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Learn by Play During the Holidays

Are you looking for ways to entertain the kids over the holidays?  This season, keep them excited, active and learning. With activities, toys and games designed to build skills, you can make sure their break is a healthy one.

When matched to their age, educational games can expand kids' minds. Youngsters can learn to count or improve language skills, while having fun.

Below are samples of activities, toys and games that your youngster might like. Many of them use items found around the home or are easily made.

Younger Children

  • Cooking with an adult or older sister or brother. This activity teaches measurements, chemistry and team work.
  • Card games. Of the variety of games available, many can develop spelling, counting and memory skills.
  • Drawing maps. Try mapping your backyard or even your neighborhood. This helps kids to learn geography and drawing.
  • Language games. Foreign language learning can start early. Have your child match  a foreign word to a picture to improve language skills.

Older Kids

  • Word games.  Both crossword puzzles and word-based board games help kids develop spelling or logic skills.
  • Orienteering games. Have your kids try their hands at building maps and using compasses. This will improve logic skills and team work.
  • Building blocks and model kits. Check out architecture replicas, cityscapes and robots to use math and spatial skills.
  • Online quizzes and flashcards. You'll find games and flashcards to build up math and language skills.

Group/Family Games

  • Classic board games.  Some of the family favorites you played as a child teach counting and how to use money.
  • Interviewing parents and grandparents. This activity highlights family history and boosts language, research and social skills.
  • Charades.  This longtime party game is a fun way to boost creativity and team work.
  • Backgammon. Another standby game relies on logic and counting.

Just because your kids are out of school this holiday season doesn't mean that learning has to stop. What's more, by interweaving play and education, children start to see that learning can be fun. The challenge is finding games that entice kids to keep learning throughout their lives.

Sources: Early Childhood News, Education.com, Family Education Network

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