Summer is a time for exploration and adventure, and whilst it gives children the opportunity to get away from the classroom for a few weeks, it shouldn’t mean the end of educational activities altogether. There are plenty of things to keep children occupied over the summer holidays that will be entertaining whilst furthering their development.
Although they run activities all year round, museums are great for the summer holidays because they have a regular schedule of educational activities, geared towards a variety of ages. Science museums are well-known for interactive activities that will give children the opportunity to get stuck in and get their hands dirty, whilst natural history museums offer children the unique opportunity of viewing – and sometimes even handling – natural wonders like fossils.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed museum activity, most will offer resources and plans for self-guided tours and activity packs you can download from the museum website before you visit. These are a great alternative to organised events because they allow you to work through the activities at your own pace and you can customise them as you see fit.
Wildlife flourishes in the summer, with all the creatures born in spring now starting to grow and mature, offering plenty of teaching opportunities where pupils can learn about the life cycle of different creatures. If you’re lucky enough to live close to a national park, they encourage wildlife viewing as an activity so there will be plenty of creatures for children to learn about, along with ready-made activity packs at certain locations.
Zoos also offer a great environment for learning where kids can see exotic creatures they wouldn’t otherwise be able to observe. If you’re heading to a zoo, you can make an activity pack with games like animal bingo, or a themes crossword.
Getting kids in the garden and growing their own plants a great way to teach them about nature and the world around them. Make sure to choose a plant that will grow quickly to keep impatient little gardeners interested, and will be easy to look after.
Not only will gardening encourage children to spend time in the outdoors, but it also helps them learn about the lifecycle of a plant and how the natural world sustains itself. Older children can keep a scientific logbook to track the progress of their plant’s growth, teaching them scientific observation and data gathering skills.
Scavenger hunts are great for hands-on learning and are easily customisable for different ages and abilities. They encourage children to explore the outdoors and get active, making them the perfect educational activity for the summer months when children can run around without the danger of catching a cold. Scavenger hunts also teach children problem-solving skills and can be used to encourage teamwork if you have more than one player.
Literacy and Numeracy
Although intense learning should take a backseat in the summer, practicing literacy and numeracy skills over the summer break is crucial to maintaining a steady development. It also means that children won’t have forgotten everything they learnt earlier in the year once they get back into the classroom in September.
Incorporating literacy and numeracy activities over the summer break will ensure that children maintain the same levels they finished the educational year with, or in some cases have even advanced. There are plenty of educational resources on the internet to help you organise literacy and numeracy based games and activities, both indoors and outside.