Summer vacation is around the corner and I am sure most of the parents like me would be wondering how to keep children engaged in quality ways for their upcoming summer vacation. Some common questions in our minds would be – “How to keep children engaged during summer vacation?”, “What could be the best use of these holidays”?, “ What to choose and what not to for them?”, “How to keep them away from the screen (T.V/Mobile/Tabs) etc. and channelize their free time and energy into something qualitative, something meaningful?
I did some analysis and came up with below a few tips which might help answer a few of the above- mentioned questions and help you decide and do effective planning before the vacation starts.
1.Leisure Time, Pleasure Time: (For children aged 5 or above)
Get messy with pottery –
Pick up some hobby, anything which children don’t do regularly. Some of the interesting things which children can pick up include gardening or pottery, I know children love to spoil their hands and clothes in mud and soil.
They can grow some flowers, vegetables, etc. Post growing, they could assemble those flowers or eat the vegetables which they have planted.They can also plant a butterfly garden.
Children are also fascinated with the idea of cooking, we can teach them to bake some cookies or cake, they will get a sense of achievement, ensure if kids are very young, it should be done carefully and non-gas cooking.Cooking for a family meal is a very rewarding experience for kids of all ages. And the more that they learn how to do, the more they can help in day to day chores.
DIY(Do it yourself)-
Those who are interested in arts and craft can learn new types of paintings and art forms, they need not go to any coaching class, there are lots of DIY kits in the market (Do it yourself), where artifacts are explained in very simple terms, children enjoy following the instructions and make something constructive.
Children can also write one page every day in their diary and at the end of the summer share selections with each other about the highlights of the season.
Summer is the perfect time to go stargazing. It isn’t too hot at night, and a family snuggle on a blanket looking up at the night sky is an enjoyable way to learn together. Read up on a few constellations and celestial objects proactively, ahead of time, and your kids will think you’re a super genius.
2.Summer Camps/Activity Centre’s/Workshops: (For all Ages)
Children can be enrolled in summer camps for quality engagement, they could learn art, craft, dance, music, playing an instrument or any kind of sports Football, Basketball, Swimming, etc.
In regular school days, children might not get time to explore and focus on their hobbies. This is the time they can identify their interest and pursue a hobby of their choice.
Writing and acting workshops-
There are book writing workshops too, where they are taught the craft of writing. Acting workshops also for children who want to showcase their talent in the field of theatres/acting etc.
Libraries and clubs-
Majority of libraries available locally have summer reading programs, special craft project times, puppet shows, teen clubs, and other fun things organized specially for the summer. Check the libraries/bookstores in your near locality
3.Be an Expert this Summer Vacation: (For children aged 8 or above)
Study the weather-
Make a small weather station and measure rainfall, wind direction, and temperature. Record these over time to see how the weather changes in your area. Compare notes with friend or cousin who lives in a different city. Children can also watch news channels, read newspapers to understand the meteorological department.
Play with science-
Roll cars down an incline. Mix vinegar and baking soda. Examine ants on the sidewalk. Compare rocks. Many of usual childhood activities are just examples of science. Have fun with it!
Play board games-
This activity is good for all the times of the year. Children can call in kids from the neighborhood, they all can exchange their board games and any time that parents join in, they get more excited.
Learn computer basics-
Children would also be interested in learning computer basics of MS office like Word, Excel or how to prepare a powerpoint presentation. They can also learn some basic coding and programming techniques to build some new games or apps.
4.Home away from home: (For all Ages)
To begin with, plan a small family trip (domestic or international). Let the child prepare for the trip, in terms of packing and discovering which places to visit. This shall help him/her to understand how travel planning is done, what proactive measures are taken (like carrying a small medical kit)/ required essential to understanding the culture/geography of the place which is going to be visited.
Camping at home-
In case you do not want to go out, use your backyard for camping or camp in using sleeping bags on the floor in your home and have a small party.
On a lighter note, no matter your age, making and playing in forts made out of pillows, blankets, and couch cushions is a load of fun.Enjoy quality family time .
5.Out of the box:
Best out of waste-
Try making something out of waste, a pen stand from an old bottle, photo frame from cardboard. Perform some simple experiments like color mixing etc.
Setup karaoke and let them sing aloud with friends, tell them to teach social media and WhatsApp to their grandparents.
Good old activities-
Make fairy houses using bark, leaves, fly a kite, make paper airplanes and boats, water plants, plant seeds, climb trees, read comics, play treasure hunt, master some new skill together like hula hoop etc., Blow bubbles, play miniature golf, go for picnic, watch animated movies etc. rediscover your old toys, teach them some game which you used to play and cherish in your childhood.
Basically, let children enjoy activities which they usually don’t get to perform in regular school days. Let them fly, let them learn, let them explore.
Wishing all the readers Happy Holidays!! ?
Here are some recommended toys and kits for a wonderful vacation:
About the author of this article-
Abhrekha Jain Sahlot, the name is derivative of her parent’s name ( Abhay & Rekha). She is full of life, energy and enthusiasm. A gold medalist computer engineer she has been working with top MNC for over 13 years now.