Learning without noticing – summer ideas to keep your kids occupied and engaged

If you’re anything like me I bet you feel like the end of term has been limping towards us for about two months. Your kids are fatigued with online learning, and yet they need to be forcibly removed from their screens. You might have cancelled holiday plans, and camps may not be running.

Of course we can provide tutors to support your kids over the next six weeks… but here are some easy ideas to incorporate learning into some of the things you might be doing anyway.

The opportunities for home-based learning are limitless and we’ll be adding to this page all the time. These are just some starter ideas…Feel free to add to the list!

Keep a summer journal

This benefits students in countless ways. Unstructured writing practise builds vocabulary and helps children to find the words for their feelings. They can record what they get up to each day, people they meet, and any particularly funny moments. Journals can be decorated creatively and will become a treasured item full of memories.

Write postcards to friends and family

… Why do we always write postcards from abroad? Kids could pick up a postcard from their local area and send it to anyone – even if they live down the road! If you visit a museum or gallery you may want to pick up some postcards to post to your own kids each week over the holidays. Everyone loves getting something in the post and these can prompt some interesting discussions around the art or artefacts they feature especially if you can’t make it back to the physical exhibition space. 

Learning ideas on walks

The learning opportunities on walks are endless. Create patterns from petals and twigs you find. Explore symmetry in plants and leaves, or collect data about types of plants or animals you come across. And to hone their English, you can ask your child to collect some items that interest them and create their own exhibition, writing a caption for each item. They can even raise pocket money and learn to handle money if they charge an entrance fee!

Day trips – hand over control

If you’re heading out on any trips, allow your child to plan the day. They can set a budget, looking in advance at ticket prices and snacks.  Ask your child to write a timetable which helps them consider units of time. Perhaps they can also prepare the sandwiches, and bake biscuits to bring along. And while you’re there, delegate photography to the kids! They can then mount and label the photos and create a scrapbook.

Doing nothing

We’re all guilty of filling time with our kids with crazy plans. But allowing space in the calendar for doing nothing is important too. It encourages children to be resourceful – though it may be a headache for us sometimes! 

Personally I’m a huge fan of stillness and quiet time – and cloud gazing gives us all an opportunity to stop for a moment and recharge – but not without building your child’s verbal, literacy and descriptive skills. Ask your kids what they can see: a face? A unicorn? A whale or a dolphin? Make up stories which link the items they create from the cloud. If they’re really inspired, children could then have a go at writing their stories or creating artwork depicting what they imagine.

Whatever this summer looks like for you, have a great one!