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Scratching the Christmas Itch: Activities for the Whole Family

by David Engle | Dec 10, 2019 | 3 min read

For most kids (if not all), and many adults, Christmas can’t come soon enough. And with that anticipation comes distraction. After all, who wants to sit through a geometry lesson when there are gifts to buy and wrap, lights to admire, trees to trim, Christmas movies to be watched, and nog to be consumed (parents only). Winter break is in sight, and kids get antsy…but there are still lessons to be taught before the holiday break begins. So, here are a few ways to keep your kids interested in homeschool and learning while basking in all the glory of the holiday season.

Christmas Crafts
This is the best of both worlds. You get to teach while kids get to partake in some Christmas fun…with some cool decorations to show for it at the end! For younger children, it’s a great opportunity to work on motor skills with activities like cutting and pasting and drawing. For older kids, it’s a chance to flex their creative muscles. Check out these great ideas for festive Christmas crafts.

Cookies, Anyone?
Or cakes. Or pies. There are many lessons to be learned while baking—measuring ingredients, kitchen safety, the science of baking itself—but it’s also so much fun…and delicious! Parents and kids can enjoy this time in the kitchen, working together as a team to create some sweet treats the entire family can savor. All while sprinkling in some learning.

While this time of year brings joy to so many, it’s important to teach children that there are plenty of others who aren’t as fortunate. To them, rather than Christmas being a time of celebration and excitement, it’s a time of cold and hunger. That makes it more important than ever to teach and demonstrate the meaning of giving through action. Fortunately, there are tons of opportunities to give back during the holiday season. Sign you and your child up to volunteer at a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Spend a few hours helping out at a food bank. Start your own fundraiser and donate the proceeds to local charities. Buy a hot meal or a blanket for a homeless person in a city near you. Buy new toys and deliver them to a children’s hospital. There are so many ways to give back, and it’s such a wonderful lesson to teach your own kids. Plus, the experience of volunteering and giving is one that both the givers and recipients never forget.

Field Trip!
Rather than having your students sit through a lesson, load them up in the car and head out for a fun (and educational, of course) field trip! Check out a museum or aquarium in your city, take a trip to your local historical society and learn the story of your town, find a rink and do some ice skating for exercise, or take in an orchestra concert of classic Christmas music. December offers so many activities to stimulate the brain!

Christmas Binge
Who doesn’t love a classic Christmas movie? Christmas classics aren’t limited to old black-and-white films from the 1940s (though they are definitely among my favorites)—look no further than A Christmas Story or Elf. Not only are Christmas movies so much fun to watch, they also usually revolve around a moral lesson that embodies the spirit of the season. Whether it’s learning to appreciate what you have and what you bring to the world (It’s a Wonderful Life), truly believing in something (Miracle on 34th Street, Elf, The Polar Express), loving and cherishing family (A Christmas Story, Home Alone), or understanding the joys of giving (A Christmas Carol), there’s a movie for everyone. Plus, who doesn’t love putting on a fire, making some hot cocoa, popping some popcorn, and getting cozy on the couch?

Don’t let December distractions get in the way of a good lesson. Christmas is the season of giving, but it can also be a time for learning lessons, both inside the classroom and out. Tell us how you handle homeschool during the holiday season!

David Engle
Hello, and thanks for reading! I’m David Engle--dad, husband, sports fan, and writer/editor. As a father for the last 18 years (father of two for the last 14), I consider myself to be pretty well-versed in all things related to education, childhood, and parenting, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to share some insights and knowledge with fellow parents. I have been a professional writer and editor for a quarter of a century (it pains me to admit that) and have been writing in the educational space for a number of those years. I reside in southern New Jersey with my wife, two kids, two dogs, and three cats. Never a dull moment.
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