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Five Ways to Keep Learning Going During School Breaks

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When the kids are home for school vacation, they may want nothing more than to turn their brains to neutral and take a break from learning. If you want to keep them learning and growing over those precious days off, you'll need to be sneaky. These five articles from the Parenting Special Needs site will give you tips on making smart use of that idle time.

1. Play a game.

Card games and board games and games you make up can be great ways to sneak a little knowledge in when your child least suspects. Make War a calculating challenge, flash cards a competitive sport, and Candyland, dreaded Candyland, a chance to reinforce color learning. "Games for Fun and Learning" has more ideas and strategies. Let the games begin!

2. Start a reading routine.

An uninterrupted span of school-free days or weeks is a perfect time to get started on a routine of reading regularly with your child. It doesn't have to be a battle or something you send her to do in her room in sulking solitude. "How to Start a Reading Routine" can give you some ideas for turning reading time into tolerable, even enjoyable, together time.

3. Turn on the computer.

Stores and catalogs are full of educational computer games, but often they don't work well for children with special needs. Kids with language and learning problems may not be able to follow complicated storylines, or figure out what to do on screens cluttered with options. They may need reinforcement in more basic or more specialized skills than general-interest software can provide. Our list of Educational Software can help you find ones that will really turn the light on.

4. Have a nice chat.

Young children soak up all the language you can give them, and benefit from being talked to in ways that help them talk more. That's especially true for children who are struggling with speech and language issues. In an excerpt from her book "Teach Me How to Say It Right," speech and language pathologist Dorothy Dougherty helps you find new ways to turn simple conversation and interaction into informal speech therapy for your child.

5. Get moving.

While you're focusing on education, don't forget about physical education. Finding ways to exercise together will be good for your health and your child's, and keep idleness from taking over those days off. Consult "10 Ways to Work Out with Your Child" for products that will get the two of you moving in ways that will be fun and fitness-promoting.
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