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Hands-on Holiday Learning over the Christmas Break

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'Tis the season of joy and enchantment, with holiday festivities creating a magical ambience for both the young and old. While revelling in a welcome break from the usual school routine, it's equally important to infuse the holiday schedule with enriching, educational activities.

During the Christmas break, a plethora of opportunities for educational engagement unfolds through school holiday programmes. Embracing learning during this festive period ensures that our children maintain their academic momentum, setting the stage for a smooth return to school in the coming year. Delve into three hands-on holiday programmes and learning activities to ignite your child's curiosity and foster ongoing learning during this festive season.

Parents often seek guidance on supporting their children's learning during school holidays. This time off provides an ideal moment for parents to instil the perspective that learning extends beyond the classroom and is a lifelong pursuit. Acknowledge that education transcends school walls, with children gaining valuable knowledge through play, complementing formal education with informal exploration.

One of the most gratifying learning experiences occurs when parents introduce an activity, guide their children's initial engagement, and then step back to allow them to play, experiment, discover, and learn. Learning inherently involves taking risks and facing failure. Encouraging children to embrace challenges and attempt new, demanding tasks fosters resilience. Instead of confining them to familiar activities, let them explore uncharted territories, learn from failures, and bounce back. Instilling this ability to learn from setbacks is a valuable skill that will serve them well in your absence.

Here are some personally treasured educational activities for the holidays. These engagements offer unique learning experiences that may not be achievable within the confines of a traditional classroom setting, providing a diverse array of educational opportunities for your child's exploration and discovery.

Writing Christmas Cards

The holiday season, especially Christmas, brings forth a sense of joy eagerly anticipated by our children. Immersing in the festive spirit through the delightful tradition of creating Christmas cards for family and friends offers a fantastic opportunity to infuse some seasonal vocabulary into your child's break. Encouraging your child to engage in the art of card writing not only elevates their literacy skills in writing, reading, and spelling but also underscores the significance of continuous learning during the holiday break.

This activity serves a dual purpose, seamlessly blending the joy of the season with a commitment to educational growth. Involve your child in the task of pairing each thoughtfully chosen gift with a personalised Christmas card, entrusting them with this responsibility. Beyond refining their writing abilities, crafting these cards imparts valuable lessons in empathy and gratitude.

Through the seemingly simple act of writing cards, children not only enhance their written expression but also develop an understanding of the emotions associated with giving and expressing appreciation. This comprehensive approach to learning during the festive season not only sustains the Christmas spirit but also nurtures essential skills that extend well beyond the academic realm.

Cooking and Baking

Incorporating your child into the kitchen provides a dynamic and enjoyable way to seamlessly blend maths and English concepts into their holiday experience. Whether creating a beloved holiday recipe or baking delightful gingerbread cookies, this culinary adventure imparts valuable skills and introduces fundamental cooking principles. Activities such as measuring ingredient quantities, deciphering and comprehending recipes, and adhering to time constraints are inherent in the cooking and baking process, drawing upon concepts typically covered in school and forming a practical bridge between home and classroom learning.

Utilising the kitchen as a learning environment offers an excellent avenue for practising literacy and numeracy within the comforts of home. These hands-on experiences not only contribute to honing children's focus but also enhance their language comprehension, reinforcing lessons learned throughout the school year or during after-school tutoring sessions.

Here's a cherished activity for children: transform the kitchen into a film set! Armed with a video on your device, let them take the spotlight in their own "Master Chef" episode. Provide them the opportunity to select and procure ingredients, measure them precisely, and follow the recipe. You can even allow them to take charge of the filming direction. Older kids might find enjoyment in editing the final production on the computer, further expanding their skills. This simple yet multifaceted activity unfolds limitless learning opportunities, creating a delightful and educational holiday experience.

Christmas Arts and Crafts

Immerse yourself in the festive spirit by involving children in a range of creative activities, from gift wrapping to decorating the house and Christmas tree. The holiday season offers an ideal backdrop for keeping youngsters engaged in crafting and creating. Through vibrant arts and crafts activities, children can immerse themselves in colourful and enjoyable hands-on experiences, fostering a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Providing children with the freedom to express and explore their imagination through creative endeavours nurtures and supports their innate creativity and innovation. If you notice that your child has an artistic inclination, encourage them to craft vibrant ornaments and decorations. Grant them the autonomy to choose one of their creations to adorn the house or enhance the Christmas tree, infusing the festive decorations with a personalised and artistic touch.

Build a Garden

The natural world presents plentiful chances for enriching learning experiences, and observing the growth of plants they've planted can become a truly remarkable educational journey for children of all ages. Locate an available spot in your yard, collect a variety of small plants, and obtain a potting mixture. Empower your children to create their garden, a space they can cultivate and enjoy during the upcoming week of holidays.

Trust Me

Are you prepared to instil unwavering trust in your child? Here's a favoured activity, particularly suitable for older kids: "Trust Me." In this endeavour, empower your child to assume complete control of a family task, such as planning a special event. Challenge them with a budget and task them with organising a day of family fun within that financial constraint.

They will take charge of planning the team, budget, transportation, meals, activities, schedules, and any other details for the day. It provides an exciting opportunity for them to demonstrate their organisational and decision-making skills.

Another variation involves entrusting the child and a reliable companion with the responsibility of budgeting, purchasing, and preparing meals for the family over the next three days (tip: consider having a secret stash, just in case things take an unexpected turn!). This activity introduces an element of adventure and responsibility, creating lasting memories for both you and your child.

Start a Blog

Do you have a child who isn't fond of writing? Rest assured, there may come a time when they discover joy in creating their holiday blog. Launching a blog is straightforward and can bolster various language skills for students of all ages. Even if they aren't enthusiastic about handwriting a fictional story about a lost princess in the forest, they can still develop robust communication, writing, spelling, research, and editing skills through the process of blog writing.

Summer Reading Club

Promote reading, reading, reading! Visit the local library and grant your child the liberty to choose their books. Refrain from imposing restrictions on their reading choices—you might uncover something new about your child and their interests!

Board Games

Acknowledge the educational advantages of board games, as they cater to kids and students of all levels. For younger ones, explore games like Guess Who, Snakes and Ladders, and Trouble. Older students can refine their strategic skills through Chess, Monopoly, Backgammon, and Battleships. These games not only contribute to academic development but also promote family togetherness!

Problem Solving Apps

Children will inevitably be drawn to computers and mobile devices at some point during the holidays. Take the time to explore and find a website offering engaging educational games. Specifically, parents of primary school-age children should consider installing "Steve Storm and The Tables of Doom" for them to play and reinforce their times tables.

Although holidays are a time for rest, relaxation, and celebrations, the quest for knowledge doesn't have to halt when the school gates close. It's essential to help our children foster a love for learning during the school holidays, ensuring they approach the upcoming year of education with enthusiasm.

At NumberWorks’nWords, we run our holiday learning programmes to help children strengthen their maths and English skills to prepare them for the school year ahead. If your child needs a boost in confidence in their learning before returning to school, enrol them in a holiday learning programme to get them up to speed. Contact your local centre to enrol, enquire more, or get in touch and book a free assessment!

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