The holiday season is in full swing, and with it, comes winter vacation, a welcome break in the school year for students and parents. While a few weeks off from the day-to-day schoolwork is important (and well-deserved!) there are lots of fun ways to incorporate learning during the break. Try these fun winter break activities to keep kids engaged and learning throughout the break, without it seeming like a chore.

1. Read holiday books together

Incorporate reading time into your holiday plans. Try reading favorite holiday books together, or these holiday-themed stories from classic literary characters. If you’re traveling, take some audiobooks along to keep kids engaged on the plane or in the car.

2. Practice writing skills with seasonal writing projects

Many favorite holiday activities are perfect opportunities to practice writing skills. Have kids write letters to Santa or try these Christmas journaling prompts. If you send a family Christmas letter, invite kids to help write it, or have kids express gratitude and get some practice in too, by writing thank you notes for gifts received. Use these activities to brainstorm, practice the writing process, and learn to address letters.

3. Explore your family heritage

Many families spend the holiday season with extended family near and far. If you’ll be visiting grandparents and other older relatives, it’s a great opportunity to encourage kids to take an interest in learning about their family heritage. Try having kids interview relatives about what life was like when they were growing up, and about your family’s cultural heritage. Kids could even create a family history book or family tree with what they learn.

4. Discover the history of winter holidays

Did you know that many favorite Christmas traditions, from caroling, to Christmas trees, to decorating with poinsettias have very long histories? Spend some time learning about the traditions you incorporate into your holidays and about the origins of winter holidays and traditions around the world. Or discover the history of Santa Claus and the Santa Tracker.

5. Create art

Practice art skills by spending time doing crafts, making ornaments or holiday cards, creating handmade gifts and decorations, or decorating wrapping paper. Find more fun art activities on our Arts Education and Crafts Pinterest boards.

6. Explore Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math

Discover the science of snowflakes, the history of winter inventions, or try a science experiment like this crystal snowflake. With time off from the busy school year, you may also find you have more time for fun activities like LEGO learning activities, or home science experiments.

Winter break is also a perfect time to work on an invention that could change the world, solve an everyday problem, or would just be fun, and submit it for a chance to win K12’s 2014-15 STEM contest.

7. Cook up a lesson

There’s lots to learn in the kitchen! Try baking Christmas cookies or have kids help prepare your holiday feast.

8. Play educational games

Turn family game night into a learning opportunity by choosing one of these fun educational board games. You can also keep skills sharp and have fun with free educational games, activities, worksheets, and coloring pages. While kids shouldn’t spend the whole break being couch potatoes, they could do worse than to spend some time playing an educational game like Minecraft.

9. Get outside and play

Even if it’s cold, staying active year-round is important, and as long as you’re properly bundled up, it can be lots of fun too! Try these easy ways to keep kids active in the winter.

10. Learn a new skill or supplement learning

Explore robotics or learning to code, or try learning a new language with Duolingo.

Finally, winter break is the perfect time to supplement learning with an online learning program. Now through January 4th, 2015, you can get 15% off on K12’s Embark12 preschool program, Noodleverse Language Arts, or a World Language course for 3rd-8th grade. The opportunity to learn something new is a perfect holiday gift, as well as a fun winter break activity.


Image Credit – AnneCN / CC by 2.0

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