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This may be the season for celebrations, family travel, and out-of-town guests, but it is also a great time of year to engage kids in all kinds of joyful and meaningful learning experiences. To help make the most of winter break, Reading Rockets’ sister project, Start with a Book (opens in a new window) provides parents and caring adults with ideas and activities for fun and meaningful interactions around books and things of kid interest.

Though Start with a Book was developed to ward off the learning loss that many children experience over the summer, its resources can help you keep reading and learning on the holiday menu.

Here are three ways you can use winter break to inspire a winter of wonders and a new year filled with reading and learning fun.

Winter is a great time to get creative in the kitchen

What foods do you like to make and eat on special holidays? Before your family can feast, you’ll need to do some cooking! Many holiday traditions focus on food. Make cooking that food together part of the tradition. While everyone is stirring, mixing or chopping, it’s a great time for kids to learn more about their family (opens in a new window) by sharing family stories. Food is also a great way to explore the world and the traditions of others. By reading to find out more about what people in other parts of the world grow, cook and eat, kids can learn about geography and other cultures (opens in a new window). Get cooking with Cooking and Food (opens in a new window) fun!

Child cooking during the holidays

Make the most of winter weather

Everybody talks about the weather. It plays a role in everyone’s daily lives. Most people have strong feelings about certain types of weather — especially winter weather. And everyone has at least one story that includes weather as the main character. Take a look at some weather stories (opens in a new window) together then encourage kids to write and illustrate their own! Encourage them to research and dig into weather facts when writing their own weather adventure or use one of the weather story prompts from Start with a Book’s Weather (opens in a new window) theme. Photographs are also great prompts for starting stories. Use the photo below to inspire a wintery tale — or bring out some pictures of your own.

Winter snow scene

Try on new places to travel

Whether your winter break plans include travel or not, reading and talking about taking a trip to new places is a great way to get kids thinking about ways to explore the world around them. Plan a short road trip together — a day trip to a nearby park, a daylong drive to visit family or a journey to a museum, sporting event, or concert — or brainstorm together about your family’s dream trip. If someone offered to give you a free vacation trip anywhere in world, where would you go? Planning and learning about exotic new places to visit is half the fun! Read and share books (opens in a new window) about all the fun and adventure that can happen when you travel.

Adult and child traveling together

About the Author

Join children’s literacy consultant Rachael Walker and many of the authors, parents, and educators she’s met and worked with to talk about how books have changed their lives, how to bring books to life for young readers, and how to enrich kids’ lives with good books. 

Publication Date
December 19, 2017