For many parents summer’s ‘six-week holiday’ can be curse and a juggling act as the household’s normal term-time routine gets turned on its head. Nevertheless, it can also be a great time to build on classroom learning and bring it to life with practical application.
Teachers will readily admit that the first few weeks in September after the long summer break can be pretty challenging as students get themselves back into ‘thinking’ mode.
Yet steps can be taken to minimise the ‘settling back’ time even before the children break-up for the summer. If your school holds a summer fair you could produce a ‘Holiday Survival Kit’ that includes a sheet listing the ideas and activities we go on to suggest below. Parents, grandparents and students could be encouraged to purchase the pack which could be a printed drawstring bag containing items such as a notebook, coloured pencils, a calculator as well as a cap, sunglasses or apron.
Read through the suggestions below for pupils of all ages to make the most of their holidays, enjoy the break and keep learning alive whilst out of the classroom.
- Literacy – spending time in their local library gives even young children the chance to browse through books and choose those that appeal to them as well as providing access to a variety of online facilities. Many libraries also organise weekly sessions for children out of term-time.
- School holidays are a great time for parents and children to enjoy activities such as swimming or learning a new sport together. Working together to research what’s available locally gives children the confidence to use computers for something other than social media! Working out the venue, day and time of activities as well as the costs involved are all valuable life skills that develop a child’s awareness of forward planning.
- Older students could be encouraged to volunteer at a local charity shop, animal shelter or to get involved with a community project. A paid summer job might be harder to find so encourage youngsters to be entrepreneurial and offer to wash cars, mow lawns, shop for an elderly person or pet-sit and water plants for your neighbours.
- If there is a residential home nearby encourage young people to go in regularly and read to an elderly resident, play board games or give a concert or dance performance. This develops a sense of community and cross-generational understanding that is important in later life.
- Be a Tourist for the day. You don’t need to travel far. Many people have never visited tourist attractions within easy reach of their own homes. Looking at your city through the eyes of a tourist can be fascinating and important for children to appreciate their surroundings.
- Child as teacher. Switch roles and encourage your children to teach you something that particularly interests them – such as a sport, hobby or computer skill – you could even get to grips with ‘loom bands’ over the summer! Teaching reinforces confidence and knowledge, as the act of sharing knowledge requires critical thinking, organisation and planning skills.
- Take the pressure off family mealtime by including children in the planning, shopping and preparation. Choosing a recipe, buying ingredients and cooking use vital maths, reading and chemistry skills. And, of course, you get to eat the rewards of all that effort at the end!
- Project Fun – ideal for children of different ages working together. Let them plan a day trip somewhere that requires a short journey. Journey planning using either public transport or the availability and cost of car parking and route planning can be challenging and fun. The trip could be to a nearby attraction or the countryside, in which case, why not pack up a cool bag with a picnic.
- Check out websites for activities offered by your local council, library and local museums as well as activity specific courses such as swimming, football or a drama workshop.
However young people choose to spend their holidays, it’s a great time to relax, have fun and put learning into real life. Enjoy!
Sources / Further Reading.
How to use your Summer Vacation. wikiHOw.
Keeping learning alive during the holidays. Topmarks.