The school holidays have arrived, and suddenly you’re faced with the challenge of keeping your child entertained every day! It can be tempting some days to let them sit in front of the TV or on their tablets for a few hours, but this can lead to ‘summer learning loss’. Studies have shown that children can lose up to one third of the knowledge and skills that they’ve learned during the school year after a period of mental inactivity. We don’t want that!
So, this summer, it’s time to shake up your routines and stimulate those young minds that you’re nurturing! We’ve come up with some really fun and engaging mental stimulation activities for school-age children, which will keep their minds sharp and ready for the term ahead.
You know all of the precious memories that you make with your child over the summer; wouldn’t it be nice to look back on them in the future?
Encourage your child to collect an item of interest each day. This could be a captivating leaf or pebble, a museum admission ticket, or a drawing they have created. If they own a Grapat Collectors Tray, it might be a good idea to empty that and see if anything can be preserved inside the pages of the scrapbook.
These precious summer memories can be kept safe in once place, and only opened on very special occasions when a little bit of magic is needed.
You can’t keep your child sat at a desk each day, tracing letters over and over again. This will suck all of the fun out of summer holidays! However, we know how important it is for your child to keep practicing their handwriting, so we have a couple of imaginative ways in which they can do this without even realising:
- Shopping lists – ask them to write down some items you need for the weekly food shop! This will make them feel ‘grown up’ with responsibilities, alongside keeping them on top of their spelling and letter formation.
- Cards – birthday cards and thank you cards, you name it! If there is any occasion that needs a card, it’s a nice idea to have your child sign their name at the bottom too. Not only will this make them feel like an important and respected member of the family, but their handwriting will certainly thank you!
- Short stories – do you have a little wordsmith on your hands? By asking them to write short stories to friends & family, you’ll boost their confidence, fuel their passion, and help them improve their penmanship!
If you’ve kept up with our blogs for a while now, you’ll know that we’re a huge advocate of designated reading time. This allows your bond with your child to grow stronger, while also helping them develop their literacy and speech skills, especially if they read aloud with you.
Since it’s the summer holidays, why not treat them to a completely new genre or author; something that they’ve never read before. We have plenty of books on our website for you to choose from if you’re stuck for inspiration!
We love a good experiment which can be done at home with inexpensive household items and bucketloads of fun! We’ve come up with a couple of really entertaining experiments that are also educational.
- Glitter & Soap – all you’ll need is a small dish filled with water & a handful of glitter. Add a little pump of hand soap and watch it repel the glitter! This can also serve as a great lesson for why handwashing is really important. You can pretend that the glitter is a cluster of germs, and demonstrate how hand soap gets rid of these nasties!
- Recreate the water cycle – bring science to life with this excellent experiment! Simply fill a zip-lock bag partway with water, close the top, and place it on a sunny windowsill. If your child is feeling creative, have them draw some little waves where the water is, and a sun in the top corner of the bag; this makes the process much easier to visualize. Then, sit back and watch the ‘rain’ as the water evaporates!
Games and Puzzles:
Board games are a subtle way of encouraging your child to work on their literacy and numeracy skills. Many games involve dice to move your token across the board, which is a fun way for your child to keep on top of their counting.
Are they still not convinced? Tell them that their favourite toy can play as well to help encourage their involvement. We think that one of the dolls from Wild Things Toys would look lovely perched at your family table!
The summer holidays are the perfect time to really indulge in your child’s hobbies. If they love to read, treat them to a new book! If they’re into science, do a couple of the above experiments together! No matter how obscure their hobby is, your child will really appreciate your interest in fueling their passion. Who knows what incredible things they’ll do with their lives? You could be nurturing a future bestselling author or a Nobel Prize winner!
Let them be bored!
You can’t plan every second of every day, trying to think of a fun activity for your child – that’s just not how life works! Plus, the stress of planning things will just suck all of the fun out of it, and your child will definitely pick up on this.
Instead, try leaving them with nothing to do. Children have incredible imaginations, and they’ll be able to come up with all sorts of games using whatever comes to mind. Often, these magical moments of playing mermaids in the pool or cops and robbers in the garden, are the ones that your child will look back on fondly when they grow older.
We hope that these fun and engaging activities will help you fill those empty half term hours, all while keeping your child’s mind active and stimulated. Let us know if you put any of these to the test this summer!