The term is almost over and the holidays are fast approaching. No doubt your child will be excitedly anticipating their to-do list of school holidays activities: Playing with friends, going away on holidays, sleeping in, staying up later, relaxing, cooking, watching television, playing computer games, riding their bike and plenty of outdoor adventures. They need to take time out from their studies and the stress that may come from that. They have learnt so much and they deserve their freedom to choose what they want to do.
Let children be creative and follow their curiosities. You will be amazed at how much incidental learning will take place while they are playing. They will be developing their fine motor skills while mixing mud puddles, using their imaginations while playing with friends and expanding their vocabulary while exploring new environments.
Children have a natural eagerness to learn about the world around them so no matter what school holidays activities you have planned, there will be learning opportunities. Here are some tips of how you can infuse learning naturally and organically into your holidays:
1. Promote writing skills
Let your children help write cards, postcards, letters or emails to their family and friends about the adventures they are having whilst away on holidays. Keep a journal or scrapbook of their everyday adventures so they can then share for show and tell when they return to school.
2. Road trip games
Long road trips can be tedious for young families. To help occupy their minds and keep you sane while on the road, you could play ‘I spy’, count the number of red cars you see, discuss the names of the different towns that you pass or let them explore the map or GPS that you use to show you how to get to your end destination.
Cooking or baking is an amazing learning opportunity. Whilst cooking, they will be reading, writing, following directions, observing science and exploring measurement. Let your child help you read recipes, write shopping lists, measure ingredients, predict what will happen when things get hot (e.g. rise, melt or harden) and see if their predictions are correct.
4. Outdoor play
Beach and nature play can be a great way to sort objects into size, colour or texture and is a great opportunity to explore capacity and volume. Try building a sandcastle and showing your child how water causes the sand to change.
Your local library can be a fantastic way to explore books and practice reading skills. Let children choose the books that interest them. Perhaps you could use books to research the bugs and insects that they may have encountered in the garden or park.
5. School Holiday Workshops
By exploring and reflecting on your child’s chosen school holidays activities, you will help to show your them that what they learn at school can be used in the ‘real world’. Most importantly it teaches children that learning is fun! Enjoy your break.