The summer holidays should be a time for fun and relaxation, however this doesn’t mean that learning has to stop; in fact, summer is the perfect time for children to discover that learning can be fun and it can happen anywhere.
We’ve listed below some great activities to help keep your children motivated and encourage learning during the school holidays…
Exploring nature can provide your child with a chance to record all kinds of observations. During the summer try to encourage your child to observe their surroundings. You can do this by examining plants and insects up close or looking at various habitiats.
Here are four fun ideas of how you can use nature to learn over the holidays…
Count the flowers in your garden or a local park, once a week for three weeks. Compare your tallies. Your child will have fun watching the numbers go up as flowers bloom throughout the summer.
Keep a close eye on the magnificient ant world. Try following them back to their home and see what they’re up to. Where do they live? How many can you count in one place? Record these observations throughout the summer and see a new ant appreciation grow!
Parents begin this task by writing down all of the natural elements that can be found outside your home, in a local park or on the beach. Thes could include things like: A bird feather, a flower, a shell or a tree. Hand your child your list and let the scavenger hunt begin!
The big butterfly count is a nationwide butterfly survey which helps to address the health of our environment. To take part all you need to do is ask your child to count butterflies for 15 minutes during the day from Friday 19th July to Sunday 11th August. This is the best time for counting butterflies as most will be at the adult stage of their lifecycle and more likely to be seen. You can submit your records online and they can be taken from parks, school grounds and gardens, to fields and forests.
Geocaching is the latest outdoor craze, where families search for hidden treasures using a GPS app. There are also variations of geocaching, such as ‘earthcaching’ where you have to find and learn about unique geological features in the local area.
During the holidays many parents notice their child’s reading skills and confidence decline. This is commonly known as the ‘summer slide’. It is a good idea to encourage reading & writing over the summer, so that all their hard work isn’t forgotten.
To help with their reading you could sign your child up to ‘The Summer Reading Challenge’.
This is a great event which is run by many libraries across the UK and encourages children to read six books of their choice, from their library during the summer holidays. Children receive special rewards each time they finish a book and there’s a certificate for everyone who completes the challenge.
There are also a number of fun writing activities that you can suggest to your child, such as keeping a journal of your summer activities or writing a poem about a particularly memorable day.
Try to encourage reading and writing by including them in your everyday activities. These could include asking your child to help write your shopping list or read the instructions of a new game.
Cooking is a great way to develop your child’s reading, writing and math skills. Ask your child to read a recipe, write a shopping list, find the ingredients at the supermarket and then get cooking!
They will also be able to practice their maths skills when they are measuring out the ingredients. World food cookbooks are an ideal way to explore food from other cultures and you may find that your children are much more likely to eat something new if they have made it themselves.
If your child has an interest in a particular topic, then you could help to explore this interest by planning a museum trip. Furthermore, you could include a treasure hunt into your museum visit, by asking your child to find certain exhibits or artefacts around the museum.
Not only will a museum trip make a fun day out for all the family, but it can also help to inspire and enrich your child’s learning experience.