School’s Out for Summer – Now What?

With July fast approaching and the 6 week hiatus just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about summer activities. Sure, it’s easy to switch Cbeebies on and not reach for the off-button until September, but why not use this free time to do something proactive?

Something, dare I say it, educational?

Whilst this word might have your kids running for the hills, they needn’t know that their new favourite game is actually teaching them something beneficial. The 6 week summer holidays can be a difficult time to tackle, particularly if you have to jungle work and child care. However, if you’re lucky enough to get some time off with your children, a little edu-fun could go on long way.

In fact, a recent study by the University of Missouri-Columbia found that when children return to school after a long summer vacation, they’ve lost one to three months’ worth of learning! It’s not that it just drops out of their brain; more that children thrive in learning environments and without them, their “optimal learning capacity” may suffer – and you wouldn’t want that! For inspiration, take a look at these great ideas and share your own in the comments section below.

Little Chef

baking cakes

Teach your kids to cook and get them passionate about food. This will give them a healthy and hands-on approach to food and cooking – something that can be integral to the rest of their life. Studies have shown that the sooner children establish an independent relationship with food; the less likely they’ll be to have food-related issues in the future. Naturally, you might be worried about them using an oven. If so, check out these 15 no-bake summer treats, perfect for accident-prone little chefs.

The Library

When I was a kid my parents used to take me to the library and tell me I could pick any book I wanted. This was beneficial in a number of ways. It not only got me excited about reading but gave me a sense of independence and decisiveness. That whole library was mine to explore and I didn’t have to answer to anyone regarding my choices. This, of course, meant that I spent hours ploughing through multi-colored history volumes and the Complete Works of Enid Blyton only to check out 4 or 5 copies of Beano. But still, I was looking at learning from a different perspective because I felt like I owned the process. Cheeky, but effective.

Build a Den

Any soft furnishings you thought were soft furnishings have suddenly become the building blocks of your child’s ultimate dream house. Bring all your duvets into the living room, up-turn sofas, cover the floor with cushions; use a broom stick as a teepee pole, clothes pegs as binders and the cat as a guard to the castle gates.

tepee

When you’ve got kids, it doesn’t pay to be precious about these things and whilst you might question what educational value den building has, there’s lessons to be learnt here. From structural engineering to teamwork, patience to vision, building a den will teach your children how to look at everyday objects from a different perspective – a highly transferable and creative skill.

Picture This

Buy a couple of cheap disposable cameras and ask your kids to take pictures of things they find beautiful. Whether they take their new lens on an outside adventure or just find things around the house that they like, you’ll be surprised at how interesting and unexpected a child’s point of view can be.

Feed the Birds

By mixing soft lard with a variety of seeds and nuts, your kids can create the perfect bird feed. However, they’ll need to figure out a way of presenting this to the birds so that they can easily reach it – safely away from cats and dogs. Consider using the skin of half an orange and filling it with the mixture or recycling plastic bottles. Alternatively, go hunting for pine cones in the forest and then when you’re all back in the kitchen, smoosh peanut butter into the crevices and roll the nutty cone in bird seed.

Of course, all of these options need to have a piece of string attached so that they can be hung in trees.  I’d recommended using a thick wire for added protection from squirrels.

Disclaimer: This is a commissioned guest post.

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