Keep the Kids Mentally and Physically Active During Christmas Break

By John Focht

Ah, the Holidays are here. It’s the time of year for family, friends, giving, and good cheer, and, oh yea… ten-days of no school! What to do with the kids over the long ten-day break from school?

Keeping the kids active, both physically and mentally, can be a chore sometimes. Especially with the ease kids have of picking up an electronic devise and getting lost in Minecraft for an afternoon.

Get some activities lined-up that will keep your child mentally and physically active during the Christmas break. After all, two weeks off for a child is like two months for you and me.

Read Together:

It’s easy nowadays to forget what a wonderful place a library can be.  Let your child get lost in finding a book or two for the week ahead.  Plan to spend your mornings by reading to your child, or have your child read to you.  You’ll be able to give your TV a break too by letting your child get lost in a book.

Board Games:

It’s hard to believe, but yes Virginia, board games still do exist.  Board games are a fun way to reconnect families during the Holidays.  It’s also a good way to keep the kids’ minds active. Let them be the banker in monopoly or read the instructions and figure out how to play new games.

Ice Skating:

Whether you live in cold enough climates where the local pond freezes, or you have an ice skating rink in town, ice skating is a great activity during break.  Tell your kids to invite some friends and load up the neighborhood in your SUV.   Great way to get the kids out and moving, and gives you a way to break-up an afternoon.

Card Games:

Go old-school and break out a deck of cards.  Dust off some of the old classics like Old Maid, Go Fish, and War.  Teach your kids how to shuffle, and of course teach them the old classic, fifty-two card pickup!

iPad McGraw-Hill Games

Ok parents, we can’t go all barbaric here and completely deprive the kids from electronics.  Check out some learning apps available on iTunes. McGraw-Hill has some terrific apps available that are fun for the kids while providing a little education in the process.  Give the kids some electronic time while ensuring they are staying sharp on some of their math and reading skills as well.

Enjoy the Christmas break!

This article was originally published December 23, 2013 on Yahoo Voices!



Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”




Have a Holly Jolly Christmas

Have a holly jolly Christmas
It’s the best time of the year
I don’t know if there’ll be snow
But have a cup of cheer

Have a holly jolly Christmas And when you walk down the street
Say hello to friends you know
And everyone you meet

Ho ho the mistletoe
Hung where you can see
Somebody waits for you
Kiss her once for me

Have a holly jolly Christmas
And in case you didn’t hear
Oh, bygolly
Have a holly jolly Christmas
This year

Have a holly jolly Christmas
And when you walk down the street
Say hello to friends you know
And everyone you meet

Have a holly jolly Christmas
And in case you didn’t hear
Oh, bygolly
Have a holly jolly Christmas
This year