The holiday season is already in full swing, and as you’re planning and preparing your own to-do list, entertaining the kids during the holiday season can be a challenge. Although this should be a break from the normal school activities, you should plan ahead to avoid them getting endless hours of screen time. The key is to encourage them to be physically active and stimulate them intellectually so they make the best of their time away from school.
The following are some activities that you can do as a family or kids can undertake on their own:
- Research future projects. Younger children can research new games (not only video games.) Joining a chess club, for example, can help children focus You can also encourage them to explore other games such as ‘Phone for Kids,’ and ‘Math Puppy,’ both available for free via iPhone and iPad. High school students can take this time to research interesting topics for their senior projects and start exploring potential universities.
- Get them involved in community events or in volunteering their time. Helping kids develop a sense of how important it is to give back to the community is a valuable lesson for their self-esteem and character. As they move into high school, it will be crucial to show their volunteer work on their college resume. Look for a local Meals on Wheels program. or for a soup kitchen near your home. They are great places to volunteer at this time of the year.
- Get them to be physically active. With the obesity epidemic hitting Latinos particularly hard, it’s important to use every opportunity to get your kids to move. The YMCA is a wonderful place for both young and older kids. They have a wide range of sports as well as youth development programs year round. The best thing is that they are usually very inexpensive.
- Go to interactive museums. A big part of growing up is to develop an expansive view of the world. One way to accomplish this is by exposing students to a wide range of experiences. That includes taking them to museums, art galleries, photographic exhibitions, and other cultural events. Why not take them to the local science and technology museums or to the children’s museum over the weekend? If you’re in the New York area, there’s an endless supply of options. Check out The American Museum of Natural History for some great interactive exhibits. But most large and medium size cities have an interesting selection of museums. And if you haven’t been to one lately, you’d be surprised. These are not your grandmother’s museums!
- Visit the local library. Take a trip to the local library and pick out books together. You can create a reading ritual, where everyone gets together to read their own book in the living room, around a fire, or anywhere else that feels cozy. Add a cup of hot chocolate and you have the making of one of those memories your family will cherish for years to come.
Just keep in mind, that the idea is to enjoy the holidays together while engaging the kids in physical and intellectual activities that will keep them stimulated through the break and ready to get back to school-level work in January.