It has been a very strange year – and an even stranger festive season. After months of homeschooling, parents have endured a tumultuous Autumn term, and it remains unclear how schools will operate in the new year. The holidays, therefore, are an excellent opportunity to ensure your child’s education is on track – and to try out some fun children’s activities.
Here are five simple ideas that you can implement to keep children learning over the yuletide break
The holiday is the perfect time to bring out the educational games that often languish in the cupboard between January and November. Word puzzles such as Junior Scrabble and Bananagrams are great for children’s spelling and vocabulary. Other favourites are Dinkee Linkee – where players answer clues and make connections – strategy games such as Settlers of Catan and Exploding Kittens, and quizzes such as Junior Trivial Pursuit. Even children’s activities such as jigsaws are good for training the brain, improving concentration and spacial awareness skills.
No child wants to be stuck at their desk for swathes of the Christmas holiday. However, small amounts of regular study can make a huge difference. In the period before children go back to school, try and schedule an hour or so of learning every day – even if it’s over breakfast or in the car. Whether it’s going through some tricky Maths questions, or learning some new spellings, regular lessons could result in real improvements come January.
Festive tales are a fantastic way to get children reading over the holiday period, when they might otherwise be watching television or looking at their phones. Chris Van Allsburg’s The Polar Express; abridged versions of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol or Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis; and The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan and Janet Ahlberg are great places to start, depending on age and ability.
Christmas is the ideal time to get children and teenagers off their phones and tablets and into the real world. However, there are some excellent brain-training apps to boost maths, language and verbal reasoning skills which are worth experimenting with. Monster Math and Squeebles Spelling Test are popular with young children, while Peak, Elevate, and Lumosity are great for teenagers. Many schools have also uploaded resources online for children to look during the holiday, and online tuition is another option to consider.
It has been a uniquely stressful year for parents and children alike, and Christmas is the perfect time to recharge. While it is important to keep children’s brains active over the festive season, it’s just as important – now more than ever – to relax and have fun. Merry Christmas!