As much learning takes place during the school holidays as it does during a school term. It may not count for much when it comes to assessments, but in terms of life skills it plays a huge role. Holidays are the time for incidental learning. Kids brains are like sponges, they watch, listen and learn from everything they are exposed to. Encourage them to question and to make decisions where appropriate.
10 fun ways you can foster learning in the holidays…
Get the kids outside – weeding, watering, planting. Find a container for them to collect their favourite leaves, flowers, rocks etc. Give them a notepad and magnifying glass and encourage them to draw what they find.
Hop on a bus, train or ferry if it is not their usual mode of travel. Encourage them to read the signs that they see and read the timetable. Help them to keep a watch on the time to make sure that they don’t miss the return journey!
Play some family board games such as Connect 4, Hungry Hippos and Pictionary. They are great for teaching kids how to be a happy loser, how to take turns as well as developing their thinking skills.
Give them the money to buy the bread, milk or ice creams whilst on holidays. Suggest that they interact with the shop keeper.
Get them cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Plan a menu, cook together and then present the meal to a waiting crowd. Have them serve the food in a make believe restaurant and then ask the guests to rate their food.
Create a puppet theatre in a door way with sheets or behind a couch. You don’t need puppets – any toy will do. Let the kids have fun with their imagination and laugh along regardless of how silly the dialogue is!
Keep up the reading – it doesn’t have to be in novel or home reader style. Any reading is a good thing and will benefit their understanding of the written language.
Quick maths quizzes in the car are a good way to pass the time or play number plate games. It can be as simple as finding all the numbers from 1 to 10.
When the weather is favourable encourage them to play outside in the yard (remembering to slip, slop, slap). It is good for kids to play with others and to learn the social skills necessary to be a good friend. Outdoors provide the best space for creative play.
This piece was originally written for Kidspot in 2011 as part of their Bright Buddies series sponsored by Kelloggs.