Make learning super fun for your little ones this school holidays with DIY activities from CIS

Canadian International School’s “Nursery Expert” Sam Mackie shares some life saving tips on how to keep your tots happy and occupied during the school holidays

Hurrah for the holidays! Although there’s lots of fun learning activities to do in the great outdoors, there’s also plenty of other ways to channel your tot’s energy. Thankfully we have the expert teaching staff at Canadian International School (CIS) to steer us towards the perfect mix of craft fun and cool (and budget-friendly too!) activities to try with our ‘lil ones through a wonderful play-based learning approach. Here’s the lowdown:

Play-based learning for curious minds
The school’s Nursery Programme (for children ages two to three years) embraces a play-based learning approach inspired by the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, with activities that pique a child’s natural curiosity. What’s more, CIS also offers a unique bilingual learning environment, where classes are led by a native English-speaking teacher and two Mandarin-speaking assistants. Your lucky kids will be making friends from over 70 nations – and we can’t think of a better way for them to be part of a diverse community.

CIS nursery teacher (and bona fide kid expert) Samantha “Sam” Mackie shares with us three creative and inexpensive activities that’ll make learning fun for your ‘lil ones. Summer, here we come!

Psst… before you start…
Some of these activities include small objects that require adult supervision, so don’t forget to keep an eye on your kids at ALL times! We also recommend avoiding games that involve soap or foam for children who have skin allergies – and do remember to avoid any contact with their eyes.

Using playdough helps the ‘lil ones strengthen their hands for better motor skills and more!

Activity: Playdough and sea shells
What you need: Colourful playdough, shells and pebbles
What to do: Have fun building mini castles with playdough, which you can jazz up with with shells and pebbles (trip to the beach, anyone?). Want a tip? You can also include fun patterns by pushing the shells into the dough! While you’re helping your child with their mini creations, use it as an opportunity to chat to them using repetitive words such as ‘poke it’, ‘squeeze it’, ‘pull it’, ‘pat it’ and ‘squish it’.
Why Sam loves it: Playdough helps the ‘lil ones strengthen their hands for better motor skills, improve their language and boost vocabulary. The game involves playing and interacting with different shells and pebbles, which helps encourage their counting skills and improve their language and vocabulary.

This simple activity builds on your child’s inquisitiveness as they are likely to communicate and interact with you as they discover the hidden objects.

Activity: What’s underneath the blanket?
What you need: A lidded box or a small basket and blanket and your child’s favourite toys.
What to do: Put one or more objects in the basket, place it in front of your child, and invite them to uncover its contents. Don’t forget to add to the excitement by saying, “I wonder what’s under the blanket?. Remember, the fun’s in the whole process, so don’t rush them! Start by counting the objects under the blanket together – this way, you also incorporate mathematics into the game. Psst… you can also teach your child how to compare objects by using words and phrases such as “This spoon is longer/smaller than the other spoon”.
Why Sam loves it: Toddlers are naturally curious and they LOVE opening anything their busy little hands can find, including boxes or cupboards. This simple activity builds on your child’s inquisitiveness as they are likely to communicate and interact with you as they discover the hidden objects. Plus it’s pretty adorable to see how excited they get over a toy they’ve had forever!

Washing day
What you need: Two containers, small toys, water, dish soap, towel, box and sponge.
What to do: Fill two containers, one with slightly soapy water and the other with plain ol’ water. Then, ask your child to help you place the items that are going to be washed into a box.  Show them how to wash and rinse the objects using a sponge, before using the towel to dry them.
Why Sam loves it: This responsibility-building activity encourages children to take pride in what they do. It also works on your child’s hand-eye coordination and helps strengthen hand preference. BONUS: This activity can be used to sharpen your child’s math skills as you count the items and point out the different colours and sizes. To make the task extra awesome, don’t forget to sing a song as you wash (if you don’t know any, make one up!).

When it comes to making learning fun, we can always count on CIS to offer creative and engaging ideas that’ll encourage kids to think, explore and discover the world around them. And thanks to “Nursery Expert” Sam, we’ve now got an cool bag of tricks to keep our toddlers busy this summer! Phew!

To find out more about CIS’ nursery programme click here or contact their Admissions Team on +65 6734 8088 

This post is sponsored by Canadian International School.