My husband and I took our daughter to Disney World for her winter vacation. Yes, we live in California. But when you grow up on the East Coast, Disney World remains preferable to Disneyland any day of the week. Plus my parents live in Florida, and we are able to see them when we visit.
I neglected to have my daughter do her school-assigned homework of working on math and reading apps over vacation. In truth, I didn't even realize that this work had been assigned, because it didn't even occur to me that Kindergarteners would be assigned homework (particularly screen time) over vacation. But that's a topic for another day. In any event, we did find plenty of opportunities for playful learning while on the trip. For example:
- We played i-spy during car and bus rides. Our most common variant of the game is: "I'm looking for something that starts with the letter ..."
- We discussed the way that the type of loading for rides affects how quickly and how smoothly the line moves. What can I say? I have advanced degrees in Industrial Engineering. I can't NOT think about this stuff. Now my daughter is starting to understand it, too.
- My daughter constructed an elaborate bird's nest, complete with privacy sign. (We were staying in the Fort Wilderness cabins.) She considered this practice for becoming an architect.
- We counted the number of birds and animals that we saw as we were walking around.
- We followed a series of treasure maps in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom. This is a pretty cool program where you find each location, place a special token there, and then get a clue to the next location. My daughter was quite disappointed, however, when she got to the end (after literally working on this for a couple of hours) and there was NO treasure. But during the process she was positively giddy with excitement. And it was definitely good practice at understanding maps.
- We practiced reading signs everywhere we went. My daughter can now flawlessly read the one about keeping your legs, hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times.
- We practiced telling time, and calculating how much time until a particular time window would begin or end. This was for FastPasses.
We didn't read very many books, because she was usually asleep by the time we got back to our room. But I think that the memories will be priceless.