Festive Family Activities for an Enlightening Winter Break

With winter break fast approaching, it’s nice to look forward to some quality family time. For a holiday season to remember, we’ve created a list of fun family activities that will give you a chance to soak up the season—and learn a thing or two.

Gingerbread geometry

There’s no reason math can’t be delicious! Whether you choose to go the homemade or store-bought route, constructing and decorating a gingerbread house is a great family tradition that’s also an opportunity to practice a little math. Challenge your kids to find the perimeter, surface area, or volume of their house. (This worksheet is a good starting place.) For younger kids, see if they can design a pattern for the roof or walkways and classify it (e.g., AB, AAB, etc.). And if you’re making homemade gingerbread, having kids help with the recipe is a great way to give them hands-on experience with fractions!

Books to get in the holiday spirit

Winter break is the perfect time to catch up on all that reading. Find a book to read as a whole family—either aloud or independently—or have everyone make their own selection. Then set aside some time for everyone to get reading! (This is an activity that pairs perfectly with mugs of hot cocoa and marshmallows.) To really celebrate the season, check out this round-up of winter-themed titles for all ages.

Snowy science

There’s plenty of science to explore, both indoors and out, regardless of the climate where you live. You can make crystal ornaments out of borax, using these instructions, or from sugar, like in these Christmas crystals.

Alternatively, use this sky map of the winter night sky to identify constellations. And to see just how frightful the weather outside is, get the kids involved with a backyard weather station to record the temperature, measure precipitation, and note which way the wind blows.

Explore holiday history

December is a month full of holidays! To find out more about the history and traditions of these celebrations, have your kids try these skills on IXL: Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas.

And while you’re exploring holiday origins, it’s also a great time to delve into your own family genealogy. Kids can interview their grandparents or other relatives about what life was like for them growing up. Create a fun family tree (maybe even a family Christmas tree!) to capture your family history and give your kids a sense of their roots.