The summer holidays are undoubtedly a crucial time to help children rejuvenate and relax after a busy school year, yet as the break continues it is important to start reintroducing a bit of mental stimulation into their days.
This is because having long breaks from learning means children can sometimes require extra support to get back into the routine of daily work and they may be out of practice when the new school year comes around. Over the holidays, many children may experience the ‘summer slide’, which is where they struggle to retain the knowledge they have picked up throughout the school year.
Ensuring they continue educational activity over the summer can mean they are confident, equipped, and ready to tackle new topics when they go back to school. But that doesn’t mean that children should be doing math worksheets and studying vocabulary lists to preserve their skills, instead summer is the perfect time for children to discover that learning is fun and can happen anywhere, possibly without them even realising.
Here are some ways you can encourage your child’s learning over the summer holidays:
Take Educational Trips
Visiting a museum, the zoo or even just taking a nature walk are all great ways for children to have fun while learning. They will pick up lots of information as they go round, for example information about animals and their habitats at the zoo. You can even set them extra, fun tasks to do whilst out. A scavenger hunt whilst out walking or counting how many animals are in each enclosure at the zoo.
Keep a Summer Diary
Free-form writing helps a child build vocabulary, develop their thought processes and learn to articulate how they feel. They can record what they get up to each day and anything new they’ve learnt. If it’s still difficult to visit other family members, have your child write them a letter detailing what’ve they been up to instead. This is a great way to keep their literacy and handwriting skills fresh over the holidays.
Games are a great way to help develop a child’s observational, listening and executive functioning skills, plus most children love to play games! I-Spy and Simon Says are timeless and easy to play, and young children still enjoy them. You can use the games to liven up everyday activities such as going food shopping or a long car journey. Board games like Scrabble and Monopoly are both fun and educational for older children too. They provide stimulating entertainment, whilst enhancing English and math skills, as well as a bit of healthy competition.
Exploring Other Learning Topics
If your child has an interest in a topic that doesn’t fit into the standard, school year curriculum, summer is a great time for them to learn more about it. Personal curiosity acts as a major drive to learn, so whether it’s astronomy, computer programming or animal behaviour, letting your child indulge in their curiosity can really enhance their love for learning.
Children spend a lot of time on their devices these days, so make sure to download some educational apps for them to use. There are some fantastic apps covering a whole range of topics, and if disguised in the form of a game, they won’t even realise they are learning!
Finally, one of the most important things to take away is that summer should be a time for children to relax. Fighting the ‘summer learning slide’ is not a way to put any more pressure on your child, it is merely a time to keep their minds stimulated before returning to school in September.