The summer holidays are here! Children are excited to be free from the classroom and they’re ready to enjoy a well-earned break. It’s a time for families to create special memories together in the sunshine (with luck!).
As a parent, you may have mixed feelings about the long summer ahead. What if the break has a negative impact on your child’s learning? Most studies indicate that children do forget over the summer holidays, losing at least one month of classroom learning.
So, how can you prevent learning loss and at the same time have plenty of fun together?
Here are some ideas…
Car journey games
- Break the tedium of long car journeys and at the same time practise intellectual skills, listening, observing, patience and turn taking with these alternatives to ‘I Spy’:
- 20 Questions. Somebody thinks of a person; it could be a famous person, a cartoon character, a family member – anybody. The other people have to guess who the mystery person is by asking twenty questions.
- I Went on a Picnic and Picnic Whispers – see ‘Picnics’ below.
- Punch Buddy. Every time someone spots a Ford Fiesta (for instance) they gently punch the person next to them.
- Which Animal? One person thinks of an animal. The others find out what the animal is by taking turns to ask a question. The question can only receive a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. For example: ‘Does the animal have four legs?’ ‘Can it be kept as a pet?’ ‘Does it live in the jungle?’
- Would You Rather? Everyone takes a turn to ask and answer a question which makes them choose between a rock and a hard place. For instance, ‘Would you rather eat a worm sandwich or pour icy water over your head?’
- Make a bird feeder.
- Watch and identify birds using the RSPB bird identifier.
- Photograph birds.
- Paint birds with watercolours/pastels by copying photographs or pictures from bird books.
Holiday clubs offer a wealth of activities. There’s usually something to suit every child’s interests: archery, arts and crafts, circus skills, dance, drama, go-karting, sports, swimming, trampolining and much more.
Type ‘summer holiday clubs near me 2019’ into an internet search engine.
I love books
Reading stretches the mind and encourages imagination. Children spontaneously re-enact stories or write their own stories if they are inspired enough. Set a book challenge: how many books can you read over the summer?
Keep children mentally and physically active:
- Skipping games
- Table tennis
- Team games like Hide and Seek, Tag, Stuck in the Mud, What’s the Time Mr Wolf.
- Walking. Motivate reluctant walkers with geocaching.
Search the internet for team game instructions and skipping games.
Make a picnic together. Cooking involves reading and following instructions, weighing and measuring ingredients, as well as culinary skills such as chopping, mixing, and whisking.
Children could research where ingredients come from and how they are made. For example, they could discover how flour is made or find out where sugar comes from. Always check YouTube videos are suitable before children watch them.
Picnic games are great for developing listening skills, physical skills, social skills and the ability to pay attention in order to follow instructions.
Make two teams. Each team holds a blanket which they use to launch a beach ball back and forth.
Everyone takes turns to dance to music. The person who receives the loudest applause wins.
I Went On a Picnic…
People sit in a circle and one person says, ‘I went on a picnic and I bought…’ and they say something like ‘an apple’. The next person might say, ‘I went on a picnic and I bought an apple and some sandwiches.’ The game continues with each person repeating what has been said before, adding a new item.
Picnic-themed Chinese Whispers. People stand in a line. One person whispers a message to the next person in the line, eg. ‘Dad likes lettuce, cucumber and cheese sandwiches for his picnic’. The whispered message continues down the line. The last person tells everyone the message.
Use your empty picnic boxes as batons. Divide everyone into two lines. The first person runs, grabs the container and gives it to the next person in the line. The first person goes to the back of the line and sits down. The first team with everybody sitting down wins.
Encourage children to be observant with scavenger hunts. Make a worksheet and attach it to a clipboard with a pencil. Here are some ideas:
Can you spot these minibeasts?
Find 8 round things and then draw them.
20 things to find. (This is a list of random objects to tick off, eg: pine cone, paper clip, daffodil, calculator).
Visit the park or woods to collect leaves and photograph different trees. At home, identify the trees using the Woodland Trust’s leaf ID chart.
Make some leaf art. Type ‘leaf art’ into pinterest.co.uk for some brilliant ideas!
Take a look at our other blogs on summer learning: