The holidays can go by in a whirl of busy-ness. But with these tips from our busy family of six, your kids can have fun learning, exploring and practicing their skills while celebrating the most joyful time of the year!

Decorate Your Tree with ABCs and 123s

There’s no way I’m going to get all five of my little ones to sit quietly while I teach them about the alphabet. So I love dreaming up ways to bring the ABCs to life for them in active ways. This year we’re decorating our Christmas tree with the letters of the alphabet. The girls love playing with their Alphabet Acorns from Learning Resources. Each is printed with an upper- and lowercase letter of the alphabet and has a toy inside that starts with that letter. I’m going to attach ribbons so the girls can hang them on the branches of our tree. We might even sing “L-M-N-O Tannenbaum” while we decorate!

Holiday Baking Brain Boosters

Let’s be honest, five kids under age 3 can be a recipe for chaos in the kitchen! So when I want to do my really serious holiday baking I’m going to set up a station for the girls stocked with the Learning Resources Bake and Learn set. I’ll show them how I measure ingredients, count them, and follow steps in a sequence. They can keep busy doing what I do, but with their own safe, unbreakable, kid-size measuring cup, measuring spoon, rolling pin, and more. I love that the treats also teach shapes, colors, numbers and more.

Teach YoursELF on the Shelf

This year we’re even enlisting our Elf on the Shelf to keep our girls’ brains active and engaged over the holidays. Instead of having to dream up different shenanigans for our elf each night, we’re going to print out the different daily challenges and activities from the Learning Resources Teach YoursELF challenge. Little brain teasers like making snowflakes, plotting santa’s route, and making an ice cube igloo, are some of the fun activities you can have your elf present to the kids.

The Busby Days of Christmas

To keep the kids entertained in the car, we like to unplug and encourage their creativity by adding our own twists to classic holiday songs. In our version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, “On the first day of Christmas, Ava gave to me… an alligator in an apple tree.” “On the second day of Christmas, Olivia gave to me… 2 octopuses…” Everyone is giggling by the fifth day of Christmas, when “Parker gave to me… 5 porky pigs” and the girls make pig noises and snort! It’s a fun and funny way to reinforce numbers, letters, and develop their memories as the song builds.

This post originally appeared at the Learning Resources blog.


Featured Photo Courtesy: Danielle and Adam Busby