Winter break is upon us. It’s a chance for kids to relax and for families to spend time together, particularly with celebrations for holidays and the new year. Research has shown improved socioemotional development and academic success when adults spend increased time with kids. Of course, you’re likely already sold if you’re visiting the Scholastic site.
The challenge can be coming up with different activities, particularly with kids suddenly home all day. My team came up with a list of fun activities that you can do with your kids to foster active minds and bodies during this period. Given the extended days and increased chances of inclement weather, we focused on ideas that can be done outside or indoors.
- ABC’s: Call out letters of the alphabet and have your kids create the letters with their bodies. Have them work together to make short words. Take pictures so they can see how great (funny) they look!
- Animal charades: Write the name of various animals and a fact about each one on pieces of paper. Place them in a bowl. Take turns picking a paper and acting out the selected animal until someone guesses correctly. Then it’s his/her turn! Before changing players, read out the animal’s fact. For an extra challenge, try it with no animal sounds.
- Color walk: Tape colorful construction paper or hand towels in a line on the ground, across a large room, varying the color patterns. Have your child walk, hop, bear crawl, etc. across the line. Vary the method and also the colors she can touch. Can she make it across and only step on blue and green? How about on all fours and on yellow? Can he spell each color as he steps on it?
- Cotton-ball crawl: Dump a bunch of cotton-balls in a room of your house and a bowl in the next room. Challenge your kids to carry all the cotton-balls into the bowl in four minutes. The catch — they need to do it using a spoon and crawling on all fours. Cotton-balls are so light, they’ll be flying around. If they make it, challenge them to complete the task in three minutes or time them to find the fastest in the house!
- Dance party: You can have an impromptu party by just throwing on some music and getting everyone dancing. Alternatively, you can let everyone pick different songs and develop their own routines for a family performance. Note — this is also a chance for Dad to “show off” his classic moves, like “The Worm” or “The Lawnmower.”
- Flying with numbers. Grab a large poster board or construction paper and cut out different-sized circles. Write points below each circle, the smaller the circle the higher the points. Then, make paper airplanes and have your kids fly the planes through the circles. For a quick math review, have them keep track of their own points on a scoreboard and then add the scores up to see who the winner is!
- Freeze frame: For a twist on the classic game, use stuffed animals. Gather some stuffed animals, play music, and let the kids dance along until an adult pauses the song. Have them “freeze” and if anyone moves, he/she gets a stuffed animal “dance partner.” Keep playing until all the stuffed animals are “dancing.”
- Speed-read: While practicing some reading skills, pick a word in the book that is either unique or appears frequently. Every time the word is read out loud, have your child stand up, jump, and sit back down. You can also join in on the fun!
- Tape activities: Using different colors of painter’s tape, lay out a straight line, a zig-zag line, and a curved line. Have your child walk, hop, walk backwards, crab walk, and more over the lines. Then grab pom-poms or small cotton-balls and a straw. Have them blow the cotton-balls across the line. You can also use tape to make play hopscotch indoors!
The holidays are typically a time that we thank our children’s teachers. If you’re still looking for a way to thank them or simply want to recognize their hard work, nominate your child’s teacher or school for the #EducatorAwards2015 program! If they win, they will receive a 1-year Adventure to Fitness subscription for their class/school! Make it an activity with your child by asking them to think of an educator that deserves the recognition. Your kids can even generate their own insightful reasons on the nomination form!
I wish you a very joyful holiday season with your loved ones and I hope this list helps you spend some fun time together!