Keep your kids' brain muscles flexed throughout the summer with these super cool activities
Parents, summer is upon us: school’s out and the kids are home, which means we have approximately two months to to fill with various fun ways to stop the whole fam going stir crazy. Summer camps, family time and trips out of town are all on the activity schedule, but this year we’re also keen to keep the kiddos’ brains firing on all cylinders during the school break – studies show that ‘summer brain drain’ is TOTALLY a thing! All those new skills and cool things students learnt over the months in the classroom are in danger of leaking out over the holidays! Eek! This is clearly something we need to tackle, so we’ve been checking in with the brain drain combat gurus, aka experts from several international schools, for ideas on how to keep kids mentally engaged over the summer…
Mike Gilmour, Primary Years Deputy Principal, GEMS World Academy (Singapore)
Here’s how to support English learning over the summer:
I recommend having your child read appropriate English books for enjoyment doing the break. In addition to this, families could take time each day to talk about the activities or experiences that they’ve enjoyed while on holiday. As children learn to communicate within a known environment, they develop confidence which is important for public speaking. If more structured support is required, there are many exciting camps and programs throughout Singapore that children can sign up for.
Research shows that students achieve great things when working within their interests. I would suggest not forcing children into overly structured activities which take on the form of school. Instead, I would look for opportunities that your children do not normally experience – an adventure camp, learning to kayak, joining a martial arts class, going to watch a show etc. All of these experiences provide children with rich English language learning opportunities while developing the skills needed to succeed in our fast changing world.
Dr. Vanessa von Auer, CEO, Integrated International School Singapore
Here’s how to support Arts learning over the summer:
During the summer holidays, it’s most important to keep our kids’ minds and bodies active! While their skills are still evolving, the holidays are a great time for the family to find ways to continue this key development. Encourage your kids to step outdoors and tell your kids to be on the lookout for their favourite mini-beasts (did they spot a beautiful butterfly?)! When they get back home, hand over the paintbrush or crayons and ask them to draw what they saw! If you’re heading to the beach, this is a great opportunity to encourage learning through play and to use the sand as a canvas. You can challenge your kids to write everyone’s name in the sand or collect seashells to create a unique mandala. It’s up to you and the little ones to let the creativity flow.
Two words: homemade playdough! It’s an easy-to-create activity for the whole family. There are plenty of recipes online; basically, all you’ll need to begin with is flour, salt and food colouring. From molding their favourite animals to learning to spell words, there are endless possibilities. By using a mix of materials and objects, playdough play can even enhance hand-eye coordination! Remember with these activities to take your time, be patient and enjoy the experience with your little ones. They’ll cherish spending quality time with you before it’s time to head back to school.
Sarah Woon, Head of School, Blue House Nursery & International Preschool
Here’s how to support Maths learning over the summer:
Find ways for your child to engage in mathematical learning in meaningful ways over the summer. Whether it’s counting down how many days until they go back to school, or calculating their pocket money earnings to reach a goal. Children will retain and build on information, hypotheses and learning skills when they are inspired and motivated to do so. Cooking is another great activity that involves a great range of mathematical and scientific learning opportunities – most children are happy to get involved in the cooking if you’ll let them!
One of the best ways we encourage you to support children in making learning visible and meaningful is on trips to the supermarket. There are so many ways children can be supported through literacy and numeracy on shopping outings. Ask your children to write your shopping list for you (or perhaps even a list just for them of their favourite items!), calculating what is needed and writing it down. You could even provide goals and suggest, “If you can calculate a certain amount, perhaps we can have an ice cream afterwards?”
Peter Hart, Head of Secondary, Nexus International School (Singapore)
Here’s how to support Science learning over the summer:
At Nexus, whether a kid or a grown-up, we love making stuff! We keep our little darlings passionate about science by taking inspiration from the Dad Lab, so grab the vinegar, baking soda and a few balloons! If you are travelling this holiday or staying on the Red Dot, there are amazing Science-related spaces to explore for young inquisitive minds. Our favourite ones both here and around the world are Singapore’s Science Centre and the Art Science Museum, London’s Natural History Museum, Washington’s National Air and Space Museum, Hong Kong’s Space Museum and Melbourne’s Scienceworks (which includes a cool planetarium).
Bubbles! This is perfect for all members of the family, no matter how big or small.
Top image credit: GEMS World Academy (Singapore).
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