This post has been contributed by The Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared” and that adage can apply to holiday downtime for kids just as easily as outdoor preparedness. Winter break is just around the corner and parents need to make plans to entertain their kids during the long school recess.
“Keeping children entertained doesn’t necessarily mean watching a television set or playing video games for extended periods of time,” said Jeff Herrmann, executive scout for the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America (OCBSA). “Even with our busy lives, it’s important to be prepared to plan activities that engage your children during the holidays.”
Here are five tips from the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America to keep kids active and engaged during the holiday season:
Discover new interests
Visiting the library is a cost-effective and educational field trip that allows children an opportunity to discover new interests. Children of all ages enjoy choosing a book of their choice for the holiday break. “Every successful and satisfied person knows that learning does not stop when you graduate from high school or college,” says Rob Neal, OCBSA chairman of the board. “Warren Buffett talks about becoming a ‘Learning Machine’ and most would agree a love of reading is the key to learning.”
“Outing in Scouting”
Spend more time outdoors while incorporating physical activity in your child’s day. Going on a bike ride, taking a family nature hike or visiting the zoo are all simple, fun and low-cost outdoor activities. “One of my best memories as a youth was camping in the rain,” said Mike Bergler, Eagle Scout, Webelos den leader and pack 672 committee chair. “If you can’t stand the weather, or don’t have the time, just open any Boy Scouts rank book or go online for a wealth of information on indoor and outdoor scouting activities.” said Bergler. “My son often doesn’t realize he is working on a badge or beltloop…he’s just having fun.”
Incorporate academics at home
Provide opportunities for children to learn while school is not in session by teaching life skills and home economics such as baking, cooking and laundry. “I like to incorporate academics in the kitchen by baking cookies with my children and teaching math while using measuring tools,” said Marilyn Pilcher, pack 819 committee member. “It’s a great way to teach children measurements while having fun and encouraging learning along the way.”
Expand your child’s imagination by creating arts and crafts projects together which makes for great, personal holiday gifts. “Creating homemade art projects not only allow your child to tap into their creativity but is also a fun way to spend quality time together,” said Debbie Stroman, troop leader for OCBSA.
Coordinate family game nights
Take time away from the television set to participate in family game night. Game nights are a cost-effective way to spend quality time with each other while having fun and creating memories. “Game nights have a number of benefits including teaching children the importance of cooperation and teamwork by taking turns and learning to follow directions,” said Heidi Newell, den leader for OCBSA. “It’s also a great way to open the lines of communication in your household while having fun.”
The holidays are a great time to give back to the community. Volunteering creates a positive learning experience and is a wonderful way to teach children the real meaning of the holidays. “This season, my boys will be helping set up for our local library tree lighting and working on a Rose Parade float,” said Irene Alonzo, former den leader for OCBSA. “Community service during the holidays is a tradition in our family that has become second nature to us all.”