The summer holidays are a great chance for children to escape the everyday routine of school life for a while. Six (or more!) weeks of potential adventure stretch out before them, with endless opportunities for them to create, play and try new skills. For parents, however, six weeks of potential adventure for their children can induce a bit of a headache, and it can be hard to think of things to do to keep them occupied the whole time. Not every day can be filled with expensive field trips and sunny holidays at the beach, but it is possible to keep your child engaged and happy a little closer to home.
Here are five ideas to get you started just in time for the start of the summer holidays…
Things to do in the summer holidays – #1: Set up a scavenger hunt
Scavenger hunts are a fantastic and exciting way of keeping kids’ minds and bodies active during the long summer break. If possible, get a bunch of other families from your local area to join up and create different teams. Choose your location (the local park, beach or just around the neighbourhood) and then make a list of as many different items you can think of that teams will have to seek out in order to win a prize! Depending on how much time you have, you could give teams the whole list to start off with, or you could leave a new ‘clue’ with every item that is found. Give each team a box or basket to use to collect up all their items, or you could use cameras for teams to take snaps of the items instead.
Head to the Wiki page http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Scavenger-Hunt for some great advice on coming up with a theme and different clues for your scavenger hunt
Every summer has a story – #2: Make a summer scrapbook
Not only do scrapbooks help to keep minds active and creative juices flowing during the holidays, they also serve as a wonderful keepsake that the whole family can use to relive holiday memories for years to come. Scrapbooking is cheap and easy – just save little snippets from any trips or days out during the summer, and be sure to take lots of photos wherever you go! Tickets, leaflets, postcards and pictures can all be used to make a lovely collage that will remind your child of their adventures for the rest of their lives. You can even use your days out to get even more creative on the days you don’t have anything planned. Visited a stately home on one of your trips out? Why not encourage your child to write a fictional diary entry through the eyes of someone who might once have lived there? Visited the funfair down the street? Your child could design a poster advertising the fair to people in the local area.
The possibilities are endless!
Head to http://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/papercraft/scrapbooking to get your hands on some scrapbooking supplies now.
School’s out for summer – #3: Do something for your local community
Most people agree that it feels good to do good, and it’s a valuable lesson to learn at any age. Sit down with your child and have a think about some ways it might be possible for them to lend a hand around your town or village. According to your child’s individual interests, this could be something to help the environment (like conducting a litter picking mission in the local park) or something that helps a specific person or group of people (like going shopping or doing some gardening for an elderly neighbour). Get the whole family involved if possible – pitching in together can be an excellent bonding opportunity!
Have a chat with your child about ways they might like to make a difference this summer, and be sure to keep an eye out on your local community website for any group volunteering projects that are coming up.
Say hello to summer – #4: Learn a new skill
The summer holidays provide ample opportunities for children to develop skills they might not have the time for in term time. If your kid is particularly sporty, why not sign them up to a day camp or a few individual lessons in the sport of their choice? Cycling, swimming or first aid courses are widely available over the summer, and your child will continue to find these skills useful in later life.
If money is tight or your child is more of a homebody, why not start to teach them the basics of cooking or growing plants/flowers? You can pick up packets of seeds cheaply from garden centres and supermarkets, and it costs nothing to have kids help when making dinner (although it could get messy!).
Children could also put their time on the internet to good use – why not encourage them to try out a free coding or programming course at https://www.pluralsight.com/kids-courses, or perhaps www.memrise.com for a free beginners foreign language course!
In the summer time when the weather is fine – #5: Build confidence in school skills before term time
If your child lacks confidence in any of their school subjects, the summer could be a good time to get them up to scratch – particularly if they are going back to school in Year 6 facing exams like SATs and the 11+. The summer should by all means be less work than play, so be sure not to over-do it, but a little bit of revision work where necessary could make your child generally happier and less stressed when they go back to school.
It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to summer revision, but luckily Fraser Stevens Learning has developed an exclusive ‘Summer Pack’ to help. The pack is designed to revise and improve the maths and English skills of students heading into Year 6, as well as some Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning practice. The pack is geared towards students who’ll be sitting their 11+ exams when they go back to school, but it makes for great general confidence building and preparation for SATs too. The best thing about it is that the pack comes with a pre-made suggested timetable developed especially for the summer holidays, which helps ensure that students are able to take a ‘little and often’ approach to the work so as not to feel like it’s encroaching too much on their other holiday activities.
So there are 5 great ideas for things to do with kids over the summer holidays. Which one will you pick, be sure to let us know.