Summer time brings back fond memories of alphonso mangoes, lazy afternoons, sibling revelry and more. It also reminds us of a lot of free time that needed to be channelized.
During the summer holidays, children do want to be pulled down by routine and bound by instruction. Parents have the onerous task of ensuring a mix of fun, yet developmental hobbies and play time.
Today, children have a plethora of options – ranging from summer camps to online activities. These activities are a mix of individual play and group exercises. It’s important that children engage in activities that are physically and mentally challenging.
We have a few ideas to imbibe a healthy mix of hobbies, play, education and entertainment!
Here are some fun things to do to help kids have fun and learn while keeping busy:
1. Interview a family member
Kids are naturally curious. Harness this curiosity to keep them busy. If children have their grandparents or older relatives around, ask them to setup an interview with them and find out something they did not already know about the family. This is a great way for children to learn about family history, traditions, and culture
2. Solve a jigsaw puzzle
Puzzles stimulate the brain to think. It is also a great way for the entire family to spend time together. Get some jigsaw puzzles or board games and solve them together with your kids. Alternatively, you can leave the jigsaw puzzle out on a table and whenever children pass by, they can put together a few pieces.
3. Take up DIY projects
You can encourage kids to take up DIY project using materials available at home. For example, task them to build a fort where they can use cushions, blankets, and chairs. The other family members will be allowed to enter the fort only if they provide the password. They can come up with the hint for the password in the form of a riddle.
4. Do a scavenger or treasure hunt
A hunt around the house is a great way to connect and engage with little ones. You can have scavenger hunts where you come up with a list of objects kids need to find in the house. Hints should not be straight forward like, ‘find a toothbrush’. Instead, you can say, ‘something that helps you clean your teeth’. Give them the freedom to come back to you with a toothbrush, toothpaste or even floss. If you want your child to explore a bit further on their own, you can engage them in a treasure hunt. Hide small objects or treats around the house and provide them with a set of clues to find them.
5. Smart Screentime
Screentime does not always have to be a villain. Its also here to secretly rescue you. Ensure that children learn something new each time they have the screen. Allow them to watch wildlife program or underwater creatures. Let them engage in educational games and puzzles. BrainGymJr is one such app where you child can get their daily dose of curated puzzles.
6. Build a model from a set
Building models can greatly enhance spatial understanding and nurture your child’s dexterity, along with cognitive skills such as problem solving and logical reasoning. Bringing an idea in your head into reality inculcates a deeper curiosity to learn, as well as ability & confidence to build something with real life tools. Check out the BrainGymJr shop for a variety of sets for children to explore.
7. Get creative
Staying at home can be a good time to allow the creative spark in children to glow. Let them paint or use origami to make new toys. You can help them by watching tutorials and let them explore afterwards. You can also consider ditching traditional methods like a paintbrush and instead hand paint or use vegetable scraps to create unique prints.
8. Start an indoor garden
It’s nice when kids connect with nature. You can start an indoor garden with materials like egg cartons or foil trays. Plant herbs like basil seeds that you can later use for your cooking as well. Children should be given the task of caring for the plants, watering them regularly, ensuring there are no insects on the leaves etc.
9. Do a science experiment
There are a ton of home science experiments you can do with very little prep and set-up, and often with items you can just grab from around the house. Doing this will help your child learn how to translate scientific ideas and methods to real life. Experiments do not have to be messy. You can try growing salt crystals on strings or placing jars with different liquids like water, honey or oil and learning about reflection and refraction of light.
10. Learn basic life skills
Life skills like cooking, sewing a button on a shirt are essential for every individual. Start early with your kids. Teach them basic cooking and baking, sorting their clothes from the family load or even swimming or riding a bike. These life skills will always come in handy for them.
11. Write and put on a play
Kids love to play house or restaurant. Ask them to write down a play or a short skit and present it to the whole family on a weekend night. This will enhance creative thinking in kids. It also gives children a feeling of self-control. Presenting the skit in front of the whole family will give them enough confidence to face an audience at a school event.
12. Learn to Listen
Children are increasingly exposed to multiple signals making ‘listening’ to understand and apply a difficult habit. Inculcate listening through fun podcasts, audio books and even daily stories on BrainGymJr with small puzzles and questions built in. The ability to listen, relate and apply helps build concentration for school instruction and strengthen language skills.
13. Clean out the closet
Over the school year, a lot of clutter will have gathered in your cupboards and closets. They maybe scraps of paper from school projects or old clothes that children have grown out of. Holiday time is the best time to clean out the mess and keep space open for the next school year. You can start by providing children with storage boxes and ask them to sort the items as one to keep or ones to toss out.
14. Take up sports
There are many sports clubs that become especially active during the school breaks. Enroll your child in a sport that interests them. It could be martial arts, badminton or even swimming lessons. These activities will provide children the necessary physical activity they require.
15. Learn a new language
Learning a new language boosts problem-solving, critical-thinking, and listening skills in kids. There are many web platforms and apps available where kids can learn new languages from the comfort of their home. They can simply also learn basic terms used in different languages to have fun secret conversations with their siblings.
Staying home is an inevitable part of a child’s growing up years, sometimes because of sickness, other times because of holidays. The important part is utilizing this time efficiently while ensuring children learn and have fun at the same time.
“Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.”
– John Holt