With the holiday season almost upon us, we’re all looking forward to the amazing food, the fairy lights, the family time and the comfort movies. However, the December school holidays can also be quite stressful – finding enriching activities to do with your child is not always easy.

We want to help you prepare for the school break, so we’ve gathered 4 educational games to help you keep your little ones entertained:

  1. Write a letter  

Begin by choosing a recipient for the letter. If your household believes in Santa Claus, it might be a good time to reach out to him. If Santa is not in the picture, perhaps you can take time to write a letter to grandma and grandpa, their best friend from school, or a pen pal. To help them get started, you can give them prompts. They could be anything from “tell Santa how you’ve been kind this year” to “tell your friend what your favourite holiday food is”. This exercise will not only help them to get better at putting their thoughts into words, but also will encourage them to practise their handwriting, spelling and punctuation. Most importantly this will cultivate their creativity and empower them to express their thoughts and feelings. 

2. Treasure hunt  

Why not make a holiday-inspired educational treasure hunt? Hide some delicious bakes, some candy canes or your child’s favourite holiday movie and plan out the clues you will give them to find it. Make sure you talk about shapes, position and physical state in your clues. For example, you can describe a window as a square or a shape with four straight angles or prompt them to turn 90 degrees to the right of the TV and walk 0.4 meters forward. Once your child finds their present, you can challenge them to create a treasure hunt for you!  

 3. Word/definition memory game   

This is like a normal memory game, but with an extra layer of difficulty. Instead of writing the same word on two flashcards, you write the word on one and its definition on another. To create this vocabulary game, get some flashcards, a marker, and a list of words you want to help your child memorise. Check the National Curriculum if you need some inspiration! Every turn, a player can flip two cards. If the definition matches the word, they get to keep both cards and go again. If the cards do not match, they must return them to their original position. Make sure you’re reading the words and the definitions out loud. This game can easily turn into a maths game too! 

4. Marshmallow shapes  

It’s impossible not to love this hands-on educational game for kids. All you need is small marshmallows, toothpicks, and a list of shapes with their properties. You can begin with 2D shapes, such as an equilateral triangle. By inserting the toothpicks into the marshmallows, they should be able to replicate the figure. Once they get it right, you can set it aside and label it. As your child progresses, you can move on to more complicated shapes, such as hexagons and octagons, or even move on to 3D figures such as prisms and cubes. If your child is getting tired, you can also challenge them to build a tower or a bridge so they can get creative. Once they’re done playing, they can eat the delicious marshmallows!  

It’s also a great time to let your child fall in love with learning through the Cosmico game. 

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Oxford Owl. (2021). Getting ready to start school. Retrieved from: https://home.oxfordowl.co.uk/at-school/reception-at-primary-school/getting-ready-to-start-school/ 

Professional association for childcare and early years (PACEY). (2021). Being school-ready. Retrieved from: https://www.pacey.org.uk/working-in-childcare/spotlight-on/being-school-ready/