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Summer Activity Ideas

A list of DfE approved websites and online resources.

KS2 : New Hobbies to Try!

  1. Make a bird feeder with your child then get them to take note of the different species and see if the same creatures come back for second helpings. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds offers loads of kids' resources on its website.
  2. Set up a weather station in the back garden or on a window ledge. Get your child to make their own rain gauge, barometer, and wind vane, and use a thermometer to monitor the weather each day. Then they can produce a mini weather report.
  3. Flower arranging and floral design are growing in popularity with children of all ages. The National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies runs classes, competitions and exhibitions for children and adults nationwide.
  4. A good way to introduce gardening to your child is to give them ownership over a little patch. You could then take them down to a nursery where they can select flowers and plants of their choice. Watching their selection of flowers bloom will bring them a sense of achievement and pride. For gardening advice, colouring, hands-on activities and more go to the Royal Horticultural Society's kids' page.
  5. Astronomy is a wonderful pastime for kids who are fascinated by what outer space might hold. Have fun working out your Plough from your Orion’s Belt.
  6. Cubs, Brownies, Scouts and Guides provide the perfect scene for personal growth for boys or girls who enjoy camping out and all the activities that accompany it. Find out about local packs and join the waiting list today!
  7. Origami is the art of folding paper to create whatever the mind can conceive – a dog, flower, house and so on. Borrow a beginner's book from the library to get you started.
  8. Create a scrapbook – all you need is a large album, scissors, glue, coloured paper, pens, pictures and imagination. Once you’ve decided on a theme you’re ready to get sticking.
  9. Don’t throw out your old clothes – give them to your little ones to revamp into new items. They can go as wacky as they want and the finished product is guaranteed to be unique.
  10. Sculpting and pottery are always popular with children. There are many child-specific pottery and sculpture classes available – try your local adult education colleges.
  11. Teach them to knit. The act of linking loops has been around for thousands of years – it’s simple to learn and very addictive. Watch how-to videos on YouTube to get you started.
  12. Let them try patchworking. Cutting different bits of fabric into shapes and joining them together can produce some fantastic patterns and useful stuff too, such as quilts, cushion covers and soft toys.
  13. Baking or cooking will give your child an appreciation for raw ingredients, healthy food and different types of foods. Cooking also teaches them about kitchen safety and food hygiene.
  14. Dance is fun, creative and burns up excess energy. And there are so many different forms – from ballet to tap, from jazz to hip hop – so finding one that appeals to your child’s preference won’t be difficult.
  15. Debating – this will give your child the ability to present an argument persuasively, to understand that there are two sides to most arguments and the confidence to speak in front of a room full of people.

KS1 Learning Through Everyday Life!

1. Going shopping

Child picking vegetables at supermarket

Shopping with young children can be challenging, but they can learn a lot – and be less bored - by being involved. Start by thinking aloud as you make your shopping list. This will help your child to listen carefully and to talk, both of which are building blocks for learning to read and write later on. You could encourage your child to choose a recipe and to ‘write’ their own list too. It will be mainly pictures and scribbles, but your praise will boost their confidence as a writer, and help them discover that there’s a reason for writing.

In the shop, ask your child to help find things from your list(s). This helps them to listen, concentrate and follow instructions – useful skills for school! They’ll also be practising their ‘reading’. At first they’ll recognise logos and packaging rather than letters and words, but this is another important step on the way to developing their literacy skills.

There’s a surprising amount of maths involved too. Your could ask your child to compare things of different size, weight and amounts, and they’ll hear you use everyday maths words at the same time. For example: “can you help count four apples into the bag?” or “Which feels heavier, the pasta or the rice?”

2. Playing outdoors

Children playing outdoorsSwinging, climbing, balancing or throwing and catching a ball at the playground all helps develop a child’s co-ordination and strength in their arms, legs and whole body (known as ‘gross motor skills’). This leads on to strengthening their hand and finger control (known as ‘fine motor skills’) which they’ll need for holding and controlling a crayon or pencil.

Building a castle is great for finger control – with sand and pebbles at the beach, with mud and stones outside the back door or in a park, or with play dough indoors. Try using a stick to make marks in the sand or dirt, or use a paintbrush and water to ‘paint’ on the pavement – more steps to early writing.

3. Sharing books and stories

Child reading with motherChildren who enjoy books have a whole world opened up to them. It might be a wet, gloomy day but within seconds you can have escaped to a faraway place. Libraries have endless free fiction and non-fiction books for young children, and comfy places to sit and read.

Sharing a book or telling each other a story is a fantastic way to spend some spare time – including distracting a bored or tired child at home or in a queue. A snuggly bedtime story can become the highlight of a bedtime routine that helps settle your child to sleep. And remember, you don’t need to be a great reader, you can use a book as a prop and make up your own story.

Many young children have favourite books and stories which they ask for again and again. They enjoy hearing the familiar language, talking about favourite characters and finding things they recognise in the pictures. Stories that rhyme or have repeated phrases help children notice similar sounds, and also make it easier for them to join in.

4. Out and about

Family on a busMake the most of getting from one place to another, whether by bus, car or on foot. Try playing a game of pointing out letters from your child’s name, on street signs, shop names, car number plates and bus tickets. Listening games are also helpful – e.g. “What sounds can you hear?” (motorbike, siren, bird, wind blowing etc). Always make it fun, not a test. Give clues or the answer in a positive way if they hesitate or get it ‘wrong’, so that they want to join in and keep playing.

Singing songs and rhymes support children’s language development too – as well as cheering up a bored or tired child. Lots of songs and rhymes also contain maths language, such as ‘Five in the Bed’. And you might like adding new verses to songs you know to go with chores that you are doing, or you could make up a story based on your child’s favourite story or character.

5. Chores = play

Mother folding laundry with childIt’s a great idea to get your child to help with everyday jobs round the house. They might feel like a chore to you, but can be just another game for your child. They can pair socks as you sort the washing (counting, sorting, matching), or help to make a meal – weighing, mixing, counting out the cutlery and plates, hearing you think aloud about what else needs doing. Put on some music and dance around as you vacuum!

Younger children often look forward to things if their parents do. So if you enthuse your child about this new school adventure, that's how they'll see it. And keep adding to your building blocks of learning together - talking, listening, sharing books, singing and playing in day-to-day life!


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