Five Tips to Keep Kids Learning During the Holidays

Holiday and winter breaks are just weeks away, and while students and teachers will get a well-deserved break from the classroom, it doesn’t mean children need to stop learning. Here are a few tips to keep children’s minds sharp and challenged during their break, and it might just prevent cabin fever:

    • ReadingAsk your child’s teacher or search online for worksheets or projects that can be done over the holidays. For 20 to 30 minutes a day, review with your child math concepts, spelling words, or sentence structure. You can also work together in starting a cool science project.
    • Have your child read to you daily from the newspaper, a magazine, or excerpts from their favorite book, and let your child see you reading.
    • Use the winter break to strengthen your child’s vocabulary. This is a perfect time to start a treasure chest of words, by having your child look up new words, then write the word and definition on 3×5 cards. Use the word in a sentence or have them write a story based on the word. This exercise will reinforce reading comprehension and writing skills.
    • Give your child an opportunity to appreciate the arts by attending free events like concerts or plays during the holidays, or stop by a local museum.
    • Give a book or educational gift that will keep on giving throughout the year.

Don’t forget to thank your child’s teacher with a special present, gift card or note before the holiday break.

 Carrie Jasper is director of outreach to parents and families at the U.S. Department of Education


  1. These are great suggestions. To add one, I have a bet w/my 11 yr old daughter over who can read the most books over the holidays. Loser buys the winner something. It would be good to make these tips more visible to parents, especially minority parents like myself. I happen to be an educator on the look out for these ideas. What about others who may not be on your website? Please put these on social media such as twitter.

  2. As a math teacher, I usually suggest that students do puzzles and play games of strategy during their breaks. Jigsaw, Sudoku and many other types of puzzles use the same thought processes and tenacity needed to solve difficult math problems. Many card games such as cribbage and others like Yahtzee are fun ways to promote mathematical problem-solving and probability. Hopefully students will learn to enjoy these activities and make them a daily part of their lives.

  3. Excellent ideas!!! These are opportunities parents should already be implementing at home. I believe we should continuously put ideas out for parents and families to embrace. I will also include a segment on my local radio show to share these ideas. Keep giving these helpful tips, because after all, learning starts at home.

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