Classroom teachers have long known that extended breaks from school often lead to learning loss – a kind of educational “shrinkage” in which children forget things they’ve learned and skills they’ve developed in class.

While the winter school break isn’t as long as summer holidays, it generally takes our kids out of their classes for a couple of weeks… not to mention the shortened learning days that precede it to accommodate holiday parties, assemblies, and activities.

Educators recommend incorporating educational activities in your family’s winter break activities, so your child’s brain stays in learning mode the whole time. This can help them retain more of their existing learning, and set them up for a stronger start back to classes in January.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

With the right mindset, you can turn a walk around your neighbourhood or even being stuck in traffic into an opportunity for your child to learn new things (or to reinforce things they’ve already learned)

Count things. Name colours, play I Spy, find things that start with each letter of the alphabet. Learn about measurement by baking cookies together. Learn about rhythm by tapping the beat of favourite songs.

And of course, read… for learning, or just for enjoyment. It all counts.