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Family Focus: Easy ways to educate kids during everyday life over the holidays

December means, hustle, bustle, visiting, shopping and dragging the kids around with you everywhere. But you can turn this frantic time into an opportunity.

TOLEDO, Ohio — It's not even a full week into December and with everything on your to-do list, are you already tired of your kids asking "why?" 1,500 times a day? 

Make that curiosity an advantage, rather than a frustration this holiday season.

"Pull out the family stories and depending on the age of the child they can draw pictures, they can write down those family stories," says Tiffany Adamski with TutorSmart Toledo. She says having your kids take notes on holiday traditions they enjoy is a way they can practice their writing. 

How about working in some science while they help you in the kitchen? You can teach them how different chemicals interact, with a little math on the side.

Adamski offers some examples. "We've got measurements. You can go from volumes and weights and then, fractions are huge. 'How much of that pie can I really eat?'"

Jasmine Hoskins with Boys and Girls Clubs of Toledo says there are plenty of opportunities for kids to work in math while they're helping you with your errands. "When you're at Walmart, Target shopping for the holidays, you can point out, 'well how many ornaments did mom just purchase?'" Hoskins says.

They can also help you at the cash register, figuring out how much change you should get.

And while you're out, have some fun too. "You can go to the museums, you can go to the zoo; they have the Lights Before Christmas at this time," Hoskins says. "So those are really cool things where kids can learn, but also keep it fun. Keep it light."

Maybe try out the Toledo Lucas County Public Library's StoryWalk

There's one at every branch and if you do five before the end of the year, you can win a prize

"Many of the stories have to do with the outdoors or with seasons. We chose things that would get families talking. We also looked for stories that would expand vocabulary and build on children's knowledge of the world," says Nancy Eames with the library.

For those preteens, Hoskins has an idea for them too: journaling. 

"It gives them time dedicated to themselves. Just write. Write about how you feel. You can write a fake story. You can write about what happened to you that day. But it's helping them with their grammar, helping them with spelling, all over their Christmas break," says Hoskins.

And of course, a little reading before bed doesn't hurt either.


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