During the busy holiday season there are some simple things to do to keep children learning.

The U.S. Department of Education — www.ed.gov/blog — has some simple tips. While students have a deserved break from the classroom, it doesn’t mean children need to stop learning.

Their tips to keep children’s minds sharp and challenged during their break are as follows:

• Ask your child’s teacher or search online for worksheets or projects that can be done during the holidays. For 20 to 30 minutes a day, review with your child math concepts, spelling words or sentence structure. You can also work together on starting a science project.

• Have your child read to you daily from the newspaper, a magazine or parts of their favorite book, and let your child see you read.

• Use the winter break to strengthen your child’s vocabulary. Start a treasure chest of words by having your child look up words from the newspaper or magazines you are reading and then write the word and the definition on an index card. Use the words by writing a short story based on the word. This exercise will reinforce writing skills.

• Give your child an opportunity to appreciate the arts by attending free concerts or plays during the holidays, or stop by a museum.

• Visit your local library and check out a book that your child is interested in reading.

• Give a book or educational gift that will keep on giving through the year.

Don’t forget to thank your child’s teacher.

Sally Robinson is a clinical professor of pediatrics at UTMB Children’s Hospital, and Keith Bly is an associate professor of pediatrics and director of the UTMB Pediatric Urgent Care Clinics. This column isn’t intended to replace the advice of your child’s physician.

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