Holidays; even more opportunities for education!

Give them something new to do - even if with something old!

Give them something new to do – even if with something old!

Yay! Holidays! Wonderful!

But despite the fact it’s six weeks off from learning in schools for some kids, for other families who educate out of school life is just the same. Because kids go on learning all the time, whatever they are doing and wherever they are.

It’s not only organised lessons that educate children. Living life educates children, especially if they have someone to discuss it with, someone who’ll take a few minutes to answer their questions and promote thinking by raising more. Someone who’ll show them new places and give them new experiences. Someone who’ll share things with them. And someone who’ll help them do things independently too, which develops confidence and self esteem.

New activities extend their lives and increases their confidence and being outside over the summer brings the opportunity to engage with a wider range of activities and people. Extended living extends learning too.

Here are some examples of activities you could do to extend their lives:

–          Go new places regularly. These don’t have to be far away. There’ll be plenty on your doorstep you haven’t explored. Check out your local list online or at the library.

–          Discuss, pose questions, encourage observation and questions from them wherever you are, from supermarket to holiday destination.

–          Encourage variety in your child’s activities. Games are fine – but not all day. Balance indoors with outdoors daily. Sedentary with active. Passive with creative.

–          Creative activities are brilliant at increasing brain function and developing thinking skills. Get them achieving. Let your kids be inventive whilst they’re freed up from more structured activities. We’re not just talking making artworks here; they can make dens, nail wood together, rearrange rooms, create a blog, customise stuff, find alternatives that create change or overcome challenges.

–          Young children love to use the things you use even if at a different level. So they can play with water and containers, foodstuffs, tools and utensils, mud and sand, boxes, a variety of materials and now it can be outdoors there’s no need to worry about mess. Construct an improvised ‘cooker’ or ‘workbench’ outside with whatever you have to hand. They’ll play with it for ages. Old gadgets can be saved for this too.

–          Older kids could explore the wealth of craft materials in some of the cheaper shops like The Works or Poundland to experiment with. Encourage them to think beyond the intended use and be creative and inventive. They don’t have to stick to rules – most famous artists don’t. You can make pictures with paper plates or sculptures or jewellery with cheap utensils and dismantled technology.

–          If you haven’t already, investigate recycling centres and charity shops for diverse finds.

–          Museums, craft centres and galleries often have free workshops for families over the summer. These aren’t only about doing art and craft. They are opportunities to mix and broaden social skills, to develop thinking and motor skills, to try something new. Learning something new develops the brain.

–          Get cooking and get the kids involved with helping provide inexpensive nutritious meals, budgeting and shopping for them, making decisions and helping with preparation. Cook in the garden.

–          Encourage your kids to do new things that they’d never normally consider. Be brave. Branch out.

–          Get your kids involved with charge of their lives, involved with discussions and decisions. This helps build independence and confidence.

–          Find a new physical activity to enjoy whether it’s Kayaking together, a new sport, or wild swimming. Or find clubs or organised activities they can join independently or with a friend.

–          Get picnicking

–          If you don’t already get into the habit of discussing everything. It’s a great way to connect and extends your children’s language skills.

As any home educating family will tell you, children never stop learning whatever they are doing. And as long as they are ‘doing’, rather than passively being ‘entertained’, they will be learning and developing in one way or another.

Learning doesn’t stop during holidays. In fact it’s often holidays that give you some of the best educational opportunities of all because it gives room for personal development. And without time for personal growth, educational growth won’t happen at all.

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