Everyone involved in Education from the principal to teachers to the smallest kindergartner look forward to Spring Break. While school professionals may be enjoying some much-need down time, kids want to cut loose and have as much fun as possible on these five warm-weather days off.
Parents want their kids to have fun, too, but the most successful Spring Break for school-age children is one that balances fun and learning. Here are five fun and educational activities kids and parents can do together to make optimum use of this time.
Take a trip to your local library or book store.
Instill a love of reading in your elementary-age child by borrowing or purchasing a book that you can either read together or to each other. Kids love picture books, and there are thousands of them available that will make for special moments between you and your child as you discover new stories together. For older elementary students who are reading chapter books, borrow or buy two copies so you can read it simultaneously, and discuss the story afterward.
There’s no better educational activity in existence than reading. Especially for kindergarten through third grade students whose educational foundations are being established. Reading research shows that if students possess any skill deficits at the end of 3rd grade, those problems will follow the student throughout remainder of their academic careers unless the deficits are specifically addressed.
Visit a museum.
Most cities have children’s museums these days that have fun, interactive exhibits specifically targeted for elementary-age children. If your city doesn’t, take your kiddo to the local historical museum. Show them what your town used to look like when it was first being built. A particular interest to young kids is seeing the empty plots of land from a 100 years ago that now hold their homes and schools.
Showing your child is more beneficial to them educationally than telling them. You can tell a 3rd grader that an area used to be completely desert landscape, with no buildings around for miles, but if you show them old photographs to support the statement, they’ll have better understanding.
Spend a day in the life.
Parents – actually adults in general – ask kids what they want to do or be when they grow up as soon they can string whole sentences together. A great way to give your child a real point of reference is to introduce them to people who actually work in the careers they’re interested in, and visit the respective environments. For example, if your child says they want to raise horses when they grow up, schedule a field trip to a horse ranch so they can experience what it’s really like to raise horses.
The simple fact is the more positive learning experiences you can expose your child to the more well-rounded and educated they’ll be. The brain works best when it can connect concepts and ideas, so if your kiddo needs to describe a horse and has seen, touched and smelled a horse, their description will possess more detail than if never having had the experience.
Practice your math facts.
A great hands-on way for your child to practice their math facts without drilling or using flash cards is to have them be in charge of paying the fees one day. No, they don’t have to use their allowance, unless you choose, but give them the opportunity to pay for purchases. Have your child check receipts for totals, give the cashier the money and count the change.
Proving to your kids that you really do use math in real life is one of the best things you can do for their mathematical minds. Even though math is universal and full of patterns, it’s not the easiest subject for too many students. If they handle the money they’ll get to add, subtract and possibly multiply without necessarily realizing it.
Write about Spring Break.
Document your exciting and educational Spring Break by making a book with your child. You draw the illustrations, and have your child write the words – whatever words they want, since it’s not for school. Your kiddo will be tickled pink to see you coloring, and you’ll get to check out how well they communicate in written form.
Writing will help your child make sense of what they’ve taken in. Learning to put complete thoughts on paper helps kids to solidify concepts in their brains, and it’s a skill they should master to at least a basic level.
Spring Break should be fun. But, you can double its benefits by including educational activities to do with your child during the time away from school.