Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Top 5 Ways To Keep Learning Over Winter Break

Winter break is fast approaching, and while it is a time to relax and celebrate, that doesn't mean that you have to stop learning. In fact, keeping your brain stimulated over the break will make the transition back to school in the new year much easier, and help you avoid the dreaded “brain fog” instigated by turkey, mashed potatoes, and not exercising your brain muscles! There are a myriad of activities to choose from in the winter season; we've narrowed the list down to the top five that are both educational and fun!

  1. Give back.
    Unfortunately, winter can be a very difficult time for those who are less fortunate. There are so many opportunities to get involved in your community to not only give back, but learn as well. Giving back develops character traits like humility, patience, kindness, and many others, which are important attributes to have as a contributing citizen of our world! Also, several career paths stem from of a desire to promote the general welfare of humankind, such as community development, nonprofit work, and grants management. Look into what is available in your community to get you started. Volunteering at soup kitchens, helping with the Toys for Tots program, cleaning up a local park, and overseeing a food drive for a local organization are just a few of the options you can choose from. You will find that you will bring joy to many in your area through your service, but more surprisingly, you most likely will find your own heart filled with joy as you turn someone's holiday around with a hot meal or a toy. 
  2. Check out local history.
    Make a fun outing out of learning local history; there are a plethora of options! Take a walking tour of the historic sites in your city- make it a game by seeing how many stops you can hit on your tour. Go on a road trip to nearby towns and discover the historical gems that await you there. You could make your road trip a “stop-and-see” trip, where you find landmarks at various places along the roadside. Visit museums and take in all the knowledge and facts they have to offer. Go to a gallery and expand your breadth by viewing a mix of modern, contemporary, and classical art. Many institutions offer guided tours to give you that extra insight and history behind the exhibitions These activities will broaden your intellectual base and also give you some physical fitness education! 
  3. Keep practicing skill sets.
    Winter break is the perfect time to review material you are learning in school to make sure it is ingrained in your mind and that you are sharp when you return to your classroom. It is also the ideal time to get ahead by practicing new concepts; without the pressure of deadlines and test dates, your mind will be able to fully relax and absorb the new information. Try fun educational games as you practice, like crossword puzzles, fraction simplification with a deck of cards, and alphabet hunts. Check out this website to get more ideas: http://www.education.com/activity/offline-games/ To get practice with a trained educator in a fun environment, get in touch with your local SpiderSmart center to find out their holiday hours and book some time in for learning enrichment, tutoring, or test prep! 
  4. Sign up for a class.
    The possibilities are endless when it comes to extra-curricular classes outside of a school setting. Is there something you've always wanted to try your hand at? Winter break is the perfect time to check it out! Why not put your name down for a cooking class? Broaden your artistic horizons by getting behind a pottery wheel and making someone special a beautiful handmade gift, just in time for the holidays. Stay in shape by taking an exercise or dance class! Classes help you build community with people that you have common interests with and widen your circle of friends. They also keep your mind active and exercise parts of your brain that you don't usually “work out”. Taking a class in a creative field will also aid you in core subjects, as you can apply skills like problem-solving, perseverance, and making connections that you learn in your supplementary classes to your main areas of study. 
  5. Write in a journal.
    Build your writing skills and practice varying techniques by writing about your winter activities daily in a journal. Reflection is a key tool in expanding your mental capacity through spelling, communication, and creativity. Summarizing is a vital component of communication; you will have to learn how to confine your day's pursuits to a few paragraphs, so learning how to organize your thoughts and your writing will be key. Journaling is also an outlet, where the vital art of self-expression can be honed and fine-tuned. Expressing yourself is a great release to get out the bottled up frustrations, discouragements, and even joys on paper. Many times, things that seem insurmountable become much more achievable when written out- solutions can be found in the midst of laying pen to paper. Also, instead of viewing our experiences as isolated and unrelated, reflecting over a period of time, like winter break, will show you that most of your experiences are interconnected, and help you learn from your life events.

Source: Check out this article for more winter educational activities: http://mamiverse.com/winter-educational-activities-for-kids-71088/

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