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It’s time for students to kick off their school shoes and pack up their textbooks because school’s out for summer. But the arrival of the holidays doesn’t mean learning has to stop – in fact, it can provide many opportunities to broaden young minds.
The first thing to remember is that it is the holidays, in itself a chance for children to explore and learn for themselves. No greater learning happens than when children experience things first hand. It’s not about following a rigid curriculum but rather discovering ways to get young minds excited about learning.
Secondly, the holidays are a chance for all the school-based learning to be applied to real life situations. Children will do this without realising that they are using the skills developed at school. So with a little guidance, parents can stimulate learning without their children being aware they are continuing to learn.
To help you do this, I have scoured the web to find the best resources for summer learning. Here are some ways to sneak in some natural learning!
Stock up on open ended toys, let kids play
Open ended toys let children express themselves in play freely and creatively, not bound by preset limitations. They are not age-specific and encourage self-initiated play by capturing the child’s imagination and can be used for many years for a multitude of activities. Blocks, tiles, building materials, dress-up items, arts and crafts materials, are the types of playthings that will grow with your child.
Open ended play helps children develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and dexterity, while teaching shapes. It also teaches math, physics, science and persistence while enhancing creativity & imagination. It additional develops problem solving abilities and instils confidence.
As a family we love Flying Start Magna Blocks and Flying Start Magna Tiles. The kids love playing with them and its amazing to see how much they learn from it while having fun. They are also high quality and reasonable price which works for me.
You can read my blog on open ended play by clicking here.
Create a reading chest
Make sure your child has enjoyable reading material at the right level. All formats and genres count. When planning trips or outings, involve kids by checking out websites for your destination, and encourage them to Google topics of interest. Model reading as a parent, too. Finally, consider choosing some fun summer read-alouds, even if your child is old enough to read to herself.
Encourage your child to write a holiday diary
A holiday diary not only promotes writing skills, but calls to mind a whole host of curriculum subjects. Maps can be drawn of the area they are visiting, plans of towns, beaches and castles can all be added to the diary. Drawings and paintings can also be added to the diary to bring it to life. Summarising the day's activities is a skill in itself developing a child's ability to write concise and brief copy!
Discover the great outdoors
Encourage children to move from the sofa with a trip to your local park or recreation ground. Engage younger children with a mini-beast hunt, getting them to look for insects and bugs and then draw an annotated picture of them. Engage older children by looking closely at flowers and drawing or painting them, this develops the skills of accurately recording and transferring information.
There are lots of simple experiments you can do at home to introduce basic – and really cool scientific concepts. All you need are some everyday ingredients and a Google search of ‘home experiments for kids’. The baking soda and vinegar mix creates a reaction, and eventually things go pop or you can also make your own lava lamp. Include scientific questions to ask children when they’ve completed the experiment.
Wishing you a fantastic summer break with the kids. Keep the Learning on in a Fun way.