The holiday season is here, which means quality time with family and friends. It also means your little ones are out of school and looking for fun. If your children are a little antsy, it may help to find activities the whole family can partake in and enjoy.
As the summer camp director of Twin Lakes Camp at Trinity Prep for rising first through sixth graders, I can speak to the importance of always having a full bag of tricks. As we are well aware, children never stop learning, and just because school is out does not mean your child’s brain turns off. According to Oxford Learning, one month’s worth of learning is lost during summer vacation. This doesn’t have to be the case! The “off seasons” can be when some of the best learning and growth can happen. It is imperative to fill the void, be it winter or summer, with active and engaging learning and creative opportunities for your children.
If you are looking for fun activities to do with your children during the winter months, then take a page out of a summer camp program guide! Here are a few fun and engaging activity ideas to jumpstart your winter break.
Get creative! There’s no shortage of arts and crafts projects for the holidays. Why not make snow globes! Fill an inverted mason jar (or really, any jar with tight fitting lid) with glitter and water, glue some “scenery” to the underside of the lid (action figures, painted rocks, Legos, fake trees, etc.), and add a touch of glycerin to make the “snow” settle better (available at a drugstore), and viola!
Get performing! Let your imaginations soar and bring out your inner performer this holiday season. You and your family and guests can put on skits or play improv games centered on holiday themes. These games are good for crowds and entertaining for those participating, as well as those passively watching. Scenes From a Hat is a great game wherein a host draws scenarios or characters from a hat, and the players then have to act them out. The host can change the direction (location, characters, motivation, etc.) whenever he or she wants by drawing another card from the hat.
Get searching! Scavenger hunts are a time-honored tradition of summer camp, and personally one of my all-time favorite activities. Make a list of holiday-themed items that you and your family can round up. Award points for creativity and timeliness. And as always, avoid running to stay safe.
Get cooking! Kids love to be part of the cooking process and the added responsibility of being mom or dad’s little sous chef. It not only helps you to give kids specific tasks in the kitchen, but also empowers them. There are plenty of social and academic skills to be reinforced through the art of cooking. Measuring for baking helps build math and science skills.
Get active! The weather outside might be frightful (or not), but being fit is so delightful. A great camp tradition is a large-scale relay race consisting of different stations and activities. For example, balance a tennis racket in the palm of your hand as you walk from one end of the driveway to the other. Hula-hoop 10 times in a row, then jump rope 10 times. Shoot three layups on a basketball hoop or laundry basket from across the room.
Get techie! Our phones and tablets have a full menu of apps that can enrich kids’ learning and creativity, while still adding to the holiday spirit. Make a slideshow or short film to show to your holiday guests. You and your kids can also create collages, videos, or other photo gifts to send in lieu of the traditional Christmas card. Many of these features live built-in to your devices, with apps like iMovie and iPhoto, or the Android alternatives.
I hope you and your family have a holiday season full of joy and happiness, and that the time you spend together is truly special. We at Twin Lakes Camp at Trinity Prep know the value of teachable moments, and just because school isn’t in session doesn’t mean the learning (and fun!) has to stop.
We hope you can join us this summer! For more information, please email us at [email protected] or visit us at trinityprep.org/summer.