National Math + Science Initiative Blog


Battling Holiday Boredom

“I’m bored”

The phrase every parent dreads hearing, especially during the Holiday break. Whether you’re snowed in, preparing for company or just simply looking for a unique way to spend time as a family, it can be challenging to find ways to stave off boredom during the hectic Holiday season. We compiled a list of some of our favorite ways to battle Holiday boredom – everything from favorite books to DIY experiments – in hopes that it will help you and your family enjoy the Holiday season in a new way.

1. Do an hour of code. Even though computer science education week had passed, CS education provides students with ways of thinking, problem solving, and creating that can help them in all aspects of their lives. Over winter break, encourage your learners at home to try an hour of code. has a variety of different themed activities that are kid friendly, students can build a Star Wars galaxy with code, create their own holiday card or create their own unique activity with Scratch.


“An Hour of Code is a great opportunity to learn something new and challenge yourself,” Charla Holzbog, NMSI’s Director of Math explained. “The Hour of Code website has tons of different coding activities that can capture a variety of interests. If you want a challenge, improve your exposure to coding by trying out some of the Hour of Code activities.”

2. Explore new worlds through books. When it comes to silencing claims of boredom, never underestimate the power of a good book. Reading has a variety of benefits and can engage your entire family. Finding the right book to cozy up with and get lost in can be an intimidating task, that’s where the NPR Book Concierge comes in.


“The concierge offers a stylish take on the best books of 2016,” said Aubrey Ludwig, NMSI’s English Director. “Visitors can be enticed by viewing all of the book covers in a steady stream or look through a logical list. What is most inviting about the Book Concierge is that it doesn’t just focus on the most heavily awarded books of the season, although they are represented, but instead offers everything from the best cookbooks, sports writing, and young adult books from 2016. There is something for everyone and whole bunch of good reading that slipped by even the most avid reader.”

3. Find your inner artist. If your family favors hands-on DIY activities, consider enticing their interest with an art project. One Shot Sure Shot is a website dedicated to unique art lessons, that focus on playing, collaborating, inventing and representing. The lessons use a variety of different mediums to engage young minds.


“Art is a great way to satiate restless minds,” said Melissa Barry, NMSI’s Assistant Director of AP Fine Arts Incentive Program. “Group projects promote teamwork, shared responsibilities, and community – perfect - perfect for a group of kids who have grown weary during their holiday break.”

4. Try a science experiment. A great way to keep young minds occupied is through science. If your child loves to help in the kitchen, consider a hands-on experiment that the whole family can enjoy.

“One of my favorite lessons is brown sugar homemade ice cream from Steve Spangler Science,” explained Tim Pate, NMSI’s biology content specialist. “The lesson is a great way to teach kids about chemistry and the phases of matter.  It can be a messy, but the result will be delicious.”

Whichever activity you choose, there are always great ways to learn as you play and work to ensure that being cooped up inside during the holiday break isn’t always a bad thing.

On behalf of the entire NMSI family, we wish you and your family a joyous holiday season and a wonderful new year!


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