Can’t stand another holiday break of kids parked in front of the TV? All parents want their kids to to keep learning, even when school is out, but it’s not easy to get children motivated for worksheets and reading lists. This year, skip the battle by trying these fun, educational activities that kids can get excited about.


If you have kids, you’ve almost certainly heard “When am I ever going to use this?” as they pore over math problems. It’s not easy for kids to link math with its real-world applications, but at-home activities can help connect the dots.


Practice math by getting kids involved in the kitchen. They can learn fractions by measuring ingredients for recipes or get an introduction to geometry by ordering packaged goods by shape, size, and volume. Take kids to the store where they can count money to determine what they can afford to buy, or track and chart temperature changes throughout the season for an excuse to head outdoors.

Middle and High School

Teach older kids real-world skills by asking them to design a budget for a full-time job at different wages, or calculate how compound interest affects debts and investments. For teens who like to get hands-on, let them put their geometry knowledge to work through woodworking, or have take advantage of a warmer winter day to gauge how much water flows through a nearby stream.

English Language Arts

Sure, you could always head to the library to keep your kids’ English skills sharp over winter break, but it won’t take long before they’re complaining of boredom. Add an element of fun to your lessons by trying these activities instead.


Use a scavenger hunt to teach young kids word recognition. Print object words on a set of index cards and hide them around the house, placing each card with its corresponding object. As your children find the cards, ask them to read each word aloud. Or, if your children have mastered reading and writing, get their creative juices flowing by having them write a daily journal from the perspective of a household pet. For more ideas, search reading activities by grade level at

Middle and High School

For older kids, the problem has less to do with ability and more to do with inspiration. Have your teens start a blog on a topic that interests them, write a script for an alternate ending to a favorite movie, or compose a speech about a trending news issue. Hosting friends? Have them collaborate on a silly story with a team story game.


Kids’ attitudes toward science tend to deteriorate over time. By the time many students reach high school, science is a subject that induces anxiety and frustration. Parents can encourage excitement about science by trying hands-on activities at home.


All kids love an excuse to get their hands dirty. Cook up some home science experiments, like making a cloud in a bottle, designing a DIY lava lamp, or building a geodesic dome out of gumdrops and toothpicks. Take advantage of winter meteor showers to learn about the stars, or inspire interest in the natural world by identifying migrating bird species.

Middle and High School

Step up the science for older students by letting them direct their own experiments. Ask your teen to create an invention that improves an ordinary household tool, build his own AM radio, or construct a bridge out of straws. Channel teens’ love of video games into passion for computer science by following Digital Trends’ instructions for developing a playable game.


These activities are great for winter break, but there’s no need to reserve hands-on learning for special occasions. Keep informed about what your children are learning in school so you can connect classroom lessons to everyday life throughout the year. By staying involved in their education, you promote a love of learning that will influence your children through the school-age years and beyond.

Lots of love,

Ruguru Kimani