By Dr. Raymond J. Huntington
For most families, holiday break is symbolic — you’ve reached the midway point of the school year, and it’s time for a breather. However, that doesn’t mean your child should spend the next two weeks scrolling social media. Here are eight holiday activities for kids you can try over the break that will boost your child’s brain power:
Don’t force your child to crack those textbooks, but do encourage him or her to choose a book (or several) to enjoy over break. Head to the library for an afternoon at the start of break to stock up. Consider reading something together to make it a fun family activity.
2. CLASSES FOR FUN
Look around, and you’ll discover many fun holiday learning activities and classes for children over break. Your nearby recreation center, library or bookstore are good places to look for winter break classes and workshops on things like cooking, holiday crafts, writing, art or even sports.
3. MUSEUM HOPPING
Art galleries, history museums, and nature and science museums make ideal day trips for children of all ages. Check out those in your town for any special exhibits for the holidays. Holiday break is a chance to explore some of those lesser-known museums too, like a heritage museum or sports museum.
4. EDUCATIONAL MOVIES/TV
Who doesn’t love curling up on the couch around the holidays to enjoy some entertainment on screen? When you visit the library, look for interesting documentaries or based-on-true-events movies that might pique your child’s interest. Perhaps there’s a thought-provoking TV series (think science, animal and history channels) that your family could watch together.
5. COLLEGE RESEARCH
If you have a high school student, holiday break is a great time to do some college research and/or preparation. That might include browsing college websites to start gathering information, reading up on financial aid or fine-tuning that admissions essay if you have a senior who is working on applications.
Many families do a lot of entertaining and hosting over the holidays, which means lots of food. And guess what? Cooking involves practical math skills such as measuring and shopping, as well as time management skills for the planning and preparation. Hand your child a cookbook and put him or her in charge of your holiday menu.
7. FAMILY HISTORY DOCUMENTATION
Your child could devote some time to creating a cherished book of family history. Have your child call or visit family members to ask about their childhoods or favorite holiday memories.
8. SCIENCE PROJECTS
What is your child curious about? What’s going on around you? Have your child come up with a few things to track or measure over break (e.g. snow accumulation or hourly temperature). Have him or her research easy science experiments online that he or she can do with household materials and try a few a day.
Holiday break is the perfect chance for your child to explore something new and relish learning for the fun of it. Get creative. There are all kinds of ways for your child to keep her mind engaged over break while having fun at the same time.
Huntington is co-founder and chairman of Huntington Learning Center. The Gulfport location is at 8950 Lorraine Road, Suite E, Gulfport, and can be contacted at (228) 832-1226. Visit huntingtonhelps.com/center/Gulfport to learn more.