Making the most of the summer
Many children are looking forward to the long hot summer ahead of them.
However, before that kicks off we have some advice on how to make the most of the final part of the school year and the start of the summer holidays!
How to get the most out of the summer holidays
The summer break can be a little difficult for you as a parent because you’re constantly trying to think of ways to make the most out of them for your children. You don’t need to put so much pressure on yourself, though.
We have plenty of summer resources available to help you and your children make the most of the summer holidays. And with a bit of planning ahead, you can all enjoy the summer holidays together, without getting too stressed.
Plan summer activities ahead
Time management is key to getting the most out of the summer holidays, and with a bit of forward planning, the summer doesn’t have to be stressful. So put together a calendar for the six weeks and mark in the following:
Which weeks are you on holiday?
Which days are you able to book off work or work from home?
Which days can you get some help with childcare from friends or family?
The sooner you plan out your summer holidays, the less stressful it’ll be when they arrive so try to do this sooner rather than later.
Keep it simple
Don’t get yourself wound up by filling your summer calendar with big days out. It’s good to have a few exciting activities planned, but your children really just want to spend some quality time with you over the summer break. There are lots of really easy activities you can do to get that quality time together this summer:
A picnic in the garden or the local park on the weekends or your days off
Big walks around local parks, nature reserves, reservoirs or anywhere else nearby
Get some exercise with some sports in the garden or the park, cricket and rounders are always a good summer go-to
A movie night, not everything has to be outdoors and this is a great way to spend time together even on days you’re working
A trip to the local library to do some reading, so you can keep on top of summer learning and reading.
Don’t think every day has to be an expensive trip to the zoo or something extravagant. Sometimes the simplest activities can lead to the most fun and memorable days for you and your children.
Look after yourself
Obviously, you’ll still have plenty of responsibilities over the summer holidays that your children won’t have. You’ll have your working hours, housework to keep on top of and of course, you’ll have childcare. It’s important to make some time for yourself though, even on the days you’re not working – believe it or not your children can entertain themselves for a little while if you want to rest. So keep these things in mind to balance work and play this summer:
It’s okay to sleep in when you’re not working, a great parent is a well-rested parent
It’s okay to let your children sleep in if you want a quiet morning to yourself
If the housework slides for one day, it’s not the end of the world – maybe ask your children to help out a little around the house
Don’t be afraid to ask for a little help, whether that’s with childcare, help around the house or just some company, talk to your friends and family this summer
Do some things that are just for you, whether it’s your own movie night after the kids go to bed or getting out and socialising on days they’re with other family members or friends.
Don’t count down the days until your children are back in school, even on the most stressful days – just take each day as it comes and enjoy the special ones.
There’s nothing wrong with making a bit of time to look after yourself and recharge this summer. You’ll have plenty of days to spend with your children over the summer months, so an hour or two to yourself here and there isn’t a bad thing.
Before the summer holidays begin…
Charlotte Gater, Head of Curriculum here at Explore Learning, gives her top tips on how to make the most of the final part of the school year and beyond.
Talk to your child about something they would like to achieve at school by the summer. This could be anything from becoming a free reader to being faster in the 100m at sports day. Then work together to reach their goal, praising the effort they put into it. Having a fearless attitude towards tackling challenges will see them progress in many areas.
Encourage your child to make a scrapbook of all the exciting things they have done during the last school holidays. This can be on the computer or handwritten – whatever inspires them. Get them to collect leaflets, postcards or photos on their trips and then they can write about what they did. They could even turn this into a blog.
As the weather gets hotter and we head outside to enjoy the sunshine, use this as an opportunity for learning. Heading to the park? Get your children to work out what time it will be in 45 mins when you need to leave. Having a picnic? Ask them to do some multiplication by working out how many items you need to take if everyone needs 10 grapes, three rolls, two cheese sticks etc. Have story time outside; reading to children and reading for pleasure is clearly linked to attainment. ‘Books Beyond Bedtime’, a study by Oxford University Press, showed that reading together for just 10 minutes a day makes a major difference to your child’s progress, so make sure they keep this up over the summer term and beyond!
Work towards a treat in the holidays to keep your child-focused. Set a challenge for them to come home and teach you one new thing they’ve learnt that day, this will help to consolidate their learning.
Find out what’s on in your local area to support your child in this important final term.
For example, lots of libraries will have workshops to engage your child in learning that is usually free.
Lastly, when you get your child’s school report let them know you are proud of what they have achieved this school year and then set a summer goal to keep them engaged with learning over the holidays.
6 things to do this summer with your children
If you’re still not sure what to do with your summer holidays, don’t stress about it! We’ve put together a list of ideas for you to try out:
The easiest and most cost-effective way to keep your children occupied this summer is to get outside! There are plenty of things you can do outdoors, whether that’s a nice picnic in the garden or park, or a big walk around a local nature reserve. Try downloading a fact sheet on local birds, bugs or plantlife and see if your children can identify any of them. It’s a great way to get them accidentally learning over the summer holidays.
Try a new sport or activity together
The summer is a great time to get your children into outdoor sports, and you can usually find cheap children’s sports sets in most supermarkets. Why not see if your children enjoy tennis or cricket? You could see if any of their friends want to join for the day too, the more the merrier (and their parents will likely thank you for keeping them occupied for the day!).
Learn a new skill or hobby
There are lot of crafts and hobbies that you can do both indoors and outdoors this summer. You could get your children some cheap art supplies and take them outdoors to draw some wildlife or flowers. Or you could try something more complicated. You could all learn how to knit, or crochet! Finger knitting is a simple and great way to get started, and you could all make some nice scarves ready for when the summer’s over while bonding over learning something new.
Get together with friends
Nothing says fun like a big get-together! You could or a friend host a small garden party. That way you can let your children all socialise together, while the adults can get some time to catch up too. Everybody wins and has a wonderful afternoon in the sun!
The thing about British summertime is that you can never really predict the weather. Some days it might be raining really hard, it might just be unpleasantly muggy or you might just be really tired. So, don’t worry about staying inside for a day here and there. There’s still plenty of fun to be had around the house. Hide and seek is always a favourite to keep children occupied for a while. Or you can set up a pillow or blanket fort, which isn’t only fun to build and play in together, but it makes for a great cosy reading corner!
Sometimes doing nothing is exactly what you need, and there’s no reason to feel guilty about it. If you need a day to get on with housework or just relax, there’s nothing wrong with sticking on the TV to keep your children occupied, or just letting them play around the house or in the garden. Doing nothing is sometimes enough, so don’t feel bad about a day of doing nothing.
How can teens make the most of the summer?
If your children are teenagers you can let them be a little more independent over the summer, so you don’t really have to think of ways to fill their days with fun activities. A little gentle encouragement to make the most of their summer can’t hurt though. Here are a few suggestions for teenagers to make the most of their summer.
Get a summer job or internship
Of course, teenagers want to spend the summer taking a break between school years. But they could use some of their time in the summer holidays to get some work experience, or doing an internship with a company that they’re interested in. Getting summer work not only gives them a chance to earn a bit of pocket money, but it will help them get an early start in their careers.
Volunteering is another great way to fill in some time and get a career head start for teenagers over summer. This can either be with a local charity shop or with a charitable organisation that they’re interested in. Encourage your teens to do a bit of research over the summer on organisations that they might be interested in helping out with. This will look great on their CV in future and could be beneficial for university applications.
Visit colleges or universities
A lot of colleges and university run events over summer for prospective students to get to know each other and have tours of the campus. For teenagers thinking about heading to university, this is a great way to spend some time over summer, so they can get to know the university or college they’re thinking of applying to. It’d be worth seeing if your child has checked university web sites or been in touch to see if they can possibly go and take a look at the campus over summer.
Practice for GCSEs
If your child is about to go into their last year of school, don’t let summer learning slide. While it’s important that they have a break, children going into their GCSEs need to make sure they’re doing some revision so they’re ready for their exams. It’s never too early to start preparing, so why not consider some GCSE maths tuition if that’s a subject they’re particularly worried about? Tuition doesn’t have to be a huge commitment over summer, even just an hour or two a week is better than no preparation at all.
It’s summer! Your teenage children will have plenty of time during the six weeks to volunteer, work, visit universities and prepare for their GCSEs, but make sure they’re making some time to enjoy themselves too. If they’re getting anxious about their upcoming GCSEs, talk to them about it and reassure them that with just a little practice they’ll be okay. For the time being, it’s okay for them to have a little fun this summer.
Getting ready for the next school year
If you want to help your child get a headstart in preparing for the next school year, particularly if they’re preparing for their GCSEs, it might be worth considering online tuition. Our expert tutors can help your child prepare for the next school year at times that are convenient for you, without taking up too much of their summer break. With 24-hour access your child will be able to learn independently, so why not give it a try?
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