Summer holidays are great! A time where children don't have to think about school and homework and a time for lots of fun and relaxation. But long periods away from school can often lead to what researchers call "Brain Drain"; where children lose valuable knowledge and skills.
Keeping your child academically minded doesn't mean sending them off to a strict summer school or making them do extra homework everyday. There are hundreds of creative ways to keep your child's mind active by simply taking advantage of some teachable moments throughout the day.
To help give you some inspirational ideas, here are 8 tips to help your child keep their minds active and encourage learning through the long summer holidays:
A great way of keeping your child's brain active and encourage their English and writing skills is to have them keep a diary of family days out and fun things they do throughout their summer break. Whether it be writing about a day out at the beach or zoo, a walk in the rain, fun at the park or new places you have visited together, a diary will help your child grow their creative imagination, write descriptive accounts of their experiences and build their vocabulary skills. Encourage them to share their descriptions with you by reading them aloud and have fun taking photos together to accompany their stories.
Planning a day trip for the family usually involves travel logistics and plenty of research. Why not let your child take charge of planning a day trip. Allow them to do the research into where they would like to go, find out prices and opening hours of the place they have chosen and give them a budget to work with. Encourage them to get directions and decide the best way to travel whether it be by car, train or coach. Ask them to decide whether a picnic would be the best option for food or to discover a local place they would like to dine at. This will not only be a fun and interesting project for your child to take on but will almost certainly sharpen their critical thinking and researching skills whilst giving them a real sense of responsibility.
Maths can be incorporated into so many things that we naturally do throughout the day. Encourage maths and practical learning with some fun and easy activities that can be incorporated into your daily schedule. Whether it be measuring ingredients for a special cake recipe you'll make together or counting fruit into a basket on a trip to the pick-your-own orchard. Maths learning can be fun and the more your child becomes familiar with maths concepts and including these into their everyday lives the easier maths will become for them.
Most children will be naturally drawn to something. It could be anything such as singing, cycling, dinosaurs, painting, reading or gardening to name but a mere few. Encourage your child to learn more about their passion and spend some quality time helping them pursue it. Children will naturally learn more easily about something that really interests them.
Exploring different cultures and celebrating different experiences is a fun way of encouraging your child to learn about the world. Simply taking your child to a new restaurant to discover new tastes or visiting a cultural centre will help them learn about other cultures and some differences these cultures may have to our own. Summer holidays usually have different kinds of festivals you can take your children to or if your summer holidays take you abroad then there will be plenty of new sights and language sounds to be taken in.
Visiting museums can give children new experiences that will build their academic skills. With so many different museums all over the UK you will be spoilt for choice as to where to take them. Museums offer great insight into past histories, art and science. Take the opportunity a museum offers for discovering and learning about things that interest your child.
We all know the importance of reading to help a child build their literary skills and vocabulary. The more a child learns to incorporate reading into their daily reading the quicker they will build those skills. Make sure your child has a quite time during the day (every day if possible) where they sit and read. Make sure that they learn to spend time reading by themselves but also have some times where they can read to you and share this time talking about the book and going over any parts they may not have understood.
Science can be a fascinating subject and one that when learned with fun can encourage a child's love of the subject. Spending some quality time trying out some fun home experiments with your child will help build their imaginations and develop new skills.
Take the opportunity to help fuel your child's brain as often as possible and they will reap the benefits as well as being prepared for their next year at school.
Post By: Anna Michaelidou
Anna has been a private tutor of both English Literature and English Language for fifteen years having taught all levels from nursery school right through to university level. She has a BA (Hons) Degree in English Literature & Modern Languages, is a writer, content marketing executive and a busy mother of four lovely children.