Keeping kids entertained in the winter school holidays can be a challenge as they tend to get restless and bored when cooped up inside all day.
To beat the boredom and keep learning going, try these fun activities which will develop foundational STEM skills and ensure your child returns to school feeling motivated and inspired.
Working with the hands to build something is excellent for developing hand-eye coordination, and it helps children get a better understanding of weight, shape and size.
A set of blocks can provide hours of entertainment for small kids. Lego is ideal for kids of all ages as they can build simple toys right through to sophisticated robots that can be programed to display different behaviours. The Stem Laboratory website has many fun activities with Lego to boost skills.
Challenge your child to make something from scratch out of everyday household items such as paper cups, string, cotton balls and popsicle sticks. This is a chance to let their imagination run free, but it also involves planning and design, which are essential STEM skills.
Kids love making things like slime and bath bombs. These activities teach them about measuring and mixing ingredients, and physical processes. The simple activity of baking a cake together provides an opportunity to explain why the cake rises, which will encourage your child to see everyday activities from a scientific perspective.
Good physical health is vital for learning, particularly for STEM subjects which require strong attention to detail. Anything that gets your child moving is beneficial, and in winter, indoor sports like table tennis, ten pin bowling and ice skating are perfect. Play centres provide an outlet for younger children to burn off energy, while older kids love trampoline parks and indoor rock climbing centres.
If you have enough space at home, encourage kids to play games like balloon football, musical chairs and charades. Marbles and jacks can also be a lot of fun, while helping kids with concentration and coordination.
When watching movies with kids, it’s tempting to choose the latest blockbuster that you know they’ll enjoy, but the winter holidays are a perfect time to introduce your child to some quality documentaries. Encouraging them to watch good documentaries is one of the best ways to nurture intellectual curiosity.
Some great non-fiction films for kids are Disneynature: Wings of Life, In the Shadow of the Moon and Arctic Tale.
Science fiction explores how technology develops and transforms lives. Kids who read stories in this genre will learn to think more deeply about how technology has shaped their world and consider the implications of future inventions.
According to Chana Porter, co-founder of the Octavia Project in America which uses sci-fi to develop STEM skills, “Sci-fi helps teens imagine greater possibilities for their lives and communities.”
There are many quality short stories available in this genre, making it easy to read together. This gives you an opportunity to discuss themes and ideas, and kids will appreciate the quality time with you.