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Fall is upon us and winter is just around the corner. Soon, the first half of the school year will be coming to an end as students take exams, turn in final papers, and begin setting their sights on the holidays and the new year. As a teacher, you want your students to come back to school in January feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, as well as motivated and eager to finish out the school year with zeal and excellence. Having a great winter break is key in having rested and enthusiastic students in January, and there are a lot of great ways to encourage your students to make the most of their winter break. Whether you offer extra credit or simply want your students to have a great holiday season, we’ve put together this list of fun family activities that you can encourage your students to do with their families over the break.
If you live in an area where it snows, go outdoors as a family and have some snowy adventures! Go hiking in the snow, have a bonfire, build a snowman, do snow angels, or build your own igloo! Younger kids will love writing their names or drawing in the snow with colored water in a squirt bottle. If you don’t live where it snows, take a drive up to the mountains for the day and enjoy some snow-filled fun. You can even go skiing or snowboarding, or just play in the yard and have a snowball fight. It doesn’t matter how old you or your kids are or how often you’ve seen snow—a good, old-fashioned family snowball fight will create lasting memories and give everyone a reason to smile, laugh, and have fun.
Winter Arts & Crafts
Get your sweatpants and fuzzy socks on, and break out the glue gun and scissors! Arts and crafts are fun for people of all ages and all skill levels. Make paper snowflakes to decorate the living room, draw a mural on the back of wrapping paper to hang on the wall by the tree, or make your own holiday cards to deliver to your neighbors or community center. Make some handmade ornaments, learn to knit, or practice your painting skills by painting portraits of one another. Build a gingerbread house or make your own advent calendar to countdown the days until Christmas. No matter how simple or complicated your winter crafting is, cut loose and enjoy your time creating works of art with your favorite people.
Do you have some mini master chefs in the making? Find some unique cookie recipes and get to baking! You can challenge yourselves to bake a certain number of cookies or several different types of cookies, or to create a new and delicious recipe. If the kids are old enough, everyone can find and prepare their own recipe, and then a neighbor or relative can pick the best cookie. Share the baked cookies with friends as a special holiday treat!
Make a Weather Chart
Winter weather can be unpredictable and strange, and what better way to incorporate science at home than by tracking the weather during the break! Give the kids some specific things to record each day, such as the temperature, wind chill, humidity, and look of the weather (cloudy, sunny, rainy, etc.). Have them chart it during the break and make comparisons with different years and months. You can also have them make predictions about upcoming weather patterns based on what they’ve observed.
Family Game Nights
Nothing says family fun like a family game night! Get out your favorite board games or card games, whip up some quick snacks, and get to playing! You may play some classics like Monopoly, Jenga, and Uno, or you may wish you play some fun kid-friendly games like Yeti in My Spaghetti or Toilet Trouble. Maybe your family prefers video games and you can have a tournament on your favorite gaming console. You can have board game tournaments with your family’s favorite game or you can purchase a few new games to try them out altogether.
Visit a Museum
While most outdoor venues aren’t enjoyable to visit during the winter, museums are a great place to go during winter break. Your family can enjoy the warmth of the indoors and parents can appreciate their children learning even when they’re out of school. From history museums to science museums to art museums, check out what your city has available for your family to enjoy learning some new and interesting things this winter.
The holidays are a great time of year to get your family involved in some charitable giving or volunteering. Find a local soup kitchen, donate coats to a homeless shelter, or spend time with kids who are less fortunate. Sing Christmas carols at a local nursing home or visit terminally-ill children in a hospital. Ask the kids what they want to do this winter to spread love and Christmas cheer, and let them take the lead in finding a way to volunteer their time, talents, or money.
What kid doesn’t love building a robot, watching something explode, or seeing a cool chemical reaction take place? Teaching scientific concepts is sometimes as easy as finding a cool science experiment to do, and this can be a fun family activity for the holiday season. Learn about weather, what makes electricity, and so much more when you do some kid-friendly science experiments as a family.
Family Movie Night
Whether you’re having a movie marathon of your favorite movies or watching Christmas movies on repeat, having a family movie night is a great way to connect with your loved ones and relax. Make some popcorn and hot cocoa, turn on the fireplace, and snuggle up under some big, fluffy blankets as you watch your favorite movies together. Try a Harry Potter marathon, a Star Wars marathon, or a Shrek marathon. Or turn on some classic Christmas movies, like Home Alone, A Christmas Story, Elf, and the Santa Clause.
Enjoy a Day (or Night) on the Town
A kid-friendly day on the town may include a number of things, such as bowling, ice skating, or seeing a movie at the theater. You might also visit a local Christmas tree farm, attend a sports game, visit Santa at the mall, or see a Christmas performance of some kind. Going out and about will be good for helping ease cabin fever and can create some great memories for your family.
No matter how you choose to spend this winter break, be sure to do some fun family activities to rest, refresh, and relax, and be sure to spread some love and cheer this holiday season.