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Fun Ways to Make the Holiday Season Exciting and Educational [5 Tips]

Fun Ways to Make the Holiday Season Exciting and Educational [5 Tips]

Quick Tips in Education

Winter Break: two words that, for most students, signal rest, relaxation, and a temporary pause after a busy first semester. Whether students are in a cyber charter school, or in a brick-and-mortar model, this time typically elicits excitement from even the most dedicated student who loves being in school. Here are some tips for making your vacation both fun and educational!

Winter break is a special time to bond with family and spend the holiday season together.

At the same time, parents also want to ensure that their students return to school with fresh minds — and without any academic lag. We’ve compiled five tips, complete with resources, to help make the holidays fun, yet educational, for your child! 

Tip 1: Check Out Our PA Virtual Camp Videos!

We have a ton of videos to inspire your creativity over the holidays! From designing artistic paper lanterns, to using food coloring to explore the differences between water and ice, to making playdough, there's no shortage of ideas on our Camp at PA Virtual playlist on YouTube!



Tip 2: Turn Outdoor Activities into Science Lessons

Take to the great outdoors for some hands-on, immersive science! Trade in your lab coat for a winter jacket, and spend some time in nature. 

    • Snow volcano: It’s like the baking soda volcano, but in a new setting! All you need is snow, a plastic cup, baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring!

    • Make some s’mores while learning about heat, convection, and more by making a solar oven, and using it on a sunny winter’s day.

    • Take a nature hike and hone your student’s observational skills by having them spot animals or animal tracks and make note of them. Then, once you’re back indoors, learn more about the tracks and animals online. Extra credit: Have your child create a “winter scene” of the animals represented, using construction paper, markers, or your medium of choice.

    • Create beautiful frozen bubble works of art in the cold weather, and help your children learn about the relationship between the states of liquids and temperature. Consider connecting the experience to artistic expression by taking photographs of this popular science experiment. (Click here for the in-depth science.)

Blog_FunWaystoMakeHolidaySeasonExcitingEducational_bubbles-minPhoto courtesy of www.kidsactivitiesblog.com


Tip 3: Make Electives Educational by Reframing Them

Normally our PA Virtual students have music, art, and physical education electives on Fridays, where they do these asynchronously, or independently. Capitalize on the spirit of these fun classes by reframing them with new activities — and keep your child's movement and creative juices flowing while on break.

  • Reinforce what your child learned in art this year by suggesting new art projects. If they discussed primary and secondary colors, for example, have them create an at-home color wheel using household objects! (Bonus lesson: Challenge them to remember the exact place the objects were at, and to replace items once the project is completed. Learning + cleaning = win-win!)

  • Did your child learn the recorder this year? Or start keyboard lessons? The holiday season is full of music and cheer, so have your child add to it with a composition session! Provide a topic — flowers, cookies, or whatever you have handy — and give them half an hour to compose an original piece of music. You may be surprised at how musically adept your child is!

  • Make physical education a priority in new ways with new activities, such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or even a winter hike. They won’t know it’s PE class as they breathe in the fresh air and get outside and away from the television. If you have an older neighbor with mobility issues, consider getting your child involved in helping someone in need with leaf raking, snow shoveling, or even helping carry items to the front porch. (Plus, they’re learning the importance of helping others!)


Tip 4: Make It a Family Affair

Whether it’s last-minute shopping or extended family visits, use this time to teach children about economics and history in fun ways!

  • Make finance easier to understand by providing young children with a set “budget” (perhaps their allowance amount), and a short list of items for them to find. Add up prices to see what fits within the budget. This hands-on activity helps them understand product costs and the value of comparison shopping. For older students, don't forget to discuss supply and demand, taxes, inflation, and other key financial literacy concepts.

  • With family in the vicinity, it’s a perfect time to connect history with your child’s learning. Create a genealogy tree, look at family photos, and have older relatives share firsthand perspectives about their childhood while they do these activities, color with children, or even drink hot cocoa. Draw comparisons and highlight differences between the years, and ask children what they know about different periods in history.

Blog_FunWaystoMakeHolidaySeasonExcitingEducational_tree1-minPhoto courtesy of www.parents.com

Tip 5: Baking is Science Too!

Baking is science too! ‘Tis the time of year for cookies, pies, and cakes, so why not turn your holiday preparations into an educational experience? Baking involves chemistry, so if you have an older student, they may be able to tell you how different chemicals react under certain conditions. While younger kids may not be ready for the full force of the periodic table, you can still discuss the interactions between flour, sugar, fats, eggs, and more. Berries.com has a great “The Science of Baking” graphic, for those visual learners!


But don't forget!

While it’s always good to keep your child learning, even over Winter Break, don’t forget to relax as well! We love to see our children discover the world around them, but it’s equally important to take a rest. Whether that’s a cup of tea and a book by the roaring fire, or watching a Christmas movie, find your balance and use this time to unwind.

And whatever your holiday looks like, we at PA Virtual Charter School wish you one of joy and laughter — as well as a happy new year!


Editor's Note: This blog was originally published in December 2021, and has been updated for accuracy of content.


Photo credit to Jill Wellington on PIxabay; others as attributed.