The upcoming summer break is an opportunity for all students to rest and “recharge their batteries” for the next school year. However, the excess of free time can have negative effects if it is not fulfilled in an interesting, but also a useful way.
Taking a two-month break in learning may have a harmful effect on students because it can make it difficult to start a new school year.
Namely, after merely ten days, children start with additional animation requirements, which are now mostly reduced to games, TV and playing on the computer. This is especially the case if they do not leave town and visit the countryside or the sea, but they stay in the city, in the apartment or at home, and if both parents are working.
Having this in mind, parents should try to “smuggle in” some educational content into their children’s daily games. Plan on how to spend your vacation and organize activities for the little ones to relax while maintaining their working habits.
Organize Family Game Nights
Once a week, you could organize a family game night and opt for games where the kids will strategically think and plan. You should also include games with reading, writing, or counting. You will all have fun, and children will learn in a casual and relaxed manner.
In addition to the typical games, you can combine or design your treasure hunt games (especially for younger children) where they have to look for letters that create words that lead them to hidden objects.
Crafty games, where you make shapes out of clay and your opponents must guess what they are, are excellent for developing motor skills.
Encourage the Children to Create
The best way to focus children’s curiosity is to provide them with the opportunity to self-innovate, design and create.
Give them the material and instruct them to make a variety of things: figures, buildings, vehicles or anything that comes to mind. Such activities will improve not only the development of STEM skills but also imagination.
If LEGO and similar toys do not fit into your budget, try cardboard boxes, smaller and larger, which are ideal for such activities.
Gardening and Imagination
Learning can also be done in the yard. Nature is full of opportunities to learn something, and planning, planting and harvesting in a small garden can be the same as exercising math and mastering the lessons from biology.
With children, you can choose foods and explore how to plant and care for them. Use a ruler to measure and decide where you want to plant the plants, and then read the instructions on how to properly grow them and care for them. Ask your children to measure them every day and monitor their growth.
Once your garden has fruits, you can also organize a mini market with the children where they will take care of the money from the sold fruits.
There are more ideas you can find on the Internet, along with instructions for those who have no experience in the garden, as well as ideas on how children can use gardening tools.
Make Reading Fun
Reading is one of the best ways for children to not feel the negative consequences of the summer break. The youngest children who are not yet able to read can be asked to search for specific letters or words as well as to find as many specified letters or words as possible for a given prize.
With older children, you can play Q&A games where you will ask them specific questions from the texts that are read. Instead of giving them a lecture, you can also provide them with the choice of books that interest them and then ask them questions.
Here are some games from the classroom that can maybe be adapted to home: 5 English Practice Games for Reading and Writing
Play Math Games
Use different coloured chalk to draw squares with numbers that will serve as the targets, and then give the children small stones or bottle caps and tell them to aim for the squares.
You can ask them which number is the lowest and which the highest, as well as assign operations with them. Younger children can do so by identifying numbers.
For these types of games, you can also use their favourite toys.
Leave Some Room for Creativity
It has been proven that art encourages the development of cognitive, social and emotional skills. Why not make a kind of diary, scrapbook or an album called Summer 2018?
Another good idea is to make home-made soap or clothes for your child’s favorite toy.
Plan a Variety of Tasks and Activities for Each Week
Planning fun activities for your children will make their learning experience on holiday more exciting and diverse.
If you make a scrapbook, you can use it to put photos of all the summer activities you did together.
High temperatures often limit us to spending time in the house. When we add to this the fact that the children have no physical education classes since it’s the summer break, it is clear to us why it is difficult for some of them to stay in shape.
However, we also know that children will almost never refuse to go to the park, to the trampoline or the water slide, no matter the weather. Most children will also never say no to the old good splashing game: you do not need water guns – make some holes in several water bottles and the entire family can enjoy the game in the yard, regardless of the heat!
Leisure time is perfect for activities that you otherwise do not have time to do and that is why it is precious. Children could use a break, but make sure that they do not spend too much time playing on computers, but to refer to playing and socializing in nature. For the little ones, it is essential that during the holidays they rest, socialize, enjoy playing games, experience something entirely new and stay active. (And don’t forget the kinesthetic students who NEED to move around to learn.)
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About the Author
Milica Madić is a freelance blog/article writer from Serbia with experience in teaching and working with young learners.