Ways to keep young brains active during the summer holidays
For most children, the start of the summer holidays offers them more time playing outdoors, more time with their friends, their toys and online activities and less time for learning new things. For some, they'll actually find they begin to forget what they've learned during the past year and start the new school term further behind than they were before their summer break.
At Kumon, we do things a little differently, as we encourage our students to continue their maths and English studies every day of their school holiday. It's a study routine that Kumon students become accustomed to, perhaps completing their worksheets upon waking so that they have the rest of the day's fun activities and playtime to enjoy. While families take a well-earned break from the routine of school, the summer holidays are the ideal time to find new hobbies and interests, and enjoyable ways to keep young brains active too.
Parents trying to find a balance between fun and learning can find many resources for days out so their child does not become bored, but a new hobby and holiday routine will keep their brain ticking over. Ensuring children continue educational activity over the summer can mean they are confident, equipped, and ready to tackle new topics when they go back to school.
We've created a list of ways you can encourage your child's learning over the summer holidays, without them even realising:
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, people they meet or anything new they've learnt. The diary will also be a nice keepsake for them, full of fun memories.
Write postcards to friends and family
If you are going away, you could suggest they write postcards to send to their friends and family at home, detailing their adventures. This means they are continuing to practise their writing, spelling and grammar.
Take educational trips
Visit a museum, the zoo or take a nature walk; all low-cost ways for children to have fun while learning. Visit your local city website or community library to learn what's going on in your area in the coming weeks. You can make these experiences even more enriching by setting them tasks to do whilst there, like a scavenger hunt across a museum.
Perfecting our researching skills
if you're holidaying in the UK, or even abroad this summer, could you give your children some research responsibilities on the location before you leave? Encourage children to find places of historical significance in the location they are visiting, or even to know the nearest leisure centre or cinema in case of a need for rainyday activities! Either way, this will stimulate ideas and interest in the location from the child and may allow them to get a grasp of culture, traditions and landmarks in different areas of the country, improving their historical and geographical knowledge.
Your child should be encouraged to maintain their reading habits over the summer. With more time on their hands, just a small amount of time dedicated to their book is a great activity to engage your child's attention and help them relax. It's even better if you're able to set a reading example yourself - so treat yourself to a good book for fifteen minutes a day!
Try and set some reading goals with your child so they have something to aim for. Perhaps, if you are planning to go to the cinema to see a film adaptation of a popular book, you could encourage your child to read the book beforehand? Afterwards, you can discuss the ways in which the book has been interpreted in the film. Your Kumon Instructor is a great source of ideas for suitable books and fun reading activities - they would love to see a written, or even video book review, especially if the book is from the Kumon Recommended Reading List.
Budgeting their pocket money
We use our maths skills every day in the simplest of tasks, from counting change to time-keeping. Encourage your child to take charge of their own pocket money; they can budget it and allocate funds for upcoming activities that week.
Board games like Scrabble and Ticket to Ride are both fun, challenging and educational. They'll come in particularly handy on those rainy days by providing hours of mentally stimulating entertainment, as well as a bit of healthy competition.
You can encourage your child to use their creativity and knowledge to build projects from common household materials. In doing so they will learn new skills, practise existing ones and, at the end, have something they made to be proud of.
Students on the Kumon Maths and English Programmes are continuing their daily study throughout the summer holidays, keeping their brains alert and active. Each day they are reinforcing the vital learning and study skills that will help get their new school year off to a flying start.
Learning is like exercise: once you take a break from it, it can be harder to get back on track. So, keep your child's learning on track by ensuring the remainder of their summer holidays is full of learning as well as laughter.