Dr. Valerie Allen
Licensed School Psychologist.
The clock is ticking, the phone is ringing, excitement is in the air! The children can’t wait to sleep in late, yet, learning can still find a place in your home. Holidays can be a time of enrichment and creativity for young minds. Here are six ways to turn the holidays into an enjoyable learning experience to share with your child.
1. Discuss the meaning and the origin of your holiday celebrations. You can also talk about how other cultures celebrate at this time of year. Identify various customs, foods and traditions.
2. Vocabulary: There are many words related to holiday celebrations. Start a list and add to it everyday. Words can be classified into nouns, such as apply pie, candy canes, ornaments, candles and so on. They can be identified as emotions, such as happiness, sharing, caring, joy, and similar responses.
3. Read: Give books as gifts. Refer to classic stories that celebrate your holiday traditions. Talk about real vs. make believe and encourage critical thinking about fact and fiction. Discuss fairy tales and characters in children’s books. Decide which parts of a story are about real things and which parts are pretend.
4. Cultural beliefs. Research the history of various celebrations. Talk about the significant religious, social and cultural aspects of the holidays.
5. Food Celebrations. There are certain foods we enjoy during specific holidays. You can find simple, no-cook recipes for children to make and enjoy together. Discussions can include favorite holiday foods and the basic healthy food list. You can read the ingredients used in desserts and compare them to the healthy food list. This can also lead to a discussion of sharing food with others in the community.
6. Talk about giving, receiving, and sharing. Gifts don’t have to have a monetary value to have meaning. Make a connection between work and money and making financial decisions about how and why to spend money for the sake of others.
Just because school is out, learning doesn’t have to take a vacation during the holidays!
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Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist and author in Melbourne, FL. She has published two children’s books, “Summer School for Smarties” and “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends.” Oh yes, she has also raised six children!