If your children are currently Xboxing their days away, living a life of mere pleasure and indulgence, we cannot blame them. They have rightfully-earned this winter break after yet another mad bout of exams.  And a few days of lazing around and losing oneself in virtual reality is no big deal. But, if this is how they’ll be spending their entire break, remember that all play and no work makes Jack a mere toy. We’re not saying have them open their books and start preparing for the next term. Oh no. All we’re saying is that there is a ton of alternative options for entertainment out there on which your children might be missing out if they keep to their video games.

This winter break, you can introduce your child to at least one alternative form of entertainment that could help him or her unearth their hidden potential and hone some mega life skills while having fun in the process. Whether you want to develop your child’s social skills, prepare them for a different future of work  or simply help them achieve better academic outcomes, here is a bunch of the coolest child edutainment venues for the nerdy, the adventurous and the artistic.

1. Engineeius

Since extracurricular interests in science and technology are not encouraged by our culture, especially at a young age, parents end up overlooking their kids’ potentials in these areas believing it would be much ado about nothing. That’s why  Engineeius offers an Exploration Day event for parents and children to attend and get a taste of its five programs in Engineering, Game & App Programming, Digital Media, Robotics and Maths. Each program caters to a specific age group from 5-14 promoting certain educational target outcomes through well-organized and engaging activities.

If you need no exploration and your aspiring young nerds are ready to jump in, check out the schedule on Engineeius’s  website and find out about the programs available in your area starting today.

2. Nafas School of Agroculinary Arts and Sciences

This infographic best explains the philosophy of Nafas. The Maadi-based agroculinary center is not just a regular cooking or gardening school. They bring people together through fun cooking experiences to learn about the ecological, nutritional and social issues surrounding food.

So, what’s in it for your little ones? Well, a lot. Nafas will help them get in touch with their bodies, each other and the environment inspiring some real personal and social responsibility in them. Your kids will get to develop a sense of ownership over their own health and an understanding of how seemingly unrelated things in life impact one another so closely. For example, some of the programs invite your child to think about  who produces the food on our tables, the labor conditions of the people who produce it and whether we consume food that is inaccessible to the very people who grow it. Those are real problem-solving skills your child can start developing right there.

The folks at Nafas will sure take your kids on a creative and  interactive journey to “reimagine the kitchen” and you could also join their warm social environment along with your kids for a unique farming and food learning expedition.

3. Muricata

If you feel your kids know about Pokemons and comic characters more than they do about nature and the world, you might want to give one of Muricata’s adventure trips a try soon.

This winter break, Muricata is offering two adventure trips to Ain Sokhna and Morocco. Imagine what your child could learn after 3 days of hiking and camping without you in the Eastern Desert or after exploring the mesmerizing city of Marrakesh and climbing Mount Toubkal?

According to parenting experts and therapists, camping helps children explore their values, talents and interests and builds their self-esteem by developing a sense of belonging, learning and contribution. Children who go camping achieve higher levels of social, emotional, intellectual, physical and moral maturity than kids who don’t get a chance to go on such adventures. And those are the kinds of skills your child won’t learn by only sitting in front of a television, fiddling with an iPad or even regularly going to school.

4. Journey of Entrepreneurship (JOE) Academy

Although growing numbers of today’s youth dream of venturing into entrepreneurship one day, many of them have no idea what it takes to become a true entrepreneur. JOE Academy was established to develop an entrepreneurial mindset in children early on in their lives because they believe that everyone has entrepreneurial qualities in them that can be developed through education and training.

The JOE curriculum comes from Singapore – the world’s leading country in innovation and education- offering two different comprehensive programs for Juniors and Teens.They mainly offer a 5-month program with classes once a week in addition to a Holiday Bootcamp and a Fast Track program both of which your child can join this holiday season if  you are not considering the full-track.

5. Art Cafe

So your kid has shown you that they are more into artistic expression. You saw it that day they were all excited about a mini arts and crafts project they made at the nursery or in that crayon drawing they passionately scribbled all over your living-room wall while you weren’t looking.

Unfortunately, artistic children generally don’t receive their fair share of opportunities to express their talents at school. Once a child moves up to primary school, most of their focus inevitably shifts to scientific subjects that train analytical processes and logical thinking but not intuition, emotional perception and creativity, which are largely stimulated by the arts yet ignored by traditional schooling.

Instead of leaving your art loving child alone with a stack of papers and a box of crayons, you can take her to the Arts Cafe in Maadi sometime during this winter break for a whole new artistic experience. They can take up a digital illustration course or a 2-level cartoon drawing course where they can learn to create a detailed comic-strip.They can also learn jewelry making, Photoshop, fashion design , cooking and much more.

Mona Abdel Moneim

Mona is a university teacher-turned-digital marketeer. After volunteering with Educate Me for almost two years, she joined the PR team to handle digital marketing. Mona’s professional background spans teaching, copywriting, branding, article writing, translation and digital content creation. As an undergrad, she studied English literature at Cairo University then earned her M.A. in Political Sciences from the University of Aberdeen.