Opportunities to enrich your child’s learning with off-syllabus activities is one of the best things about the summer holidays. But, six weeks to fill with fun and educational activities can be daunting for even the most pro-active parent — so we’ve pulled together some ideas to get you started.
Arts and crafts without the mess (or the cost)
Children of all ages love arts and crafts, but parents hate the clean up! Paper off-cuts on the floor, glue in places it shouldn’t be, paint in the hair, and glitter; is there anywhere glitter doesn’t end up!?
Fret not, the arts and crafts fairies have answered your prayers and have laid on numerous free workshops across the UK. Simply take your little ones along armed with their imaginations, and let their creative juices flow. No shopping for supplies, no prep, and no clean up afterwards!
Local libraries often run free workshops. Alternatively, if you have HobbyCraft near you, they are running free weekly craft workshops as part of their Kids Craft Club. Make sure you book in advance.
Arts and crafts activities help children to hone their fine motor skills and coordination. Developing their imagination will impact other subjects too such as early literacy skills and creative thinking. While creating their masterpiece, children will focus their attention and without knowing it test their memory and forward plan their next process or brushstroke.
Museums are more than just exhibits
Head to the Science Museum in London this summer and you will find some of our own team members! We will near the shop every Wednesday from 11am – 3:30pm demonstrating experiments with our Primary Science Lab Set and giving you the opportunity to get hands-on with some of our best-sellers. Read more in this blog post “Join Learning Resources at The Science Museum“.
There is loads to do this summer at the Science Museum. Our favourite is the Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles interactive show – sure to be a hit with all ages!
It’s not just the Science Museum. Across the country museums are laying on some fantastic activities tailored to a range of ages and interests this summer.
Best of all, many of the bigger museums offer free admission (donations are welcomed) and for those that charge for entry, it’s worth checking online in advance to see if you can get a discount!. Many museums and attractions even offer reduced entry for the last hours of opening — great for shorter attention spans and for using up their last bit of energy towards end of the day!
Get lost in orienteering
Orienteering is the perfect family activity. It gets children outdoors and exploring while teaching them map reading skills. Essentially, orienteering is using your navigation skills to travel between control points on a map.
It truly gives youngsters skills for life. Being in charge of the map will teach them to be independent, and the whole experience will instill a sense of adventure!
There are orienteering clubs who run events all across the UK and many National Trust locations have permanent courses, so you don’t need to wait for an event. Simply pick up an orienteering map at reception, and head to the control point locations.
Similar to orienteering is Geocaching – ‘The World’s Largest Treasure Hunt’. Simply download the free app and search for geocaches in your area. These are essentially checkpoints or control points, much like with orienteering with hidden away little boxes containing gifts that others have left. You’ll also find a notepad so that you can add your name to the list of visitors to that geocache.
Pack a pencil, snacks and drinks, and maybe something to swap for a gift in the box! Wear comfy clothing, then head out for a walk. Children will relish the opportunity to be the leader and read the map. The app will give you hints if you are struggling to locate the geocache! It’s fun for all the family that doesn’t cost a penny.
Summer is for festivals, even for kids!
Festivals needn’t be a thing of the past when you have children. Kids festivals are becoming more popular, offering fun for all the family. More than just a tent in the corner and the occasional child-friendly activity, kids festivals are jam-packed with entertainment.
Our team are really excited about England’s Medieval Festival. It’s on from the 25 – 27th August at the nestled-away Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex. This one of a kind event is as authentic as it gets. From the moment you arrive you are immersed in the excitement, sights and sounds of the medieval period, and the entertainment and activities follow suit. There’s horseback displays, mud theatres, and even the chance to be a real-life knight and try your hand at archery.
As well as being plenty of fun, kids festivals can be a good introduction to camping, living alongside nature and being out in the elements. Family Festival Guide, Festival Kidz have a handy map and calendar to help you with finding upcoming festivals in your area.
STEM activities you can do at home
Once you are exhausted from days out, there is plenty of educational fun you can have at home.
Did you know you can carry out simple science experiments with just the contents of your kitchen cupboard? Or that you can make a car that moves using contents from your recycling bin and a balloon?
For inspiration, visit Little Bins for Little Hands. They point out that your youngsters may even be doing science experiments without even realising it! When they bounce a ball over and over, push a car down a ramp, or fill up a bucket of water and tip it over – this is STEM in action.
The holidays needn’t halt your little one’s education. With a little bit of planning you can continue their learning throughout the holidays — encouraging scientific thinking, creativity, observational skills and problem solving. Still stuck for inspiration? Check out our top tips for exploring the outdoors for more ideas!