In This Episode:
What do you do with kids when they are home for 2 weeks?
Welcome to Episode 81 of Dyslexia Devoted and today we’re talking about ways to keep kids busy with fun learning and out of trouble while on long holiday break.
Show notes: parnelloeducation.com/episode81
This Episode's Topics:
- Life Skills = Fun Learning
- Cooking - reading, math, and delicious rewards for hard work
- Learning doesn't have to feel like work
Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
- Get the Dyslexia Devoted Newsletter
- Book a Parent and Educator Coaching Session
- What is Dysgraphia? -Video Podcast Interview
Connect with Lisa Parnello:
Hello and welcome to dyslexia devoted the podcast dedicated to building awareness, understanding and strategies to help those with dyslexia. I'm your host, Lisa Parnello, dyslexia therapist and founder of Parnello education services. Join me as we dive into today's episode of dyslexia devoted.
Hello friends and welcome to another episode. This week is extra special as you have two opportunities to learn from me. We have our normal podcast that I'm about to jump into in just a minute. And then I also was interviewed for a video podcast. So it is one where she'll release the audio later on. But as of right now, the video is already ready to go because we went live on my Facebook and Instagram pages. So the recording is ready for you. So if you would like to hear all about dysgraphia, it is on my Parnello education, Facebook and Instagram, you can watch the entire thing I want to say it's 45 minutes or an hour. So skip to your favorite parts of you don't have a ton of time. And you can hear the entire interview all about dysgraphia. Now remember, those of you who get the dyslexia devoted newsletter, you will automatically get the link to that video in your inbox on Thursday when I do my weekly email. So you're already going to get it later this week, if you don't want to spend the time going and looking and finding it now for this week. It is episode 81 of dyslexia devoted and we are just jumping into holiday break if you are listening to this in real time. So Hanukkah has just ended. Christmas is coming next week. And there is going to be a long break where kids are home and need some entertainment before they drive us all crazy, because as much as we love kids, you gotta give them some purpose, or things get a little wacky. This week's episode was motivated by my niece and nephew. They actually just left my house a little bit ago. And they were wonderful helpers at my house. And so they were what gave me the idea for this week's episode, which is how to keep kids busy during holiday break. With this long holiday break, it is a great opportunity to help kids in so many different ways while also helping your own sanity, because sometimes they do leave the kids to their own devices for too long. All sorts of craziness happens. So in this week's episode, I'm going to be giving you some things that you can do to keep kids busy and entertained, while also helping you keep your sanity. And all of them involve learning but maybe in some less than conventional ways. The first option is to do an activity around the house that you already need to get done that maybe you've been stalling on. For me it is bookshelves inside my office here at the house. This office is a multipurpose room that has been changed many, many, many times over the years for what its purpose is. It was a computer room back when computers took up entire rooms. It was a kid's bedroom when my niece and nephew lived here for a while. And it became my office that was not really an office, it was more of a desk squeezed in between a bunch of boxes. And so it's slowly becoming more office like and I think today is the very first day it actually feels like an office. And it's all thanks to a project I did with my nephew. My nephew helped me hang brand new shelves on the wall that suddenly opened up so much space. And in that process, I was able to teach him a whole bunch of skills. So when we were hanging shelves, I showed him how to use a level. And so he got to see how I make sure it's going to be straight, he got to learn some executive functioning skills such as planning where the shelf is going to land, because you can't put the bracket where the shelf is actually going to go because the shelf is like an inch tall. So I showed him the way you have to add up you know the bracket plus the height of the shelf and the measure that far down from where you want the shelf to actually be. And showing him the way we have to make a plan. I showed him how we can find a stud in a house without a stud finder. PS, you can use a magnet, it's the coolest thing ever. And then I showed him how we can drill the holes and make sure that we measure twice and then only drill once. And then he also saw me screw up but then not forget about it. Because kids sometimes knees learn that we screw up it's no big deal, you just fix the problem. So there may or may not be an extra hole behind one of the shelf brackets that you can't see. Thank goodness, so you can't see my screw up. That's right. And my nephew got to learn in the process, what it is to make a plan and how to execute it and to see the results of what you did. And my office actually looks pretty fantastic now and I own an excessive amount of books because hello I teach reading and I just plain love books for me personally. So I have an entire row of books that have a home now. And at the same time my niece was learning how to cook dinner with my mom and cooking is actually
One of the best ways that you can keep kids entertained during breaks from school. Because cooking relies on a lot of different skills. It helps kids learn time management, they have to learn how to set timers, they have to learn to pay attention to more than one thing at a time. Sometimes, if you are doing baking, that is a great way to practice reading, because they're reading the directions. And it is a great way to practice measurement with cups and fractions and things like that. And if you take away some of the measuring cups, it forces them to practice adding and subtracting fractions if you'd only have a couple of measuring cups of those smaller sizes, and they have to do it a couple of times to add it up to the right amount. And it is a great way to teach them to do different things. I've also made pasta with the kids before, when my niece and nephew were a little younger, I did bowtie pasta with them. And it required them to use pinchy fingers, which is great for developing their fine motor skills when they're little, just like using playdough and things like that. So we've done things like cookie cutters, and practicing, you know how to roll out cookies and make them an even even amount. And that's a great one to do at the holidays. Because if you make sugar cookies for Santa, you can decorate them. And that's always a fun activity to do with kids. And they love doing it. And as they've gotten older, I've made the same activity more complicated. So when they were little, we did little spaghetti and bow tie pasta. And now that they're older just a couple months ago, we made homemade ravioli together. And was it totally me. I think maybe we did tortellini this time. Yes, I have them do totally because I knew it was a little more complicated. And I intentionally picked a more complicated thing to make with them. And it was a great way for us to spend time together. They know when they come to auntie's house, they get to do something fun. And by the time we're done, we get to eat, which is always a fantastic reward for finishing a project is to get to eat something yummy that you know, you made yourself.
And it's a great way to keep kids entertained. Another thing to do to keep kids busy is in my house, we call them to do presents. So growing up, we had no money, like at all, we had very, very little. And so my mom was very good at being very creative with things. So our to do presents would involve opening a small gift that then turned into something we would do together. And so for example, I would get a cookie cutter for Christmas. And we would open you know, one present a day leading up to Christmas, you know, kind of Hanukkah style. And when I open to the present, it usually turned into something we could do together that day. So if I opened up a cookie cutter, then that meant we got to make cookies that day. Or if I opened up a ball of yarn and a crochet needle, that meant the project of the day would be learning how to crochet something. If I opened up a packet of watercolors, then the project of the day was to do some watercolor paintings. And this is the way pretty much my entire childhood lasted because hello I do not sit still now as a grownup and I certainly did not sit still as a child, there's a reason I teach kids full of energy is because I can keep up with them. And when we're thinking about kids being home for a long period of time, we want to make sure we're keeping their skills fresh, but sometimes in new ways. So for example, when I said something about the crochet needle crochet uses the fine motor work that you use to hold a pencil. So when we think about helping kids during their break, I actually hate the idea of homework. I had a principal force me to send home holiday homework every year and I hated it because only one kid ever did it. And it was always the kid who was already good at his classwork anyway. And I want kids to do something not homework related during breaks. I want them to do other skills that build on the skills they're going to need for school. So for example, crochet and knitting require you to hold a needle the same way that you would hold a pencil. So that really builds up your muscles in your hands.
If you are doing painting, same kind of thing, it helps you have to do some planning and deciding where you're going to go with this was going to turn into if you were baking that requires you to do reading activities. And I love having kids do activities that encourage them to learn but don't feel like work. Another great activity is to play board games. So they require a lot of math a lot of times like Monopoly, and they have kids level monopoly, then the kids have to count money and they have to do math, they have to take turns. They have to practice winning and losing because that is actually the thing that I've seen is the most challenging for a lot of kids is losing gracefully. So anything that requires kids to practice taking turns and losing gracefully is an amazing way to spend your break.
And I generally make a rule for the kids that they have to read during break. I do not care what you read. You can read a graphic novel, you can read a comic book, you can read, you know nonfiction books, if that's what make you happy. I had one student who actually read the economist which I thought was absurd, but you know more power to him if it makes you happy.
You go for a kid, good for your brain. And I want you to encourage kids to read during break, but don't feel like it has to be something super academic don't feel like it has to be traditional reading. Have you tried reading a cookbook? There's a lot of really complicated words to read in there. If a child gets a new toy for the holidays, make them read the directions, don't tell them how to work it. Tell them they have to read the directions on how to work their new toy. If you're going to learn how to make something or repair something around the house, then have them read the directions of what are the steps of the thing we need to do. So I know when I was a kid, I used to help my mom replace the sink. And I'd have to read the directions on how to replace the sink. Yes, I know most people hire somebody to replace their sink. Like I said earlier, we had no money, I got very, very useful and handy. I'm quite the handyman, handy girl, whatever you want. So my challenge for you is to come up with some ways that you can keep kids busy during the holidays, that are chances for them to learn something. So is there a project around the house that needs to get done? Could you teach the kids how to do it? Do you have to bake for family for the holidays? Can you encourage the kids to help you with the baking and reading of the directions? Do you have some activities that they can do together like puzzles, puzzles, and games are a great way for kids to learn. And they have to have patience and take their time and deal with a little bit of frustration. And it not always coming easy to them. So remember, it is time to learn some life skills, but not necessarily have their nose in a textbook or doing traditional, I think all kids need some reset time. I think all kids needed time to play. I don't think they should be on iPads all day long or anything. But maybe a few iPad learning games. Like I have a couple that are like math facts and stuff like that the kids will do for a few minutes or you know, whatever it is, but trying to get them to learn things in the real world is the best thing you can possibly give them as their holiday gift is teaching them something that they can use in life. So that's always what I do. In fact, my niece and nephew, always joke, don't forget, we're at grandma and auntie's house, we always have to learn something when we're here. And yes, if that is the reputation I have, I will take it. The kids absolutely love coming here, they live very close by so they can just ride their skateboards on over because they're old enough now. And they can learn new life skills, I get a little help around the house. And sometimes we even give them a little spending money by the time they're done for helping us out with things. And they get to take really valuable life skills. I teach them things like how I budget and how I hang shelves, and how I make pasta. And all of those things are really valuable life experiences. So go find your own valuable life experiences. Teach them to the kids during their holiday break to keep them a little bit busy so that you don't go completely crazy. That's all for today. Don't forget to go check out my facebook or instagram page to see that dysgraphia podcast interview that I did. It's a video you can see what I actually look like and the person who was interviewing me at a step ahead tutoring. And then you can also if you don't want to have to go search for things all the time. Don't forget, you can always find all the links from our episodes on our newsletter. So it's just Parnell education.com forward slash email. If you would like to get the newsletter every Thursday and have it in your inbox with all the links of all the things I mentioned during the podcast episodes. That's it for day. I'll see you next time.
Thanks for tuning into today's episode. If you want to learn even more about dyslexia, check out Parnello education.com forward slash courses. See you next time