Every child in school looks forward to the summer holidays, that special time of year when students around the world sigh in collective relief at the absolution of recent responsibilities and jump for joy at the potential for play.
According to psychologists and parents, moments of downtime are essential to the young and growing mind. And so it is no surprise that the holidays provide an opportunity for teaching young ones in fun alternative ways.
With the help of original activities such as creative pursuits, language learning, and playful sports, this year’s holidays have the potential to be both educational and rewarding.
A time for creativity
Free from the traditional structure of school, summertime provides the opportunity to explore more creative pursuits. Easy to implement activities that are engaging to the creative spirit can include: painting, jewellery making, singing, and acting. Thanks to modern technology, one can even shoot, edit, and share a short-film or music video entirely on a smartphone. Even the age-old summer pastime of reading is not to be dismissed lightly, reading and being read to ignites the imagination and improves writing and reading skills.
The summertime is equally great for breaking out of our bubbles and learning about the larger world we inhabit. Introducing children to different ways of life through a foreign language broadens their perspectives and builds their capacities for success in the modern globalized economy where ‘soft skills’ are becoming more and more important.
Through the looking glass of a different language one gains in cultural intelligence, a highly coveted soft skill characterized as the ability to relate and work effectively across cultures. Teaching a foreign language over the summer holiday can be as easy and accessible as watching undubbed films or learning the lyrics to foreign music on a lyrics training website. For a more stimulating and supportive language teaching holiday consider participating in an immersion homestay.
Make it active
The holidays are equally an excellent time for children to participate in sports. Both individual as well as team sports help us to learn those all too important soft skills like confidence, conflict management, and self-discipline. Engage with children’s playful and creative energies by challenging them to invent their own sport or active game. The most important learning to be gained from sports is the development of an active lifestyle and an enthusiasm for play.
The summer holidays have the reputation of being a time for relaxing, playing, and soaking up rays of sunshine on the beach. Extra downtime doesn’t have to go to waste and with a little help from adults it is entirely possible to foster moments of learning and growth in the months away from school. By engaging in extra-curricular activities like art projects, foreign languages, and sports the summer holds fantastic opportunities for young and old to teach and learn. Freedom from traditional school structures and engagement through play enables students to flourish. Which begs the question, what better time to kindle the fires of knowledge than during the holidays?