Try a reading challenge, complete with rewards when children meet goals, to help prevent learning loss during winter break.

Children await winter’s arrival for many reasons. Those who live in cold climates may be anxious to see the snow and enjoy sledding or throwing snowballs with friends. The season also is prime time for magical holidays, like Chanukah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Another eagerly anticipated component of winter is the break from school that typically coincides with late-December holidays. Many children are often off from school from Dec. 23 through Jan. 2.

Before school lets out for winter recess, lessons also tend to be shortened to make time for the many fun events that take place in schools to mark the holiday season — everything from sing-a-longs to plays to craft fairs.

The education experts at Brainly — the world’s largest peer-to-peer learning community — indicate time outside of the classroom can have a big impact on students. Even though the bulk of learning loss occurs over summer vacation, it can still be measurable during other school breaks.

Students should be urged to keep their brains sharp even as they focus on fun and family during the holidays. Here are some enjoyable ways to ensure learning continues over winter break.

  • Connect with the teachers. Parents can ask their children’s teachers if there are any specific deficits their child is experiencing and whether he or she can recommend worksheets or online learning apps to help close any gaps.
  • Take an educational trip. Use the break to visit a museum or historical landmarks in another town or city. Concerts or even nature walks can stimulate the brain as well.

Visit a science center. Plan a visit to a museum geared toward science. The Douglas County Museum, 123 Museum Drive, Roseburg; Oakland Museum, 130 Locust St., Oakland; Calapooia Reflection Museum, 113 W. Central Ave., Sutherlin; Pioneer-Indian Museum, 421 SW Fifth St., Canyonville; Elkton Community Education Center, 15850 State Highway 38 W., Elkton; Umpqua River Lighthouse and Museum, 1020 Lighthouse Road, Winchester Bay; and Umpqua Discovery Center

  • , 409 Riverfront Way, Reedsport are regional destinations rich with local history and culture.
  • Build learning into holiday activities. Ask youngsters to count Christmas cards or multiply ingredients in cookie recipes. Discuss the history of holiday traditions and customs. Have children read stories synonymous with the holidays so they learn some new words as they celebrate.
  • Fill stockings with books. Give kids a few age- and level-appropriate books for the holidays. Encourage time away from toys and devices for an hour a day so they can catch up on reading.

With some focus on fun educational activities, children can prevent learning loss during winter recess and return to school with sharp minds ready for more learning.

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