But for some students, doing nothing = boredom and bad moods. Since nobody wants homework over winter break, instead, give your students a list of no-pressure activities to choose from.
Let them know there will be time when they return from break to talk about what they did – if they want to – no writing assignment or presentations involved!
1. Play Educational Games
Games help students practice important facts, and they don’t even know they’re doing it because they’re having such a good time. For example, chess helps students think ahead, strategize, improve memory and concentrate. Scrabble helps review basic spelling and expand their vocabulary. Yahtzee, Uno, or other games where you have to keep score are great for adding and subtracting review.
2. Reading Scavenger Hunt
Before searching for hidden items, players must read passages of pre-selected books to learn what items to look for. This is a fun way to get younger siblings involved too. For example, have your student read a page of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” and then they have to go find a package of cookies that were previously hidden. Read a page of “Nancy Drew” and then they have to be their own detective to find the hidden magnifying glass. This activity may take a tad more prep work, but it can be easily developed based on age group and skill level.
3. Learn to Draw
Drawing and coloring is a great and relaxing creative outlet. Art for Kids Hub is a family YouTube Channel that teaches drawing for any age. Students can learn how to draw just about anything. Encourage them to give their drawings as a gift, or to be ready to share their creations with the class after break if they’d like to.
4. Get Active Inside
It can be easy for students to get lazy and lethargic during winter break, especially when they don’t have a routine to follow. Even Zoom meetings and assignment deadlines help create some kind of consistency. Kids can stay active with GoNoodle, which offers movement and mindfulness videos and activities for the whole family. There are so many options for them to do on their own – but parents, siblings and caregivers won’t be able to resist getting involved too!
5. Let the Student Be the Teacher
For the students that miss being in school during winter break, remind them that they have access to thousands of learning materials through their school’s online platform. This means they can choose something they’re interested in and learn about it as much as they want, whenever they want. Then, they can sit their family down and teach them what they learned. Since it’s the holiday season, they could choose to research the history of Santa Claus. Maybe they want to travel to Italy someday…they could research Italy, find some Italian recipes, and make the family an Italian Dinner. Maybe they’ve been begging for a dog. They can research dog breeds, find out how much work a puppy is, and then their parents will be off the hook! The opportunities are endless.
So, before you start winter break, send these ideas away with your students to help them overcome boredom by doing something of their own choosing. Parents will appreciate the ideas to keep their kids entertained without having to do too much research or prep work; and you’ll be glad the students kept their brains engaged during winter break!