With the festive season and school holidays just weeks away, we begin to look forward to the break. Although the children aren’t in school, it doesn’t mean that learning should stop and, instead, there are a range of activities that you and your child can take part in, to promote and progress your child’s knowledge. These activities will assist with maintaining your child’s engagement, as well as stimulating their minds. Many of the following activities won’t feel like lessons, to you or your children, yet they are beneficial for developing vital skills and broadening their minds.
For children, writing should be regularly practised during the holidays to ensure the spelling and form of words remain at the same level as when they are at school. Rather than asking your children for long pieces, get them to help you out with shopping lists, Christmas cards, gift tags, or ask them if they would like to create a written gift, for example, a short poem for a family member or friend. Alternatively, encourage them to keep a diary of all the fun they have had during the festive break so that you can all look back on it and remember the time for many years to come.
Whether your child is reading to you or vice versa, keeping up with your children’s reading skills has many benefits and will keep them on track with the progress and stage they have reached at school. Try to make some time for you and child to sit down together and get stuck into a good book. As it will be the holidays, why not choose something from a genre or author that you haven’t tried before? Alternatively, select comics or magazines instead of story books.
Games and Puzzles – Family Jigsaw
Literacy and numeracy are a large feature of most board games so not only will the children be having fun, but they will be practising their skills too. The classic games such as junior Scrabble, Monopoly and Balderdash will encourage thought and imagination throughout the duration of the game.
At Christmas time, sweet treats and sumptuous savouries are abundant; try and encourage your children to get involved with the preparation and cooking of food during the holidays. The process can start with reading a selection of recipes, writing shopping lists, weighing out ingredients and keeping a close eye on the time, all of which are great for exercising their study skills.
Technological devices can be used to keep your child’s minds active during the school holidays. There is an array of educational apps aimed at children of all ages, abilities and interests. Apps are fun, as well as educational and utilising this valuable learning tool during the holidays will be hugely beneficial to your child. Our recent feature How Children Can Make the Most of Technology highlights a selection of the leading educational apps for children.
As winter sets in, the temperature is dropping and the days are shorter, getting outdoors to play and explore isn’t always the most appealing activity, but it can be hugely positive for both you and your child. The outdoors is an enriching environment for children; it boosts fitness, confidence, imagination and, ultimately, promotes self-development. We are lucky to be near moor and coast. Wrap up and enjoy.
Family outings can also contribute to your child’s education. Visiting a local museum such as the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, will provide an immersive learning experience that presents a range of perspectives and ideas. With interactive displays and visual representations, their exposure to exhibits will encourage both critical and creative thinking, as our Year 6 no doubt found out at the Roald Dahl museum on their trip to London this month. As a family, share conversation as you observe and when you return home about your favourite exhibits, time in history or piece of art.
National Trust and English Heritage always have events on for the children. Theatre trips are also a good idea. Alternatively, a trip to the zoo or aquarium provides an insight into animal behaviour, conservation and the greater environment. Most zoos and aquariums have an extensive educational programme, with regular talks and interactive activities scheduled each day. Plymouth Aquarium, Paignton Zoo and Living Coasts in Torquay are all fantastic and further afield there is Longleat Safari Park.
During your child’s schooling at St Peter’s Prep School, we strive to ensure children receive a varied and interesting curriculum so they develop academically and remain engaged because they are involved in regular educational trips, outdoor and indoor play and, of course, in structured and constructive lessons. This term so far, pupils have visited the theatre to see The Gruffalo, Around the world in 80 days and The School of Rock. Year 8 has been on an adventure weekend to Cornwall. Year 1 visited St John’s in the Wilderness Church and The Donkey Sanctuary brought some of their donkeys to St Peter’s! Year 2 experienced a Victorian Day at Powderham Castle and Year 1 children visited the Yarak Bird of Prey Centre. Nursery children had a picnic on Woodbury Common, went to the beach and enjoyed forest school. During half-term, there was a five-day school trip to Rome and the Year 6 children have also just been on a three-day trip to London.