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Winter Break Brain Exercises

By Angela Padrón

Winter break is a time for students to enjoy the holidays with their families, but once the presents are opened and played with and all the great food has been eaten, what will kids do? Sit on the couch and watch TV or play video games all day? Text on their cell phones to friends from dusk until dawn?

Leave the decision up to the students and the answer is yes! But, time off for a long period of time can lead to students forgetting valuable information they’ve learned over the last few weeks and months. However, the last thing students want to do, though, on any long break is homework. The moans and groans heard as winter break packets are passed out can be heard from miles around!

The best way to have students continue to practice their skills even when they’re not in school is to make the learning fun and meaningful. Here is a list of some activities that you can suggest to your students and their families to complete over the winter break:

  • – Go outside on a nature walk and collect things, like leaves, rocks, or shells. Then classify them by some characteristic and explain why you classified them that way.
  • – Read books, magazines, graphic novels, comic books or other forms of literature at the local bookstore or library – but let students choose the books they like! If desired, parents or teachers can have students summarize what they’ve read or document the time spent reading on a log.
  • – Have students visit science or art museums. On the way, students can play educational games in the car such as count a certain color of houses or cars, find different license plates, calculating the distance between home and the museum or the time spent in the car in minutes, seconds, and hours.
  • – Have students help with grocery or online shopping. Have them estimate the total cost of items as they’re placed in the cart, and then figure out the tax or shipping cost, plus any change they would receive.
  • – Play board games that challenge the mind and involve strategic thinking. Encourage students to start a family game night in their homes.
  • – Write emails or letters to friends and families (or Santa) thanking them for any gifts received. Students can also write a letter or email to their teacher detailing what they’ve been doing or will be doing over the winter break.
  • – Have students create an arts and crafts project by following a list of steps, then explaining how they completed it by using transitional words and proper sequence.
  • – Allow students to follow a recipe and practice fractions and measuring.

Winter break isn’t called “break” for no reason – students, and teachers, do need time to relax and take a breather from every day work in school. But doing fun activities like the ones above can help students brains exercise and prove to be an enjoyable way to spend their time away from school.


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