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4 Ways to Keep Your Child Learning Through the Holidays

Learning doesn’t have to stop when the school gates close…

And your child won’t even know it!

The following are 4 tips for you for some school holiday activities that get kids engaged, curious and excited about learning.

  1. Go to museums.

Kids love the interactive, tactile and three-dimensional experience of museums.

‘Museums offer a dynamic opportunity to expose children to experiences and expl

ore new things in a rich and educational environment,’ explains Sara Choi, Education Program Manager of a Children’s Museum. ‘Through interactive exhibits and hands-on play, children have the ability to take ownership of their own learning and develop and explore their own curiosities. This unique exposure provides the foundation for creativity, critical thinking, and connection to the world around them.’

A study from a few years ago also testified to the educational and personal benefits of visiting museums.

It found that kids who did:

  • demonstrated stronger critical thinking skills,
  • displayed higher levels of social tolerance,
  • exhibited greater historical empathy, and;
  • developed a taste for art museums and cultural institutions.

And there’s opportunities for engagement and learning for children of all ages.

This different experience of learning can foster more active engagement with topics and ideas that will then transfer into their curriculum at school. Active engagement is a crucial element of successful learning.

By taking your child to a museum you are helping to boost creativity, develop problem solving skills, support active inquisition and a love of learning.

2. Take them to the supermarket.

Yes, You read right! Take them to the shops!

A study into childhood learning — aptly named The Supermarket Study’ — involved placing signs with questions on items around the supermarket.

Questions like ‘where does milk come from?’ and ‘what else comes from a cow?’ were designed to encourage dialogue and evoke curiosity and inquisition from the children. The results saw a one-third increase in conversations between parents and children — a pivotal form of informal education.

The idea is to create opportunities for learning outside of the school setting and in the real world. By encouraging your kids to question the how and why of these mundane things, you’re fostering a love of learning and a thirst for knowledge.

3. Let them be bored.

Yes, you read right again!

The holidays can often be a constant battle of finding new and interesting things to keep kids entertained.

But there’s a lot to be said for leaving them to their own devices, and letting them just be.

‘Children need time to themselves – to switch off from the bombardment of the outside world, to daydream, pursue their own thoughts and occupations, and discover personal interests and gifts’, explains Teresa Belton.

Children of the digital age are used to having constant entertainment and instant gratification. So removing these distractions allows some much-needed time for quiet reflection, a wandering mind, and developing creative strategies to keep them entertained.

The best type of freedom from boredom can be found outside, where they can investigate nature. It also encourages imaginative play, which helps kids to express their creativity. Encourage your older kids and teenagers to go for walks, sit in the park, and experience the world through their own eyes — even for a few minutes a day — instead of through their phone screen.

4. Read to them. They read to you. They read to each other.  Routine Reading. 

Regular routines go out the window when school stops. But you can still keep a sense of routine, and important daily rituals, all through the holidays.

Reading is one of the best forms of learning for all kids.

Younger kids develop language skills, improve literacy, and put their imagination to good use.

While for older kids, fiction books can further support their writing skills, and through non-fiction they can learn about topics that interest them that they may or may not study in the school environment.

Reading can also aid relaxation and reduce stress and anxiety, increase empathy, and promote good sleeping habits.

A recent study found that children who had access to books at home had significantly better reading skills than those who didn’t.

So consider giving your kids books for Christmas!

They really are the gift that keeps on giving.

Let your children enjoy the holidays but show them that learning can be one of the most fun holiday activities too.

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