Guest post by Nicola Lott.
Summer is nearly upon us, and pretty soon the schools will be closing their doors for the summer holidays. There’s always lots to do during the holidays, like going to the PNE, visiting relatives or just heading down to the beach. But just because school’s out, it doesn’t mean the learning needs to stop. Here are some fun brain drain-busting activities that will keep your kids learning–and having fun.
Do some baking
Baking is a great brain drain-buster! Depending on the age of your child, baking involves reading, math, reasoning and motor skills. You can have fun baking with children of all ages because the older they are, the more they can do. To take this activity a step further, encourage your children to set up a stand and sell their baking to neighbours.
Tip: Check out The Dizzy Whisk for kids’ cooking classes and camps in Vancouver.
Make a storybook
Allow your children to take charge of the camera for a day, and then together make a storybook of your day. Print the photos and have your children write a sentence or more explaining the picture. This activity can include writing and math too if you make the book from scratch.
A fun add-on to this activity is to mail the book to a relative once it’s complete. It will add more meaning into the project for your children, and make a lovely gift at the same time.
Tip: Stop by Paper-Ya on Granville Island and choose some special stationery.
Visit the library
Looking for something to do on a rainy day? Don’t forget your library over the summer holidays. Many have fantastic free summer programs to entertain children. Encourage your children to talk to the children’s librarians and ask for book recommendations.
Not only is it practice for your children, but it’s a great way to uncover hidden gems amongst the shelves that unlock your child’s love of literature.
Tip: Look into the Vancouver Public Library’s summer reading program.
Explore at the beach
Next time you head down to the beach, take some extra buckets. Encourage your children to sort the stones and shells that they find along the beach.
You can inspire an interest in science and math by asking questions like:
- “How many ways can you sort them?”
- “How do you think those stones were formed?”
- “What kind of animals live in shells?”
If they don’t know the answers, don’t tell them. Instead, help them find out the answers for themselves.
For younger children, take some old measuring cups to the beach and let them play with them in the water and the sand to learn first-hand how volume and addition works.
Tip: Pack a picnic and enjoy a lunch at Jericho Beach. There are lots of tables around.
The key in turning play into playful learning is in the questions you ask your children. Ask open-ended questions that move the play on from being repetitive, and encourage creativity and imaginative thought.
Good luck and enjoy those lazy hazy summer days!
Nicola Lott focuses on supporting parents who want to teach their young learners naturally through play-based learning techniques. An award-winning presenter, Nicola runs fun, interactive workshops, develops play-based learning literacy programs through Notch Hill and inspires others through her work with Discovery Toys.