As the holidays approach it is important to rest and recoup, after all 11 weeks of constant goal setting, explicit learning, relentless practice and thought provoking reflection can take its toll. Holiday time can very quickly slip into large amounts of screen time and decreased conversations but here are some ideas to keep your child’s brain ticking over without them feeling like it is learning. (As mentioned on Kidspot)
Get messy in the kitchen and bake
Have the kids been learning about fractions in school? Then pull out the baking cups and measuring spoons, because it’s time to bring those classroom lessons to life! Kids just love getting messy, so why not bake a cake with them? Let them do the scooping, measuring and mixing and they’ll be applying their mathematical knowledge, as well as learning about the chemistry of baking. Following a recipe is also good practise for them in following instructions. Check out Kidspot Kitchen for oodles of kid-friendly recipes that range from easy peasy to simple as.
Build a worm farm
Did you know worms are great for your garden? They also wiggle, squirm and delight kids to no end! Kids can make their own composting worm farm with these easy instructions. Sure, they might have learnt about recycling and biodegrading at school, but seeing their worms nibble food scraps, that then turn into compost, will have them really grasping the concept. They will also love caring for their worms and learn that even the smallest creature can produce something that contributes to the ecosystem.
Pull out a deck of cards
Remember how you loved playing Go Fish and Crazy Eights as a child? Guess what? Your kids will too! Introduce them to the fun world of card games and they’ll be practising their number and pattern recognition skills, without even knowing it.
Thrill them with tongue twisters
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers ... and sent all the children into fits of laughter! Tongue twisters are fun, especially when kids say them as fast as they can, but did you know they are also used as a speech therapy exercise? If your child struggles with reading aloud, or stumbles over words, have him practise some tongue twisters in the holidays. Reading may just be a little easier for him when school returns.
Have some fizzy fun
What kid doesn’t love to watch things pop, change colour or fizz? Turn your kitchen into a laboratory over the holidays and have some science fun. Kidspot has over 91 easy science experiments that will wow little ones and cement those scientific principals they’ve been learning at school. Classic ones like the egg in a bottle or the colourful milk swirl experiment are always a hit.
Make alphabet peg dolls
Has your young schoolie been learning the alphabet? This cute craft activity will ensure they don’t forget their A-Zs over the break. Simply paint on some letters and ask your child to line up their peg characters in alphabetical order. Older kids can also practise their spelling by forming word formations, and even older kids will probably extend this game further to words we wished they didn’t know (!).
Go day tripping
Pack the day packs, drink bottles and sunscreen and go exploring in your city. Day tripping is not only fun, it’s also a great way for kids to discover new things about the world they live in. Check out if there are any exhibitions on to do with topics the kids have been learning at school, or just see where the day takes you! You never know what cool things are down a lane or in a big city park.
Teach them to knit
Don’t let all that handwriting improvement over the past year go to the wayside over the break. Knitting, hand sewing and crocheting are fun skills for littlies to learn that will also exercise their fine motor skills and help to build finger dexterity. If your kids are too young for needles, try this fun finger knitting activity, which will see them make yarn chains that can be turned into friendship bracelets! Cute.
Rock their world with riddles
Kids love riddles but what they don’t realise (while giggling their heads off!), is that they are actually giving their brains quite a workout. Riddles require us to think outside of the square and find solutions to problems that aren’t obvious. When kids do brain teasers or riddles, they are opening up new thought processes that will help to develop their problem solving skills.
Visit the local library
Nothing turns kids off reading more than being forced to do so (think school readers - snore). But when they discover a book or author they love, the joy of reading is born. Encourage them to spend the holidays engrossed in the pages of a book (or 10) by visiting your local library. Let them choose whatever they would like to read, or learn about, and watch their love of reading blossom.
Grow some food
Teaching your kids to grow their own food is a fun way for them to learn about where food really comes from. Building a veggie patch, planting a fruit tree or cultivating a herb garden are all ways for kids to grow edible crops that the whole family can enjoy. Being able to bring their home grown produce to the dinner table will give kids a real sense of accomplishment and, with any luck, a new appreciation for food.
Play board games and puzzles
Board games like Scrabble, Monopoly, Pictionary or even Snakes and Ladders, are fantastic for exercising little minds. Pull out a boxed game and your kids will be practising their numbers, letters and shape recognition skills, improving their hand-eye coordination, or honing in on their visual perception and colour identification skills. Plus, board games are the perfect, "Mu-um, we're bored" antidote on holiday rainy days.