I’m bored! There’s nothing to do! These can be familiar words for parents when kids are home from school on spring break. Here are a few things you can do with your children during school breaks to keep them entertained and engaged in learning.
View science and technology TV with your child. Engage in discussions about what you viewed afterward. For example, PBS has many science and nature programming including: NOVA, Nature and Sid the Science Kid. And, they have a great online tool to help parents & teachers find content to share with students. In addition, the Discovery Channel show called “Mythbusters” provides a fun look at science and often incorporates elements of physics, chemistry and mathematics as part of the experiments.
Try a science experiment at home. For example, pick up a bag of French fries from your favorite fast food restaurant. Put them in a jar and close the lid. Observe how long it takes for the fries to develop mold. This is an indication of how many preservatives are in the food. (This can also help to start a discussion on healthy eating habits!)
Use building blocks, puzzles, cards and board games for family activities. Games help develop logic and critical thinking skills which are components of STEM education.
Engage in conversations about science-related topics with children in a way that pertains to everyday life experiences. The Arizona SciTech Festival has lots of information and resources on year-round science activities.
Exercise your body; “mathercise” your mind! Take in a Diamondbacks game together and track the statistics of your child’s favorite player. Then, make comparisons between other players.
Grocery shop. Ask your child to calculate the total bill for weekly grocery store visits and determine how much will be saved with coupons and sale items.
Play strategy games. Check out favorites such as Contig, Bingo and Fractwards. Play in teams so you can talk about strategy before playing individually.
Incorporate math into family cooking and baking. Math measurements are an important aspect to preparing your favorite dishes. Ask your kids to calculate the ingredients and then calculate the ingredients if you were double the recipe. Click here for more on learning while cooking.
Read about math. There are books at every grade level that can engage students to think about math. For example: Ten Apples Up On Top for the elementary grades; The Great Number Rumble for the middle grades; and The Numbers Behind NUMB3RS for high schoolers.
Provide your child with a ruler, measuring cup and a scale. Ask your child to measure a variety of objects around the house and categorize the items by type of tool used to measure.
Write a letter to the editor of the newspaper about an article or issue your child feels passionately about.
Incorporate a “word of the day” activity. Have your child write a new vocabulary word on a notecard and tape it to the refrigerator. Record your students saying it and use it as a cell phone ringtone. Also, encourage your student to use the word in conversation.
On a sheet of unlined paper, ask your student to make a scale drawing of a soccer field. Include goals, goal area, penalty area, halfway line and kickoff circle. Your student should use the principles of geometry to ensure the drawing is to scale. (This activity can also be done with a football field or baseball diamond.)
Have your child write out the lyrics to their favorite song. Ask them to look up the definitions of any unfamiliar words and encourage them to incorporate the new words into their vocabulary.
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