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The summer holidays are a time that most school age kids look forward with excitement, and they are undoubtedly a wonderful time for students to relax and unwind after a busy school year. School holidays are an excellent opportunity for children to exercise greater freedom of choice and take on more responsibility for how they spend their time, which allows them to explore their own interests and develop independence. Between trips to the park, bike rides and beach days, summer holidays facilitate children spending far more time outside and being active, which is more important than ever in our society where sedentary lifestyles are becoming increasingly common. We also can’t overlook the fact that school holidays, particularly the extended summer break after just plain fun!

While the summer holidays are a perfect time for children to take a break and rejuvenate, its still important for their brains to be engaged and stimulated to keep up with their learning and ward off the antsy-ness and boredom that can arise from an abundance of rest and relaxation. Keep reading for Hope Tutoring’s (Brisbane Tutors) top tips on how to keep up with your child’s learning over the summer holidays!

1. Read, read, read!

Reading is a fantastic activity for any child regardless of their age. It increases the size of their world by opening their minds to new viewpoints, different experiences and unfamiliar places, and will teach valuable life lessons about family, friendship, adventure and determination. Children who read regularly have a wider vocabulary, stronger comprehension skills and greater confidence in learning, so the summer holidays are an excellent time to pique your child’s interest in books!

Having a wide variety of materials, like picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, comic books and magazines available is key to engaging children in reading, as it allows them the autonomy to choose what they are interested in, and will lead to greater enjoyment. Try taking a trip to your local library together and allowing them to pick out things they like.

For children who aren’t independent readers yet, this same advice still applies, but they’ll need some additional supports. Reading with a parent, friend or sibling is perfect, and is an excellent opportunity for bonding time, and audiobooks are also wonderful for encouraging independence.

If you’re a member of Brisbane City Council Library (which is free), you can also access audiobooks and ebooks right from your own mobile device or computer through the Libby app, which is perfect for getting new material quickly.

2. Get them involved with cooking

Cooking is an excellent practical life skill to have, and following a recipe allows children to practice reading and following instructions, measuring ingredients enhances fine motor skills and teaches about volume and mass and cooking itself is a perfect demonstration of cause and effect. Most kids love to join in cooking with their parents, or even attempt recipes independently.

You can take this one step further, and get your children involved with planning family meals, making a grocery list and doing the shopping (it’s a great activity to get them to try and find the right items in the supermarket!) or even letting them plan and execute a dinner party or afternoon tea.

3. Play board games

Board games are fantastic for practicing a multitude of different skills, exercising their brains and they provide a great environment for quality family bonding time. Games like trouble or snakes and ladders allow for practice of turn taking, counting and chance, scrabble teaches about logic and literacy, chess is all about strategy and Monopoly is excellent for money management. Playing games in a safe family environment is also excellent for developing children’s emotional literacy as it helps them to learn how to cope with disappointment and success, and support other players too!

If you’re looking for ways to adapt common games for children with learning difficulties, check out our blog on fun home learning games for children with Autism to give you some ideas!

4. Keep a summer diary or blog

Encouraging your child to express their thoughts, feelings, experiences and ideas is really valuable for developing a strong sense of self, and free writing supports their ability to expand their vocabulary and articulate their feelings. They can write about anything they’d like to, such as what they got up to in the day, a game they played, a friend they visited or something new they learnt, and accompany it with illustrations to engage another brain area. This has the added benefit of turning into a wonderful keepsake when they’re older and will be lots of fun to look back on.

5. Go on an educational outing

The brilliant thing about this suggestion is that any outing can be made educational! Visiting a museum or art gallery, heading to a national park, going for a walk on the beach, visiting the library or planning a day at the zoo are all fun ideas full of learning opportunities. Brisbane City Council also puts on numerous free events for children during the school holidays, so take a look at their website to see if there’s anything your child might be interested in here.

To bump up the educational and skill-building value of an outing, try taking a new mode of transport to get there, like the bus, train, tram, ferry or even riding a bike. Getting the kids involved by teaching them about maps and different routes and stations is lots of fun, and highly practical too.

6. Write letters to friends and family

Encourage your child to practice their writing, spelling, grammar and drawing skills by getting them to write a letter or postcard to friends or family members. This can also be a great opportunity for learning about addresses and the post system, and can be turned into a fun outing by taking a trip to a post box or post office.

7. Design and go on a treasure hunt

Treasure hunts are oodles of fun, and a perfect opportunity for children to practice a range of skills they will have learnt at school! Devising a route, thinking of clues and searching are all educational and super fun.

8. Learn a new language

Whether your child learns a language other than English at school or not, learning a new language over the holidays can be really rewarding and fun, for the whole family! Learning simple vocabulary your child can put into practice at home is perfect, like the words for different actions, foods and rooms. Your child will benefit immensely from learning a foreign language, from improved concentration, better problem solving abilities, additional neural connections and even increased empathy.

We hope this blog has given you some new ideas on how to keep up with your child’s learning over the summer holidays. Give some of these a try to keep holiday boredom at bay! Or contact us for a fun tutoring session with a learning support tutor at Hope Tutoring