Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Break?

Silhouettes of People :: Child SilhouetteSince Christmas is over, unless you're planning a big fete for New Year's, most of us have some down time. I think it's kind of cool, however, if you can combine taking a break and still sneaking in some school credit.  I know a lot of museums and such are offering activities during the week to entertain others off for break.  Sure, they are more empty at other times, but some offer special programs or deals that are special.

I decided to brainstorm some ideas of things that would be fun to do that might actually count as education during this time off. 

1.  Cleaning up.  Oh sure, some of you may actually take some time to clean up after your celebrations.  I suppose you could actually count that as "life skills" like you might regular chores.  I prefer to count it as "life procrastination skills." 

2. Wii.  We finally broke down and entered the gaming world.  We only have Wii Resort and Sports which came with the system.  Playing Wii can be fun, but let me tell you, it can also be a workout!  Burn off those cookies and candies.  PE credit definitely. 

3.  Museums.  There are all sorts of museums, science, art, natural history.  Score school credit for any type of museum.  Ok, one down point, some of them cost.  A few offer Christmas break discounts.  One thing I did the last time we went to the art museum was to make a scavanger hunt before we left.  It was very helpful to all age groups.  I used a variety of photos and  written discriptions so it challenged a variety of ages and encouraged multi-age interaction.  Could be a great way to review or introduce materials.

4. Bowling, Skating, etc.  Again, some cost involved but definite PE credit. 

5. Park.  FREEEEE!!  This is weather permitting, of course.  When I was a classroom teacher, the basic rule was as long as it was above freezing with no major wind issues, then bundle up, we're going outside (especially if it's another teacher's recess duty!)  PE credit.

6. Zoo.  Again, a weather permitting activity, but even if it's a little chilly, there is a whole learning aspect of animal weather adaptation.  Nothing says you have to do the whole thing.  The Kansas City Zoo just got a polar bear, so you can imagine all the polar bear activities that are going on even during this week.

7.  Movies.  Some people don't do movies and that's cool.  If you don't mind movies, most theaters are offering daytime showings throughout the week.  We also a discount theater near us which is $2 all the time.  Pop some cheep snacks in your purse and you've got a fairly cheep activity.  Really can't think of much educational value unless you watch something like Voyage of the Dawn Treader that is based on a book.  Definitely would not recommend trying to use Yogi Bear as a study of animal behavior!

8. Shopping?  I really enjoy 50% off sales.  Actually, I usually prefer more as is evident in my couponing blog, but it could be fun to go to a store, hand a child $5 or so, and see what deals your child can get.  Definite math skill here in figuring out 50% off and then totaling amounts.  Don't forget to leave extra for tax or better yet, for older kids, have them figure out what the tax is going to be.  My daughter always asks what tax is.  I just say we have to pay the government a little bit for being able to purchase things.  That satisfies her.

9. Junior Park Ranger.  There are so many national parks that can be used to earn a badge.  Some are not as outside as you may think.  My girl earned a badge for answering questions and going to the Harry Truman residence here in Independence.  We might go to Brown vs Board of Education in Topeka, KS and visit some friends while we are there.  Some parks are free, some not. 

10.  Playing games.  Play those new games and get out those old ones.  Fun family time with educational skills an added bonus. Besides the obvious skills like counting or spelling, co-operation, problem solving and following rules are all life skills.

Ok, I think I have some ideas.  Maybe it's given you some ideas, as well.  Besides visiting family to make up for missing Christmas with them (my husband worked both days and my daughter's recovering from pnuemonia), I think we'll do a Junior Ranger activity in Topeka.  Definitely want to do a cheep movie.  Maybe do "Pack Your Wagon" at the National Frontier Trails Museum here in town.  Need to have her finish making her Christmas gifts, and maybe make our gingerbread house kit that is sitting here on the table daring me to make it.  Add in some Wii and games, and I think we've got a fun (and yet somewhat educational) break!

By the way, please share you ideas with me because I could always use them!

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