If I had a dollar for every time parents asked how they could reinforce school-based learning at home over the holidays, I’d be the world’s richest teacher. Jokes aside, when the final bell rings on the last day of term, I have only one wish for my students:
I hope that they have a safe holiday filled with play and relaxation.
But many parents seem to want more, so I’ve pulled together some playful school holiday activities that will reinforce what your kids are learning in the classroom during term. To help you organise your schedule, I’ve also created a ‘Holiday Bingo’ game. Just print out, cut out and write down the activities you want to do. Shuffle the deck and get the kids to pick a card.
Holiday Bingo Printable
Click here to download and print your free Holiday Bingo printable.
I’ve pre-filled 4 squares with Teacher-Approved activities to guarantee you 10 minutes of peace with a cuppa. There are also four blank squares for you to fill in with the kids. Think of this as a School Holidays Bucket List.
Activities to try
Here are some everyday activities that promote play and allow children to apply what they have learned at school to real-life situations whilst on holidays.
1. Play Tour Guide. Going overseas these holidays? Or on a road trip? Perhaps you’re staying closer to home and planning a day trip to a local museum or gallery? Get online and download maps, transport and event timetables and city guides.
Let the kids research their destination and be “in charge” of certain elements of the trip.
How far is it from Destination A to B? How long will it take to walk from the museum to the lunch spot? What time will the bus arrive? What can you tell me about the destination? Can we fit in the Seal Show and the Elephant Feeding at the zoo?
Children can record their experiences in a journal or via a blog, postcard or email. Or maybe they could create a comic strip?
So many opportunities to practise their Literacy and Numeracy skills!
If you’re not planning a trip away from home, you could always get the kids to plan an imaginary trip.
2. Star in Junior Masterchef. Cooking involves reading a recipe (aka a ‘procedural text’ in the teaching biz) whilst measuring quantities and time management (hello Maths skills!) Children could write a shopping list of all the ingredients they’ll need and check recent catalogues for any items that may be on special.
If letting the kids loose in your kitchen makes you feel a bit queasy (it’s not everybody’s cup of tea!) then try turning any eating out occasions into Literacy and Numeracy opportunities. Let kids study the menu and predict what other people in the restaurant might order/ have ordered. Give children a pretend budget and have them create different set menus and calculate their costs.
3. Get out the board games. Ask your child to read the rules booklet and explain the rules to all players. Board games are a fabulous way to practice skills like turn-taking, being a good sport and negotiating. Games like Scrabble and Boggle are excellent for Literacy and Numeracy development. Why not let the kids develop their own board game complete with their own rule book?
4. Be an Event Manager. “You’d like Johnny to come over for a play date?” Turn the holiday play date into a writing opportunity and ask your child to pen an invitation that you can then text or email to Johnny’s parent or carer.
5. Stage a puppet play. Any activity that allows for language development and imaginative play is a winner.
Your child could create a puppet theatre, pen a play, create a flyer and perform it to an audience. If they’re savvy, they could charge an admission fee and work their Maths (and savvy entrepreneurial!) skills too.
If you’re like me and save all your appointments for school holidays, here are some ideas for while you wait at the Dentist/ Optometrist/ Doctor:
6. Round robin stories. One person writes a few sentences before folding the paper to obscure everything bar the last sentence. The next person continues the story before folding the paper and passing it on. When you’re ready, open and take turns reading the full story.
7. Environmental print. Discuss the different signs, ads and billboards around you. How many different words can you make from the words you can see? What are alternative headlines? What do the different words mean?
8. People-watch. Create characters and narratives based on the people around you. (Preferably out of earshot of the people that you are creating stories about!)
Need some downtime or just want 10 minutes or 60 to enjoy a hot cup of tea? I fully endorse the following:
9. Audio books. No matter their age, children need to hear the written word spoken aloud by a fluent reader.
Audio books are a fabulous way to enjoy books (especially if you’re sick of hearing the sound of your own voice.)
10. Stories online. Let Betty White or Kevin Costner read a story to your littles. There are some fabulous online libraries.
11. Book-inspired films. Watch a film based on a book. Some good ones are Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Paper Planes and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. If you’re a real Tiger Mum, you could get the kids to read the book before watching the film. Just a thought.
Try these ideas for school holiday fun too:
- School Holiday Boredom Busters that Won’t Break the Bank
- 8 Ways to Bring the World to Your Kid
- The Outdoor Classroom: What Kids Can Learn From the Bush
Images: Shannon Wong-Nizic