The dreaded school holidays… kids delighted to have no school for six weeks, parents sharing that joy for a few hours. Then, for many, the realisation sets in. Child care issues and boredom are on the horizon – how will we keep the little darlings entertained all summer? And what should be done to ensure they are ready for the next academic year?
As a teacher I’ve often been asked the latter question by concerned parents. My first response is to not over-worry – just as school staff need to recharge over the summer holidays, so do the children. They can’t and shouldn’t be expected to put in hours of academic endeavour. However, there are plenty of things you can do to keep boredom at bay and stimulate their minds at the same time.
Reading Yes, it’s a message you’ve heard a thousand times but finding a regular time to read with (that’s reading to them as well as them reading to you) your child really is massively beneficial. Don’t necessarily push school reading schemes – choose books and other media together which interest your child. Reading should always be a pleasure, not a chore.
Get creative Make things. Make models, bake cakes, draw, paint, build. Don’t worry about the mess – it’s often part of the fun.
The great outdoors Visit it. Explore it. Embrace it. Go for walks, play sports, enjoy being outside and among nature.
Play games Try games* such as Carcassonne, Hive, Deep Sea Treasure or more traditional games such as Connect 4, Guess Who?, Scrabble and even Monopoly (they don’t have to turn into family arguments)! All great for building a wide range of skills.
Allow devices Don’t automatically dismiss gaming platforms and hand held devices. Clearly it’s important to monitor the amount of time and the type of games children are playing but there is value (even if it’s just a little downtime) in many games and apps.
Writing Some children love it, some are more reluctant. Encourage keeping a diary, or writing labels and brief descriptions for photos taken on a day out or on a holiday (and do this on a device if it provides more incentive). And postcards do still have place and give writing a purpose too.
And the big one…
Be together Spend time together. Spend time talking to your children. Do the things above and many more (even playing on devices) together. Talk about what you/they are doing, share ideas and thoughts. Enjoy each other’s company. You’ll be missing them and they’ll be missing you when they’re back at school in a few weeks time.
*There are too many games to list but some of those mentioned above are shown below (on Amazon). Great games – play them together and enjoy.
||Hive||Deep Sea Treasure|