How to keep on learning in the summer
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How to keep on learning in the summer

So, they’ve begun. The long six week summer holidays are underway, as text books are packed away and pencil cases left untouched.

The summer holidays are a long break from the classroom and, of course, they’re a time when we want our children to have fun and enjoy themselves. But that doesn’t mean that learning has to be put on hold. With a bit of imagination and a touch of guile, you can make sure that when your children return to school in September they’ll still be buzzing with an eagerness to learn.

Start with their interests
One of the secrets is to make things feel very different from school. Remember, you’re not trying to be a surrogate teacher for six weeks. Start by asking your children what they want to do; tap into their interests and think about reinforcing what they’ve already learnt at school or what they particularly enjoyed, rather than attempting to teach next year’s curriculum.

Create a holiday diary
An old favourite, but still an excellent idea, is the holiday diary. We’ve a dozen or so now on our bookshelves, battered and dog-eared but filled with drawings, short stories, the odd photo and pages of carefully cut out pictures, hand drawn maps and tickets, all glued in next to other mementoes.

Create a holiday newspaper
Older children could even set about creating their own weekly newspaper. There are plenty of easy to use templates you can find on the internet and whizzing that down to the grandparents certainly makes a change from a postcard.

Research your destination
If you’re going away on hols, encourage the children to do a bit of research before they go. A trip to the library could be fruitful and if your children are old enough, check out the internet for books that are set where you’re actually off to on your travels.

Do something a bit different
Closer to home, libraries, leisure centres and even nature reserves can offer a whole raft of activities over the summer that could pique your children’s imagination. It could be a fun morning of creative writing or story reading, a bug hunt round the local park, or the chance to have a go at a new sport.

Fun back at home
Back at home, cooking is a great way to cover some basic maths as they measure and weigh ingredients, as is a game of cards. Learning a game like Patience is great for reinforcing sequences and helping children to recognise numbers; Snap requires a bit of mental – and physical-agility – while games such as Pontoon call on strategy and an element of risk taking.

Get game inventing
You can also get those grey cells fizzing by encouraging your children to enter the Young Games Inventor 2015 competition, with the chance to win lots of prizes, as well as see their ideas brought to life by the Green Board Game team.

Theme it up
Giving the holidays a theme can also open up a lot of possibilities – dinosaurs for the first week, explorers the next and so on. A quick internet search should give you all you need to develop some activities and tasks like word-searches or a treasure hunt round the garden.

Get back to nature
In fact, don’t overlook the garden! OK, it’s going to rain at some stage, but children can lose themselves for hours building dens outside, relishing the challenge of transforming a few old blankets and cardboard boxes into the latest inter-galactic space rocket or stout medieval fortress.

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