At C3, we’re parents too, and we understand the challenge of keeping kids both entertained and educated during the holidays. That’s why we’ve curated a list of low-cost, expert-approved activities that are as fun as they are educational. These activities are designed to subtly enhance your children’s problem-solving skills, literacy, numeracy, and emotional intelligence, all while they’re having a blast.
All of us, but especially children, need to find personal value in activities in order to stick to them. Show your kids how fun reading, writing and comprehension can be through:
- A library trip. Lead by example and browse through the different book genres at your local library. Encourage your child to do the same and talk about which topics capture your attention and imagination.
- Active reading. Dedicate a short window of time to reading them a book of their choice (fiction or non-fiction) daily. You can challenge them by taking turns reading each paragraph. At the end of each session, discuss the story, characters, themes or anything that left an impression. Active reading, such as discussing narrative conflicts and character motivations, enhances a child’s social and emotional intelligence.
- Practical reading. If your child’s enthusiasm isn’t sparked by books, find ways to incorporate reading through practical texts in hobbies they are interested in. For example reading and following recipes, instruction guides, and how-to articles on projects they might want to create.
- Playing games that involve reading. Monopoly, scrabble, scattergories, bingo, and Go Fish are a few that can boost vocabulary and phonemic awareness.
- Journaling. Buy them a journal of their choosing and encourage them to use it to reflect on their days, emotions, trips and adventures. If your child is more hands-on and visual they could try out scrapbooking, mind mapping, or making a comic book. There are also journals online with creative prompts if they’re stuck.
Making maths fun
Think maths can’t be fun? Think again! Your kids can practice basic maths skills by:
- Playing board games. Any game which involves rolling dice to move around a board, tallying scores or counting places is teaching some basic addition, subtraction, sequencing or multiplication. There are also elements of strategy and logical thinking in many games.
- Designing their own games. This one combines mathematical thinking with creativity, as children have to come up with their own rules, board and materials.
- Learning code. If they’re more fond of computer games, encourage them to download a game engine software online or experiment with basic code. There are many tutorials on youtube to help them out.
- Going on a shape scavenger hunt. Cut out different paper shapes and hide them around the garden or house then give your child a list of all the shapes they need to find. Once they’ve found the shape, get them to mark it off by drawing it next to the word.
Thinking like a scientist
Science certainly doesn’t have to be learned in a classroom or lab – it’s all around us! Here’s how you can teach kids to put their science glasses on to see the everyday world in new ways:
- Make a nature scavenger hunt. Create a list of things to spot like lizards, types of birds, trees, bugs and plants. This activity helps foster a deeper awareness and appreciation of the natural environment.
- Put on a science-themed movie night. If your kid loves animals, get out the popcorn and watch educational nature shows on the National Geographic channel or similar. Or stream scientific documentaries on subjects your child seems most interested in, like robotics, astronomy or computer and IT sciences.
- Go on short “moon walks” each evening. Observe the changes of the moon and get some fresh air while you’re at it. You can also record lunar activity in a moon journal.
- DIY crystal making. Children can learn about mixing solutions by making home grown crystals out of sugar or borax. You can even make crystallised Christmas decorations for a festive activity.
Making history relatable
Studying the past widens a child’s perspective on different ways of living and helps them understand how we came to be where we are today. Weaved in many history lessons are lessons on morality, politics, technology, art, science and human nature. Connect them to the past through:
- Connection to their own history. This could mean getting together with an older relative to create a family tree, learn a multi-generational family recipe or practice a second language.
- Making memorable videos. Your child can write down questions they’d like to ask older relatives about their past and childhood memories and then record their answers in a video interview or podcast. If they’re tech-savvy they can experiment with different shots, editing and music to create a valuable project the whole family will love.
- Making a time capsule. This is a special activity that involves putting chosen, cherished objects, written letters, photographs, newspapers, and other memorabilia into an airtight container with a label noting that it’s not to be opened until 5, 10, 15, or 20 years into the future. It teaches children about the personal and cultural significance of artifacts by making them consider which everyday objects they use today have historical value.
- Playing Civilization 5. This free app simulates the historical, political, economic and social evolutions of civilisations.
Getting more ‘hands on’
Fine motor skills involve coordination between the tiny muscles in our eyes, fingers and hands to carry out day-to-day tasks such as writing, using scissors, grasping and fastening. If your child struggles with these opt for activities such as:
- Drawing on a footpath. pick up some colourful chalk from the two dollar store and let your kids express their creativity and improve their fine motor coordination and dexterity through drawings on a safe footpath or driveway.
- Playing with play dough or air dry clay. They can squeeze, poke, roll, pinch, twist and create!
- Jewellery making. Get string or loose beads and encourage your kids to make their own jewelry or friendship bracelets. You can also buy pre-made kits.
- Any kind of drawing. This can include dot-to-dots, drawing mazes, colouring in and playing hangman or Mr Squiggle.
- Cooking. Get them to help you cook and prepare food in the kitchen. Baking treats can also double as a science or maths activity and a wonderful bonding opportunity.
- Any craft project that requires nimble fingers. Like making paper airplanes, dioramas, origami, model trains, etc.
We hope you and your family enjoy these activities that combine entertainment and learning. Please get in touch with us if you’d like to broaden your child’s learning journey through tutoring in the new year!
The C3 team.