The Top 10 Things To Keep Children Educationally Entertained in the School Holidays
For those with children at school, the holiday break can be great fun and a well-earned rest. It can also be a time when so much of what was taught at school goes swiftly out of mind!
Most schools will focus the last couple of weeks on packing up the classroom, making Christmas craft and being very excited with not much learning taking place. Add to this the six weeks of holidays and there is 2 months with no new concepts being taught or revision of what they have seen.
There are some simple things that you can do throughout those two months that aren’t too boring to keep their minds stimulated and help them to remember their content 🙂
Ten things to do in the holidays to stimulate growing brains:
1. Have a holiday diary
Have a ‘Holiday Book’ where each day (or every few days) your children can write what they’ve been doing and draw a picture or stick in some memorabilia from the day. Diary writing is a great thing to encourage young children to be able to do so they can learn to reflect on their day with gratitude, express their emotions and have something fun to look back on in years to come.
2. Re-use old books for revision
On the last day of school all of the textbooks will come home from school that your child used that year. There is likely to be some unused pages somewhere in there. Rip them out and stick them into your scrapbook. You can work through them whenever your child says the inevitable, “I’m bored!”
3. Practice trouble areas
There are many worksheets that you can download for your children online. If you know that they’re having trouble with a particular area like time, measurement, fractions etc. Type it into google e.g. ‘Year 3 fractions worksheet’ and some links will pop up that you’ll be able to print off and practice during the holidays. 10 minutes a day is an ideal scenario for practicing and retaining knowledge like times tables and other concepts. Though if your child is more reluctant, half an hour every 3 days may be more achievable and pleasant.
4. Use technology favourably
A lot of children have some form of electronic device like an iPod, iPad and Nintendo. If your child has one of these, consider getting an app or game that is educational. They have come up with some brilliant games that children actually enjoy!
5. Have a ‘Bored Box’
Make a box of things you have around the house that can be kept in one handy place. Put in there things like board games, puzzles etc. Board games are a great way to sit outside and have some family time on a summer evening instead of watching TV. They have great educational qualities too! Monopoly is fantastic for Maths skills.
6. Craft activities
Some children are crafty and some aren’t. If you have a crafty one, spend some time on some big projects. They can find something they want to make, organise the materials and then work on it over the course of a few weeks. Some great activities can be found at the Disney Family Fun site: http://familyfun.go.com/
7. Cooking dinner
Getting your children to cook dinner has the benefit of empowering them with fun responsibility and giving you the night off. The food may not be as perfect as you would make it, but the kids generally love it. Pick something that’s dependant on the age of your children. My children are 3 and 2 and their favourite is to make homemade pizza. Because they’re so little, I cut up all of the capsicum, mushrooms, tomato, ham etc and place it on a plate. They then get the Lebanese bread, spread the tomato paste, put everything on top and then I put it in the oven. The pride on their faces for cooking dinner is beautiful. Tacos is another good no heat recipe. At the beginning of the holidays, break the weeks up and ask your child to pick one night a week to cook dinner. Ask them to pick what they’re going to cook, let them write a shopping list for ingredients, go to the supermarket to get the ingredients, add up the cost and then prepare the meal. This is age dependent but a great learning experience.
8. Job list
I am a believer in the job list. Children need to learn how to be self-sufficient and to understand what goes into keeping them happy, healthy and living in a clean environment. If you’re unsure of what to delegate to your children, have a think about all that you do. There’s putting the rubbish out in the big bin, sweeping/vacuuming the floor, putting away washed dishes, cleaning rooms, making beds etc. You can use this to allocate jobs to your child and attach a monetary value to each job. This teaches children life skills, you get paid for what work you do and they can choose to earn as little or as much as they like.
This goes very well with the job list. Holidays can be EXPENSIVE. There are so many activities on offer and it’s easy to spend a small fortune in the Christmas break. At the beginning of the holidays, sit down with your children and talk about what they want to do and how much they will need each week. Help your child to understand that the money doesn’t just appear, you have to earn it so they have to be wary how quickly they spend it. Agree on the things that you will pay for and choose some of their desired activities that if they want to do, they have to pay for themselves. They can then earn this money by completing their job list each week.
10. Enrol in a holiday program
At Begin Bright we run school holiday tutoring programs so that children can revise the content they’ve learnt, practice fluency or learn things that they should have picked up in that year but they haven’t got the hang of. This allows children to start the new school year feeling confident and ready to go. Check out our web site for your nearest centre.
Tina Tower is the Director of Begin Bright Learning Programs. Tina started her first business at the age of 20 and began developing the Begin Bright program. To fit around having a family, Tina began licensing the Begin Bright program in 2009 and has now entered the franchise industry.
Tina’s mission in life is to run a fantastic company that makes children happy and confident, keep a happy husband, be a wonderful mother to two gorgeous boys and travel the world and experience the best life possible.