Many people (rightfully so) use the holidays as a time to recharge, rest, relax, celebrate, enjoy time with family and friends, and devote maybe a little more time than usual towards fun. If you are one of those people, more power to you! Teachers and educators are right there in that boat with you, maybe even appreciating the break MORE than you, believe it or not!
That being said, we know many students are struggling with learning gaps and challenges from the past few years, and even in a typical year, even a few weeks off can be detrimental to a student’s academic gains. That feeling of returning to your office in January and feeling steps behind, almost forgetting what your profession is? Kids have that too!
So, in addition to using the holidays as a time for fun (as we mentioned above), some parents simply want to take advantage of more at-home educational time with their child over the holidays, and since the holiday break typically allows for less stressful work schedules, more relaxed work deadlines, fewer school projects and activities, many parents find themselves being able to devote more time towards educating their child in ways that are possibly a bit different and more fun than the usual routine.
Even if you are pressed for time, we would love to share some fun, engaging, and festive learning activities that you can do throughout these next few weeks. After all, it’s important to spend time with your child, and it’s a plus if it can even help them out educationally! Don’t feel overwhelmed or pressured- tying in little things here and there can be magical with the results they produce, and the fun that is had along the way. Every little bit helps!
So, what are some activities that you can do? The activities below are primarily literacy based. As a former literacy specialist/interventionist, I’m preaching what I know. There are some cross-curricular activities thrown in too though! Feel free to share any activities or ideas that you have to support this! There are MANY admirable ones out there, for sure.
- First and foremost, we still offer our Large Group Classes and our DailiesPods throughout the break! The only days we don’t offer them are federal holidays. Let US help you out with this!
- Have your child write a letter to a reindeer, Santa, a Hanukkah Menorah, whichever character or holiday item best fits what you celebrate! You can guide and support by even giving them a word bank of words to use or choose from.
- Read a recipe together in order to make cookies or another favorite holiday dessert. Ask your child comprehension questions about what was read in the recipe. Bonus: you can also do some math problems regarding the recipe!
- Have your child keep a journal with a daily writing entry (and maybe even an illustration!) about what he/she did to celebrate the season each day. Have your child read it aloud to you after the writing is complete. The plus side to this one is that it will double as a great keepsake for the future!
- Have your child estimate how many holiday objects are around. For example, they can guess how many gifts are under the tree or menorah, how many houses have lights outside on your street, how many houses have inflatable decorations in your neighborhood, or how many snowflakes or candy canes there are used as decor elsewhere.
- Have your child write a poem describing decorations they see (or other sensory details of the holiday! What do they hear? What do they taste? What do they feel? What do they smell?)
- Have your child count and sort the ornaments on the tree- probably when you are taking it down towards the end of the season, I would guess!
- Have your child write their own silly holiday song
- Show 5 holiday images or objects to your child. Have your child write a story including all of those objects. How creative can he/she get?
- Research how a different country celebrates a holiday. What do they do? What do they eat? What traditions do they have? How is the weather typically this time of year?
Of course, maybe the simplest, and arguably one of the most beneficial ways to sneak in some festive educational skills, is to read together! Below is a list of some of my favorite holiday books for this season- as well as some that were recommended to me. Looking for more? Pinterest has seemingly infinite lists of them!
Holiday Books (Just to name a few!)
- The Polar Express
- Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story
- Hanukkah Bear
- Froggy’s Best Christmas
- The Seven Days of Kwanzaa
- Meet the Latkes
- The Christmas Miracle
- Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins
- The Broken Ornament
- Good Night Hanukkah
- Christmas Makes Me Think
- Kevin’s Kwanzaa
- Everybody’s Tree
- A Kenya Christmas
- Goodnight Bubbala
- I Got the Christmas Spirit
- Li’L Rabbit’s Kwanzaa
- ‘Twas Nochebuena
- Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy
- Together for Kwanzaa
- The Night Before Hanukkah
- Pete the Cat Saves Christmas
- Christmas Day in the Morning
- Honeyky Hanukah
- K is for Kwanzaa
- The Nutcracker in Harlem
- The Christmas Quiet Book
- Zigazak! A Magical Hanukkah Night
- A Kwanzaa Miracle
- Tree of Cranes
During or after reading, you can take it to the next level by even asking some of these questions:
- What were the plot events in this story?
- How do the characters celebrate the holiday?
- How is that similar and different to how we celebrate the holiday?
We can’t wait for you to try these out and to hear how they go! Remember, even in the chaotic and fun-filled holiday season, every little bit helps!