Fun Family Activities to Foster Learning Over Winter Break

Winter break is intended as a time for rest—but if you talk to just about any parent, you’ll know it’s often anything but restful. Between celebrating the holidays and keeping kids busy, there’s probably a lot on your plate during your (so-called) downtime. And, because you’re a parent, you’re also trying to avoid learning loss. No pressure, right?

Fortunately, there are some easy and enjoyable ways to keep kids busy this winter break while encouraging learning as a family. Here are some fun educational ideas to inspire you this holiday season.

Have A Family Reading Challenge

If your kids love to read or you wish they’d pick up a book more often, consider starting a reading challenge over winter break. It’s simple—list each family member’s name on a sheet of paper and post it on the fridge or in another common area. Every time someone completes a book (or finishes a chapter, if your kids are younger) they get a check mark. At the end of winter break, the person with the most check marks gets a prize! Choose something that will motivate your kids, whether it’s ordering dinner from their favourite restaurant, going to the movies, receiving a gift card to their favourite local book store or getting some new art supplies. You may want to have small but fun prizes for every child who participates.

Get Strategic on Game Night

Game night is the perfect way to combine quality time and learning as a family. In addition to being a lot of fun, board games offer plenty of valuable educational benefits. Research shows that playing board games can support early learning and brain development, expand vocabulary and language skills, foster social skills, soothe anxiety and strengthen executive function skills. Plus, it creates great bonding time between family members.

If you have young children, something simple like checkers or Connect 4 is a great pick. Spot It! is awesome for school-aged kids, and anyone can learn chess with a bit of help. Trivia competitions and sketch-based games like Telestrations are great for any age, and games like Risk, Cranium and Taboo are ideal for older kids. And if your children aren’t interested in board games, try tackling a large puzzle as a family.

Screen Time Studying

Not all screen time is created equal, and movie nights don’t need to be mindless. If your family wants to spend a quiet night on the couch, you can make it subtly educational by choosing an engaging, entertaining documentary. There are plenty of nature-inspired shows to choose from on popular streaming services (rule of thumb: if David Attenborough narrates it, it’s probably good). Grab some popcorn then watch and learn!

Relax and Enjoy

While you may be focused on keeping your children busy and avoiding learning loss over the winter break, remember that rest and relaxation have value as well. There’s no reason to feel guilty if your family sleeps in, watches a ton of movies or indulges in a few sugary treats over the holidays. Parenting isn’t about perfection and making memories is an important part of every holiday season. Slow down, enjoy yourself and have fun with your family—that’s a great lesson for all of us.

By Staples Canada

December 07, 2021