We’re almost through December. Over the next few weeks, we will be experiencing lots of breaks in our normal work and school routines. While we head into different breaks one question that is asked often is “How can I keep my child engaged over the break?” As a teacher this is awesome to hear and a great steppingstone for conversations. As a working parent, I usually welcome the down time and am excited for a slower pace around my house. You can see I am a little split here. Here are four things that you can help do to create time for your child to still stay engaged during holiday breaks, but in a very relaxing way.

Carve out time

School breaks can be hectic with trips or visiting family, but there is also a true gift during these breaks. It is the gift of time. During breaks from school typically extracurriculars are on a break as well which can be freeing as a family. Use this opportunity to let your child be bored. From boredom students develop skills, creativity and grow their self-esteem. Allowing this time is helpful to your child’s mental and emotional health. While it can be hard to get started, once students get started with free time, they roll with it and create play and become lost in a world of imagination.

Complete some STEAM activities together

With your carved out free time, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) activities are wonderful to complete together or individually. STEAM activities can be as organized as you’d like it to be. STEAM could be students creating and designing with building blocks using a cardboard box (or boxes) or anything that requires building and planning. An activity I love to do with my students in my classroom is allow them to use any building material and pick one item to create. For example, for morning work all students will create a “bridge”, they can use whatever they would like from the materials I have available to them. Some students use blocks, some use clay and popsicle stick and then as a class we share our designs. This could be turned into a family competition or a collaboration that is sure to keep your child engaged and making memories.

Journal about break

Journaling and writing are real life activities we would love students to enjoy. However, if students aren’t given that time, it makes it difficult to write. Again, carving out that free unplanned time is key. This one may take some leading from a parent or family member. Provide your child the opportunity to pick their journal, will they use paper pencil or create a digital blog journal? As I have mentioned in previous articles (*note to CMs: link to previous article) using assistive technology can help our students as well as students with learning differences. Journaling about breaks is such a great way for students to be engaged while offering some creative freedom. This is especially great because many families decide to vacation or visit a different place over a break. Students can keep a record of their time while practicing and improving those key literacy skills.

Create something together

Create or work on a project as a family. Maybe you have had a bucket list for a while and would like to create or design something together as a family. This could be a household project, decorations or just something fun. Engaging your younger family members in the decision and planning process allows them to use their time management and organizational skills and be an active role in their home.

Make sure that if keeping your child engaged during the holiday season is something that is important to you that you carve out that time for it to happen. Wishing you readers a wonderful and restful break.

What are some ideas you have for activities over the holiday breaks? Share them in the comments!

About Jessi:

Jessica Stallings MA Ed. is a veteran teacher and tech writer. She is a National Board Certified Educator who values teaching the whole child and enjoys working with learners of all ages. Her favorite thing as an educator is to watch how technology motivates all different types of learners of varying ability levels. She hopes to empower learners and families to use technology to help connect them to and learn more about the beautiful world we live in. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she loves to spend time on the North Carolina Coast with her family and dog, Fletcher.

  • I think creating something together is a great idea, and fun for the parents and kids.

  • I think that this is a nice group of activities for the students.  Particularly the journaling.  I know many students who, when they look at their journals at the end of year like to look back through the journals to see what they wrote.

  • Lots of good ideas.  For sure, Parents need to keep up the focus on educational activities for sure when students are not in school.

  • There are lots of family games that can help with different skills.  Card and dice games like cribbage or backgammon practice math skills.  A game like Balderdash exercises creativity and writing.

  • Great advice and tips.  Not just for school breaks, but all year round.