School holidays, seems like they were just yesterday, and as per usual, coming up faster than your child’s inevitable “I’m bored!” Keeping the kids entertained is a full time job. Keeping them entertained, while aiding self development, is an art form. Here’s a handful of activities collected from parents and teachers that should keep the kids occupied this school holidays.
The jury is in on homework, and more of it doesn’t help, except reading. Don’t stop reading with your kids over the holidays – they fall so much further back when they don’t practise and it has huge ramifications, across all subjects of schooling. Don’t stress about what they’re reading, even if it’s out of their league, just encourage them to practise in a hope they’ll develop a love for picking up a book, setting them up for life.
Whether it’s building, cooking, crafting, digging, dressing or tying things up, any activity that has kids practise their critical and creative thinking skills is worth doing. Encourage them to create something using their imagination and then have them explain it to you. Cooking is a great activity that your kids can take from initial ingredients to end result and watch you consume – hopefully without a wince. Get the kids to experiment with bizarre ingredients and combinations then comparing predictions with the results and explain why.
Random Acts of Kindness
Get the kids to create kindness vouchers and give them out, for example, one voucher entitles the recipient to a cup of tea, or a massage or help in the garden. These can be great gifts, and also teach kids the benefits of being kind for their own wellbeing. Ensure that they realise what they’re doing and why.
Just like reading, basic maths here and there does wonders for confidence with numbers. When in the car, count the number of traffic lights, or predict how many stairs there are until the top when you’re walking. Ask questions involving chance, using language like impossible, possible, certain. Make patterns with shapes, or with numbers when you’re driving, taking it in turns to count up in threes for example.
Fill a jar halfway with water and add glitter (a lot). Replace the lid very tightly and shake it up. Get the kids to focus on the glitter until all of it has settled. It’s great for mindfulness and you’ll be surprised at how long they are entertained.
Yoga is another great activity for mindfulness, Cosmic Kids Yoga (pictured above) is great and runs lessons on Youtube that run from 10-30 minutes, guiding kids to act out a classic stories with yoga poses. It wouldn’t hurt you to get involved either!
This sounds obvious, but it’s so clear when children are introduced to PE at school, which kids play ball games at home and which do not. Even if they aren’t very coordinated to begin with, don’t give up or they’ll give up on themselves and start hating it. Don’t make it too big a deal if they can’t catch, start with rolling, and then bouncing to develop hand eye co-ordination.
School holidays are a perfect opportunity to set kids a project to find out as much about the family’s (or some other group of people’s) lives as possible. Get the kids to interview family members (perhaps come up with the questions together) and then use software such as Book Creator to put it together and send it to everyone in the family. This is a great way to teach them to see a range of perspectives, and to practice using computers for reasons other than games.
There are plenty of free touch-typing programs out like Typing Club and teachers can’t recommend them highly enough. It’s only going to get harder for kids who can’t type at school, so this is a great way to give them confidence using the keyboard.
Record Each Other Reading On iPads
Sounds like something out of a Seinfeld episode, but our contributing teacher Rose Pennington swears by it, plus it’s a great way to get them to read. Pair them up and have them take turns filming each other reading.
Depending on the age of your children, these school holidays suggestions may or may not all be suitable. We’ll leave it to your competent minds to make those decisions.