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Winter break means a well-deserved reprieve from homework and daily obligations. But before you know it, the holidays will be over and it will be back to the bus stop. To prepare for a smooth re-entry and a successful second semester, don’t let school skills like reading, writing and math slide completely during winter vacation.

Try these family-friendly activities to keep skills sharp.

  • Fill stockings with books. Whether your child is in the mood for holiday stories like The Nightmare Before Christmas or the newest installment from his favorite series, winter break provides the perfect opportunity to put the school books aside and read a book that can be fun and engaging.
  • Mini educational trips. Winter break is the perfect time to visit a museum, or a nearby historical landmark. Nature walks can be a great brain stimulating experience. In additionl, there is Houston’s Citywide Kwanzaa festivities that provide learning, fun, food and family-friendly fellowship. Check out www.shape.org to find the locations and times of the Kwanzaa events that run from Dec. 26 – Jan. 1.
  • Cook up an easy lesson. Invite your child into the kitchen to help you whip up a special dish – from Christmas cookies to chocolate chip pancakes! All of those half-tablespoon and quarter-cup measurements are great practice with fractions. Click here to check out the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Houston OnDemand Club Experience video to follow along with our teens in the kitchen.
  • Build learning into your holiday activities. As your kids to count Christmas cards or multiply ingredients in cookie recipes. You could also have a discussion about the history of holiday traditions and customs. Have children read stories synonymous with the holidays so they learn some new words as they celebrate.
  • Write thank you notes. Penning notes of appreciation to gift-givers teaches gratitude and helps polish writing and spelling skills.
  • Give the Gift of Service. Find organizations that are providing community service opportunities and bring the kids along to do some good works for those in need.

(Source: Boys & Girls Club of Greater Houston)