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Screen Time? Learning Time!

It's December, and many schools are going to be closed for a few weeks as different holiday celebrations get under way. Let's face it—for parents, school holidays can pose a challenge. Those of us who work outside the home are faced with the need for prolonged child care (and all the guilt that comes from heading to the office while your kids are at home) and those of us who are going to be at home the whole time might be worried about what everyone is going to do for those hours. And for some, the time that is spent as a family can be, well, too much family time.

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Spending day upon day with loved ones is a wonderful thing, but sometimes everyone needs a break from all that togetherness. One way kids tend to take breaks is to spend some time on the screen. Everyone has a favorite holiday movie (Have you seen Arthur Christmas? Go ahead. Watch it. I'll wait.) but even that can get tedious after the seventh showing.

How about some quality Internet time? Every family has its own guidelines in terms of Internet use and kids and technology, and these guidelines grow more important every day, as the online world becomes fuzzier in terms of real news and fake news, and more opportunities pop up for kids to see or read things they might regret. But at the same time, websites that offer a quality educational experience are growing, too. There's plenty of inspiration to be found during screen time, if you know where to look.

Try some of these sites with your kids when you notice that familiar refrain floating through the house: “I'm bored!” The projects, experiments, and discussions that might result will be exciting for both you and your kids.

Wonderopolis: Questions! Answered!
wonderopolis.org

TedEd: Free lessons on just about anything.
ed.ted.com

Out of Eden: Follow Paul Salopek as he takes seven years to walk across the world.
outofedenwalk.nationalgeographic.com

Instructables: Lots of ideas for stuff to make--welcome to the makerspace movement!
instructables.com

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