Though they can often feel intolerably long, the summer holidays offer a fantastic opportunity to continue fostering your child’s education outside the classroom.
With a little planning and creativity, you can transform the summer break into a time of growth and discovery.
Encourage your child to develop a love for reading by setting aside dedicated reading time each day. Visit the local library and let them choose books that align with their interests. UK libraries run a summer reading challenge which encourages kids to read at least 6 books and they love catching up with the librarians about their choices.
STEM activities at home:
Stimulate your child’s curiosity and problem-solving skills through hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) activities. Here are a couple you can try:
- Balloon Rocket:
Create a simple balloon rocket using a straw, a string, and a balloon. Tape the straw to a long string stretched across a room. Inflate the balloon and attach it to the straw. Let go of the balloon, and it will zoom along the string like a rocket. This activity demonstrates the concept of action and reaction forces and introduces basic physics principles.
- Build a Straw Bridge:
Challenge your child to construct a bridge using only straws and tape. Provide them with a few books or heavy objects to test the bridge’s strength. Encourage them to experiment with different designs and observe which ones can hold the most weight. This activity develops engineering and problem-solving skills while introducing basic principles of structural stability.
The summer break is the perfect time to get out and explore nature. Plan trips to parks, gardens, and wildlife sanctuaries. Encourage your child to observe and appreciate the beauty of the natural world. Engage in conversations about ecosystems, animal behaviour, and environmental conservation. These experiences will not only expand their knowledge but also instill a sense of responsibility towards the environment, not to mention absorbing some valuable Vitamin D in while the sun shines!
Use the summer holidays as an opportunity to teach your child practical life skills that are not covered in traditional education. Involve them in cooking, gardening, or household chores. Give them a ‘summer budget’ for the holidays, encouraging them to think carefully about how they allocate funds. And remind them that organisation and decluttering is a life skill too!
Summer is the perfect time for your child to explore their creative side. Encourage them to pursue hobbies such as painting, writing, or playing a musical instrument. Give your child a camera or a smartphone and encourage them to explore the world through their lens. They can capture photographs of nature, family, or everyday objects from unique perspectives. They can also experiment with making short films or stop-motion animation using toys or other objects.
Ultimately, the key to keeping the holidays educationally engaging for kids is, as always, ensuring they’re invested. It’s worth taking a bit of time out with them at the start of the summer to make a checklist of some of the activities they’d like to do. It gives them a sense of autonomy and holds you to account!