While the structured routine of school and classroom rituals are due to come to a halt, with school holidays just around the corner, your child’s learning certainly doesn’t need to go stale during this time! Children are learning machines, so the holidays are an ideal time to further explore their creativity; from constructing futuristic Lego worlds, climbing the equipment in the park and even making a crafty mess in the kitchen.
These types of activities help children create new pathways in their sponge like brains, which will help them develop even more skills. This supplementary educational play, alongside the more formal school environment, will help your little ones develop exponentially.
Kids are natural learners, so during the school holidays there is lots you can do to support your child’s learning. Here are some top tips which Brent Hughes, Ex-Teacher and Education Expert for Matific, has pulled together to help your child fulfil their potential out of the classroom during the holidays, and prep them to return to school hungry for more!
1. Boost brainpower through nutritious meals
A healthy, balanced diet isn’t just good for kid’s bodies, it’s fantastic for their brains too and ensures the best building blocks for learning. Eating the right foods at the right times can improve your child’s brain function, memory, and concentration. While your child might think gorging on treat foods is the most practical thing to do these school holidays, ensuring a balance between nutritional meals and treats is crucial.
Like the body, the brain absorbs nutrients from food, so aim to stock up on the brain boosting varieties, such as: fatty fish – (like salmon and mackerel), eggs, peanut butter, oats, berries, beans, colourful veggies, milk and yoghurt, and lean beef (or a meat alternative). These types of foods are ideal in helping to boost your child’s brainpower.
2. Travel the world and beyond during story time
Following along with the adventures of Alice in Wonderland or diving into the story of Wilber in Charlotte’s Web can do more than just help put your child to bed. Story time has long been known to foster parent-child bonds, but this activity is also great for your child’s brain development.
Benefits of shared reading includes, facilitating enriched language exposure, fostering the development of listening skills, spelling, reading comprehension and vocabulary, and establishing essential foundational literacy skills. Reading aloud to your child is also beneficial for their cognitive development, with parent-child reading activating brain areas related to narrative comprehension and mental imagery.
3. Let out those creative juices
While the reality of cleaning up glue, paint and glitter (that always seems to get everywhere) may deter you from embracing messy play, it can provide many benefits for your child’s imagination.
Letting your child/children run wild and experiment with different objects and raw materials, without any end goals to restrict them, allows them to make their own discoveries and stimulates their curiosity. On top of this, exploring how things feel, smell and taste equips your child with an awareness and understanding of the world that surrounds them.
4. Puzzle it out
There is nothing more fun than a family board games night! Classics like Scrabble, Monopoly, Pictionary or even Snakes and Ladders are fantastic for exercising little minds. Through these games your child will practice their numbers, letters and shape recognition skills, improving their hand – eye coordination and honing their visual perception and colour identification skills.
5. Incorporate exciting day trips in your week
There are plenty of little adventures and discoveries for you and your child to go on these school holidays that don’t necessarily have to break the bank! Museums and galleries offer free or discounted entry for concessions and may include kid-friendly zones where children can learn new things in a way that highly engages them.
6. Unleash your child’s uncovered musical talents
Developing a new skill or hobby can take time, so why not start in the school holidays? Learning a new instrument is a fantastic way to challenge the brain and reap many benefits. It has been found that learning an instrument can significantly improve both verbal memory and childhood literacy.
A study by University of Liverpool, found that musical training increases blood flow to the left hemisphere of the brain – the area responsible for language. Even just half an hour of simple musical training is all that’s needed to increase this blood flow.
7. Put screen time to good use
Kids sure do love their devices and while we may not want them to spend hours in front of the screen, there are a range of apps and games that are educational and engaging.
Post written by Brent Hughes, Ex-Teacher and Education Expert for Matific. Matific Galaxy, an award-winning program allows your child to learn and love mathematics through gamified activities. Saving little creatures in a space-like setting as well as learning key maths concepts is the best of both entertainment and education in one app.