Create Your Own Adventure: A Parent's Guide to Surviving Winter Break

Worried about ‘brain drain’ during the holiday break? You are not alone. In addition to maintaining your sanity, it is so important to keep kids engaged and academically active, even during shorter breaks, such as the winter holiday and spring break.

Students Need to Reinforce Skills

Elementary-aged students are most susceptible to forgetting foundational skills over shorter breaks than older students. Because their skill sets are less well-established, many important skills have not yet made the conversion to long-term memory, therefore; “use it or lose it” becomes a very literal phrase.

Older students are less likely to lose skills, but more likely to have a difficult time transitioning back to school if they do not maintain some semblance of structure during their holiday break. Keeping their minds and bodies occupied sets older students up for a successful reentry to the school setting after shorter breaks.

To be clear, rest and relaxation are critically important to everyone’s well-being, young or old. Maintaining a balance of fun, rest, and academic engagement can set kids up for risk-free, compelling educational experiences, or ‘teachable moments’ that they likely would not experience in their school or classroom setting.

Below, we share with you our tips for keeping students actively engaged during the winter break:

Read for Pleasure

Set aside time each day for reading over break, adults and children alike. Snuggle up together, and hold each other accountable to 20-30 minutes of distraction-free reading. Make it a technology-free zone!

Family Field Trips

Plan a trip to a local museum, library, or other educational location. Learn about the history of your town! Take a nature walk and identify different plants, animal prints, and the call of different birds. Trips should be fun, spontaneous, and inexpensive. After all, it’s the experience that really counts. Be creative with your teachable moments and create lasting memories at the same time.

Writing Thank You Notes

Down time during the holidays presents the perfect opportunity to practice both gratitude and basic letter-writing skills. With an abundance of electronic communication methods throughout our day to day lives (texts, emails, social media posts), thoughtful, handwritten notes are becoming the exception rather than the rule. Use this time to instill the importance of sending a personalized, handwritten note via ‘snail-mail’. Also, this is a terrific opportunity to teach penmanship, which is also quickly becoming a lost art.

Family Game Night

Break out the CandyLand! Connect Four marathons! Uno, Monopoly, Life….it doesn’t matter what you play, as long as it encourages critical thinking skills, cooperation, and good sportsmanship. With the right approach and attitude, anything can be used as a learning activity.

Cook Together

Call your kids into the kitchen and prepare dinner together or bake cookies to give as gifts. Challenge your kids to help you figure out how much of an ingredient you’ll need if you double a recipe. What if you only want to make half of a recipe? This is an excellent opportunity to learn about adding, multiplying, and dividing, and also a fun way to work on the concept of fractions.

Planting Seeds Tutoring and Winter Break Options

Planting Seeds Tutoring will gladly provide supplemental tutoring sessions for your students during their winter break. Whether your student needs practice for skills not yet mastered, reinforcement or enrichment in one or more subject areas, or if they are inclined to get a head start on new content for the new year, we are here to help!

Contact Planting Seeds Tutoring Today

To find out more about whether or not your student would benefit from support with their academics, either during break or at any other point during the year, or to learn more about the services offered at Planting Seeds Tutoring, an Austin, South, and Central Texas-based tutoring company, visit our blog, our website, and follow us on Facebook.

You can also contact Planting Seeds Tutoring with your questions at (972) 342-6496, or via email at