According to oxfordlearning, teachers spend up to 6 weeks recapping material that students might have forgotten over the summer break. Two months of reading and 2.6 months of math skills are lost during this period, and the effect is cumulative, meaning that children who have constantly spent their summer without practising will not perform as well when they return to school in September, compared to their peers who have taken part in learning activities. Therefore, one of the biggest challenges a parent might face is to keep kids away from video-games or TVs and persuade them to undertake learning activities.
This article will give you 7 ideas on how you could create a fun environment that will facilitate your child’s learning this summer. Make sure you keep reading as we saved the best for last!
1. Make a gingerbread family or an exotic dish
It is very important to allow your children to engage in activities such as cooking. When exposed to daily chores from a young age, children develop a feeling of responsibility, confidence, and if parents make the activity fun, kids will be sure to enjoy similar activities later in life. You should start by letting them watch you cook a sweet dessert that also challenges their artistic skills. Bake a gingerbread family together. Of course, some of you out there would like to focus on something even healthier, so why not download an exotic fruits recipe? If your child will show interest in the process, let him/her help you.
An advantage to this is that children are more likely to eat a “strange” dish if they make it themselves. Apart from teaching them how to be responsible and creative, this will be an opportunity to learn about different cultures. Where do these fruits grow? What type of weather facilitates their growth? What other traditional foods can you find in the country of origin?
2. Build something
3D puzzles are a great way to discover little future architects. Puzzles help children train logic, observation skills and, once again, the activity can be very informative. For example, buy your child a Vatican model and assist the building process. Read together what the building stands for, inform them about the hidden libraries and forbidden archives, put a little magic in the story. Do some research together about the art exposition, discuss with your child why the Vatican is an independent state, what other attractions they can find in Rome, tell them about the Coliseum, Caesar, lions, princesses and gladiators. Once you finish the Vatican puzzle they could move onto building the Coliseum for example, if they like the gladiators.
3. Plan a trip together
Involve your child in planning a trip, teach them how to use a map (not the virtual ones) and a compass. You can teach them how to find tourist attractions, how to estimate and calculate real distance, how to calculate the quantity of petrol needed to arrive to the destination, estimate costs. If you are planning to travel abroad encourage them to do some research into the country and make sure you reward them for their effort.
4. Visit a factory or a studio
Learning how things are made can be extremely fascinating for children if connected to something they love. Take chocolate as an example, Birmingham has the Cadbury World, take a tour of the chocolate factory and museum. A factory tour can be interesting for parents too, as it starts from the furthest points in the chocolate history and gently advances to the modern era where British bourgeoisie would consume hot chocolate as a luxury product. The best part is that the tour will be accompanied by free chocolate samples.
5. Museum trips and treasure hunts
Museum trips can be easily turned into treasure hunts by starting the tour with the souvenir shop. Let your child pick whatever image/magnet/toy attracts them. Based on their selection you can start a treasure hunt, whoever finds out most about that specific attraction wins (a healthy snack for instance). You can even allow them to explore the museum by taking a virtual tour, or printing a map, which will train your child’s spatial orientation skills. Make sure you let them lead the way, pretend to get lost, train their problem-solving skills.
6. Visit historical places
British castles are brought to life by waxworks of famous people such as kings, princesses, maids and knights. A trip to a historical place will be educative and fascinating for a child who is interested in royalty, knights, heroes and similar stories. Take Warwick castle as an example, you child can learn about British history, local legends, the war of the roses, Henry the 8th and Churchill by visiting it.
7. Enrol them on an XLR8 summer course
XLR8 courses are a brand-new camp that offers a range of activities for all ages and interests. This can be the most complex way for your child to learn this summer. He/she will have the chance to take part in talent shows, dance competitions, den building, create their own tribe or superhero and a wide range of sporting activities. All this whilst making new friends and setting personal records.
The activities are run during school holidays, with the aim to develop key skills of enterprise, communication and teamwork. XLR8 encourages young people to challenge themselves through competitive games, make new friends during team building activities and offers the opportunity for parents to get involved and join in the fun too! The camps are run by highly qualified Health Mentors who carefully supervise all the activities the children take part in, while educating them into leading a healthy lifestyle. For more information click here.