March Break activities to help your child learn
“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”
While parents figure out (and sometimes struggle) on how to keep their children entertained throughout March Break, take a peek at this article on some tips for various grade levels to keep children engaged and remain in learning mode, while they enjoy their break from conventional education.
For children in kindergarten to grade 4
- Sorting and stacking—Teach classification skills with dinnerware. Ask your child to match and stack dishes of similar sizes and shapes. Also have your child sort flatware—forks with forks, spoons with spoons. This is like recognizing the shapes of letters and numbers.
- Comic strip writing—Use comic strips to help with writing. Cut apart the segments of a comic strip and ask your child to arrange them in order. Then ask your child to fill in the words of the characters (orally or in writing).
- Float and sink—Encourage hypothesizing (guessing). Use several objects—soap, a dry sock, a bottle of shampoo, a wet sponge, an empty bottle. Ask your child which objects will float when dropped into water in a sink or bathtub. Then drop the objects in the water, one by one, to see what happens.
For children in grades 5 to 8
- Follow the news—As a family, choose an important news event to follow for a day or two. Ask each person to find as much information on the topic as possible—read newspapers, listen to the radio, watch TV news. Then talk about what everyone learned.
- Pro and con: what do you think?—Make a family game of discussing a special issue—for example, “Teenagers should be allowed to vote,” or “There should never be any homework.” Ask your youngsters to think of all the reasons they can to support their views. Then ask them to think of reasons opposing their views. Which views are most convincing? For variety, assign family members to teams and have them prepare their arguments pro and con.
- Stretch, run, bike—Ask your child to do at least one kind of exercise every day. For example, run or walk briskly for 10 minutes. Walk, when possible, instead of riding, for any distance less than a mile. Have your youngster make a week-long exercise plan. Try to think of a modest reward for sticking to the plan, and exercise right along with your child.
- Let your voice be heard—Promote good citizenship. Help your child write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper about an issue affecting children—for example, suggest that a bike path be built near the school or that a city event be planned for youngsters. Children are citizens, and their ideas are worth hearing.
For children in grades 9 to 12
Teenagers can get used to sizing up a problem and coming up with common sense ways to solve it. Here’s a six-step method that works and can be done easily at home by parent and child:
- Step 1: What is the problem? —This is a first, often overlooked, step in problem solving. You have to be able to state the problem and, if there’s a conflict, the opposing views. For example: for a teen, it might be whether to go to a certain party; for a parent, whether to ask for a raise.
- Step 2: What can be done about it?—This is when you come up with a variety of solutions. Brainstorm as many solutions as possible without judging which ones are better than others. Just keep the ideas coming.
- Step 3: What are the good points and bad points of these solutions?—This is when you judge the different solutions. What are the pros and cons of each one? You’re making judgments and assessing the possible solutions, in light of your experience and the way the world works.
- Step 4: Making the decision—This is the moment you choose a solution to try. Pick one or perhaps two, based on the decisions made in step 3. Talk about why you selected these solutions.
- Step 5: Putting the decision into action—Now you put your decision to the test. In advance, talk about what will happen and what might be expected. What obstacles can you anticipate? What assistance or support can you expect? How can traps be avoided by building on the support?
- Step 6: How did it go?—This is the follow-up, the evaluation of your solution. How did it work? What changes must be made in it so that it will work better? It’s possible a decision that sounded good will not work as well in real life.
Source: www.peelschools.org (Tip Sheets); U.S. Department of Education, National Education Association and The Home School Institute