book club. Maybe everyone is required to read one chapter per day and discuss their thoughts at the dinner table later that night. Another way to incorporate reading into your home is by asking everyone in the family to find one interesting article on something that they care about and read it aloud to the family. This encourages reading, learning and communication.
3. Do a Diamond Painting Project
Children of any age can benefit from crafting as it has been shown to reduce feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. Although most kids enjoy being home from school for break, for other children, a change in routine can cause feelings of anxiety. To help reduce any feelings of stress, try starting a diamond painting project together. You’ll probably notice your own stress level diminishing as well.
But, crafting is so much more than simply a method of reducing stress. For kids, it can greatly improve hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, creativity and critical thinking. Browse through design options for diamond painting canvases and allow your child to pick one that speaks to him or her. Then, spend the winter break working on your fun new craft.
4. Explore Nearby Museums and Art Galleries
Just because school is closed doesn’t mean the learning stops. Find time to bring your kids to a museum or art gallery in the area to continue their learning in a new environment. Museums offer excellent experiences to supplement their in-school learning. Find a museum or art gallery that your child is interested in (forcing them somewhere they do not want to go won’t foster the enriching environment you’re hoping for) and find meaningful ways to discuss the exhibits once you’re back at home.
5. Cook a Meal Together
Although cooking may seem like a trivial, noneducational activity, there is actually a lot of value in teaching children how to cook from a young age. This experience opens up the door on nutritional conversations, so you can teach your child about healthy vs. unhealthy foods in a way that makes sense to them. Children who are involved with cooking meals are also much more likely to actually eat the food, a problem parents of picky eaters often face. Aside from cooking being a fun activity to do as a family, it can also help your child with basic math skills, reading and language skills and critical thinking.
6. Find Volunteer Opportunities
Many people decide to volunteer during the holidays as a way to give back to their community and lift up those who may not have as much. Although volunteer opportunities may not teach your children arithmetic or grammar, it will teach them about empathy and caring. It can also help improve communication skills as children come in contact with new people and experiences.
Winter Break Doesn’t Have to Be a Break from Education
Just because the kids are home from school doesn’t mean they should be sitting around munching on unhealthy snacks and watching cartoons all day. Of course, the holidays are a time to relax, but there are plenty of ways to keep your children engaged and healthy while they’re home for the winter break. Spending time cooking with your kids can boost many important reading, thinking and math skills, as well as teaching them about nutrition. Arts and crafts are another great activity that will keep kids entertained while also benefiting from the activity. Diamond painting for kids can help improve fine motor skills and keep them relaxed. Try out some of these activities during the winter break to make sure your kids are happy and healthy all year long.