Teresa Sanders

Learning should be an enlightening and lifelong process. Great learning happens in the classroom, but knowledge is not limited to those four walls. Kids can learn all sorts of wonderful things at home and outdoors. With Winter Break on the horizon, kids will be home or traveling. The opportunities to learn math, science, Language Arts and other concepts will be plentiful.

Holiday traditions like entertaining, cooking and baking, decoration or selecting a Christmas tree offer potential lessons in math and science. For example, cooking and baking allows children to learn liquids and solids, measurement, time, elapsed time and increments of time, evaporation, condensation, types of energy, boiling and freezing points and countless other concepts that are directly transferable to the classroom. 

Potential questions for kitchen students might be, “How many cups are in a pint (quart, gallon etc.)?” What temperature do we need to freeze the ice cubes?” “What do you think would happen if we put half as much milk in the cake mix?” “How much time has passed since we put the turkey in the oven?” 

Road trips afford excellent opportunities for learning as well. Rather than fighting, arguing or zoning out on devices and earbuds, children can be engaged in learning that can easily be carried into the classroom. On a road trip, kids can be taught about mile markers and exit numbers which can help them understand where they are presently as it relates to where the trip will end. 

The concept of probability can be practiced on the road as well. Potential queries could include, “Out of the next 10 cars how many of them are likely to be yellow?” “How much time has passed since we left home?” “What do you think would happen if an 18-wheeler had one flat tire?” “The hotel is 100 miles away. How long will it take for us to reach the hotel if we drive 60 MPH?” 

Most kids have phones so they have an immediate reference with a search engine and calculator to help them problem-solve. Activities like these will also give parents an opportunity to evaluate their child’s strengths and weaknesses in certain areas. 

Holiday breaks should be fun and entertaining, but there is no reason that learning cannot be part of the experience. By taking purposeful steps to incorporate learning into everyday activities, children can build skills and stay in learning mode throughout holiday breaks. 

Email your holiday learning ideas and comments to FMTeachersLounge@gmail.com

Follow me on Twitter @DrTeresaSanders

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