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IPS Educator Offers Tips on Incorporating Learning into the Holidays

As the holiday season approaches — stretching from Thanksgiving through the New Year – parents should play an active role in keeping young minds active, says an education leader at Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS).

Lela Simmons, IPS chief learning officer, points out that recent research finds that losing academic skills and knowledge during Thanksgiving and winter break means potential education stumbles when going back to school. 

“While these breaks provide much-needed relaxation, they can contribute to minor academic regression,” she said “However, parents may alleviate such issues with several simple steps that include using inexpensive methods to incorporate learning into children’s lives.”

Suggestions include:

  • Visit Museums and Science Centers: Explore local museums and science centers to make learning fun and interactive. Many of these offer inexpensive options for visits during the holiday season.
  • Reading Challenges: Set up a holiday reading challenge with rewards to encourage a love for books.
  • Baking and Math: Involve kids in holiday baking to teach them measurement and fractions.
  • Nature Walks: Go on nature walks or hikes to learn about local flora and fauna.
  • Historical Sites: Visit historical sites and discuss their significance with children.
  • DIY Science Experiments: Conduct simple at-home science experiments to foster curiosity.
  • Cultural Celebrations: Explore different cultural celebrations and traditions from around the world.
  • Art and Craft Projects: Engage in creative arts and crafts to enhance fine motor skills and creativity.
  • Educational Games: Play board games, puzzles, and educational apps that make learning enjoyable.
  • Family Projects: Work on a holiday-themed family project, like creating a scrapbook or writing a story together.

By incorporating these activities into the holiday season, parents can promote continuous learning while creating memorable experiences for their children, Simmons said.