Holiday Shopping Can Be Educational

This is a very special time of year. The colder weather and shorter days are offset by the numerous holiday decorations seen in shopping areas around the country. Whether you live in cold winter climate or warmer area, the decorations abound.

Often the focus of holiday shopping seems to be on gifts – buying gifts, mailing gifts and receiving gifts. While this is fun and exciting, there are other aspects of holiday shopping that don’t cost and have the bonus of being educational, as well. Helping children keep their skills sharp over the break from school is always a goal of mine and can be accomplished in fun ways that utilize special parts of holiday shopping.

Fun activities Keep your child happily engaged during holiday shopping trips with these activities:

– Look at the store window decorations. Many stores take great care with their holiday decorations. Can your child recognize a particular theme? Perhaps the store is decorating with lots of candles, or with over-sized ornaments, or with extravagant gift boxes. Are there predominant colors used repeatedly in the decorations? Do all of the windows seem to follow the same theme? Are the windows telling a story? Ask your child to tell you what he sees when he looks carefully at the decorations. If your stores do not have large display windows, check out the decorations inside the store. If your child struggles to notice small differences in the various window decorations or in the store displays, you can use compare and contrast worksheets to help him hone these important skills.

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– Play “I Spy” in stores. Ask your child to spot specific holiday items in the store. If the store has sent out a circular or magazine advertising a specific item, ask your child to see if he can find the display that showcases this item.

– Hunt for holiday-themed clothing. Many people (and salespeople) wear sweaters or shirts with a holiday decoration. This is the only time of year people can wear these items of clothing. Ask your child to be a “holiday sweater detective” and try to spot any shoppers or salespeople who are wearing special holiday clothing.

– Practice counting by asking your child to count some of the colored ornaments on the tree displays in the store. Can he take a guess about how many ornaments of a certain color are on a small tree?

– Play “Guess that Tune” by asking your child to listen to the music played over the store speakers. Often stores that do not have music during the rest of the year pipe holiday songs throughout the store during this season. Can your child recognize any of them?

Renee Abramovitz is a a former preschool and kindergarten teacher who retired in 2008 to become a “full-time grandma” to her four beautiful grandsons. She is passionate about the idea that all parents are their child’s first and most important teacher and strives to give parents the tools and confidence they need to successfully work with their children at home. 

Visit Renee at for information on helping your child develop important school-readiness skills. On her site you’ll find a free kindergarten readiness test plus hundreds of free kindergarten worksheets including Christmas math worksheets and Christmas worksheets!

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1 Comment

  • Cascia Talbert , December 19, 2011

    Sounds like some fun activities! Thanks for sharing this. Merry Christmas, Renee!

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