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5 Fun Ways to Keep the Brain Sharp Over Winter Break

Winter break is here and that means No School!  I know how excited every student is (teachers too) to take a break from academics and instead spend time with friends and family.  Who doesn't look forward too sleeping in, relaxing, and sipping hot cocoa while watching the snow fall?  I know I do!  I also know though, that its important to keep your brain active over the break so that when schools comes around again your ready to go.  Now keeping your brain active doesn't have to mean just reading, journaling or doing puzzles (all ow which or great) but it can also mean some really fun unexpected activities that will be fun, engaging, and could include quality time together.
  1. Cook or Bake something: Everybody loves holiday cookies and yummy meals and you'll love it even more now because it keeps your student's brain sharp.  Cooking and baking requires reading and math.  Students have to read recipes (learn new vocabulary words), do measurements and work on calculating time and/or temperature.  All of this will have your student's brain being active and in the end you'll have a lovely treat or meal.  Why not have your child help bake cookies or make a meal (make sure they do the measurements) or you can even create and write your own recipe. 
  2. Have a Game Night:  Playing board games is a great way to keep the brain sharp because so many games incorporate problem solving and strategy as well as reading and math skills.  Make some popcorn, pull out a game or make one up (charades also a great option) and have fun.  You'll be spending quality time and sharping that wonderful brain.  If you have children who normally are not into playing board games break them out during dinner when the whole family is around.  Then the meal time becomes fun and students don't think your taking away from their time or forcing them.
  3. Build a snowman, gingerbread house, igloo:  Building is a great way to keep the brain sharp because it involves planning, problem-solving and physics.  Buy a gingerbread kit and try to make a house that stand, try to make a series of tunnels in the snow, or take mini-marshmallows and toothpicks and try to make a giant structure that can hold a textbook.
  4. Scrapbook: Scrapbooking is a great activity that involves planning (spacial), fine motor skills and writing.  You are using your brain to remember moments and to write witty captions but your also using your brain to plan and design.  I recommend making it a tradition for New Years, get together and gather different photos from the year and create a scrapbook of all the big moments.  Not only will you be reliving those moments but you will also be keeping your brain sharp.
  5. Go on Scavenger Hunt: Scavenger hunts are a fun way to keep your brain sharp because you have to read, think, problem-solve.  Create a store scavenger hunt for holiday shopping with clues on what small gifts to buy, or make a scavenger hunt to find things in your house or yard.  Make sure when making the list you use clues instead of listing exaxctly what to find.