During the holidays, a student’s academic skills can slip. It’s important for elementary students to keep those reading, writing, math, and science skills fresh during breaks so they can hit the ground running when classes resume.
With a little extra planning and effort, parents can help keep a focus on learning in the home while also having fun and connecting with their children during the break. Here are a few ways parents can add an academic spin to a child’s day:
- Play “school” together. Get an assortment of colorful workbooks, stickers, flashcards, and pencils. Take turns being the teacher and leading the lessons. Your child will love the chance to teach you something, and it will help reinforce the material.
- Read, read, read. Read to your child, let your child read to you, and let your child see you reading each day to emphasize its importance. Commit to finishing a challenging chapter book together during the break or visit the library to borrow some new seasonal stories.
- Cook it up. Make dinner together or bake a few holiday treats for family and friends. Cooking and baking can be a great chance to not only spend time together but also help your child brush up on math and vocabulary skills. Let your child measure out each ingredient. Read the recipes out loud and talk about the meaning of any new words, such as marinate or sift.
- Experiment. For a fun, hands-on educational activity, conduct a science experiment together. Science experiments are a great way for children to learn how to make predictions and test out their own hypotheses. The U.S. Department of Education provides a list of science experiments for elementary-aged children, many of which utilize ingredients found around the home.
- Use your words. Make a game out of learning new vocabulary words with your children during the break. Choose a “word of the day” and help them look it up and discuss its meaning. Challenge each other to find as many ways as possible to use the word in conversation throughout the rest of the day. Have them write a story or draw a picture inspired by the word.
- Take in the arts. The holiday season is a good time to immerse your family in local events, concerts, plays, and museums. Activities like these provide an opportunity to talk about music, art, science, or history. For example, if you visit a museum, encourage each family member to learn and share three new fun facts with the rest of the family. If you see a play, discuss your favorite characters or funny plot points afterward.
How do you keep your elementary-age children engaged with learning during the holiday? Please share your ideas.